The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

“I could feel two kinds of darkness here in Red Creek Valley.The first you walked into, and, with any luck, walked out of. But the other darkness was deeper, stickier, unknowable. And it wanted me to leave.”

The sun is setting over the gorgeous landscape. I enter the empty house that seems desolate and abandoned and pick up a piece of paper. A short story is written on it, the kind of story that tells you a lot about the author. It is written by Ethan Carter, the one I came here to find.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game that’s all about mood and atmosphere. In first person you explore a beautiful and serene environment that contains clues and puzzles, remnants of past events. The more you progress and the closer you look, the more you find out about what happened.

The low-key storytelling and overall gameplay is similar to Gone Home or Ether One. It has a bit more challenging puzzles and more intense moments than Gone Home and is also a bit longer, though still not very long or particularly challenging. I took my time taking everything in and I still was able to finish the game within about 3 hours. The writing, graphics and sound are excellent though and it offers an experience that regards story and atmosphere over challenge or longevity.