Over the holiday I have been watching Gamespot top-5 picks from their various editors. I enjoy knowing what they enjoyed, and I also want to see if my picks match their picks. In a few cases they do, but it is more likely I'll hear about great games of which I've never heard. This is how I found out about The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. This indie game comes out of Poland from a studio named The Astronauts (click the logo above for the official website.) Wow, did they hit it out of the park!
The first thing I want to rave about are the graphics. They are stunningly beautiful. Awesome graphics are my gamer crack, and I will put up with so-so games providing they please the eye. Fortunately The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is far from so-so. It is absolutely enthralling. But right now I want to rave about the graphics. Down below is a gameplay video of my first session last week. But because of video compression, it really doesn't showcase the stunning beauty of the world The Astronauts have created. That's what screen caps are for, and here is my gallery straight off my system.
[gallery columns="5" size="medium" ids="4237,4238,4229,4233,4230,4231,4235,4236,4234,4232"]
Now, that's plenty enough for me to be mesmerized by this game, but it probably won't do for most gamers. They expect a game to deliver... well, a game. If gamers wanted gorgeous graphics they'd hang out on Deviant Art, not buy computer games. I almost wrote expensive computer games, but I picked up this title for under $12 on Steam last week. Score! But back to delivering a game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter definitely delivers on that point. Here's what The Astronauts say are the game features.
- Explore and interact with the beautiful yet ominous world of Red Creek Valley, which was created with the use of revolutionary photogrammetry technology that allows for nearly photorealistic environments.
- Communicate with the dead and see how they died in order to gather clues that help you piece together the truth behind Ethan’s disappearance — and the fate of his family.
- Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.
- Conduct the investigation on your own terms and at your own pace. The game contains no combat of any kind, and a few scary bits in the game are less about terror and more about clammy unease.
I can assure you all of the above is true. Give this game play video a view if you want to see for yourself. It's about a dozen minutes long, and you don't have to watch the whole thing to get the feel of the game. However, there is a bit of a spoiler at the very end that will help you get started as there is NO manual for this game. As it says at the start, they don't hold your hand.
Now for a bit of administrative narrative. I am going on vacation. I won't be back until the middle of January. There will probably be a couple of posts from where I am going, but they will not be about gaming. They will be of a more personal nature, pun intended. ;) You'll find out where I'm going when I post. Until then, enjoy The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, or which ever game is currently tickling your fancy.