The Vanishing of Ethan Carter review: Enjoy the confusion
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (XO) ★★★★★ Age: 18+
It would be easy to overlook this belated port of a 2014 PS4/PC chiller, but fans of intense mysteries should give it a whirl. It belongs to a genre unfairly dubbed "walking simulators" but there's much more to the Vanishing than ambling from place to place, drinking in the atmosphere.
It threads the story of a missing boy into a frankly terrifying yarn about a great evil awoken in a small town. Undoubtedly, walking forms the core of the experience, but the eerily quiet forest-valley setting easily draws you in, the photorealistic visuals (particularly on Xbox One X) presenting one spectacular view after another. Even if that includes a dismembered body or the remains of a demonic ritual.
Vanishing tells you little, leaving you to intuit the correct path or significance of a discovery. Even the puzzles need not be solved (at least not until near the conclusion). But when it finally reveals its moving final twist, you'll feel it will have been all worth the confusion in the end.