developer: The Astronauts
Game mode: single player
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for PC, PS4 and XONE is an original adventure game, created by studio The Astronauts from Warsaw which is led by Adrian Chmielarz – a man who has great meaning for game development in Poland. It is developer’s first project created after departure of Chmielarz and some of his colleagues from People Can Fly which belongs to Epic Games.
Creators took inspirations from weird fiction, pulp horrors and horror novels written in the beginning of 20th century (like, for example, those created by H. P. Lovecraft). Axis of the story in the game is the eponymous vanishing of Ethan Carter – a little boy who probably was kidnapped by unknown perpetrators. The one who is trying to find him is main character – Paul Prospero, a private detective who has paranormal abilities. Following the lead of the boy, he gets to Red Creek Valley – beautiful mountain valley in the middle west of USA – where he finds butchered corpses of the kidnappers. Protagonist needs to solve the case of murders and find out what happened with Ethan Carter by using contemporary detective instruments and his unusual skills.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers a vast open world meant to be explored freely and slowly. Exploration is an important (but not obligatory) part of the game which rewards player with additional clues about investigation and overall story background. In major part the game is non-linear – we can walk wherever we want and we don’t have to solve all riddles put on our way. Although having wonderful landscapes, Red Creek Valley is dreary place and it has dark atmosphere which can sent shivers down player’s spine. Nevertheless there are no real threats and Paul Prospero cannot die during the course of action.
Developers used many interesting measures in adventure part of the game (connected mainly with solving case of murders). For example, when we find an important part of the puzzle we don’t get explanation about what we found but we see single keywords on the screen which represent the train of thought of the detective (like “fresh, animal, clean ground, a few days, accident” while looking on bloodstain). We can also use above-mentioned Prospero’s paranormal abilities. Protagonist can communicate with the dead and he has visions showing him what happened in various places or with various objects/persons in the past. Thanks to these skills we can, for instance, find an item we need to solve the riddle. After we finish looking for clues, we have to recreate the past events in chronological order (they are represented by spectral characters animated directly in the game world).
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for PC, PS4 and XONE was created with Unreal Engine 3 which was modified by adding new effects. It allowed developers to create beatiful, almost photorealistic world. It is also thanks to technique called photogrammetry – it allows to process precisely the photographs of real places into digital locations.
PC / Windows
Recommended: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphic card 512 MB (GeForce 8800 or better), 9 GB HDD, Windows XP(SP3)/Vista/7/8
Sony PlayStation 4
Uses: PlayStation Network
Microsoft XBOX ONE
Uses: Xbox Store