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 (99 reviews) - 88% of the 99 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (5,756 reviews) - 89% of the 5,756 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! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (99 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (5,756 reviews)
Recently Posted
whodatlikedat
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
This game is super atmospheric and the plot is really gripping
From what I can tell so far anyways
I haven't played much cuz I'm a wimp and I get scared.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
More8
( 5.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 28
I personally was disappointed in this game. Another example how the masses love something that if you are looking for unique experiences you should not follow the masses... The game has got gorgeous visuals and atmosphere and some unique style gameplay elements and storytelling but the cake is only pretty on the outside, for me at least. There is a buildup of tension and atmosphere here towards a 'great' mystery which halfway starts to turn into as inspiring as the dev. teams previous games; the painkiller series.. Sure if you find Star Wars the force awakens or the rebooted Star Trek franchises 'inspiring' then I'm willing to bet you be wondering what's my problem with this game as for you it's got very unique and lovely way of being. But if you are not the person who accepts the norm as default and sometimes, just to break the mundane that we so often enjoy otherwise, you wish to try something truly different, you will not in my opinion find it here other than by presentation. The beginning is great though as you are given a taste of something that seems like it's going to turn out different than what we've seen before. This game is short too.. If Alan Wake had these graphics and sounds, it would trump all over this one, despite not being that original in itself either. Still that is a more balanced experience over this one in my opinion. This game had sooo much potential, wish they had followed it through.

Having said that, Don't take just my word for it. It's a matter of personality and opinion which are as diverse as mankind itself. There are different ways of interpreting this game and the point that there is that room for interpretation should at least be applauded for.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sistemleon
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 27
awesome story
Helpful? Yes No Funny
r4in
( 7.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 27
So you CAN have fun without shooting anybody! Who knew?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Flower_Bunny
( 4.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
A very good story driven game. It is pretty short, but worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Wohlfe
( 2.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
This is, hands down, the best "walking simulator" out there. The graphics are gorgeous, the writing is delightful and full of emotional turns, the puzzles are logical and just the right length, there's plenty of secrets to find, and you get lots of quality game time out of your investment. This is what every "art game" should aspire to be. My only complaint is that the cards take a little longer to drop than it does to find everything in the game (at least for me).
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Blood-Brain
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
Welcome to walking simulator!

Just to be clear, i like walking simulators, that includes decent gameplay and good story behind it. And by good walking simulator i mean real life. Who want to spend their own money just to walk around stupid forest and unravel badly designed puzzles? Morons like you! Yes! Im pointing my finger at you people, because its true!
Game was created on Unreal Engine 4, which is a good move. But, it was horribly made. So consider this a spit in a face. Developers like that and you should too.
People put more effort in a ♥♥♥♥ing picture rather game. I feel betrayed and humiliated by those ♥♥♥♥♥♥ developers. Also they put slowpaced gameplay for a reason, because without slow movement and other stuff it will be worth 15 minutes!

1/10 I gave 1 point for cool picture
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dojan
( 6.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
Would I recommend this game to you? Thats depends on what typ of game you are looking for. If you are looking for a puzzel game, I wouldnt recommend the game but if you are looking for a good story I would
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dromar
( 5.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
It's a pretty game but lacks content. Avoid unless you see it for $5.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
July
( 4.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
When I bought the game, I started playing at first the Redux version. As soon as the game started, my laptop had a stroke because of the default quality of the game, so I started again on Safe Mode and managed to change the settings to medium, so it was playable.

After I finished the game, I wanted to try the normal game and my experience was the same, since I played it again on medium quality, the only improvement was the loading time at the beginning of the game.

I have a Lenovo T430 with an NVidia card integrated, so, if you’re like me, I suggest you go for the normal game, you’ll end up with the same experience, the only difference is that in the Redux version you’ll have shortcuts to backtrack at the end of the game, and in the normal version you need to walk all over again (takes more or less 15~20-minute walk if you know exactly where you need to go).
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Moogy
( 6.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 23
I spent more time looking at the scenary than solving the "puzzles" Not a bad thing for this type of game. Took about 6 hours to complete with all achievements. It's more a story than a game but I loved it. Looks amazing too.

Only advice I'd give, don't worry about missing stuff (achievements) you can go back at the end and fill in the gaps.

