The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter – Xbox One Review

Typically people play games in two different ways. There are those that like to power through a single player campaign as quickly as possible and get to the climax of a story and then there are those that spend their time checking every little crevice for secrets, more ammo, or even maybe a side quest that helps enhance the overall experience. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely for those of the latter of the two.  It is a game that allows players to explore in a somewhat open-world the paranormal activity of a small town known as Red Creek Valley in Wisconsin. What The Vanishing of Ethan Carter definitely does is provide you an amazing experience for those who have not taken advantage of different ports of the game from the last 3 years.

At its forefront this is a game all about exploration. You play as paranormal investigator Paul Prospero, who is of course investigating the vanishing of Ethan Carter. Ethan Carter is a 12 year old boy who appears to be a fan and enjoys the work of Mr. Prospero. What draws Paul into looking for Ethan is that the knowledge of this 12 year old child about the paranormal is far more vast than what anyone should know. At least according to Paul.

The game from the very start tells you that this is a narrative story and it does not hold your hand.  This is very true. There are puzzles to be solved in a complex narrative to piece together. Those who like to search and look for every little detail will enjoy the overall experience. Those set on more action and drama may be a little disappointed by the lack of waypoints and HUD indications.

Narratives are told through investigating props and letters.  The town has definitely seen some tragedy through the rundown buildings and murdered bodies that you’ll find littered on pathways. You’ll see the ghosts of the events that took place in the small town to help piece together the story.  It all wraps up beautifully at the end with a tough to swallow climax. My only gripe with the game is that it doesn’t allow for any kind of replay value but that first experience is all worth it.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter draws up the town of Red Creek Valley beautifully. The visuals of this American town that sets on the coast of water and the edge of a forest are amazing. Every little detail to the sound and the beauty of the trees has been done very well by developer The Astronauts. Running on an Xbox One X players have the option to run it in full native 4K, 1440p, or 1080p.  While the beauty of native 4K was nice the framerate kind of sits around 30 frames per second. It was nice to run at 1440p and maintain a frame rate that hovered around 60 consistently. In our opinion this was the best overall experience visually.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely for the hardcore. For those who like an in-depth narrative and spending time to explore then this is definitely for you. Even those that are kind of on the edge about this type of experience should give it a shot. It definitely rewards those who put the time in with a very enjoyable experience that stands out in the indie gaming community.  Just the sheer beauty of the game as well as the non sluggish storytelling was enough to keep us invested. There were many times where the storyline appeared to be off and we didn’t understand what was happening but it all pays off in the end.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is now available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £15.99.

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