Wot I Think: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter, the first game from The Astronauts, offers a strikingly beautiful haunting journey exploring the mystery of the disappearance of a young boy. From the developers who brought us Bulletstorm (when they were People Can Fly), it couldn’t be a more different game. Here’s wot I think:

There is no doubt in my mind that The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is the most beautiful-looking game I’ve played. It’s breathtaking. It’s call-someone-in-from-another-room to-take-a-look gorgeous. Sumptuous forests, extraordinary vistas, old dilapidated buildings against a mesmeric sunset. No game since the original Far Cry has had me stop and just stare so frequently.

I’m not sure if any game could live up to graphics this wonderful. I’m not sure if Ethan Carter does. I’m not sure.

This is one of those situations where to explain almost anything about the first-person exploration/adventure game is to take away from your experience of playing it. Who you are, what you’re doing, who Ethan Carter is, why in the opening moments of the game you’re discovering deadly traps set in the woods, and then the mutilated remains of a man by a train track – the uncovering of the experience is the experience, so I shan’t talk about the specifics of the story at all.

What The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter does wonderfully is create a place. A vast, curved dam offers a path from the opening woods to a small, run-down town, all above what looks like it might be industrial buildings beside the river far below. The town’s few buildings are extraordinarily beautiful and tragic, abandoned, lost to their past. A church higher up the hill is of extraordinary architecture, with a haunting and noble graveyard, and unsettling crypts. Everything is so meticulously crafted, and so impeccably textured, imbued with sadness and loss.

The autumnal colour scheme drives home these thematic tones of a fading, dying place. It all feels on the brink. Machinery still works, but there’s no one around to use it. House still stand, but are worn, overgrown and dishevelled. There’s an overwhelming foreboding sense of finality, but with former beauty still there to find. Red Creek Valley is a large, sprawling space, albeit explored in a careful order.

I’ll be ambiguous with some of the mechanics too. Your character – a detective of some manner called Paul Prospero – has a degree of psychic ability, meaning that certain items in the world can touched, revealing events from the past. The most important memories, those of the tale behind the vanishing of the eponymous young boy, require you to restore scenes to their original state – perhaps moving a couple of objects – in order that you might reveal a series of ghostly stills. You must then run between these visages, declaring a correct chronology between them, and when correct, watch the scene play out.

Which is, you’ll note, the most gamey-game thing imaginable. And it’s done without a degree of subtlety. Run up to a ghost waving an axe at another ghost, and select it, and a giant “1” appears over them. Maybe the next has the axe in the back of someone’s head (this is made up, by the way), and you give that a “2”. It’s so peculiarly incongruous to the vividly wonderful setting, such a daftly clumsy system. It’s rewarding to solve the sequence, and to see the resulting scene, certainly. But it’s undeniably jarring.

Alongside these are much more subtle aspects, discoveries of oddities in the world, that when “sensed” pull you into brief fantastical settings. Here the game shines far more brightly, while still embellishing on Carter’s tale, and indeed his tales.

Interestingly, you’re able to walk right past any of these elements of the game without interacting with them. And at first, this seems one of the game’s most appealing aspects. At the very start a somewhat arrogant message pops up stating, “This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand.” Ignoring that a linear path through a story requires little hand-holding, and that it absolutely does tell you what to do (“Hold [left mouse button]” etc dialogues pop up throughout), it seems to imply that if you miss elements of the story as you go, then that’s up to you. And this struck me as fantastic.

Sadly, it’s not the case at all, and the very final moment (don’t worry) requires that you go back and find absolutely everything you might have missed along the way before it will finish. Sigh. I, having missed something at the very start of the game, had to retrace my steps all the way back, then all the way forward again. And I absolutely cannot see why. Far better to have simply let me know that there was more to find, and give me the incentive to play again. Also, you can’t save, which is mindless in a game where there’s no way to fail. There are extremely sporadic checkpoints, instead.

Along the way, the game makes some interesting changes of tone. There is a sequence that I will now have to pop on my Shelf Of Shaky Jumps, alongside The Cradle and the Ocean House Hotel. And there are elaborate puzzles, one of which involved my drawing out floor plans of a house on my notepad.

