The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game focused on exploration and discovery. As occult-minded private detective Paul Prospero communicate with the dead to discover the fate of a missing boy and the mystery behind a dark ancient force lurking in Red Creek Valley.
User reviews: Very Positive (3,103 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"A tense and spooky stroll through a gorgeous world, some fun supernatural detective work, and an efficient script with sparse dialogue."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (7)

December 23, 2014

Update #5 is now live!

This small update adds the following option to the launcher and the game: Framerate Control. "Unlimited framerate" is the default behavior, "Smoothed 60 fps max" is something that might potentially help in rare cases with micro-stuttering.

Note: please check if your graphic options have changed after this update and if so (unlikely, but still), restore them to your favorite set up.

We have also removed FXAA as it never worked well with the game (and when it did, it looked ugly with the amount of alpha-intensive vegetation and the postprocess filters we use). We have also removed ambient occlusion option, as we use AO extremely rarely (only on a couple of objects), and it was so subtle that people thought it didn't work at all anyway.

35 comments Read more

November 21, 2014

Update #4 - Achievements - is now live!

- added 14 Achievements to the game. If you have finished the game already, most of them will automatically unlock simply when you launch the game. See this blog post for details:

- sent a diver to remove the sniper rifle from the center of the lake and then hide it so no one would ever find it.

21 comments Read more


“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

“Thoughtful, novel, and most of all, a ludicrous pleasure to stare at.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

About This Game

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

    • OS: WindowsXP SP3 or higher
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX9c compliant card with 512MB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 9 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
Helpful customer reviews
503 of 555 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
Play Time: Approximately 4+ Hours

Quick Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a stunningly beautiful game that shows off what a developer can do if they focus on PC graphics. The story is engaging and mysterious and keeps you hooked until the very end as you explore the relatively large island. There are dozens of interesting corners of the island to discover that include some light puzzling and side stories. Overall it was a beautiful game worth its asking price of $20.

Meaningless Score: 8/10
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246 of 279 people (88%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
The older I get, the more I like my games short and sweet. And this game is ever so sweet. Do yourself a favour: read or watch nothing more than you already have, but just dive in and allow the world and story to enchant you. Take your time with it. Short as it is, this is not a game to be rushed through. A second look and thought pay huge dividend.

I took some high resolution shots while exploring Red Creek Valley (~20MP and up). No spoilers, but if you haven't seen anything yet, don't look at them and just play it.
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137 of 144 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2014
Maybe for a 5 hours long game you won't be willing to pay 19€, but for 10€ it's worth every cent, even though it's among the shortest games I've played.
If I have to categorize this game I'd say this is a lovecraftian game, it's a detective story with paranormal and horror features all perfectly encased in the most beautiful and realistic environment ever seen in a videogame, not to mention the absolutely perfect music that will give you goose bumps.

***GAMEPLAY 8/10: Investigative, slow paced. You won't be running around guns blazing in this game, you have to look for hints or you'll be missing something for sure. You can complete everything or nothing in any order. You won't see any kind of log book, map or quest marker. I really liked it, but unfortunately the game is a bit too short to enjoy the investigative experience. Another great thing about the gameplay is that you will never experience any interruption because the game needs to load areas, you start from the beginning and reach the end in one single walk. This is probably the reason why this game is so short, a longer and a bigger game environment might have required a loading screen or two.

***STORY 8/10: That's all this game is about, story. As you are told at the beginning of the game "This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand". Step by step you'll discover the truth about the mysterious events that happened in Red Creek Valley until you reach the end where the ultimate truth will be revealed. I can't tell anything without spoiling something, so I'll just say it's really enjoyable.

***GRAPHICS 10/10: I have never, NEVER, seen such beautiful environment. I grew up near the Alps and I can see that exact scenery in this game; rocks, trees, bushes, and even the undergrowth look absolutely real. The textures are high quality photos of actual, real life environment. I suggest you read this to learn more about this spectacular creation.

***SOUND 9/10: Beautiful music completes the game, it goes hand in hand with the environment. I could stay hours looking at the landscape listening to the music... and maybe i did.