Just take a stroll and enjoy the view ......
Helpful? Yes No Funny
buttercup the death dealer
( 2.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 22
Very pretty but completely unintuitive past the first 30 minutes. Got stuck multiple times then fed up. Would not recommend.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
9centwhore
( 9.9 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
Gorgeous game visually, with an equally excellent score that matches the tone of whatever's happening in game perfectly, and excellent story that all wraps up to make sense at the end.
It's fairly short and has limited replay value but if you see this on special grab it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sub-0NT
( 9.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
Very solid and extremely well narrated 1rd person explorer game, it is very reminiscent of Dear Esther, beautiful graphics and very immersive. One back draw, it is quite short, 9 hours at best with all puzzles solved and all secrets found.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
LacedHit
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
I’ve only played the Redux version but it is visually beautiful. The story is also captivating and original leaving me eager to press on and learn more. The game is technically short but progression can go slow depending how fast you solve and discover things (Took me about 7 hours). Also, the feeling of being in the dark and confused is real and made for a suspenseful and curious game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Niko
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
Sale Recommendation: -20% Off.

This is a visual masterpiece. The gameplay is almost entirely linear. There's a movie I could liken this game to on so many levels, but in doing so, would also spoil the ending, proceed with caution... Pan's Labyrinth
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cas
( 13.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
awesome! :D
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tsunnen
( 5.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is that kind of game that gets you from the moment it starts until it ends.

The story, the events prior to the game and the locations you visit feels like something else, it feels special and unlike anything you may have experienced. The mystery that surrounds everything is so thick you can almost grab it.
The graphics are great but the immersion and the atmosphere is astonishing. I really liked the way the story is unfolded and the conclusion is dumbfounding.

Please give this game a chance if you're looking to play a narrative game.

Paul Prospero/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SOTBMP
( 1.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
No place is truly quiet, and nowhere is really ordinary.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter isn't just a game, it's an experience.
Beautiful, photorealistic graphics makes it even more memorable.
If you haven't had play it yet - give it a try.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Fluffy Tail Toucher
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 18
I played the redux version

+Just Beautiful. Seriously stunning landscapes.
+Some interesting puzzle mechanics that enhance the storytelling.
+Story is... cool I guess. I thought it was kind of boring at first then I chased an astronaut through the woods and realized I was in for a ride.
+You can get trading cards for the base game and the redux!

-You better like the landscape, because most of the time all you're doing is looking at it as you wander around looking for the next puzzle.
-Seriously there's a lot of wandering and some of the areas are very open. If you take the time to explore everything it just makes the game take that much longer, and the areas that aren't puzzles are empty of anything to find.
-The puzzles are interesting but not difficult.
-Contains a jumpscare puzzle that I was not aware of beforehand, though it's not that bad. You'll know when you get there.

I did like it, but I don't know if I 20 bucks liked it. Get it on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 9
In the end you will be disappointed.

I don't know where to start on this one. I remember some early marketing describing greatness of the game, telling that the game location's are based on existing ones. And that the story and the gameplay is nothing more and nothing less but eerie fairy tale everyone should experience. I had my hopes quite high, I bloody adore adventure games. But eh, it's not that simple with this one. And I'm not one of these who drool over 60FPS and 4K somethin' stuff.

I pay more attention to the story, it's the most important part of adventure game. It needs to keep you going, to keep you engaged, so you want to solve yet another puzzle and push things forward. Well, Vanishing of Ethan Carter does fail here - the story starts interesting and the fact that you aren't meant to meet anyone on your way to solve the riddle leaves you up with your thoughts. You keep wondering what exactly happened there, in Red Creek Valley, and eventually you are disappointed. Because the ending is cliché as hell.
It's worth playing once, but this is not a tale you will remember. A rather short, 4 hours movie.

On the other hand - grahpics are really good. I can't help but think that this is a bit of waste, considering how amazing would it be to implement them into some full size RPG game. I mean - this is the world you want to discover and explore - but there is not much to do. It's a bit linear game with great atmosphere. But that's all.

My final rating? - 6/10

+ Falling leaves.
+ Easy and short. May be perfect for people who prefer 'tell-a-tale' games.

