Hey gang, Valkor here. You know when it comes to gaming, I have plenty of friends who feel that it’s all about graphics; hell most gaming arguments today tend to be from those who prefer graphics above all else. And for those who are into PC gaming, they’ll spends tons just to achieve the highest quality. With me, graphics are just a small part of gaming because… you know the gaming (controls) should always come first. So what happens when you combine amazing graphics, with simple yet functional controls and toss in a compelling story to boot? You get “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” out now on the Playstation 4.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter isn’t your run of the mill, bang-bang shoot em up, platform, adventure type game – it’s all about exploration and from the jump, the game tells you that it won’t hold your hand. In the game, you play as a detective in search of a missing boy, in a town long abandoned. You’re not just a detective, but a paranormal detective that has the ability to see into the past. As you come across clues, pieces of the puzzle (past) start to fit and once all the pieces are in place, you’re given a flashback that begins filling in the blanks as to what actually happened to Ethan and the town. The game is played from a first-person perspective and there’s not much to the controls as you’re limited to just moving and ducking. However, when you come across a clue, the game will give you a prompt on what you need to do as there are some scenes that will require your interaction such as picking up an object or turning on a train in order to get things moving along. But it’s all about the storytelling and the exploration. And the more you explore, the more you’ll reveal the plot and ultimately get to the bottom of things.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter will require a lot and I mean A LOT of patience; it's an open world where you can either simply walk around or solve puzzles in in whatever order you come across them; the very first puzzle alone will have you wandering back and forth trying to figure out just what to do. When I stumbled upon that first trap, I got a sense of what I needed to do, which is to find more traps! And after spending about a good 30 minutes combing a small area of woods to find these traps, that opens up this portal, which then opens up to another puzzle – well, you simply have to step away from the controller, gain a little composure and dive right back into the thick of things. It definitely gives the brain a workout.
I know I stated above that I’m all about the controls, but they literally take a backseat to the visuals in “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter”, which has the most stunning graphics I’ve laid eyes on – and being on the PS4, you’d expect nothing short of awesome! And this game looks awesome! At the start you can pretty much go wherever you want without having to worry about clues (the game isn’t on a timer that I know of), so you can simply enjoy the sights for a bit. But it’s the little details such as seeing dust blowing in the wind, a shimmering lake, the color of the leaves in the trees and even the look of an old, abandoned house looks superb in all its hi-def glory. After you’ve soaked in the gorgeous graphics, it’s the puzzles and storytelling that’ll keep you locked in. It feels exciting when you discover exactly what you need to do, in a game that doesn’t tell you where to go. Some puzzles are easier to figure out and others will definitely test your patience. But you’ll need a lot of patience and focus to get over on this title. As for the storytelling, it’s definitely one of the most engaging tales I’ve experienced. Though I’ve yet to complete it, I’ll be persevering until the very end. Overall, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an amazing experience, one where I’m proud to say I’ve enjoyed the graphics over gameplay.
I just want to preface by saying that “The Bad” section isn’t always a negative towards a title; in this instance it’s looking at this particular game from a different viewpoint, of a gamer that might be of the impatient kind (you’ve seen the vids of dudes losing their cool). To them I say, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game where for the most part nothing happens until you come across something of importance. If you have the patience to sift through what this world has to offer, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of achievement. But if you lack the patience to go through this game proper, then you might want to look elsewhere. RPG gamers will definitely appreciate the title, but those who like nothing more than First Person Shooters (FPS), hmmmmmm… not so much.
Chasing after that spaceman; it’s how he looks at you when he’s far enough ahead… it just gives off a creepy vibe…
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is available now. And while we’ve been given the Playstation 4 version to review, you can also find it on STEAM. And if you’re looking for something unique and compelling with jaw-dropping graphics, then definitely give this one your attention. I highly recommend it. And out of TOV 5 stars, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter gets a 5.