Overall score 9/10
Grab it when it's around 10€, you won't regret it.
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267 of 315 people (85%) found this review helpful
12.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 21, 2014
I'll remember this game for the rest of my life. Pure poetry, enough said.
Thank you, The Astronauts.
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112 of 120 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 19, 2014
When you begin the Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first thing you see is a blunt message: "This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand". Ethan Carter's tale takes on more of an introspective atmosphere that contrasts with the action-heavy attitude of the mainstream gaming market. You play as supernatural detective who also serves as the narrator, bringing perspective to the mystery unfolding before you. This game sure as it says does not hold you hand, for there is no map at your fingertips, no checklists, no way-points. You are simply left to follow your nose and look for the clues to find out what happened to Ethan Carter. Perhaps where this game succeeds most is in establishing a sense of place. This is the type of game that you would want to get lost in. Grab a pair of headphones, listen to the winds rustle through the trees and do your best to get through this four hour journey in a single sitting. Even something as simple as walking out of the forest into a sunlit glade has impact. And as you follow the twists and turns of its multithreaded story you'll be caught up in it's unsettling intrigue. As for the visuals and the sound - well, they are simply impeccable.
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157 of 188 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
As I stumble through the overgrowth outside of Red Creek Valley I suspect I'm not a welcome visitor. Within five minutes of getting off the train tracks I've stumbled upon a series of gruesome traps, and not the sort you'd leave for any wild game. Flails and springs and pits. No, these traps are for curious outsiders. And intuition tells me it's claimed more than a few of the less observant ones... intuition and the shattered bones that litter the forest floor. This little hamlet has a dark secret, one tied directly to the disappearance of one Ethan Carter. And I intend to uncover the truth.

After a few (seemingly) close calls I stop in a clearing to appreciate the sheer beauty of this pristine place. The trees sway lazily; some have made the transition into their fall colors, and some remain stubbornly verdant. The grass has grown high and unruly, claiming patches of neglected road, working in tandem with a blanket of primeval ferns. Freight cars sit unused, decaying on the tracks. It's at that moment I realize I've encountered no people, no wildlife. And the world around me suddenly grows still, anxiously waiting for me to move, to stop dawdling, to leave. But I can't. I may not be able to see it, but I know something is watching me, this clumsy outsider. Something malevolent, old, and hungry.

“The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” can best be described as a mystery horror exploration narrative. While it isn't overtly frightening, it has an overwhelming atmosphere. The community of Red Creek Valley is a lot like iconic Silent Hill - except with an older, more sinister vibe. The decrepit setting slowly being swallowed by nature, the eerie crime scenes, the soft music, and excellent, grumbly narration all marry together to form a very unsettling, hypnotic surrounding. This is a town where Lovecraft's ancient, twisted gods rule. You are most certainly unwelcome. And you will feel that from beginning to end.

But like any good paranormal detective you'll press onward in spite of traps, murder scenes, and inexplicable, disembodied narration. You're Paul Prospero (Shakespeare's “The Tempest” anyone?), and this is your last case (you're roughly two weeks from retirement!). And this kid Ethan, with his special gift... he's relying on you. To find him. To save him. And to find out what's happened to this place and its colorful denizens.

As you explore you'll find clues and piece together what happened at certain locations. You'll spot abnormalities, anomalies, and the like. Sometimes something will be missing and there's a mechanic in which the item, for instance a crank, will show up as scattered text. If you look in the right direction the text will come together and you'll be able to see where item is located using your occult powers. Finally, if there's a victim in the vicinity and you've gathered enough clues, you'll have the opportunity to piece together what happened by “communicating” with the dead and reliving their final moments. And when you gather evidence and set the chronology of actions in order, man does it feel rewarding. And there's enough variety to keep these paranormal encounters fresh. And while the game is linear you'll have the freedom to explore and solve puzzles in whatever order you like.

This is a slow, methodical, meticulous sort of game. The sort of game you should play by yourself with your favorite comfort drink and no distractions. Really immerse yourself. It's one of the best looking games I've ever played – near photo realistic. The story is riveting, bizarre, and unflinchingly violent. This is an exploration game done right, with gameplay that challenges you to be observant and thoughtful. It's short, sure, but every hour is worthwhile and it doesn't overstay its welcome. “Ethan Carter” is a love letter; to Lovecraft and all things weird, and to classic detective stories. This is easily one of the best indie titles released in 2014.

