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.
- 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: http://theastrocrew.tumblr.com/post/103220889213/achievements-in-the-vanishing-of-ethan-carter
- 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.
“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
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Searching for Sugarboy
|Personal Rating: "Worth purchasing"|
Traditional Rating: 7 out of 10
Genre: First Person Point and Click Adventure/i]
|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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