“This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand.”
We are Paul Prospero(?), a private detective with SUPERR paranormal abilities. Presumably, on one fine day, we had received an intriguing fan letter from a boy named Ethan Carter who kinda knew something about supernatural stuffs too. And that one letter led to all these cray cray explorations to Red Creek Family, where Ethan and family were. Oh right, Ethan was actually missing.
So Paul went to Red Creek Valley to find Ethan, possibly to ask him about his letter, and mostly because he was missing. And with his intuitive deduction skills, this game looked like Sherlock TV series, with words and questions floating above certain objects when you inspect them. One point for The Astronauts.
First we kinda walked off the pathway and purposely got ourselves almost killed with those traps to get a certain vision (in shape of Mozilla Firefox – at one point it does look like that, I swear). When you disturbed all four traps, the view will change and you will read a paper of a handwritten story by Ethan. About an old man, sap and a fire. Voices of Ethan telling his grandpapa to read the story (but his grandpapa told him that he would read it later) were also heard, yeah thanks to our SUPERR paranormal abilities. And close to that paper, we would also come across a burned article from a newspaper about a fire in Vindgraff’s house(?) where the Carters resided in? (I kinda forgot). The point is that the fire might be caused by Edwin Carter, Ethan’s grandpapa, sleeping with his cigarettes lit.
And it engulfed Gayle, Ethan’s grandmama, Ed’s love of his life, to her death
At first I was wondering whether Ethan wrote the story before or after the fire. But it makes much more sense to think that Ethan had written it before the fire happened. Not in a way that justified Ethan being able to see the future and stuff, but more like it makes much more logical to think that the way his grandpapa shrugged him off when Ethan asked him to read the story is more likely to happen before the fire. I don’t know what I’m saying. I’ve snapped some of my brain neurons, sorry. You’ll probably get the gist of what I’m actually talking about if you play the game or watch the walkthrough somewhere.
Back to the story! After that one shit of SUPERR paranormal stuff, we continued exploring Red Creek Valley and came across a broken bridge with unfinished railroads on it. A broken tram(?) that somehow lost its crank was on the railroad
with blood splattering on one side of it. *cue the floating words and question marks*
When we walked along the railroad we would find severed legs and a bloody trail off the railroad track, leading us to a dead body that is the owner of the severed legs we came across earlier. If we touched the body, we could sense a vision on what actually happened but to acquire that we need to replicate the events prior to the incident, like placing a rock that was used to bash the victim’s head to its former location yada yada yada. And when all was done, we went back to the body and touched it again. Now the vision is complete and memories of the incident went fleeting to the air before revealing scenes on different locations around the incident’s location. And there were some that showed Ethan, with an old man, and the victim. Now what we should do is to visualise those scenes in the correct chronological order.
If you did it correctly. You’d find that the legless guy was Travis, Ethan’s brother. And he tried to kill Ethan. But Ethan’s grandpapa Edwin tried to kill Travis instead. This was so fucked-up to me. Too gory. Doesn’t make any sense with all this “sleeper” thing they are talking about.
But I knew that something terror-like was feeding from this darkness of the Carters.
Another mind-blowing thing, we could encounter during the gameplay was that strange light stick with buttons. We have to like press the buttons in certain order. When you did, the view changed and suddenly, right in front of you was AN ASTRONAUTTTTT
I don’t know what the developers are trying to imply but they are going to make us run in circles, chasing that damn astronaut then bring us to a spaceship-thingy before finally blasting us off into space. What’s funny when Cry played this was when he was so freaked out and perhaps dumbfounded at the situation that he didn’t realise a paper lying in the spaceship.
That paper had another story written by Ethan.
If you continue playing you would realise that every time you finish a puzzle, you would get to see a story written by Ethan and another thing right next to it, a thing about the Carters. Don’t forget that we would get to experience of Ethan’s imaginations of each story. Like how an eccentric room(was said to belong to a mage) is to suddenly appear in a run-down house, before it vividly fades and becomes a burnt room that was said to be where drugs were manufactured (I might misinterpret this part).
When things are getting deeper and you’ve visualised many memory fragments correctly, you kinda get the gist as if the Carters were sick in the mind and Ethan was the only that was still sane or anything. One that I wanted to point out was the story in the mine. When Dave (dad) killed his wife or Ethan’s mom and the story followed in which Dave attempted to kill Travis but failed.