So what are you waiting for? You mustn't keep the old ones waiting too long. Sure, they have time. Time means nothing to them. But for you... that's a precious commodity you're fast running out of.
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68 of 75 people (91%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
I had been following this game for a while and had decided to wait until it was on sale before I bought it. The more I read, the more I wanted to try it out so finally I just said screw it and picked it up.

Gotta say, $20 well spent!

Sure, the game is only 4-5 hours long, depending on how much exploring and running around you do, but the whole package is so interesting that it feels much deeper than it really is.

GRAPHICS: Everyone talks about how pretty this game is. Well, it's no lie. I found myself taking constant screenshots like I was on some sort of nature hike. You know, those shots that everyone takes when they go on outdoor trips. Trees, rocks, water, old buildings. All of it looks great in this game and I was a real shutterbug. I just left the settings alone, but with my system it was at max by default. Smooth animations too!

SOUND: The voice overs, the music, the ambient sound effects. All very authentic. Similar to the above comments on graphics, the sound can realy draw you in. Just put on some headphones, go stand by the water and just listen. Wind, water flow, bugs, birds. Nature. It is very peacful.

GAMEPLAY: This is another part of this game I really enjoyed. The whole discovery mechanic for finding objects and solving puzzles is refreshing. I could do without time stamping events, but thankfully those are few and far between. If anything, I wish there were MORE puzzles. This game makes me want a full blown "Sherlock Holmes" style mystery adventure with similar mechanics in place. Would be awesome!

STORY: This will be my only knock on the game. Don't get me wrong, the story is really good, but it became a little obvious too soon (for me at least) what was going on. So a few times in the game I found myself rushing a bit. So when I say it's a negative, I mean like when an actor in a movie does a bad accent. It doesn't make the movie bad, it just is someting that bugs you if you pay too much attention.

VALUE: I just wanted to touch on this one more time. Some might say $20 for such a short game is too much. And maybe you are right, but the overall package is really what is worth every penny.

So in the end, I would highly recommend this game to anyone who just wants a refreshingly new adventure in a beautiful world. Just dive in, and enjoy!

Hope they make another like this soon :)
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148 of 196 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 13, 2014
I will make this very simple. The save system cripples this game.

The game is absolutely stunning to look at and a joy to walk around in and play.

I don't care about the price, because even if it's only 5 hours or so the atmosphere is so well done and it's so pretty to look at that I feel it's worth more than $5 or $10.

The deal breaker is the save system where you can play for 30 minutes or even a whole hour or more... and you need to go out or go to sleep... and you return to the game and nothing you've done has saved. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to 1) have no idea when something has saved, and 2) Not be able to save when I need to take a break.

Why? What reason would they have for making you lose all your hard earned progress pretty much every time you quit? And make no mistake, it will happen pretty much every time you quit because you never have any idea when the game is saving or where.

Were it not for that one thing I would whole heartedly, 100% recommend this game... but the save system really, really sucks!
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83 of 101 people (82%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 29, 2014

+ awesome presentation, graphics are breathtaking, photorealistic at times, the art behind the graphics is fantastic
+ runs great maxed out (reduce AA if you have fps drops)
+ nice soft music throughout the game, good voice acting
+ interesting story, trying to solve the mystery of the vanishing of ethan carter!
+ gameplay wise this game brings the adventure genre to a new level, you move in 1st person mode, conrtols are fluid and movement is perfect (i was amazed by the fact that you don't get stuck in the environment unless there is indeed a huge obstacle or a dead end ahead), no endless dialogues and texts to read, many things are said by the environment, puzzles are limited though, i can think of 2 puzzles in total that were easy enough but pretty original, investigation scenes are straight forward and it's easy to complete them by finding the missing items and then reconstructing the scene
+ took me 6 hours to complete the game for the 1st time and i didn't get stuch anywhere, also used the run button a lot, so it's NOT a very short game. also missed 2 scenes , so i have to replay it to see everything

- character models could be better
- some gameplay elements could be explained in the beginning (hint: first scene you investigate and have to find the crank, in order to get a vision of its location you have to align the words and press left button, this gameplay element is used throughout the game but is not explained, so keep that in mind, align the words to get the vision)
- more puzzles would be nice
- ending is predictable

great game from great developers, i'm happy they didn't waste the assets into another fps or action game, they allready cancelled an adventure game in the past that also seemed very interesting, hope they will continue developing adventure games in the future of this incredibly high quality....

p.s if steam overlay doesn't work exit fraps (or another recording program) and restart the game. if you need fraps to run (as i do in most games) minimize the game and run fraps again.
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73 of 88 people (83%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 29, 2014
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a beautiful game.

