Top Critic Average
Ether One takes some of the best parts of Gone Home and To The Moon and melds them into something highly original, making it an appealing title for those wanting a unique gaming experience that's thought-provoking and emotional.
Ether One nails its puzzles, atmosphere, and sound (ambient and voice acting). It also nails its story -- whether or not you decide to fully unravel its world and its mysteries -- culminating in a, well, refreshing, smart finale that will stay on my mind for years to come.
It's been just two days since I last player Ether One and I've not stopped thinking about it since. I thought about it before I went to bed last night, and the night before. I thought about it when I woke up this morning. I thought about it when I had lunch. So far I've sunk 12 hours into a game easily completable in four. I've not nearly managed to restore all of the projectors. And I've hardly scratched the surface.
I found the path devoid of puzzles a dubious gaming choice for players. Like any good first-person adventurer, I racked up the hours finding that last clue. If I didn't bother, I'd have blown through the narrative in a few hours.
Ether One might well represent the apex of its particular subgenre. It engages the player at every level they might want to engage it, and rewards them handsomely for plunging into its depths.
Ether One is another in a string of successful first-person narrative games, and, while it has its dips here and there, is a completely worthwhile journey. The game explores some dark corners of mental health through its H.G. Wells-like setting and succeeds in delivering a graphically rich, story-driven adventure wholly worth your time.
Ether One gracefully fools you into thinking you've got a triple-A title on your hands, with its gorgeous visuals and superb sound production, and the immersive storyline completes the whole package.
Ether One is a sobering and thoughtful journey filled with intrigue and contemplation, rounded out with well-crafted and optional puzzle sections. This isn't the kind of game which will appeal to everyone and if it's action you're after, I'd advise going elsewhere. However, if the prospect of experiencing a truly captivating story wrapped up in a exploration based puzzle game is an attractive one, then Ether One delivers and won't disappoint.
Ether One is a mesmerizing experience that is bogged down by some questionable design choices and a general lack of direction. If you can see past these minor imperfections, you'll find that at its core lies a deep psychological study of the human brain, wrapped in a fantastic story that keeps you guessing throughout. It's a topic not common in your everyday AAA title, and for that it must be commended.
While I don't know why anyone would want to play without the puzzles, even those who do will find themselves seeking them out for the extra information they provide. Ether One is a sharp, unique game that deals with a tragic subject in an empathetic way, and it's definitely worth checking out.
As gamers, it's heartening to see such serious and prevalent issues being treated with the weight they deserve in a medium more inclined to hand you a gun and point you towards the finish line; Ether One is a decent alternative to mainstream mindlessness, a thought-provoking and moving experience for those willing to commit.
There's a sincerity evident in Ether One's DNA that really shows the developer's passion and skill. With an attention-grabbing story premise, clever puzzles, and gorgeous music, this game seeks to tackle mental illness in a profound way. While cracks show in the sound effects, technical issues, and convoluted aspects to the narrative and puzzle solving, there's a charm and respect that you cannot help but feel for the game, which will be sure to remain in the canals of your memory banks for some time.
In many ways, seeing a developer give the player such a large degree of responsibility is forward thinking. It's certainly rare, these days. Unearthing the story at your own pace is wonderful. However, Ether One goes too far in that direction and puzzles become tedious exercises in trying combinations of different items you acquired in a completely different area. There is no shortage of interesting ideas present, but it's hard to look at Ether One and not think it could have been more.
A great idea can get a game off the ground in a hurry, but it needs to have the proper execution in order to keep it great. Otherwise…what was the point again? Ether One presents a spellbinding take on memory loss and what really goes on inside a person's head, but tedious voice acting, the pacing of certain puzzles, and the lack of guidance when some players need it the most may leave some folks just as confused as the poor woman who's going through all its torment. Considering it's free on PlayStation Plus at the moment, it's worth a look – but its problems probably won't allow the game to linger in your mind for too long.
Leaves a lot to be desired, particularly in the gameplay department, but offers plenty of richly-detailed exploration and story for those prepared to do some serious digging.
It might not appeal to everyone, but Ether One is an exceptional example of what can be done with simple game design. It has a quality not commonly seen in smaller indie titles, and the courage to do things a little differently.