The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PS4 Review

''This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand'' is the first (and last) thing this game tells you. Rightfully so, because The Vanishing of Ethan Carter respects its own rules: This first person mystery game, which follows the story of a detective looking for a missing boy, never tells you where to go, what to do or how to do it. And while I have a few issues with it, I was blown away by how good this game is.

This is developper The Astronauts' first game, and they should definitely  be praised for their work. The first thing I noticed when playing The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is just how good it looks. Water, trees, dirt, and houses all look amazing. Atmosphere is also great. Walking through a beautiful forest while listening to sweet, soft music never got old, and it made me stop on countless occasions just to admire the scenery. That's another important point: contrary to what trailers might have shown, the game switches its setting multiple times. Forests, villages full of houses and mines are all over, waiting to be explored. By the end of this 4 hour game, I felt like I had visited an entire world.

Gameplay wise, the game has you playing as a detective looking for a kid named Ethan Carter. I don't want to spoil too much, because the way the game presents its story is quite special. What I can say is that the story is non linear, and you solve multiple puzzles to learn more about the story and what's going on. For the most part, puzzles are cleaver and fun. They're all tough, but never unfair. Some of them had me writing information on a piece of paper to try and figure them out. Every time I played the game I felt like Sherlock Holmes.

While this game exhales in its presentation and gameplay, it has a few issues. While I love the fact that the game never tells you what to do, it can be quite frustrating. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is so good I didn't want to miss a single puzzle, and the game never tells you if you're close to a puzzle or not. So I would just walk around big areas for dozens of minutes wondering if there was a hidden puzzle somewhere. That's not the big issue. My main issue comes with a particular area of the game.

The mines. During my playthrough, I spent a significant amount of time in this area and I didn't really have a good time. This portion of the game was visually unimpressive, but that's not even my biggest problem with it. My main issue is the puzzle that takes place in these mines. This particular puzzle was confusing, boring and at the end I didn't feel rewarded. On top of that, this area features 1 or 2 jumpscares, which don't really match the style of the game. As a horror game, this jumpscares would be fine. But in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter they felt unnecessary. They disturbed my time with the game.

Verdict: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is extremely unique. This game could be horrible and I would still praise its originality. Luckily, this game shines thanks to an interesting story (with a powerful ending), a beautiful world full of clever, rewarding puzzles and one of the most interesting ways a game has ever treated me as a player. Even if a small section of the game is not as good as the rest, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a beautiful experience that deserves to be played.

The Good

- Game's ''No Help'' Policy
- Clever Story
- Amazing Ending
- Beautiful World
-Rewarding Puzzles

The Bad

- Mines 
Score: 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I believe that this game is so interesting to play, and, of course, their developers should definitely be praised for their hard work.