The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter may be late to the game for Xbox owners but at least it is here no less and for all 3 consoles in the family. Its roughly the same experience as the PC Redux and PlayStation 4 versions but some things do give a little swing with the Xbox One X. For the purposes of this review, it is assumed you’ve not played any of the versions before and that you are only playing this one, on your choice of Xbox One console. If you like exploration and dare we say “walking simulators”, The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is something you might want to check out. That is not to say its perfect but we will get into why that is down below.
Where Is Ethan Carter?
Take on the role of Paul Prospero, a detective with supernatural powers, as he received a disturbing letter from a kid named Ethan Carter. It is revealed to Paul that Ethan is danger for his life and sets out to Ethan’s home town of Red Creek Valley. From there it only branches off and you’ll find that a lot more people were in trouble than just Ethan. The whole town has been one big bloodbath and its time for you to figure out why these things are the case… and hopefully find Ethan alive and well. This whole setup brings you to the real center-stage actor of the game, which as you will learn, is Red Creek Valley and how exploring it will be your driving force for almost the entire game.
As mentioned above, it is pretty much at the base a walking simulator. Now, don’t get it wrong as there is more to do, but you are basically let loose in Red Creek Valley with nothing to stop you form walking from one side to the other; indeed, you will have to do just that. You see, Paul can use his powers to help unravel the mystery, but he need to find clues and suspect objects to do so. The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter scatters these all throughout the world for you to find.
To be honest, a lot of the in-game hidden items do feel like a needle in a haystack and you have to find most of everything to progress into the story. Now, while that is a down-side because it may take you WAAAY too long to find something, the story does indeed pay-off with a twist so good that M. Night Shyamalan would blush. In the end, a little more on rails action wouldn’t have been so bad. At least you had some nudge of what to do and where to go in Dear Ester. Here its not so much for most of the game; its good to some point for a simulation but not so much for a game and overall enjoyment.
For a console experience, and well for even a PC experience for that matter… this game looks AMAZING. This version is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and it takes the use of photo like environments and lighting to the top. Candidly speaking, this is why it shines so much… not to mention the great ending. Without those two, in opinion, this game would upset players too much to continue with how wide in scope it can feel with little direction. Yet, we do look at the whole picture and this game is pleasant to the eyes in a way that most people only dream about when creating a video game.
When playing on the Xbox One there are several graphical options to the messed with. Ideally you would want to play this game on the Xbox One X as you can get a better picture, but there are a lot of catches. Don’t expect a solid 4K experience and at most you will be playing at a scaled 1440p resolution at 50FPS. If you have an Xbox One S or original model, you will stuck lower than that at a 30 frame cap. You can uncap the frame rate, sure but the fluctuations are crazy and reap no real improvements, only serving to give jitters and unneeded negative side-effects.