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 (54 reviews) - 85% of the 54 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (5,848 reviews) - 89% of the 5,848 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 (54 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (5,848 reviews)
Recently Posted
Nemesis ◬
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Played the redux version. 10/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Omegon
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Okay, first of all: This game is good! It has an interesting concept of telling the story, a bautiful landscape and I found it really enjoyable to play. I would recommend this game, although it's not very long, BUT the finale of the story is just... bad. It's unsatisfying and plain, the build up with all the mystical stuff was too good for such an ending. I was also able to guess the reveal about 20-30 minutes into the story, if not even sooner, that's a bit sad, but I WOULD HAVE FORGIVEN THAT IF THE ENDING HADN'T BEEN SO UNSATISFYING.
Then again, Prospero was also reduced to ashes, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by a story about a detective with the same name. But this game would have been cooler with space vikings in power armor, just saying. (Also, while I'm at it: The amount of ravens in this game had me expecting some pale, black-haired, tall guy to appear at least somewhere in there to make an Edgar A. Poe reference and then disappear, which leads me to give this game a 5/40k, very very disappointing.)

Conclusion: If lame, bland endings that don't feel like you've accomplished anything in the game whatsoever and predictable twists are your thing, go ahead and buy it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Corvo
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter reminds me of a Stephen King novel.

A fantastic start, excellent setting, and interesting concept.

And then a really terrible finale.

I know they say that it's the journey, not the destination. But when the destination is this eye-rolling, it makes the journey seem lame.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
(PCA) Slim Nerdy C
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Haunting, beautiful, and deeply intruiging, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a premiere example of how video games can use atmosphere, a great premise, and interesting gameplay to transcend the story-telling abilities of other mediums. The game is a slow-paced, investigative adventure that centers around narrative and puzzle solving. I was never bored during my playthrough, and rarely was I annoyed or frustrated with the puzzles. The game tells you right at the beginning that it won't hold your hand, and while this is true, it also feels correct. The game is not overly challenging, so the lack of aid or hints allows the player to move at their own pace. I highly recommend this game for players who enjoy discovering a well told story in a beautifully designed (albeit creepy) world.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[HI-TECH]LegioXII
( 5.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Absolutely brilliant, story, feelings, environment, just everything! 10/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
KernelQtip
( 34.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
This game is Kooool! Ultra Realistic Probably the best game quality on PC that I have seen
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FateGuy
( 5.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
It could be called "Edgar Allan Poe - The Video Game".
The little storys, the environment... what a hauntingly beautiful place one get's put into. But I shall not spoil that one bit here. You'll see for yourself.

One thought about the Gameplay:
In this game, there seems to be not so much going on in the big picture. Some people even think this means it's boring. But it's surely not. I would call it calm, very, but never boring.

I recommend to play it in the still of the night, right before bedtime, then have a long sleep. I loved it that way.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
crazycrisco
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
One of the best games I've ever played. Hands down. If only there were more games like this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
diomed
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
This game, visually, looks pretty good, and not just in terms of fidelity. It has a discernible style that separates it from an Unreal Engine tech demo. The premise is that the player is a detective searching for a boy who wrote him a letter (with a twist that I won't spoil). The detective's investigation leads him to an abandoned mining village in American backcountry, populated by dilapidated quasi-Victorian buildings cutting into the dense surrounding forest.

Most of the story is provided by flashbacks that are activated through environmental cues. The rest is supplemented by minor diversions concerning its paranormal elements. Strictly speaking, there are no characters to interact with directly--only to view from a spectral distance.

The exposition accounts for an interesting tonal difference in the presence of architectural decay. Exploring ruins lacks the familiar feeling of melancholy due to the continuous distraction of exposition, and to the story clarifying much of the surrounding mystery of the world. Taken with the vibrant foliage and sunny glow, the visual atmosphere is almost hospitable enough to contradict its darker narrative.

Unfortunately, the story is sometimes tonally inconsistent. The aforementioned paranormal elements and the cliched twist make it feel a bit silly, but these inconsistencies are also sometimes presented to service a clear visual setpiece. It's best to absorb this game visually and not to try too hard to digest its meaning, which will likely disappoint you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
uxagency
( 12.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
Slow, not well optmised at all, BUT quite easy to solve and a good plot.
One of the few adventures that don't require ludicrous unobvious things to be done to solve a puzzle (you know, like pick up the popsicle and freeze it and use it as a knife to stab the cat to make it jump out the window and DIE OF BOREDOM) but is an adventure where anyone can figure out the answers. so, YES.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
33 of 41 people (80%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
There are so many options that it would be completely boring for me to list them all, so here are just a few: Resolution (640x480 up to 1920x1024), Language (subtitles are the default), Full-screen, Quality, five different sliders for Sounds, etc. You can play with the mouse and keyboard (key mapping is allowed) or with a controller, which is what I chose.

I could not play the game without it crashing when I was using a 32-bit system, but once I upgraded my Windows to 64-bit, it ran like a dream. (Happy day!!) It will auto-save at certain points, but there is no manual save.