- The story. Why Ethan, why?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 24
It's a pretty game but lacks content. Avoid unless you see it for $5.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 28
I personally was disappointed in this game. Another example how the masses love something that if you are looking for unique experiences you should not follow the masses... The game has got gorgeous visuals and atmosphere and some unique style gameplay elements and storytelling but the cake is only pretty on the outside, for me at least. There is a buildup of tension and atmosphere here towards a 'great' mystery which halfway starts to turn into as inspiring as the dev. teams previous games; the painkiller series.. Sure if you find Star Wars the force awakens or the rebooted Star Trek franchises 'inspiring' then I'm willing to bet you be wondering what's my problem with this game as for you it's got very unique and lovely way of being. But if you are not the person who accepts the norm as default and sometimes, just to break the mundane that we so often enjoy otherwise, you wish to try something truly different, you will not in my opinion find it here other than by presentation. The beginning is great though as you are given a taste of something that seems like it's going to turn out different than what we've seen before. This game is short too.. If Alan Wake had these graphics and sounds, it would trump all over this one, despite not being that original in itself either. Still that is a more balanced experience over this one in my opinion. This game had sooo much potential, wish they had followed it through.

Having said that, Don't take just my word for it. It's a matter of personality and opinion which are as diverse as mankind itself. There are different ways of interpreting this game and the point that there is that room for interpretation should at least be applauded for.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 5
One of the best games I've ever played
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
109 of 120 people (91%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
AT A GLANCE
(Full review follows below)

  • Game Name: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  • Original Release: 2014
  • Genre Tags: Exploration; Walking-Simulator; Detective; Great Graphics; Atmospheric
  • My Overall Grade: A-
  • Estimated Playtime (Campaign): 3-8 hours
  • Multiplayer Aspect: None
  • Recommended To: Established fans of the genre; Those intrigued by the genre; Aesthetes; Strong narrative advocates; Game atmosphere connoisseurs; Casual gamers

REVIEW
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an interesting and highly atmospheric game that boasts a mixture of exploration and detective game elements. The detective scenes are well done and never become overly confusing, but they make up less than half of the gameplay. A majority of the gameplay involves walking around, (and probably getting lost), searching for the next scene. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as the ambiance and graphics are absolutely stellar; and the gameworld is a joy to explore. That said, if you aren’t really a fan of slow-paced games without action, colloquially dubbed: “walking-simulators,” then you may find this boring. But if you can appreciate its beauty and take solace in the fact it isn’t a pure walking-simulator and has a number of puzzle-solving scenes, you will probably enjoy The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

Without a doubt, the best feature of this game is the gorgeous gameworld and atmosphere. But it is more than just beautiful graphics that create this exceptional experience. The soundscape and overall ambiance are also leading contributors. Shortly after first beginning to play this game I found myself crossing a long railway bridge over a lake and I was immediately sucked in by the aesthetics. But I quickly realized that I was captivated by more than the visual view, and that the creaking and groaning effects of the bridge were reinforcing the immersive experience at an exceptional level. This aesthetic and atmospheric experience is established early and maintains its integrity throughout the game.

The actual narrative is interesting and mysterious. The onus is on the player to piece together the narrative and make sense of it. Depending on how much you bother to read and listen, the story becomes more clear or convoluted. I enjoyed the experience; however I do feel like some of the elements of the storyline could have been more fleshed out and explained more clearly.

The gameplay is comprised of mostly exploration, but also has a strong aspect of puzzle-solving elements. As you wander the gameworld you will come across several mysteries, in the form of both murder scenes and supernatural enigmas, which need to be solved through detective work. The mechanics of the puzzle-solving involve discovering the necessary clues in the gameworld and performing the necessary deductions.

There isn’t any action whatsoever throughout the whole game, save for one small area where you may get a jump-scare and sent back to a checkpoint. But even that area is extremely easy to navigate and never really amounts to much action. This is a good thing, as forcing combat or action into the game would have probably only ruined the atmosphere.

One gripe with the game that I have, and also many others have, is that there is no manual saving. I have said it a number of times in my reviews before and I will continue to say it: there is no reason for a PC game in the current generation and beyond to not allow manual saving. I don’t care what kind of game it is, I personally believe people should be able to choose if they want to use manual saves or not. And besides, in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter there is no combat and there are no decision trees, so “save-scumming” (as it is so eloquently called) isn’t even a factor here. Compounding the issue, the checkpoint system isn’t very well-crafted and the distance between checkpoints can be ridiculously far. You need to solve a puzzle or discover the next area in order to prompt the game to save, so if you are stuck and want to stop playing, you will either have to check a guide to finish your current objective or accept the fact you will have to start over when you return. And of course, there is also a possibility of a power outage or system crash. Fortunately, this issue was somewhat alleviated in the Redux version of the game by significantly increasing the frequency of checkpoints. Yet I still find the lack of manual saving to be a serious fault.

