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    dkirschner's The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PC)

    [January 15, 2017 10:03:16 AM]
    Played this in one sitting last night. Honestly I had it confused with Everybody's Gone to the Rapture! So I really didn't know what to expect once it began. Some kind of detective story, which quickly becomes something of a murder mystery / missing child case.

    It looks beautiful and immediately reminded me of a more dangerous Dear Esther. You play as a detective looking for a teenager named Ethan Carter who has been writing you fan mail. Somehow you know something is wrong with him, and you come to the tiny, remote mining town where he lives to seek him out. You don't take 10 steps before triggering a death trap, and then more death traps in the nearby woods. Follow the train tracks and discover a body. Wander through the field to the left, and find a strange artifact from outer space and go on a trippy chase through the woods following an astronaut. What the hell is going on here?!

    You understand soon enough the gist of what's going on. Ethan writes stories, and you are encountering his creations, along with snippets of said stories to read. Through this interesting narrative presentation, you slowly learn more about the mining town, about Ethan's family, and about Ethan himself. Two main ways you uncover the narrative are through piecing together chronologies of deaths and solving puzzles. The death chronologies are far more interesting. You discover a body, then have to recreate the scene by finding the murder weapon(s) and various other items involved. Then once everything is in place, you are shown several images that you must put in logical order, and then the whole scene plays out once you order them correctly. It's pretty cool stuff.

    The more I think about the narrative, the cooler it is. The suspense steadily builds over the course of the game, and the end throws you a surprise, one that makes the story very mundane. But on the other hand, that's cool because the game is short and sweet. The story doesn't get overly convoluted or outstay its welcome. It has something to say and it says it.

    The downsides of the game include lots of walking and some irritating item hunting. I turned to a walkthrough one time because I couldn't find a rock. I looked for this rock for 15 minutes. I saw hundreds of rocks, many of which looked about the same size and shape as the one I was looking for. I also found a grenade, which was the same shape and size too, and I thought "aha! My character thought it was a rock, but it's actually a grenade I need!" but no, you do actually need a rock. Anyway, I couldn't find the damn thing, so I looked it up. There were a couple other moments where I couldn't quite see what I was meant to see as well. The environment is so nice though, and the music so excellent, that I didn't mind walking around looking for things, to a point.

    So yeah. Nice little game with some interesting elements. Not mind-blowing, not required playing. Good way to spend an evening.
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    dkirschner's The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 14 January, 2017

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 15 January, 2017

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Interesting narrative development. Gameplay, aside from solving the murder puzzles, isn't that exciting. ------------ Story has grown on me over time. Actually pretty neat.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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