The Vanishing of Ethan Carter makes a great case for VR when it’s not disorienting

Looking with the controller gives me a headache

I have yet to finish The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, which I picked up during its launch back in 2014, so I figured hopping into the brand new Oculus Rift version would be a good way to accomplish that. Barring some discomfort, it managed to draw me into the world a little more than the original release.

For those who aren’t aware, Ethan Carter is a walking simulator of sorts that features a mysterious rural area called Red Valley, with plenty of occult themes in tow. It’s an engrossing setup all on its own, but being able to see the world around you adds to the atmospheric experience. Looking down at a broken bridge into the pit below, or looking up at a daunting mountain is almost indescribable in nature, and Red Valley is more alive because of it. The tone is also near perfect, maintaining a simultaneously serene and melancholy feeling throughout that is enhanced with a headset.

But there’s one major hangup that impacted my playthrough, and that’s the camera. Much like Windlands, looking around and moving felt great, but any interaction with the right analog stick put a lot of strain on my eyes. I started to realize that if I slowly used the stick to turn it wasn’t as stressful, but the fact that this happens at all highlights a common issue with VR gaming in general.

I was able to play a multitude of titles without discomfort, but with Carter, I had to change my playstyle to account for it. I’m interested in hearing if others have had similar experiences, but for now, consider this a warning. Ethan Carter is priced at $29.99 on Oculus VR — it is currently $19.99 on Steam, the latter of which does not have VR support at the moment.

Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!