This game is not just beautiful because of its technical prowess: number of models crammed in the game, how high resolution the textures are, how it handles long distance views, etc.... but mainly because of the artistic directions chosen. The warm autumn colors, the softly billowing clouds, how and which trees and leaves are swaying, softly moving mists and light flares, and all the little details... all combined to make a pleasant environment just to walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Luckily for us, it's not just a pretty walking simulator.

So as you're thrust into Ethan Carter's world, you hear a short narrative by your (detective) character for the first minute or two... then, nothing. You're left standing all alone in the middle of a beautiful forest and It's all up to you to find where the stories are and to tinker with the game and figure out the puzzle mechanics. I didn't know this at first, so I kept walking (passing some of the obscure puzzle pieces) looking for an area that would trigger the next narratives... if it hadn't been for the super nice environment to enjoy, I think I might have already thrown a tantrum for this ;) But in the end, it makes for a really nice and visually rewarding walk around the island.

The story parts and puzzles are littered all over the fairly small island for you to discover and most of them can be completed in any order you choose, except for the few final ones. This can be a good thing, as it gives you the feeling of freedom to roam and explore... but in my case it was a little bit confusing as I missed a key encounter (that hints on the backstory) until it was the very last one I did before the finale; and at that point I was a little disappointed at the story I wove myself in my head about Ethan.

The ending though, tied everything together nicely... and it was a really satifying ending that explained just about all the loose ends for me. I came to appreciate all the little tidbits and details that were peppered throughout the island and all the characters and happenings to reach this conclusion.

So, if you ask me... The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is not just a beautiful game, it's also a fine story.
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50 of 54 people (93%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
I absolutely loved playing this!
To make the review short and simple I'll stick with the pros and cons of it.


+ Graphics - it's one of the best looking games I've ever played, incredibly well polished.

+ Immersion - there's no HUD, no hints, nothing on the screen to distract you from this immersive experience (I can only hope to replay it in a few years with oculus rift support).

+ Soundtrack - one of my favourite things about this game! It can be beautiful and yet, at the same time, bitter. It really helps to set the tone.

+ Story - it's not the game's strongest point and it ends in a bit of a cliché way, but it still manages to be very enjoyable and interesting.


x Playtime - sadly this game is very short, you can finish it after around 4-6 hours. It might help extend it's duration if you just walk around in the woods, the scenery is beautiful and perfect to expand your screenshot library.

x Low Replay Value - pratically nonexistent. No achievements, no side stories. After you finish it, it basically becomes the best walking simulator in your game library (which might be fine for some).

Playing "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter" was like going to a really good restaurant - you pay for the quality, not the quantity - because even though it's quite short, everything about it is close to being perfect. 9/10
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52 of 59 people (88%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
The graphics of this game are just absolutely beatiful, they're just amazing you can't really anything else about them. The play area of the game is also really well done and the music really fits the game.
But the game is pretty short so keep that in mind if you're thinking about buying it!
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41 of 43 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2014
Have you ever asked yourself how a particular video game has made you FEEL? I am going to attempt to explain that vague underlining feeling that occurs from playing a game like this. I have not wanted to revisit this game as it left such an imprint on me at an emotional level. I have lately been forced to revisit it, however, as the world of Ethan Carter has somehow mingled with my dreams to form nightmares despite not having played the game since it first came out.

Ethan's world leaves a bitter emptiness and darkness that I soon found I wanted to escape. As I walked through this beautiful forested land I soon began to notice the deadly silence. Is there anyone here? When is the last time that I have felt so alone in a place? I began to seek out the comfort of human voices. I craved for Paul Prospero to say something, anything. I didn't want to play the game anymore. I wanted to forget about it.... but I had to find Ethan... I had to know what happened here. I had to know what happened to this world drowning in quiet desperation, to this place that feels lost, alone, and afraid. It felt like it was hanging on for dear life like a fading memory... It felt like I was not supposed to be there.....

