So here’s a game I heard nothing about, and bought on impulse because it looked pretty and I needed new PC games to play. Well this certainly was a good choice.
THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER (in case you cannot read)
So let me just start out by saying that I am not sure where we draw the line between game and movie that you can walk around in. I have noticed that Steam now has a genre for ‘walking simulators’, which I find interesting. The elitist in me wants to say, “hey that isn’t a game!”, but then I realize that I’m not sure what to call it. So I’ll go with game! There are things to pick up, puzzles to solve, and ghosts to talk to. I mean, if jigsaw puzzles are considered a game, why can’t this be?
As I’ve implied, you spend a vast majority of time walking. Sometimes sprinting. You have to be careful not to pass up any clues, though. Vanishing focuses on solving the mystery of a disappeared boy named… you guessed it… Ethan Carter. You are apparently some world renowned detective who solves every case ever, and you’ve been called to this. The player character narrates sometimes, giving you all sorts of deep things to think about while you admire the textures of rocks, twigs, and dirt.
Gameplay consists of finding floating words and watching them move around. Sometimes you might need to locate a murder weapon. Sometimes you’ll find a body, and must find all the clues before you use your paranormal detective ghost vision to watch a video clip of the murder. I mean, there are dead people all over these woods. Once you’ve watched the video clip, you have to order the clues chronologically to see the entire thing and solve the mystery for that area. It can take some creative thinking, but eventually you will guess the order and get it right. But I didnt play this for a challenge. I wanted atmosphere. And this game delivers.
I have never played a game that looks this nice. Period. There might be some others, but I don’t know them. I’ll let the screenshots speak for themselves. Everything except the first picture is an in game screenshot.
So, I know I titled this article ‘Friday Afternoon Ghost Stories’. I wouldn’t label this a horror game, though. You don’t really see ghosts, only echoes of the mystery that already happened. (although you might see some legit stuff later on, not sure). And, other than two or three dead guys, I haven’t seen another person, living or otherwise. But I am still creeped out in this game. There is some dark entity that is causing this small town to go crazy. It’s called ‘The Sleeper’ which sounds straight out of some Stephen King novel. I haven’t met this Sleeper yet, but I dont think I want to.
So that’s about it. If you have 20 bucks, or find it on sale, try it out. It’s worth it if only to give money to publishers and developers who are willing to put work in and produce a great product.
I’m working on coming up with a unique rating system, but for now I’ll stick with a classic 1-10.
GRAPHICS – 9.5/10. Stunning. Take a look!
GAMEPLAY – 7.5/10 – Its a playable book/movie.
AUDIO – 10/10. AMAZING soundtrack and audio.
REPLAY VALUE – 3/10. Unless you are the type to read books more than once
INNOVATIVENESS? – 8/10. Walking simulators are becoming common, but this one does it well.