The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery. Purchase this game to get both the original and the Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (60 reviews) - 86% of the 60 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (5,957 reviews) - 89% of the 5,957 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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Reviews

“A story told with a level of cleverness and elegance rarely seen in games.”
9/10 – GameSpot

“Leaves you with several amazing memories; moments that you will want to talk to your friends about for hours.”
9/10 – EuroGamer

“One of the best games of the year.”
9/10 – US Gamer

About This Game

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE: By purchasing the game, you actually get two games now: 1) The original The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, 2) The Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux. Please see this link for details.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. If our game leaves any scars, we hope you won’t be able to see them.

You play the game as Paul Prospero, an occult-minded detective who receives a disturbing letter from Ethan Carter. Realizing the boy is in grave danger, Paul arrives at Ethan’s home of Red Creek Valley, where things turn out to be even worse than he imagined. Ethan has vanished in the wake of a brutal murder, which Paul quickly discerns might not be the only local murder worth looking into.

Inspired by the weird fiction (and other tales of the macabre) from the early twentieth century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter aims to significantly evolve immersive storytelling in games. While it features a private detective and quite a few mental challenges, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is not an especially puzzle-ridden game. Our focus is on atmosphere, mood, and the essential humanity of our characters.

Still, the discoveries won’t happen on their own, or without your help. Using both Paul’s supernatural skill of being able to communicate with the dead, and your own powers of observation, you will discover the mystery behind a trail of corpses, the roots of a dark ancient force lurking in Red Creek Valley, and the fate of a missing boy.

Key Features


  • Explore and interact with the beautiful yet ominous world of Red Creek Valley, which was created with the use of revolutionary photogrammetry technology that allows for nearly photorealistic environments.
  • Communicate with the dead and see how they died in order to gather clues that help you piece together the truth behind Ethan’s disappearance -- and the fate of his family.
  • Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Conduct the investigation on your own terms and at your own pace. Although there are a few scary bits in the game, players will have no need for sedatives. Our game is less about terror and more about clammy unease.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX11 compliant card with 1GB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 9 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (60 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (5,957 reviews)
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3,744 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
FPSnoob2012
10.6 hrs
Posted: September 24
I'm torn on this game for reasons I can't discuss without spoilers. That said, I'm glad I played it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Janie
4.5 hrs
Posted: September 24
Really disappointed. I spent more time walking places than playing the actual game. Puzzles were terrible.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
HackedFleisch
14.0 hrs
Posted: September 23
Like this review, this game is short and sweet, wait for a sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
rgriff23
0.3 hrs
Posted: September 21
This is a visually beautiful game that tells a very creative story. The twist at the end makes it all worth it. None of the puzzles are very difficult- in fact one puzzle took me a bit of running around to solve because I thought the first answer that popped into my head was too obvious to be true, but I was wrong- the obvious answer was the answer. The biggest thing I would change about the game is to increase the speed a little. Even running felt slow, and many scenes (e.g., riding a trolley or elevator from point A to point B) feel unneccessarily long.
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The Pentacidist
3.7 hrs
Posted: September 21
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Positives
• Graphics are absolutely phenomenal and the best looking games I've played at the time
• Very screenshot friendly (click here to view my screenshots)
• Deep and immersive atmosphere that never fails to impress
• The lore is very well put together in the four hour play time
• The mystery of the Carter family is a bit eerie in the sense you feel their presence in the map
• Partially open world with a few easter eggs here and there
• Puzzles are cool and are fun to solve
• When playing as the perspective (Paul Prospero) who has paranormal abilities, it seems very believable and not like a horror movie where everything seems made up
• The game can get very dark at times and explore intersting traits humans have
• The characters you follow act very much like real humans would
• Very easy to grasp mechanics and doesn't take long to get the hang of things
• Legitimate achievements that are realistic
• Uncovering the mystery is very enjoyable and a unique experience

