The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: A Paranormal Detective, a Missing Child, a Grisly Corpse

Like most horror games, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter asks you to play alone in the dark with headphones. Like always, I refuse to follow these instructions because the last time I did I screamed so loudly I woke up the neighbors. Unlike most games in general, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter refuses to hold your hand, warning you about this right off the bat. There’s no brief tutorial section teaching you the controls and no clear quest objective.

Prospero, a paranormal investigator, arrives in Red Creek Valley because of a letter written by a young boy named Ethan Carter who has strange abilities. As the title suggests, Ethan is missing and Prospero is left to investigate the area, piece together the clues, and find out what happened. Long before Prospero stumbles on his first corpse, you know it won’t be pretty.

The supernatural elements are intriguing, but the real meat of the story is Ethan and his family as they’re slowly revealed through flashbacks. While it might be billed as a horror game–and there are scares aplenty–The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is quiet and thoughtful where most horror games are loud and panicky.

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