As for the Redux version, if your computer can handle it, you should probably play that version. You get both versions together with the purchase of the game. Besides having higher quality graphics from UE4, there are also some subtle changes and improvements (like the aforementioned increase in checkpoints). I personally opted to play the original version, because I’m weird like that, but I will probably come back and play the Redux version in a few years when the story has faded from my memory.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely a very enjoyable experience, if not a peaceful one. You won’t find any action, but you can find mystery and intrigue. And the atmosphere and aesthetic beauty of the game are superb. It felt, to me, like some beautiful lovechild of Dear Esther and MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT. If you like relaxing and investigative games, or are curious about them, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is absolutely a good one to consider.

Follow my curation page to see more of my recommendations!
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
Amazing game.

If your pc is good enough to run this, it will be super amazing! its the perfect game for taking screenshots!
If you are like me (a guy who loves photography) I can totally recommend you getting this! Its just a charm to walk around in this game, Its so beutiful!!

The story is also good and the game also plays good with a controller.

Nothing to complain about here, an excellent game for people who enjoys photography!
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 30
The story is too far-fetched. Ghosts and demons and portals, that's all fine. But 7:00 PM on an autumn evening in Wisconsin and there's still THAT much daylight. Puh-lease.

Buy this game. There are pretty trees. And simulated walking definitely beats the real thing.

666/10
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
This game is playing easy almost like as a reading good book. Which this game really is (well , pretty close).
Story about detective with supernatural powers that comes help a little kid whos in trouble.

Game have incredible graphics (redux version even more), something i have never seen before.
Good progression in story.
Well picked voice-actor for main character. You can feel in his voice that he really is a good old detective.

So if you like good story and some sort of puzzles (not hard if you ask me) then buy this!

I seriously bow before developers. This game is awesome!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
the vanishing of ethan breadberry
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 19 people (58%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 19
Kind of a "Blair Witch Project" thing. Atmosphere, horror, a few jump scares. Very beautiful world (Unreal Engine 4) with nothing to do in it. Shockingly low on content and gameplay elements. Very short too. Background story is a crude horror/mystery tale about a family possessed by a ghost and killing each other, largely told through a narrator and letters strewn across the game world (lame excuse for lacking real content and interactivity).

Your job is to reconstruct who killed who, and this is how it goes:

You run around and come across typical adventure items (a lamp, an axe, a dead body, etc.), but you cannot interact or do anything with them. All you have to do is find all items in a certain area, which automatically prompts a flashback scene with 5 story elements and you have to guess the sequence of events, like this: (1) he picked up the axe, (2) he talked to his brother, (3) he went over to the chapel, (4) he killed his uncle, (5) he talked to his mother. That's it. Then you head to the next area, find all its items, flashback pops up..... You do this guess-the-sequence thing for the fate of each family member. That's all there is, basically.


"This game doesn't hold your hand."

What game? At best, this is a 3D tech demo for UE, not a game. Shame on the Polish developers for charging money for a demo.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 21
* My gameplay time is very short for the original game because I played the Redux Unreal Engine 4 version. The redux version is graphically superior to the original and the version you should play if you decide to purchase this game.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game that does not live up to its potential. The atmosphere and graphics are great, but the gameplay and story feel lackluster. There are some intriguing moments like the mysterious astronaut and the last coal miner. But this game needed more of these moments to further build the protagonist and to keep the audience intrigued in mystery. I think the story buildup of the murders and the villain is too simplistic and could have used more dialogue and character development. The puzzles are too simple to solve and the only intriguing one was the house with portals.

7/10
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10 of 18 people (56%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is a very short detective style walking simulator with some supernatural bits and strong narrative story emphasis.

I have mixed feelings about this game, let's get into the nitty gritty...

First off, the graphics - especially for the time that this game came out - are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen in the game. Gorgous Unreal Engine textures and lighting make this game stand out from the crowd. It's a beauty to look at and fun to take screenshots of this game.

The sound is nice, very immersive, you get all the haunting sounds of the woods, things breaking and a decent soundtrack as well. The narrative tone of the main character is dark and eerie bringing a sense of anxiety to the game even though the overall atmosphere of the environment is calm and peaceful. It's a nice contrast.