Negatives
• Very short playthough and could barely take over three to four hours
• Story leaves loose ends and leaves too many questions to be filled in with your imagination
• I had to run all the way back to the beginning because I forgot a puzzle
• No way to save which can reset some progress
• Not a lot to do other than the story and easter eggs its pretty hollow if you try to go under the surface
• This one part bugged out so I had to redo a part for the "Unfinished Story" achievement
• The game came with a redux version which has separate achievements and steam badges even though there is minor differences between the games
• Walking is tedious but also scenic which makes it less of a chore
• Little to no challenge when solving the puzzles
• No replay value which makes playing the redux for the achievements more annoying
• No action what so ever if you are easily bored by story games

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this game a lot during the four hours I played it. It was immersive graphically stunning and had a great story. The thing is the game has no replay value and has little gameplay depth. The game has the story and that's it. I wish there was something more they could've added to make you feel like your money was well spent but its not. Don't get me wrong it was a phenomenal and immersive couple hours and I can look past its few problems it has, but it is still not worth the money. If you can get the game for under ten to five dollars I think almost anyone can enjoy it.

Rating: 7.2/10

-Penta
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Frodo
3.8 hrs
Posted: September 19
Excellent game. Unique story. 9/10 Overall. Definitely recommend it.
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Haflurgaflur
5.7 hrs
Posted: September 19
Well, Well, Well. I hate "walking sims" But this is not one of those. This is a audiobook that you drive. It changes in tone, narrative, and complexity. The story continues, when you continue. Yes, its a tad boring, but it's beuitfule in every sense of the word. The flashbacks are cool, but the games one downfall is that the story being narrated to you is more entising then th gameplay. But its still better then the ♥♥♥♥ing rapture game.
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Masa
0.1 hrs
Posted: September 19
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is decent if rather short indie first person adventure/mystery game. I played through the Redux version, so I have minimal playtime listed for the base game. The redux version is simply a remake of the original game in Unreal Engine 4 with improved graphics and few minor gameplay tweaks.

The graphics are definitely the highlight here. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has some of the most impressive nature scenes ever seen in a game. It's also a very atmospheric and immersive experience with pretty minimal handholding.

Unfortunately the gameplay is somewhat disappointing. While the core mechanic of reconstructing murders by finding and ordering the clues is interesting enough, the game could have taken this much further. As it is, almost all the puzzles are on the simple side and way too much of your playtime is spent hunting for the puzzles themselves and any clues you may have missed.

Overall, the Vanishing of Ethan Carter felt more like an impressive tech demo than a full game. I'd still recommend it, but only during a sale.

The good:
- Extremely beautiful natural environments
- Atmospheric and immersive
- Reconstructing the murders is an interesting mechanic, even if the game should have done much more with this

The bad:
- Quite short
- Most puzzles are pretty simple
- Too much aimless wandering looking for both clues and the puzzles themselves
- The story is not that good
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 30
Great story, beautiful graphics and soundtrack, nice controls and awesome ending!
I would like to see more games like this.
10/10
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 25
Haunting best describes this atmospheric mystery. The music, sounds, and visuals all work together to make the world of Ethan Carter feel very big and very lonely. The story is intriguing and poignant.

PROS: The way the plot is revealed is very well done, through reconstructing crime scenes and reliving short stories written by Ethan. There are many surprises, and the parallels between Ethan's stories, the events involving the adults in his life, and the revelation at the end are all intertwined extremely well. There's a lot more going on in this game than meets the eye.
The music shivers and surges at just the right times and was never intrusive.
The visuals, even on mid-low on my system, are stunning.

CONS: A down side to this is what the game warns about at the very start: it does not "hold your hand." While it's nice not to be force-fed tutorials, it's too easy to miss vital story components simply because you don't know they're there.
Case in point, I nearly reached the end of the game before quickly checking online for things I had overlooked. I found I'd managed to skip almost HALF of the story. What I wrote off as a "weird house I'll understand later" I was supposed to actually patiently pick apart right then and there. Some clues are even spaced so far apart they don't seem important or related. Compounding this problem, the game makes no indication when you've moved on too soon.

To avoid this problem, I recommend finding a list of game areas but NOT using an actual walkthrough. Merely knowing you're supposed to do something of importance in an area will solve the problem of the game's absence of player guidance. This information is actually given to you near the end of the game in the form of a map, but save yourself the backtracking. A simple cue like "I'm not finished here yet" or "I should take a look around" might have helped.