Controls are basic, with movement, camera (full 360 at your fingertips), a button to inspect/interact, one to crouch, one to zoom, and one to run.

There are 12 achievements that unlock simply by playing through the game, but there are also two secret achievements to be had. One is rather easy to get, and the other is in three parts. You could spend hours combing through the lush environment and still possibly miss part one, but oh -- what a beautiful place to get "lost" in~!

If you've seen anything about the game, you already know know gorgeous the graphics are. There is a brightness slider if you're worried about not being able to see, but what I really would've liked to see is a contrast adjustment. I love it the way it is, of course, but the artistic side of me would've liked to make the visuals even more rich by increasing the contrast... but I digress! ;)

Those who'd like to just immerse themselves in the world of Ethan Carter will want to simply explore and learn everything by trial and error, but for those of you who would like the basics of gameplay, I'll add them in a spoiler text here:
A prompt will come up whenever you find something to interact with. You will find as you play that you can "see" things -- After all, you're a psychic detective! The view will expand when you've done something right, so if you don't see much at first, keep exploring and try to find what you've missed.

In order to progress in that first recreation scene, you'll need to put everything back the way it was before the incident happened, then try again (it will make sense when you play.)


There's a fascinating dynamic that comes into play as you progress, requiring you to identify the sequence of events that took place. This will come up in multiple areas, revealing more and more of the story as you go. It can be surprising, even confusing at times, but everything ties together at the end.

Ethan Carter envelopes a realm full of beauty, wonder, and -- at times -- fear and unease. The devs gave us a gift towards the end by allowing us instant transport to specific areas of the map so that we can continue to explore without having to spend 10 minutes or more just running to get back to where you want to go... Which is a good thing, because the game won't let you see the ending until you've discovered all of the story elements!

As for said ending, I really can't tell you anything without giving something away, and I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is something to be experienced for oneself, then talked about later. I will say that I think that the second playthrough will be even more enjoyable than the first, now that I understand how to play. Totally recommended for those who enjoy exploring and mysteries.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 22 people (68%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
Product received for free
Game world would be more beautiful if there were more games like this one. This is the game, which sticks in your mind.

Story
Paul Prespero (detective - you), starts the game in an unconventional way - in a train tunnel. Strange letter from a boy named Ethan Carter brings you up here. You set off on a journey to find Ethan, but it looks worse than you imagined. You are on Ethan's tracks, who is a witness of the various murders. Thanks to your ability to elicit memories, you reveal every murder and you are also slowly getting into the story of Ethan.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=700384669

Graphics
Graphically perfect game, beautiful environment of Red Creek Valley in the autumn. Even at low details game looks quite nice. The game becomes unique thanks to real objects, which they graphically brought them to the game. I think it's very interesting and you have to see how it is made HERE.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=702261123

Audio
Soundtrack perfectly complements mystique of game, like the noise of trees, water, sound of wooden bridge, crows. Ethan, Paul and the other characters have a really great voice.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=699827220

Gameplay
The game is perfectly optimized and even if i do not have a great computer, I was able to enjoy the game at high details. The game is processed in the open world, which means that you can move freely and explore different parts of the world. Shame is that you can not save game (The game has autosave after passing each murder or puzzle). Also I recommend to pass all parts of the story, because if you do not complete all murders or puzzles, the game will not let you do the final ending and you'll have to go back (just like me). In severe situations, I recommend this guide. The game has touch of horror game. The game can be complete in 3-4 hours. Missing console.

Price
I have shared this game from a friend and the price is acceptable to what the game offers.


+ story and surreal ending
+ atmosphere
+ graphic processing
+ nature sounds and character's voice
+ open world
+ letters from Ethan
+ Interesting objects (train, traps, various houses, mine, church, crypt)


- Completing all parts for ending games
- console
- autosave


9/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
12.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
Slow, not well optmised at all, BUT quite easy to solve and a good plot.
One of the few adventures that don't require ludicrous unobvious things to be done to solve a puzzle (you know, like pick up the popsicle and freeze it and use it as a knife to stab the cat to make it jump out the window and DIE OF BOREDOM) but is an adventure where anyone can figure out the answers. so, YES.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
(don't mind my playtime, I mostly played the Redux version)

Wow. What should I say about this. I played this game for about 15 minutes and instantly knew that it's going to be amazing. How this game creates immersion is almost unparalleled in my experience. The graphics are absolutely fantastic, no other game ever had me literally admiring a piece of brickwork. The Stephen King-esque supernatural mystery/horror story creates a tight atmosphere that grips you from start to end. The game allows you to seamlessly roam a vast island and progress at your own pace, solving gruesome murders along the way and putting the pieces together. The narrative is superb, keeping things vague throughout the game and ending with impact. The Astronauts, some major applause to you for creating this masterpiece!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
It could be called "Edgar Allan Poe - The Video Game".
The little storys, the environment... what a hauntingly beautiful place one get's put into. But I shall not spoil that one bit here. You'll see for yourself.

