I have been wanting to try The Vanishing of Ethan Carter since it was announced, but because it has been described as a ‘walking simulator’ I was always hesitant to spend my hard earned cash on it. Luckily it was included in a pay what you want bundle on Humble Bundle, and it came with the Unreal 4 version, Redux, for free! Let me tell you it was well worth the $1 I spent.
In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter you take the role of paranormal investigator Paul Prospero looking for the titular Ethan Carter in the derelict town of Red Creek Valley, Wisconsin. You use your skills of walking around and touching stuff to find out what has happened in this dead town and its inhabitants. Hopefully you can stop whatever happened here from spreading.
Uncovering what happened in Red Creek Valley is a lot of fun, and for a game that is called a ‘walking simulator’, the puzzles are great. They are just right for me. They don’t hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do, but they also aren’t so complicated that I give up trying to solve them myself. The problem is that a lot of these puzzles are optional, so you have to walk around to find them. Worse the walking speed is super slow, so looking in every nook and cranny of this game for optional puzzles or puzzle pieces happens at an agonizing pace.
I understand that they don’t want people to run past their puzzles, and having a slow movement speed allows people to enjoy the amazing visuals this game has to offer. I mean the game can be breathtaking, but you just move so freaking slowly. Once you solve a puzzle cool things happen, and I love to see cool stuff, so that keeps my slow feet churning, but I just wish that there was a sprint button that activated when there were no more puzzles in the area or something.
I enjoyed The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. It is a great adventure game, but it moves a little too slowly for its own good. If you can put up with its sluggish protagonist, I think you should give The Vanishing of Ethan Carter a play through. You can probably finish the game in one to two sittings, and it is a memorable experience. It is out now on Steam and PS4.