I have been a Certified Nurses Assistant for many years, I specialize in Alzheimers and Dementia care. So when I saw this snippet lead the Ether One for PS4 promotional trailer,
"A game that helped me cope with a family member's dementia"It peaked my interest.
White Paper Games first offering, Ether One, is a first person adventure exploring the mind and memories of an Alzheimers patient. Ether One was released for PC back in March 2014 but was recently ported to PS4 as part of the Instant Game Collection for PlayStation Plus members in May.
Ether One takes a relaxed pace as you tease out details and solve puzzles in an attempt to "restore" the patient from within their own mind. Those who enjoyed the Myst series will be at home with Ether One. The voice acting is well performed and the graphics, though simple, are assembled in such a way that it seems more a style choice than a shortcoming. Some of the puzzles could use some fine tuning, but over all it is a solid game.
Ether One is built on the Unreal 4 engine, though the minimalist style would do little to convince one of it. Many of the puzzles do make use of the engine's physics elements, including work with magnetism and fluids. While some have bemoaned the look of Ether One, citing Unreal 4's capabilities, I think the look of the game helps convey the image of fading and disorganized memories.
Unfortunately, the PlayStation 4 release has issues; severe issues. My first session with Ether One was straightforward. The next day when I attempted to resume the game from my last save I was hit with a deluge of bugs. The title screen crashed, collected items disappeared, completed puzzle progress was eliminated, items previously interacted with seemed to reset and were unusable. All of this compounded into an unplayable game. White Paper has released a patch for users in Europe on May 15th, but there is no word yet on when the US market may see the patch. Thankfully, the PC release is stable.
As someone who is well acquainted with the suffering that dementia can cause in both patients and family, I thought this was a very touching story and I highly recommend it. My only caveat being that you play the much more stable PC version.