The story it tells, while certainly not original in its delivery, is pleasingly reminiscent of 19th century tales of horror and mystery. The sparse voice acting leaves enough open to your imagination, and prevents it from ever quite tripping over into heavy-handed. I still haven’t quite fitted it all together in my head, and I like that about it.

I feel oddly bad about my praise not being more effusive. The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter feels to me like almost a wonderful short game, missing greatness by its oddly incongruous “I AM A GAME!!!” device of having to play ‘label the events in chronological order’, and that deeply strange choice to let you walk straight past elements, but then force you to retrace your steps to complete them at the end. And it’s always hard to know how much guessing big reveals affects your experience of a story, but I did, from pretty early on.

It is, however, probably the most aesthetically beautiful game I’ve seen, and I can genuinely recommend it on that basis alone. The rest of the game, it’s sombre tale, is well worth hearing, and some of the puzzles are really splendid. But every time you walk out of a door and see the vista spread before you, it’s an effort not to gasp.

£15 is perhaps quite a lot for a game lasting maybe three or four hours. But this is thoughtful, novel, and most of all, a ludicrous pleasure to stare at.

84 Comments

  1. Morlock says:

    This not-very-RPSlike question may be appropriate given the emphasis on visuals:

    How does it run? What are the experiences people have with different rigs?

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      John Walker says:

      It pushed my high end PC to its edges.

    • Artiforg says:

      It’s an Unreal engine title so it should run pretty well on whatever you’ve got. I have an i7 920 with a GTX770 and it runs perfectly fluidly with everything switched on. EDIT: There have been some people complaining of stutter in the Steam discussions.

      I will point out a couple of issues that you may want to take into account before you buy it:

      1> It’s 16:9, meaning if you have a 16:10 monitor you’re going to have ugly black bars at the top and bottom of your screen. I’ve asked them about fixing this but they say it’s not quite so easy. I have been told that Flawless Widescreen have a fix but I’ve not had a chance to test it yet.

      2> Currently there is a lot of headbob. It’s like the main character is drunk and is unable to focus on a single point. So if you suffer from motion sickness you’ll be warned to avoid – for now. Though having said that, again, I asked the developers about it and they say they have an option in the console to turn it off so I’m hopeful of a patch to allow the removal of headbob that will arrive fairly soon.

      • mikmanner says:

        use flawless widescreen to fix aspect ratio issues. https://www.flawlesswidescreen.org I’ve been playing it at 21:9 and it looks brilliant link to cloud-4.steampowered.com

        • Artiforg says:

          I did mention Flawless Widescreen in my comment but said I’d not tested it.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        “Currently there is a lot of headbob” — huh? That’s not my experience at all. Walking was completely headbob-free, so much so that it felt a bit wrong, sliding so smoothly over uneven grassy and rocky terrain. When standing still, not moving the mouse, there was very slight movement of the camera—but it was very slight indeed, nearly unnoticeable to me.

        I had very noticeable stutter, every few seconds when walking forward it would hiccup. It was greatly alleviated (but not entirely removed) for me by setting bSmoothFrameRate=TRUE in …\The Vanishing of Ethan Carter\Engine\Config\BaseEngine.ini — If the stutter was in fact due to texture loading, then probably I should have installed the game on my SSD instead of the spinning disk.

        • Artiforg says:

          If you don’t suffer from motion sickness when head bob is present then you won’t notice it. For those of us that do suffer motion sickness from head bob then it is noticeable.

          If you open the options menu and enable the cursor, then go into the game and don’t touch the mouse, you’ll notice that the cursor moves on its own. If you then start moving forwards then let go of the forward key you’ll notice a sharp re-adjustment of the camera which is especially jarring.

          Head bob is not elevation changes when going up and down over rocks, head bob is the constant up and down of the camera as you walk on a flat surface.

          • Borodin says:

            Hello Artiforg

            I think what most people know as head bob is as you describe – a “constant up and down of the camera as you walk on a flat surface”. But there really is none in Ethan Carter, although perhaps it’s hard to judge because there are also few flat surfaces.