I think that the atmosphere itself is brilliantly crafted and I would recommend playing it simply to have the experience. Just be prepared... We don't get to escape our experiences in the video game world just because they are not "real" life.
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60 of 75 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2014
"No matter from what perspective you look at it, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an impressive title. The special storytelling, absurdly beautiful game world and the intimate atmosphere make this a game for everyone." 8/10
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53 of 64 people (83%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter[/i]
Searching for Sugarboy
Personal Rating: "Worth purchasing"
Traditional Rating: 7 out of 10
Genre: First Person Point and Click Adventure/i][/td][/tr]
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the new game from The Astronauts (those guys previously known as People Can Fly) is an enticing name for a game that flouts itself as a detective mystery. Without even delving into the games synopsis the title evokes just the right amount of mystery and just like a chilling good book or thrilling film, Ethan Carter's opening segments really draw you into its superbly detailed and beautifully realized world. Red Creek Valley is town that is in the process of loosing the battle with nature itself. Located somewhere along America's Rust Belt, decay and degradation are everywhere as nature wages a war to claim back what rightfully belongs to her. There is also a distinct gothic-horror vibe the actual town evokes the first time you lay your eyes upon it. In fact the very first run-down shamble of a house you see from across the bridge that leads to the towns centre is pitched so perfectly high atop a grassy hill that it evokes the Bates Motel from Psycho.
Not since delving into Skyrim for the very first time has a game evoked such a sense of wonder and place. Red Creek Valley, in all its digital glory, feels so alive even when juxtaposed against the silence and solitude of its ghost-like town, a town the world has long forgotten about. To walk through its forests, climbs its hills, listen to the chirp of its birds is to be transported immediately into a world that is uncannily lifelike that at times one can barely believe it's simply made up from a series of horizontal and vertical pixels. Grass and flowers sway convincingly, trees shake then calm down then shake again as they dance with the wind. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an astonishingly beautiful game to look at. As I explored Red Creek Valleys surrounding areas I could not stop thinking what an awesome experience this would be with an Occulus Rift attached to my head (in fact I can very well see these very forests and hills becoming my walking digital playground when I finally get my hands on the device so soothing and relaxing are they to witness, explore and experience).

The towns silence is also almost deafening, even though audibly the player is constantly surrounded by the ghostly sounds of the leaves in the trees swaying on the wind or that very wind whipping up around funneled corners to the popping sound of the gravel underneath the feet of Paul Prospero, the detective summoned to this town to find a missing young boy. Paul Prospero is no ordinary detective though. Blessed with supernatural abilities, Prospero is able to take information (that comes in the form of objects, letters, newspaper clippings and even dead bodies) and look into their past for further information or evidence and this is what makes up the bulk of gameplay in Ethan Carter as you try to make sense of what the past is telling you. Not everything is as simple as it looks though.
The past's clues are often just as muddled as the run down town's remaining foundations. It's left up to the player to make sense of what they are seeing and what they are being told in order to advance the storyline. At its heart, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is point and click adventure. You will be required to solve puzzles and uncover clues and then uncover more clues in order to progress. Ethan Carters puzzles are not particularly challenging and most veteran puzzle enthusiasts should see the solution to all of them immediately which was a bit of a disappointment. The game is also incredibly short and can be blazed through in just over 3 hrs but to do so would be doing the digital world that The Astronauts have so painstakingly and lovingly crafted a disservice.