The gameplay is a no holding hands experience, you are free to play at your own pace, you have to solve this hige puzzle by yourself as you search for clues scattered about. As you find more clues, you progress through the story getting that much closer to your goal (finding out what happened to Ethan Carter.

The controls? They're pretty much what you want and need for this game. You move and then have 2 buttons for sprinting and interacting.

The story? Very average, what starts off like a good detective bit only evolves to a messy and sloppy story. That's the sad part as the story is supposed to be the no.1 thing for this kind of game.

I cannot recommend this game to anyone because the story is sub-par, the game doesn't offer anything that we haven't already seen. My review is late so there's alot of walking simulators like this on the market that do one thing or another better than this game. Overall, unoriginal and uninspired, just a lack of interesting things and only really good for one playthrough realistically.

Truly amazing graphics though...
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 2
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

I stumbled upon this game a couple times before buying it. You can clearly see that this game looks amazing, no one can say otherwise. This is what I call the Perfect Sunday Game, a ~4hours long mysterious story with puzzle elements.

It's a small but enjoyable game. The story could be a lot better and more complex, however the atmospheric gameplay makes you want to keep playing. If you'd like to explore such a beautiful environment while playing through a storyline be sure to get this game!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
Great game with an eerie storyline. I have enjoyed the game because of its great graphics, little help and just good acting. The characters seemed real but weird and the ending was most certainally unexpected. Good Game!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 19
NOT worth $20!

A beautiful game with easy to pick up, limited gameplay. Only took me 3 hours to beat (howlongtobeat.com says its a 4hr average), and there are only 2 secret achievements that are not part of the main story (which take all of 10 mins to get).

Only buy this game on sale, it's only worth about $5, no more than $10.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 5
*Note: Please disregard my hours on record- I played the redux version of this game, which does not add to the time played of the original version, which is the only place to leave a review. In addition, this is a spoiler free review. Meaning, that it offers as much information as possible, while spoiling as little as possible.

Overview
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of the most atmospheric, story-rich, and tragically beautiful games I've ever played in my life. It has a story that hits you hard, and a world that draws you in and keeps you there until you've experienced everything offered. If you enjoy any of these things in a game, I can say with the utmost certainty that this is the game for you.

Graphics/Performance
Before I get into the gameplay, story, and final thoughts, I'd like to talk about the graphics and performance of TVEC. This game is downright gorgeous. I'm sure you've already heard this a million times and witnessed it yourself, but it's different when actually playing the game. The sweeping vistas, bursting sun rays, and meticulously detailed textures all add up to be one of the most visually impressive games of all time. It really lends to the extremely impressive immersion of the game, which is very important to building TVEC's atmosphere. Now, any experienced PC gamers next question would be what price must be payed to achieve these aesthetics. While there definitely is one, it's much less than you may expect. As I said, I played the redux version for my full playthrough, because I found that on my rig it both ran and looked better. I played on medium/high settings with my middling build of a R9 280, FX 6300, and 8gb's of RAM. The game looked amazing, and I achieved ~50-60FPS on average with the occasional frame drop in just a couple of the games more dense/demanding scenes. So no, if you're running a potato this will not be a pleasurable experience for you, but most people with $500+ (gaming/custom) PC's should be fine.

Gameplay
While not the most impressive part of TVEC, the gameplay does what it's meant to do, as it's very functional. In terms of what you'll spend your time doing most of the game, it's walking/jogging, but I wouldn't say that's a negative in the context of this game because of the way the story is told. As you'll learn from a notification when first starting up this game, it will not hold your hand. I ran past the first two- what we'll call "scenes"- in this game without having a clue of what I was supposed to do to gain information from them. I later backtracked to re-evaluate them, however it should be noted that I didn't have to. There are 5 central scenes you must play through to finish the game, while I'd say there's about 8-12 more than are completely optional. I'd definitely recommend doing them all though, as all of them add to the story and overall theme. That's all I have to say on that, but I will now go into a bit more detail on the general mechanics of solving these puzzles under a spoiler blackout, so don't read this part if you'd like to figure it out yourself- which I'd say is very rewarding. Ok, here goes. The way to solve a scene is to find objects around the scene, and replace them to their original position at the time of the events that occurred during the scene. You can find these objects by discovering their original location, and then opening a vision to find the objects current location. Once replacing all objects (usually 1-3) the events that took place will reveal themselves, and you must number the standstill actions in chronological order to watch them play out.