Despite that small issue, this was a very worthwhile experience. There are plenty of surprises and just a heavy aura of mystery that kept me playing. The game is short, taking me about 4 1/2 hours, but I finished feeling like I'd just read a good book.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 1
A mix of a Walking Simulator and a 3D Hidden object.
I find both genres utterly boring in general.
Puzzles were mentioned, but finding hidden objects is no puzzle solving.
Resolving sequences of seemingly unrelated events, neither (although it can get pretty intriguing)
A few items were collected, but no inventory.
Not that it that it would be of much use.
Just to be sure that I took the grenade before saving, without having to go all the way back to check.
No map either. That would be of much use. Or, at least, a compass.
After all, the forests have a reputation of disorienting the non-elven races.
A minimal story was there. Not a bad one, to be sincere, but too short nonetheless.
Hadn't I wasted so much time in random forest walks (evening tea not included),
it would have taken about an hour to finish.

Yet I somehow liked this game.

Somehow, while aimlessly wandering with the petty excuse of searching for clues,
(actually admiring great landscapes in an almost totally inanimate world)
the game managed to create an atmoshpere that thrilled me.
Sometimes even scared me, for no apparent reason.
Well, I managed to die once. (which must be some kind of a negative record).
Once is perfect. Not too many to become frustrating, but enough to keep you thrilled.

Perhaps the previous, enthusiastic critics clouded my judgement.
Or, meyhaps, I've grown too old, and too cheap, and got carried away by the amazing
artistic work, both in music and visuals (in expense of an actual gameplay).
Or the smaller things, as the relaxing experience of using a joypad and moving at my own pace.

Sometimes I imagine the game makers, having created a great 3d-modelled enviroment,
coupled by an excellent soundrack, and then struggling to give the gamer a purpose to
wander in it. From this point of view they did a great work. Definitely not overdoing it.

In conclusion, yes I'd recommend it. Not a 20$ recommend, but on a discount it is a very good offer.
After all, and despite having to install both game versions just for reviewing it,
the fact that they provide fresher graphics for free (in the era of payable useless DLCs)
is something I really appreciate.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 30
This is some must have visual experience. I have played twice redux version (which is a separate game in the library) and now started original one to experience it tor the third time. Photorealistic graphics seems to be the future of storytelling games. Immersion in this case is superb.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 24
Great story, beautiful graphics and soundtrack! Still playing (0.09hts) cant waiting for end, awsome game for that time i was played :)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
Very interesting mystery, although the game takes only a few hours to complete!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a good mystery detective adventure game in first person view. Its not too long, not too short (4-6h), not too easy, but not too hard ether. It looks good in Redux and doesnt have the frame sync issues the regular version can have for some. The game pacing plays well and has a satisfying ending. Its one of those games that the less you know, the more you will enjoy it and thats why I am being very superficial. I highly recommend this games Redux version if you are into “none guns” first person adventure games.

(Note on game time: I mostly played the Redux version, but you need to install the regular one to post a review and you can get 3 cards from each. Thats why my game time in this verison is short. I have ca 7h in Redux.)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 11
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a captivating and immersive experience, it explores the theme of the human psyche and its mysterious nature. It provides an interesting nareative that will make you question your morals combined with jawdropping visuals and an outstanding soundtrack. It should be noted that the length of the game is quite short. in which I completed in around 4 hours. This is the type of game you should get for a rainy day. In the end this game is prefect for people that enjoy a good Lovecraftian story and who obsess over beautiful graphics. My final score for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an 8/10.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 4
A great game that tells the story in a way, with a narrative that makes you need to use your head. If you don't like games with a story that needs you to make sense of it, then this game probably isn't for you. Especially if you don't like games that make you think in general. That being said I loved this game and the way it told it's story. I would not recommend paying $20 for it, that's a rediculous price for what this game is. Wait for it to be on sale and buy for $5 like I did. It's definatly worth it.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 27
If only I can go to this area if it were real with my photography class.
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