Where Ethan Carter does take some missteps is with its storytelling. To be honest - it's not particularly compelling or believable and it wraps up with an incredibly disappointing twist that made me feel like I should not have bothered with solving the mystery of the missing young boy in the first place but instead just continued roaming Red Creek Valleys forests and hills. While the script tries to go for poetic it often feels forced and the line delivery by all actors is often stilted and not particularly believable which kept pulling me out of the mystery and had me imagining a giant piece of cheese instead! I really was expecting the game to have more of an emotional punch and this seemed to be missing throughout the entire game from a narrative standpoint.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is still an experience and one well worth grabbing, if just for its sublime digital world alone. The Astronauts must be commended for crafting a beautiful and often creepy adventure even when the sum of its parts don't always add up. From such a strong beginning that resonates with emotional clout and complete awe unfortunately slowly withers and fades away like the unreliable memories of its protagonists the further along you progress. For a game that delcares itself as a narrative piece with no hand-holding right at the start of the game, it's a pitty they didn't put as much effort and care into the narrative part in the same way they lovingly crafted Red Creek Valley.
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37 of 45 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 5, 2014
Aside from being one of the best looking games on PC, Ethan Carter is Atmospheric and Immersive. This little horror gem will keep you at the edge of your toes. 10/10
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43 of 56 people (77%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game focused on exploration and discovery.
You are Paul Prospero, a paranormal investigator. You go to Red Creek Valley after receiving a letter from Ethan Carter. It appears that some kind of being has been awakened as a result of the teenager’s adventuring and is wreaking havoc on the minds of his family. Gifted with a particular form of perception allowing you to visualize past events once the relevant elements are in their “correct” place, you explore the string of murders as well as the vanishing of Ethan Carter.
The game consists only of walking and exploring together with some light puzzling and side stories. Unfortunately, it takes only something around 4 hours to finish the whole game and the few puzzles are just too easy.
The graphics are absolutely amazing. Each area is distinct and beautiful.
The sound is delivered in form of ambient strings and digital chirps that amplify the dark and creepy tone as well as engrossing environmental sounds. The voice acting is also good, could be better and more, but it is forgivable.
Overall it was a great journey. Worth to play, especially because of the great graphics.

Sounds 9/10
Graphics 10/10
Gameplay 6/10
Atmosphere 9/10
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54 of 75 people (72%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
Review in Progress:
So far I think I'm still on Chapter 1. But for the sake of spoilers. I will not talk about the plot or what happened so far, but I'll give you the premise. I'll just focus on the gameplay and everything else.

So as some of you might know already. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is about a detective, Paul Prospero with supernatural powers who received a letter from Ethan Carter who claims to be in danger. He came to Red Creek Valley to find out what happened to Ethan.

In the game you control the detective in first person mode. The very first thing I noticed is that the game is absolutely gorgeous even on medium settings. On high, it look on par with Skyrim in my opinion. The game run quite well on my GTX 760, though there are some occasional stuttering, which still appear even when I drop down to medium. Though it is not truly noticeable.

The game does not hold your hand at all whatsoever. You are free to explore the Valley, which is a lot bigger than I originally thought. There are puzzles and items here and there that give you some backstory. The first big puzzle you encounter involved a train. (You'll know what I'm talking about if you play it) This is when your paranormal powers come into play. You can investigate the scenes and put clues together. Once all the clues come together. Paul special ability come into play, where you can put the entire sequence back in chronological order and experience what truly happened at the site. It's quite a fun and challenging experience. The next puzzle I encountered was with a house that warped, and you have to put the rooms in their correct place to solve it. (Which I am stuck on at the moment). As I said I'm only in Chapter 1, I think. So I'm sure there are many other gameplay mechanic I have not seen yet.

The voice acting so far is very well done. Paul sounds like your grizzly veteran detective who have seen it all. He sounds unnaturally calm with all the weird stuff going on around him. Which really add to the mysteriousness of his personality and his past. The soundtrack is also very well done. Though there are very, very few jump scares. The soundtrack provide a sense of uneasiness that really keep me on my toes. I constantly look behind my back, thinking there was something behind me. But other times, the soundtrack get incredibly mellow, and when you look at the beautiful world that The Astronauts studio have created. I was amazed at how well the music and the scenery mixed with one another.

If you are have play Murdered Soul Suspect before and somewhat enjoyed it at least. I think you would really enjoy The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. As I said, the game doesn't hold your hand at all. You are left to be your own detective and figure out the gameplay mechanic for yourself. It's quite enjoyable.

The best thing about the game so far it's the environment. Incredibly mysterious and calm at the same time. I'm terrified while playing this because I literally have no idea what to expect next yet I'm intrigued because I really want to find out what's going on.

