Wednesday, January 24

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Review

The graphic adventures are in full form, and part of the fault is the independent scene, with that ability to invent or reanimate genres, as they have done with platform games, puzzles or terror. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, could be considered a graphic adventure, since you have to solve some very traditional puzzles, while you know a story less classical, and more in the style of recent 'narrative adventures' of great success as Dear Esther or Gone Home. The story is there, and you can not change it, but you decide by playing the way you know, the pace and order of events, and the amount of information you receive.


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter can be as long or as short as you want. If you don't lose any details, you can complete the story in about 4 hours, without having to revisit any area of ​​the game. But, if you get stuck in some case or omit some clue, the duration can triple without problems. In any case, the rides are not a problem either, because it's one of the most beautiful games that can be enjoyed now on Xbox one


Playing from a first person perspective, you get into the skin of Paul Prospero, a supernatural detective who goes to the call of Ethan Carter, a child who is involved in a strange and enigmatic case, with murders in between. Without much explanation, not to mention practically none, you reach the outskirts of Red Creek Valley, a beautiful town now abandoned, surrounded by green mountains, lush forests and a beautiful lake, a place that hides behind it's beauty, a dark mystery that ends up affecting to the family of Ethan Carter.

In the game there are no tutorials or explanations, what I love, is that from the first minute, the game lets go of my hand and allows me to explore freely it's beautiful open world, not gigantic, but big enough for me. make some good walks. By experimenting, you will soon discover that Prospero has powers, and by investigating clues, you can see the past, reconstruct the scene of a crime and know exactly what happened.

To start these "reconstructions", you always have to take one or a couple of objects and place them in the appropriate place, then look around the key moments of what happened, and order them appropriately, chronologically, revealing a cinematic in the one that shows you the crime as it happened. Doing this is not complicated, there are usually about six "moments" at most, and by intuition or pure trial and error, you will end up ordering them, but sometimes it's more complicated to start this sequence, find the objects in question to be able to place them. As I said before, the scenarios where the adventure takes place are quite large, and it's easy to overlook an object as insignificant as a stone, which is not revealed before you, with the action of catching it, until you do not have it approximately a couple of meters.

When you understand the mechanics of the game, which are not many or very complex, but that are not explained, you become much more meticulous when exploring scenarios, but until this happens, you may have missed things, and these forced to take long walks through it's beautiful scenery, something that at first pleases, but that can get tiresome. For example, in my case, even a couple of times, I need to explore their open world from one point to another, because I had left unresolved two of the puzzles that were at the beginning, right where the adventure starts. Therefore, your freedom, which I appreciate in any case, depending on how you played and the luck you have may end up turning against you, forcing you to take long and tedious walks.

The game has less than a dozen puzzles, and some of them are optional, you just have to solve some concrete puzzles to know the outcome of the adventure. Not all are reconstructions of crime, and there are at least three puzzles that go beyond the norm, the most complicated, such as a labyrinth or a couple of codes that have to be deciphered. While you are doing all this, the story is being relieved without a specific order, depending on you, where you are going to explore, and in the order that you solve the puzzles.

Graphics & Design

Although wrongly, I usually talk about the graphics at the end of the review, as if sometimes they were something other than the game experience, in the case of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, it's visual and sound are as important as the history and puzzles. This is because 90% of the time, you are exploring your world, and i have to say that this is surprisingly beautiful. It's possible that since Dear Esther, i don't see an independent adventure with such precious, detailed and inspired scenarios, which are a pleasure to explore. If you have the Xbox One X, you can experience and choose from 2160p, 1440p, or 1080p display modes and also an unlocked or locked 30fps framerate modes

And more if an inspired soundtrack sounds, with musical pieces that perfectly set this mysterious world, but to put a but, sometimes enter a somewhat abrupt, and don't mix and introduce with the delicacy that should, at move from one location to another, and what i don't liked least about the audiovisual section, is without a doubt the design of the characters, very far from the quality of the scenarios.


Visually captivating and powerful in the narrative, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of those works that is worth trying. I would have loved that it's playable base was deeper, with more elaborate puzzles and "something more" to do than to look for clues. But the strength of it's images and the attractiveness of the story it tells, make this graphic adventure a special title.

*Game was provided by the developer/publisher for this review


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