            I agree that there is something though, and perhaps VelvetFistIronGlove has a point with “Walking was completely headbob-free, so much so that it felt a bit wrong, sliding so smoothly over uneven grassy and rocky terrain”.

            I did try your experiment (it’s Esc, Controls, Display Dot Crosshair to enable the dot cursor) and, moving forward with just W, I saw nothing I wouldn’t expect because of the terrain. What I did see is a tiny movement when I was stationary that I presume is meant to effect breathing, and is probably what VelvetFistIronGlove meant by “very slight movement of the camera”.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Yes, that’s the motion that Artiforg was describing, which induces motion sickness in some players.

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            Wisq says:

            Ah, this explains why I was getting vaguely sick while playing, which I almost never do in any sort of game whatsoever. I think I adapted eventually though. Turning off motion blur seemed to help.

    • GameCat says:

      You need graphic card with much vram. I think 2GB should work.
      Models in this game has been done using photogrammetry (some sort of 3D scanning) so if there’s building, its textures aren’t just some repeating tiles, but it’s like one big texture where every part of it is unique.

      While in most games you will have brick wall made of one 512kb texture repeated 10 times (it would eat 512kb of graphic card vram) in Ethan Carter it’s actually one 5120kb texture.

    • Geebs says:

      I thought the performance was surprisingly good – it’s significantly less tough on your PC than, say, Crysis. I was able to run it smoothly at 2560×1440, high settings on a fairly elderly Mac Pro with a GTX 680 (2GB).

    • McB says:

      I ran it on my laptop, i7-4700MQ 2,4 GHz and GTX 765M and I had a suprisingly painless experience. Some stutter when running a distance, but nothing major. Had most settings on high and about 720p resolution. I did play with a controller though so I might have noticed a less fluent experience with a mouse and keyboard.

    • Tobberoth says:

      It runs great, which is possibly the most impressive feat of the game. My computer is several years old now, it has a Radeon HD 5850 graphics card with just 1GB VRAM, and specs to match. I could still play the game just fine on high settings at which point it still looks amazing.

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    Jerodar says:

    Wasn’t this the game that used some kind of new technique to create 3d geometry and textures out of photographs?

    EDIT: Jup it is: link to theastronauts.com that explains the beautiful textures in this game.

    • mlaskus says:

      The landscape is also based on real locations.
      link to imgur.com

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        Neurotic says:

        Not too far from where I live. I must go and have a look for myself. :D

    • grimdanfango says:

      Cheers for the article link. Very interesting reading.
      As a 3D artist with a shiny new Sony α6000, I’m very tempted to go give this a try… and no doubt fail horribly, as it sounds like a very difficult technique to pull off.
      I’m not a fan of traditional texture painting though, I’m far more technically minded… so the idea of an effective way to “science!” my geometry and textures is rather appealing :-)

      I imagine the geometry cleanup stage must be absolutely soul-crushing though :-P

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Just make sure it’s a nice dull overcast day when you take the pictures!

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I’m guessing the trade-off here is that you have almost totally static environments? Like there’s hardly anything you can ‘use’, move around, etc? It also explains why the environments look realistic, but the character models don’t achieve the same kind of photorealism. Good for some kinds of games, bad for others.

      I totally disagree with the approach this company takes to ‘immersion’ (or whatever you want to call it). In that blog post they say they went for photorealism so you ‘feel the world’, but they ignore that games that are decades old can be immersive as long as their ‘worlds’ and everything in them behave consistently. I forget who described these kinds of static world games as ‘dioramas’, but it’s an apt description.

  3. mikmanner says:

    I quite liked the chronological order mechanic, at the very least it got you to inspect the scene, piecing it all together yourself – even though it’s ultimately very easy. Aesthetically I know what you mean by the big numbers on the screen etc, I think they were trying to make all the scribbles a projection of the characters detective notes.

    But as a mild investigation mechanic it’s something I respect is not an automatic experience as it is in Batman / La Noire. They could take it a lot further but then I guess it’d turn into a Sherlock Holmes game or something.