Story
By far the the strongest aspect of TVEC, the narrative is utterly unique, as much as it is profound. This makes it all the more sweet- or rather bittersweet- when you reach it's conclusion and all becomes clear. When I say all becomes clear, I mean that the game can be very confusing whilst playing it. You'll play through, earning bits of knowledge after solving each scene, but they are very hard to arrange into a coherent tale until the very end. I actually took notes each time I completed a part of the story, which I'm not sure I'd recommend due to reasons that become obvious once finishing the game. In the 4-6 hour run time of this game (it took me 5) it said more than most games can say in 20, 50, or even 100 hours. It tells a sobering, melancholy tale that makes you think about and appreciate it. However, if you asked me how much replay value this game has, I'd say very little. The story doesn't lend well to retelling due to the short length and familiar puzzles. I could see myself playing through this game again every year or two, but only because it offers a narrative worth reliving, not because I'll be experiencing anything new.

Final Thoughts
All in all, I'd say this game is well worth the $20 price tag. Not for the time spent, but for the extraordinary experience and masterfully well told story. I'd say that as long as you aren't someone who absolutely needs fast paced action in their games, and can appreciate a beautiful world and narrative, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a must play. This game- by an indie developer no less- has virtually no short comings and achieves and surpasses all it sets out to do. I'd advise looking out for this developer's ("The Astronauts") future works, because they've proven they know how to make an outstanding game.

Personal Rating: 9/10
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
Oh. My. God.

What an amazing game! In This game you play as a detective who is able to see into the past and see what happened at the crime scenes. You walk around in the woods all alone and your goal is to find out what happened about Ethan Carter and his family.

(The reason it says I've only played 5 minutes is because I played the Redux version which has better graphics. When you buy the game you get both versions)

Pros:

The story - Interesting, makes you want to find out more
The sounds and music - Both fits this game perfectly, should be played with a headset
The scenery - Probably the game I've taken the most screenshots in
No loading screens - You can actually walk around the whole map without running into a loading screen
The graphics - I really got surprised by the graphics in this game, the Unreal Engine 4 makes everything look so real


The only con:

Game time - I completed this game in 3 hours which I think in a bit short, I didnt rush anything nor did I go very slow
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 20
It is a disappointing game with fantastic presentation and a subpar story.

I would give this game a "neutral" review, but unless Steam won't allow me to do that, this game gets a sad pass. In games of this genre I'm most interested in getting a interesting story, enough game mechanics to not make me snore and a stellar locations to give those art-loving eyes some enjoyment. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter only provides the latter.

Graphics and music are jaw-dropping. Attention to detail, pretty foliage, carefully crafted assets, textures and lighting... This game really pushes Unreal Engine 3 up to V-Max. If you are coming into this game for visual feast alone, I could recommend this game for you. Still, I personally cannot give such an easy pass to story and gameplay.

I was expecting a great, thrilling, paranormal murder and investigation story and basically I got one, but I'm not really satisfied. Plot starts of really interesting, but it plays out most of it's cards too quickly, to the point where it all starts to feel really cliche. The straw that broke the camels back however, is the ending which both explains and justifies many of my complains but in the extremely clumsy and unsatisfying way. Voice-overs are rare, pacing is solid, but not great and environmental storytelling is bare-bones. Overall, story department is the place where this game seriously drops the ball.

Gameplay is only a bit better. Thank heavens that this "walking simulator" gives you some proper puzzles. This is very refreshing - they tried to give you some agency in the game and for the most part they succeed. You don't really feel were that you are on the interactionless excursion. Unfortunately, the novelty and variety of problems and puzzles seriously drops down in later parts of the game. Mechanics are samey, there aren't any "gameplay twists" or new mechanics. That results in gameplay that tried, but didn't hold my attention through whole journey...

4 hour journey... This game isn't really worth a asking price. I got it for equivalent of 6 bucks and I'm not really feeling that I will return to this game anymore for story or gameplay. Sure, there is a Redux version with new Unreal Engine 4 and I will check it out for visuals alone, but If you are not into watching and exploring a beautiful virtual landscapes, there isn't anything other noteworthy about this game. Take my caution and if you want to try this game anyways, try to snatch it on strong discount.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 12
A beautiful story you can explore at your own pace.
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