Right now on Steam reviews. There are 72 positive reviews and only 1 negative. You can see why I'm really enjoying this. I highly recommend this based on what I've experienced so far.
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43 of 57 people (75%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
Paul Prospero, a detective with a unique skillset, is called towards a piece of fan mail as though the sirens themselves would emerge the moment he sliced the licked adhesive apart. A boy named Ethan Carter writes to him, detailing some dark happenings in the hidden countryside town he resides in. Paul realizes that Ethan wouldn't have chosen him if these dark things wouldn't require his particular abilities. His last case shall be this one, Paul decides, and sets out to the breezy hillsides of Red Creek Valley. Within minutes of arriving, he comes across a series of potentially deadly traps in the woods just on the outskirts of town. This case will be anything but ordinary for most people, but Paul Prospero is used to it.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes some elements out of Murdered: Soul Suspect’s playbook and gives the player the ability to piece together crime scenes through supernatural ability. Whenever an important element is visible, you can interact with it to see Paul’s thoughts on how it may all fit in with the current scene. Sometimes he’ll even be able to locate a missing object by peeking through a ‘magic mirror’-like thought process. By arranging the scene to be exactly as it was at the moment of death, Paul can see the entire final minutes of the dead through a series of flashbacks. All of this is taught to the player by letting them discover each of the functions on their own. With no tutorial some players may find themselves a bit lost at first, but once you've gotten the first case down you've pretty much gotten the hang of all the skills you’ll need to progress.

Through scraps of Ethan’s writing laying around, we learn that he’s a pretty creative kid. If you’d ever asked him, he’d probably tell you his inspirations were Poe, Chandler, Lovecraft, and Verne. With this talent comes the evidence of a disturbed mind and a town with a secret underground some people are all too eager to get to. Some of his writing fits in with the events in town that you learn about through the paranormal mystery puzzles and newspaper clippings sitting around. There was an ever-present sensation in the pit of my stomach that something was up and it probably didn't want me here.

There was a lot of time to ponder the events of each case and how they related to the big picture, thanks to the sheer size of Red Creek Valley’s map. While not a fully open world, you can get to most places through a handful of paths and practicing a little mental triangulation as you work your way around. Nooks and crannies leading to quiet spots in the shade of the forest or some tossed away rotted wood planks that once upheld something or other are all over the place. I had the option to run everywhere, but I found myself utterly entranced by the almost photorealistic, if slightly dreamy, visual work done by The Astronauts. Every few steps was another gorgeous vista overlooking a lake. Every rock looked sharp enough to scrape my skin on. It’s hard to believe that this was all done in Unreal Engine 3. If you've ever looked at a single screenshot of the game, the visual fidelity remains that consistent for every backdrop.

Several times I sat down under a tree for a few moments, watching as the knee-high grass whipped around in the wind. I closed my eyes and took in the soundstage. So perfectly crafted, small sonic details most games don’t have the time, money, or the will to reproduce so crisply. Had I not been watching the vivid countryside dancing before me just seconds before, I would have sworn I was listening to a Chris Watson sound collage. Positional audio is one thing that developers rarely get right, but it is one of the most essential elements in establishing a truly enveloping sense of place. When a crow cawed above my head, the sound moved realistically as I turned to face the source. Bug screeches, bending branches, rattling metal constructs, all represented with care. Headphones are an absolute must.

It isn't all purely idyllic, only a handful of shortcomings stain the pages of Ethan’s story. The first issue comes from the voice acting, which is about as stale as moldy bread. Paul himself performs the gravely-voiced detective role just fine and Ethan sounds much like a kid his age would, but any of the other supporting characters sound very off. The character models are another problem, their design and models not matching up to the picturesque backgrounds. They are stiffly animated, weirdly textured, and lack a lot of depth which would help them blend in more with the backgrounds. I won’t say it’s something like the toons sitting in a bar with Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but it is very noticeable. Some may find the game length too short, but I personally did not find this to be a big deal.

At a short 3 to 5 hours, Ethan’s adventure is over relatively shortly. But the game is always presenting you with something beautiful to look at, something suspicious to chew on, or some puzzle to solve. It even changes up the mechanics here and there to help keep things feeling fresh, avoiding too much repetition in the more game-y mechanics. This is a game which can be enjoyed by those who want a little meat on the bones they find leaning against a tree in the forest, reminding me a lot more of Ether One (a game you must check out if you enjoy Ethan Carter, by the way) than Dear Esther. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is meant to be taken slowly, absorbed like a good book dripping with detail. The ending may not exactly be the most surprising and some may find themselves a little disappointed. But the journey towards it is full of heart and imagination. Much in the way that Ethan Carter himself is.

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28 of 32 people (88%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2014
This is an awesome game, good visuals, music and storyline.
You get immersed inside the game with the scenery and the mystery behind the story.
It has good puzzles, reminded me a bit of the myst series.
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