    My biggest problem with the game is that ridiculous Tomb Raider puzzle with all the glowing things and ancient things and things. Trying not to spoil.

    • Ravenholme says:

      The chronological order mechanic sounds very much like a (slightly worse) version of how Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc does a certain part of its trial mechanics.

      Using what you know about the crime so far, and what new information you have uncovered during the trial so far, you are presented with a manga style comic of the crime, with several panes missing, and have to fill in the order of events from a selection of panels, usually conclusively (or near enough) pin-pointing the criminal in the act.

      It is cracking good fun, and glad to see other crime things looking at those kind of mechanics (I can’t imagine that it is accidental either, given that DR has been out for a long time in Japan and was enough of a sensation that long before it migrated westward there were some very good LPs where the people translated the game as they went along)

  4. Messofanego says:

    I’m glad to hear it’s not that long, I played 20 min of it just to see if my laptop can handle it and was stunned by the beauty until I got jump-scared by the traps! Will get to it soon.

  5. christmas duck says:

    I was trying to explain to a friend the other week what it was about the structure of Gone Home I liked so much and one of the things that I found worked particularly well was the fact that although the purpose of the game is more or less to solve the mystery of what’s happened to everyone in the house, it doesn’t overly push you towards doing so, or penalise you for not. Engaging with anything outside of the audio logs and key/code hunting is optional, you look for more and piece together the other clues because you’re just curious about the story. It’s a shame this game seems to have not quite had the confidence to do that, I’ll definitely give it a go anyway later in the year when I have a new set up that’ll do the visuals justice, but I’d have looked forward to the story itself more if the game had a bit more trust in its audience to be engaged without being forced.

  6. El Goose says:

    Is this the game that you were under embargo for in the podcast but said that it was terrible?

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      Lexx87 says:

      If that was the case then surely the Wot he thunk would have said so.

      I’m pretty sure that was the new CoD

      • El Goose says:

        This is true, I didn’t think that through very well, I thought maybe his opinion might have changed between the podcast and the review but I suppose the huge disparity between what he said then and this review means it’s probably unlikely.

    • iainl says:

      No, because someone also dropped the clue that it’s a game where the trailer made it look like a good one this year, but the actual game was just as awful as the worst previous entries in the franchise.

      So it’s not a new thing like this, but something like the new CoD, AssCreed or whatever.

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      John Walker says:

      I would hope it’s obvious that it’s not.

      • El Goose says:

        In hindsight it was, but I was being very silly. I think the main message I took away from your talking about it on the podcast was that it was a game that looked promising in the trailers but was ultimately disappointing, and so I unthinkingly graduated towards it being this, as that could possibly chime in with the beautiful presentation of the game concealing something that wasn’t really up to much.

        I’m sorry everyone, I let you all down, I’m a failure ;-(

        • Black Materia says:

          I’m afraid the game John mentioned on the podcast will be the new Sherlock Holmes, which is under embargo until tomorrow, if Twitter is to be believed. Shame too if it’s true – I was quite looking forward to some quality sleuthing…

          • G-Lord says:

            I bet that’s the one. That comment alone makes me wait for more reviews. There is one by the German magazine Gamestar which is very positive though.

  7. Arathorn says:

    Given that most praise for this game is for the visuals, it’s a shame that the screenshots in the article aren’t embiggenable.

    • Jalan says:

      Felt the same. It’s a big tease of scenery porn. Thankfully, much like Dear Esther, I imagine the Steam Community hub will have some good screen selections to peruse. (Man, I sure hope I don’t hit the junk filter for this post)

  8. UncleLou says:

    RPS is the only site where I’ve found reviews now of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Ancient Space, Gauntlet, and a few more minor titles (I know some sites have reviewed some of them, but none has as reliably reviewed all of them). Good job, thanks for that.

    All I am hoping for now is a WIT of Stronghold Crusaders 2.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Total Biscuit on Youtube did a pretty good WIT-like of Stronghold Crusaders 2. Which convinced me I’m better of trying Stronghold Crusader HD.

