|This is where the game begins: at the mouth of a railway tunnel, with light at the end of it. Though your road is behind you.|
I like to think the Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux as one of the prettiest games ever made. Or maybe I should call it a walking simulator or interactive fiction like some people like to call games like it. But however, you call it doesn't make it any less pretty or less engaging. I'd even go as far as to claim, that a lot of the nicely crafted world doesn't exist only as a device to bring the experience more atmosphere, but just to give you more things to ogle at while you are not running around, looking for stuff to happen.
The whole location of Red Creek Valley really is a marvel to behold. A lot of the models were created by using photogrammetry, where real-life objects are photographed and then turned into 3D models with a help of a program, that calculates the shapes based on multiple photos as well as does texture maps to those objects based on the same photos. This leads into very detailed surroundings, which now updated to Unreal 4 engine in this Redux version, look just fantastic, with trees and grass swaying in the find and sunlight filtering through the canopy of the trees. The fidelity of the graphics is so high in fact, that you can take a screenshot of pretty much anything just to make it a lovely, painterly wallpaper on your desktop.
|If you are into game photography, especially in the landscape category, then Ethan Carter is a must have.|
|Preparing to piece together what really happened|
In the original game, it was at times a bit hard to locate some pieces of the drifting narrative. Some objects or scenes were located so, that it was too easy to miss them, which meant that you were then just walking around the pretty location until you finally found what you're looking for. For a freely flowing real-time game that isn't the best of game mechanics. It might work in a traditional, more static adventure game, with less and smaller
locations, but in a game like this it can turn
into a tedious hunt for the right spot. Luckily this has also been addressed at least to a degree. It doesn't make the game itself less challenging, as the game puzzles really aren't about difficulty curve. It does, however, make some of the things less annoying and in my book less annoying is always a good thing.
|A beginning of one part of a story|
Ethan Carter isn't a game for everyone. But if you do like games where you can take your time as well as just admire the beauty and soak in the atmosphere of it, then you can't go much wrong by picking this one up. Unlike some games of the genre it represents, it also has much more actual game in it. And it also is pretty. Did I say that already? Well, if I didn't, it is really pretty. And a tad melancholic.