The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an odd little game -- an exploratory adventure title, shrouded in mystery, that sees you stepping into the shoes of paranormal detective Paul Prospero as he responds to a letter received from a very scared little boy.
Games that plonk you down in the middle of a new space and simply demand that you get on with it are becoming rather plentiful these days. The delights of piecing a narrative together for oneself are obvious, but these games are not without their risks. It's not simply enough to expect players to automatically engage with a game world or feel obliged to work out what's going on. As I found with Betrayer, it's all too easy for games such as this to have skipped out on the precious foundations of creating a game world that we want to be in.
Thankfully, though, when it comes to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, there's plenty to keep one's attention. It helps that the world is gorgeous, that the soundtrack makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Murders and disappearances are always useful hooks for ensnaring curious minds, and the splashes of evidence and mysterious happenings here in the first half hour certainly do a good job of encouraging progress. I continue onwards because I want to, rather than feeling like I should.
The review will be up by Monday at the latest (silly season has begun!) but in the interim, here's the first half an hour or so of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter along with some real-time initial observations.
Check out the game's official site here.