  9. Brinx says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. 15 money units isn’t actually that much for 4 hours of content. Just yesterday I bought a DVD of a 90 minute movie, that cost me about 12 units of your strange British money (roughly converted). So if the experience is worth it, I’ll gladly pay that much money for 4 hours.

    • Cinek says:

      I’m even afraid to ask how much Baldur’s Gate is worth with that sort of maths.

      • iainl says:

        See, Baldur’s Gate and the like put me off – I don’t have 100 hours to be slowly drip-fed your story in between bouts of clicking on enemies. If you’ve got £15 worth of wonder to give me, doing that in 4 hours is preferable, thanks.

        • Volcanu says:

          Baldurs Gate is something of a time commitment true, but I doubt you’ve actually played it if you really think the story is “drip fed to you over 100 hours”. If you purely want to follow the main quest line in the BG games, you could do it in probably 15hrs, and the narrative certainly isn’t drip fed to the player. That’s pretty comparable to any single player game. The reason the BG games are time sinks is because of all of the OTHER interesting stuff there is to do besides the main quest.

          EDIT: I fully understand your sentiments, likewise I cant abide it when games have needless padding, especially given the fact I have limited gaming time now. Its just I strongly feel that Baldurs Gate I and 2 are not games that can be accused of having ‘filler’ content.

          • mlaskus says:

            There is some filler though, Shadows of Amn runs out of steam from Spellhold and onwards. The game becomes quite linear and focuses almost exclusively on fighting from that point. Underdark is the worst offender, I don’t remember it exactly but it feels like you keep fighting 3 kinds of enemies for hours.

          • Volcanu says:

            I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there. The game does become somewhat more linear, but I thought the Underdark was one of the strongest, most atmospheric portions of the game – and there is actually a lot of optional content in there if you want it. You also fight a lot of varied enemies in the underdark – certainly a lot more than just 3 types.

            I certainly dont consider it filler in any way, shape or form.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I think the density of an hour is more important than a division of price to total hours.

    • GameCat says:

      15 money units for 3-4 time units of play? I’ll pass.

      I once went to the French art gallery and they have that painting called Money Lease or something like that.
      It’s only 4 square units and it costs few millions money units. Are they nuts? I went to local art shop and bought beautiful huge and detailed landscape painting (12 square units!) for 80 money units.
      I know I made a good deal. No one will ripoff me with such stupid money/square units ratio.
      Three to four time units. Pffff.

      • Brinx says:

        You all have valid points and this purely mathematical approach is definitly not perfect. Still I’d like to make the point that maybe we’re pretty spoiled when it comes to game prizes. 15 money doesn’t seem much to me when you consider the cost of the staff und stuff you need to make even “just” a four hour game, especially coming from an independent developer with not that much money to start with.

        Edit: To me Baldur’s Gate seems like a good example for how spoiled we are in this matter considering the many hundreds of hour I have sunk into BGT.

    • Wulfram says:

      That sounds like a good argument against buying DVDs.

    • shoptroll says:

      What was the GBP price of Portal once Valve started splitting apart The Orange Box? Here in the US they were charging $15-20 for it.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, it’s much more reasonable than the $60 Activision asks for about the same amount of time with a Call of Duty game. (Yes yes, there are multiplayer modes, but I have no interest in playing them, so why should I be saddled with an extra $40-45 worth of cost for modes I will never ever use?)

      • Brinx says:

        Here I would argue that the experience isn’t even worth it. I’m not paying money for a Twilight DVD either.

        • malkav11 says:

          Are you arguing that Ethan Carter isn’t worth the money, or Call of Duty games? I’ve no opinion on Ethan Carter, not having purchased it, but I very much enjoy me a Call of Duty campaign. Just not $60 worth.

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    Lexx87 says:

    This seems like another Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons kind of game, ish? Wandering around the world with story happening around you. Sounds wonderful.

  11. ZombieJ says:

    Whipped through the whole thing in an afternoon, so I didn’t notice the flawed checkpoint system tbh, but I feel it was the finest “short story” game experiences so far. Particularly enjoyed the gorgeous visuals, lovecraftian homages, and general acknowledgement by the creators that they were making a cool experience. Hope it gets DK2 support!