I was so mad like “EVERYONE ARE NUTS!” and “WTF TRAVIS!” when he wanted to kill his father. His father ended up killing himself though. Maybe because he didn’t want to make his son’s life filled with guilt if he were to actually kill his dad. Meh, the game actually portrayed Travis with an apathetic look when he had the axe on his hand and was chasing after his dad (or is it just me?) #fuckyoutravis #sobs
The saddest one would be when Ethan was with his grandpapa. A supposed continuation of the first scene on the railway. Ethan had thought that if he were to burn the Vindgraff’s house (I actually didn’t quite remember whose house is that), the Sleeper could be defeated(?) or something that I didn’t quite remember. Therefore, off he went with petroleum and zippo lighter to the said house and tried to burn it. Grandpapa suddenly showed up and he tried to convince Ethan that the Sleeper didn’t get to his head and yet still helped Ethan pouring the petroleum all over the house.
Ethan was talking about the statues of people(?) that were around the walls in a basement room and a secret room right through a tightly-sealed door and he asked his grandpapa to help him open it just so that he can go through it and check what’s on the other room WHEN SUDDENLY GRANDPAPA CLOSED THE DOOR AS HE GOT INSIDE AND BURNT THE HOUSE!
I wonder why he did that. He also even sat on the floor, somewhat peacefully with fire scorching his body from its legs until it completely engulfed him. Did he try to kill both of them here and put an end of everything? I don’t know. I don’t even know whether Grandpapa Ed knew if keeping Ethan in the next room would keep him safe or not.
But then we somewhat found him to be safe in the next room lying on a make-shift bed(?). There were drawings on the wall behind him. A childish doodle of what seemed to be what we have experienced so far. The astronaut thingy, the witch, the magic room, and so on and so on.
LET’S GET STRAIGHT TO WHAT HAD BEEN ON THE TIP OF MY TONGUE!!!! After the cutscene where we talked to him and told him to “let go”, suddenly there was the drawing of a detective on the wall. AND WE WERE ALSO FIGMENT OF HIS IMAGINATION RIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
PAUL PROSPERO – THE SUPERNATURAL PRIVATE DETECTIVE WOOOOOO!!!
And sick Carters are not real. Ethan was known to be always writing stories in this house and his parents were so worried with him and what they said about him kinda implied that “Stop writing stories. Get back to reality. Don’t be a weird kid.” or at least that was what I had interpreted with all these emotions *gross sobbing*.
The statues on the wall in the basement next to the room, where Ethan seemed to always have spent his time exploring his imaginations, were actually his imaginations too – his drawings.
And when the whole family had asked him to leave and return home for dinner. Suddenly there was a fire -ehem FAYAAAHHHHHHHHH!!
Ethan was stuck in the room.
His family is shown to be struggling to put out the fire.
But it seemed that it was too late.
I want to say this so bad; THE GAME IS NEEEEAAAAAAAAAAATTTTT!!! Backgrounds, surroundings, even rocks and grass are gorgeous. I regretted watching Cry playing this on my crappy laptop. Should have gone with my HDMI cable and that LED TV in the family room. Lights off. Sound systems on. Perfect.
I like the puzzles. Even though I’m just watching someone’s walkthrough but I presumed that the gameplay was good. The mine was too dark for my liking, I guess.
What’s good about this game is that we can start off from anywhere. It’s a game of freedom. I kept seeing Cry moving on from one place to another place and return to the previous place. There’s no order in how you should finish this game, I suppose. I love exploration games :3
The story is nice. It has been a long time since I last saw a good game with a very nice story. The idea and theme are fresh and original. I somehow can relate to Ethan. My place of imagination has always been the bathroom that’s why I always spend a lot of time in there. Not because I’m girl and take a long bath, but for the sake of my imagination I stay in there for quite a long time. I don’t want to exit from my magic world.
There are many cool theories and comments regarding the ending. So if you are not bothered, you can take a look in the comments of Cry’s last video on this game. (there was this someone who paid attention to the clock details during the ending scene like 19.00 when we talked to him and 19.04 when the family was struggling to put out the fire, idk)
This game is nice on so many levels. No regrets. I even purchased it to try it on my own.
P.S: This review is far from perfection and may contain mistakes as I actually just finished writing this weeks after exam and I had watched this far before exam period so yeah…anyway the game “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” belongs to The Astronauts. Our opinions may differ but comments are always welcomed.