I was playing through The Vanishing of Ethan Carter as part of my catch up in time for the end of the year. It was an indie game getting some buzz and the opening certainly was interesting. Unfortunately, it never seems to capitalize on that promise.
There’s my two sentence review of the game. I also would like to note that there’s a lot of visual goodness to like in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. There are bits of the game I think are quite good and worth experiencing, even if the whole doesn’t stick the landing. I think part of that is my own predilection towards weird high concept, mind fuckery type stuff. It’s chock full of moments of that kind that I wish were their own thing instead of side stories that lead to a rather underwhelming conclusion.
The stories haven’t the details to work as longer pieces and the developers use an in fiction reason not to create them. Those neglected details that would offer depth are missing, in part, because of the developers’ desire to create verisimilitude of fiction created by a child as their fiction. A recursive, meta-textual reason for poor writing because the fiction was written by a poor writer.
Read my full take on them in my piece over at PopMatters.