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      There is a thread on the steam forums about it, I can’t remember what the upshot was. That said by the time it comes out my rift will smell like a rhinos armpit. Sticking that foam on was a bad idea :( I went and backed that About Face replacement facemask kickstarter, though I will have to wait for it.

  12. Cinek says:

    Is it just me or this game awfully abuses blur effect? Sort of like Anno 2070 did.
    Next to the lens flare it’s the cheapest effect to make people feel like they’re looking at something with amazing graphics while in fact they’re not.

    • Zallgrin says:

      I thought all graphics were about tricking the eye into thinking that it’s looking at something amazing? There’s whole guidebooks on using contrasts, right colour and object composition. If “tricking” the eye was so easy, there wouldn’t be so many games with godawful visuals.

      Also, one has to commend that it’s the right amount of blur and that the things still look relatively sharp from very far away. Don’t have screenshots to show what I mean, but trust me, it’s the most unobtrusive blur I have ever seen.

      • Cinek says:

        The most unobtrusive blur is the one that simply isn’t there. And it just happens that this is what most of the games offer – blur-free experience. (And don’t confuse blur with depth of field or motion blur – these are different things)

        Oh… and: no, using blur isn’t the same as using right color and contrast. To give you a simplest example: Real world isn’t blurred but it is full of colors and contrast. Cameras can make blurred images, but it’s something you need to use with for occasional special effects – just like lens flare – pouring it all over the place doesn’t make stuff “better” in any way – just like flooding the scenes with lens flares doesn’t.

        Though I understand people easily catch on tricks like that. Sort of like most of people catches on pop music thinking that it’s something amazing.

        • Zallgrin says:

          I was using depth of field and blur intechangeably in my post. I don’t think you can really judge the game’s graphics and whether’s used well or badly unless you have seen it for yourself – and not on low-resolution screenshots like these.

          As I said, Ethan Carter is graphically the best game that I have ever played and pushing damn close to photo realism. Play it for yourself and then feel free to complain about the blur, which I personally doubt you will.

          • Cinek says:

            I seen high-res videos from the game and high-res screenshots…. and as a hobby photographer I wouldn’t use word “photorealism”. Modded Crysis is closer to “photorealism” than Vanishing is. And that’s achieved without flooding player screen with blurs and glows. Really gives you a sense on what’s the difference between quality and fooling players into thinking that something is high quality.

            And BTW: Never use depth of field and blur interchangeably. It’s a basic mistake, almost like confusing high resolution with anti-aliasing.

        • Jiskra says:

          yeah, i heard minecraft has no blur !

    • BlackAlpha says:

      There seems to be a heavy use of blurring all over the place, pushing the graphics closer to the cartoony side rather than photo realism. It might not make the whole thing photo realistic, but it’s still pretty in the same sense a pretty painting is pleasing to the eye.

  13. Low Life says:

    This review reflects my thoughts on the game quite precisely. The end portion (by making you go back to the places you’d missed) makes the game that was a wonderful three hour session of exploration be about ticking boxes instead. At least the bit I’d missed was absolutely bonkers, so the backtracking wasn’t entirely unrewarded.

    By the way, this review would benefit from those fancy clickable screenshots :)

  14. KenTWOu says:

    According to these patch notes they’ve improved checkpoint system a little bit:
    – checkpoint now also auto-saves every time we read a story page or see the murder (useful as a pseudo-manual location save)

    • soopytwist says:

      Except if you quit after hitting a checkpoint you loose two hours of progress because you didn’t complete a story segment.

  15. KingFunk says:

    I like the sound of this, but given that I’m still packing 2 x 4870 512gb, then I might hold off and give it a whirl on PS4…

    • Pangalaktichki says:

      I’ve got a GTS 250 which should be on par with HD 4850. The game runs at 20-35FPS with everything on high settings (antialiasing is off) at 1080p on my rig. It’s not butter smooth but it’s very playable for this kind of game. So, your dual-4870 rig should be able to handle it.