One thought about the Gameplay:
In this game, there seems to be not so much going on in the big picture. Some people even think this means it's boring. But it's surely not. I would call it calm, very, but never boring.

I recommend to play it in the still of the night, right before bedtime, then have a long sleep. I loved it that way.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks amazing and tells a quite interesting and tragic story. Sadly, there's zero replay value and after about 5 hours tops players will have seen all there is to see.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
This game, visually, looks pretty good, and not just in terms of fidelity. It has a discernible style that separates it from an Unreal Engine tech demo. The premise is that the player is a detective searching for a boy who wrote him a letter (with a twist that I won't spoil). The detective's investigation leads him to an abandoned mining village in American backcountry, populated by dilapidated quasi-Victorian buildings cutting into the dense surrounding forest.

Most of the story is provided by flashbacks that are activated through environmental cues. The rest is supplemented by minor diversions concerning its paranormal elements. Strictly speaking, there are no characters to interact with directly--only to view from a spectral distance.

The exposition accounts for an interesting tonal difference in the presence of architectural decay. Exploring ruins lacks the familiar feeling of melancholy due to the continuous distraction of exposition, and to the story clarifying much of the surrounding mystery of the world. Taken with the vibrant foliage and sunny glow, the visual atmosphere is almost hospitable enough to contradict its darker narrative.

Unfortunately, the story is sometimes tonally inconsistent. The aforementioned paranormal elements and the cliched twist make it feel a bit silly, but these inconsistencies are also sometimes presented to service a clear visual setpiece. It's best to absorb this game visually and not to try too hard to digest its meaning, which will likely disappoint you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Introduction

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely a thought prevoking game, to say the least. It visually impresses and ensnares with a rather unique take on telling a story in a game. If you don't mind a lot of walking, and maybe even backtracking depending on how you play, the game can be quite enjoyable.

Visuals
Visually the game is breath-taking and some screenshots don't really do it all the justice it deserves. From the very get go of the game you will be hit with beautifully encompasing vistas, forests and derelict towns.
The overal attention to design and look of enviroments in the game are really well thought out. You'll be able to feel every bit of tension or emotion emanating from everything from warm exteriors to dark ritualistic crypts.

Audio
Again the game almost overwhelmingly impresses with the audio throughout. The musical score is fitting and flows beautifully between enviroments. Voice acting is also some of the best I've heard; it all sounds natural, clean and no dialog is wasted.

Story
Without going into any spoilers: go into this game expecting something different, but highly interesting. Your character is in this place looking for Ethan Carter and he's a detective, so it's natural for the story to follow a "piece it together" format.
The overal story is very morbid, this is made evident from the first few minutes (if not seconds) into the game. Throughout it is basically your job as the player to run around, or calmly meander, and piece together the overall happenings in this strange little valley you've entered, by the use of your psychic powers.
This however can run against the games favour though, as it's rather core to the overal gameplay.

Gameplay
First off, just know that many of gameplay mechanics are actually intricately tied to its story, as that's the games main selling point, its' story.
At the start the game could feel a bit overwhelming, as there is truly no hand-holding, it's up to you to figure stuff out. The game does do a great job at giving you lots of opportunities around the start to get use to or introduce you to those mechanics, hightening the chance for you to actually get the idea around them.
There is a lot of walking, but I feel like the addition of actuall content in between segments gives it enough weight to not be considered just another walking simulator. Even dullish walking between segments can very often be broken apart by our detective giving some very well recorded exposition.

The, "no hand-holding," can be very frustrating though, as there can quite often be no clear indication on where you're suppose to be going, or more importantly, what you're actually suppose to be doing.
It could be inconsequencial, as there are only so many places you can actually walk around in.
The biggest issue is that if your unfortunate enough to miss certain "fragments" of the story on your way to the end, which is very possible, you will find yourself having to backtrack across the entire game world. This is actually a mechanic in game, as you will not be able to unlock the ending of the game (even if your standing awkwardly, literally right in front of it...staring at it) if you had missed any of the ethereal security-camera footage caches.

There are some horror elements to the game, but they definitely do not play an overwhelming role throughout. I would rate it more as a suspense/thriller. There are some puzzles, some running, but mostly just walking and thinking.



Conclusion

The game story is very gripping, interesting and something fairly fresh in the time it was released. It will capture your imagination and make you wonder about what truly happened in the place you're roaming around. There are elements from everything from the twisted forms of childrens imaginations to Lovecraftian horror and the repercussions that our actions may carry.
The gameplay is solid, with no bugs that I have experienced myself. The core gameplay will probably not appeal to everyone, it's a slow build up and in the simplest definition a puzzle game wrapped up in an amazing story, so don't buy this expecting a fast paced run through.
Otherwise, this game will really be a decent addition to you're steam library.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 10
If you like these kind of games, just buy it, as simple as that. Great graphics, good story, best walking simulator. The only problem, is too short. A very enjoyable game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
15.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
Hauntingly beautiful. Mystery, sadness, wonder, careful you don't lose yourself in this game.....
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