The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Arriving late to the party is Ethan Carter for Xbox, we had to wait quite a long time for this mysterious adventure. Some games are worth the wait and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of them. One of the most striking visual experiences and a strong story make this game from developer The Astronauts a must play. So before searching for Ethan take a look at this review! 

THE GOOD

  • As I said in the intro, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a visual piece of work. Giving players almost photorealistic graphics and a huge believable open world, one you can freely explore without loading times. A bright sun shining through¬†the¬†forestry that realistically move along with the wind, it really is a sight that leaves a big impression. You have a free roam option while playing and last week I just walked around looking at the landscape marvel, it is a real chilling experience.
  • The power from a story driven game is that the player starts to think about all the possibilities and wants to explore to know more about what is going on and why specific characters do what they did.¬† I can’t warn you enough that exploration is key in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Staying on the main path and you will surely miss a lot of important and fun side-content. If you don’t mind that and you are open for an emotional and shocking story than this is really the game for you.
  • To be honest I don’t really like the term but The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of the best Walking sims in the genre. So know before buying that you will do A LOT of walking around. Luckily the game has a sprint option, a missing feature in many others in the genre. The game doesn’t hold your hand and you will have to solve some challenging puzzles. A good mix of puzzles too, the main story related puzzles explain what happened with some key-characters. But the side-puzzles are what made the game even more special, I especially loved the one that had me choose the house lay-out. Some are challenging, my advice is to try to not use a guide though, the feeling for solving a puzzle yourself is really rewarding.
  • Having a good story is one thing, a combination with strong dialogue is another. This is without a doubt the most impressive thing about Ethan Carter. The narrative is on par with my experience with Alan Wake. Explaining just enough to keep a lot of mysterious paths open so the player can connect dots and imagine a story themselves. Great stuff, really.
  • Talked about it a while ago but the new Xbox exclusive Free Roam option is a neat idea from the guys that ported the version to Xbox. (SPIN software) It removes all the violence, gameplay and music and lets you experience the world. Great for some relaxing exploration moments, no closed doors either.

MIXED FEELINGS

  • I have been thinking about this for quite a long time, not sure if it’s positive or negative. The fact that the game is completely open and gives you all the freedom you could ever ask is a shame because players miss a lot of content and especially character building to understand the ending scene. Clearly a design choice to give freedom and I really liked that, but at the same time it is a little annoying and a shame to discuss the game with someone else that¬†apparently missed so many optional events.
  • Nothing bad can be said about the visual part from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter but sound and music lacks the same quality. You won’t hear me say that it is bad but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Another thing I noticed is that the music and sounds don’t always run correctly. Resulting in some awkward moments of sound delay. (Example: press a button and two seconds later you hear the sound)

THE BAD

  • Even on Xbox One X the Unreal Engine 4 is pretty slow with loading some textures. Regularly you will see rocks that haven’t been loaded fully yet. Or even completely fail to load and remain an ugly object straight out of the PSOne era. It’s a sore in the eye, breaking immersion.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter [Score: 91/10]¬†Great story, strong writing and a visual masterpiece make this game a must play for all. Xbox players had to wait a long time for this game, please don’t miss out on this emotional experience!¬†

Dev: The Astronaut & SPIN software Played on: Xbox One X | LifeisXbox received a digital Preview code, provided by Evolve PR.