      • RARARA says:

        I myself am thinking of acquiring a 650S GT3. I hear it will run over almost anything.

      • KingFunk says:

        Thanks for the input. AA turned off isn’t a biggie since I have my PC hooked up to the telly and play from the couch. Granted, my flat is so small that my eyes are only about 5 foot from the monitor, but it’s still different to sitting at a desk.

        My main issue is that when my rig is operating at its outer limits, I often spend too much time thinking and fannying about with the balance between acceptable performance and beauty. Obviously, this is my own problem which consoles mitigate at the potential expense of some fidelity.

        I doubt my rig would have run Ass Flag as smoothly as my PS4 with the equivalent settings. I wish more PC games had demos or benchmarks so I could make the call before buying…

  16. marano says:

    Just downloaded it and it looks absolutely amazing. I’ll see if it’s any fun when I have more time to play it.

  17. Low Life says:

    My comments keep vanishing into thin air :(

    (The Vanishing of RPS Comments)

    edit: Of course the comment about vanishing comments gets through, making me look like a lunatic. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

    I agree with the end being a bit dumb with making you go do all the things you missed, since it makes the game about ticking boxes instead of exploring. The one bit I missed was absolutely bonkers, though, so at least my backtracking wasn’t entirely without reward.

    This review could use those handy clickable screenshots, though :)

  18. felisc says:

    I’m going to be Mr SoundyMcNerd : this better have some top notch sound design, with subtle field recording of soft wind, light tree rustle, well mannered streams, creaky beautiful woods and well implemented birds. And tasteful music. I’m sure it is the case. Then ok. If not, then “grr”.

    • Tobberoth says:

      I’m not a sound nerd and usually don’t make a big deal out of it, but at least in my opinion, they did a great job in this game. I found the game kind of mediocre over all, I’m not a big fan of walking simulators in general, but the graphics and sound are the best aspects of the game by far. The OST is really nice and the sound effects are spot on.

  19. Eebahgum says:

    I had to go right back to the beginning too, but that was probably my fault not understanding the mechanics of the game until further in. That was the only annoyance for me, otherwise a glorious game – that I actually finished, and I can count them on one hand.

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    Aerothorn says:

    I will buy this regardless, but the check pointing and the irritating end-check both seem like things that would be (relatively) easily patchable. I’m gonna wait and see if they decide to tackle those criticisms before playing.

  21. G-Lord says:

    I also found it a bit odd that the game “forces” you to solve all the puzzles. I expected something more akin of Ether One which leaves that open to the player. Great game overall though.

  22. xrabohrok says:

    A tip on the Maze House (you’ll know what I mean) :

    Use nearby doors and windows. If you look out the window and it is outside for that wall, you know the door that has a room going that direction is the wrong choice.

  23. fuggles says:

    Spoiler – I found Ethan Carter, he’s on TNA wrestling every week. Solved!

    • Jalan says:

      It just isn’t the same unless someone hits The Vanishing on him.

  24. DrManhatten says:

    Don’t know but MGS5 looks about ten times better than this!

  25. RagingLion says:

    The uncertainty about possible horror in this game is enough to maybe turn me off buying if. Saying it’s as scary as The Cradle (not that I’m played it, but I’ve been around enough to know its notoriety) in one of the parts of the game makes me very hesitant to pick up.

    All the other aspects like freefrom roaming in a beautiful environment with non-traditional gameplay sound completely up my street, sadly.

    • USER47 says:

      It’s nowhere near that scary, the section takes like 5 minutes and once you get the first (foreseeable) jump scare, any other is easily avoidable. You dont have to be afraid of that:).

  26. RPSRSVP says:

    This is art but not only is it art, it’s also a slap to the face of AAA industry.
    It’s a dictionary of what games can and should be, a tazer discharge straight in the genitals of today’s gaming mentality based on the idea that a game needs dubstep and high velocity vehicle crashes every 5 seconds.

    A standing ovation for Astronauts.

  27. Sebbatt says:

    holy CRAP those graphics are GREAT! such an overused word in the gaming community, but this is realistic.