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6.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 596 Ratings

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  1. Oct 1, 2012
    5
    While the island you visit is pretty, you
  2. Mar 4, 2012
    6
    I liked it but it just didn't make me feel like a part of the story, it felt more like walking a guided tour. I like games with a good story but this is more like an interactive picture book. Exploration is hardly awarded with extra depth in the story and it takes far to long to walk back to the right path however there are some very nice places to see. One more minor thing that annoyed meI liked it but it just didn't make me feel like a part of the story, it felt more like walking a guided tour. I like games with a good story but this is more like an interactive picture book. Exploration is hardly awarded with extra depth in the story and it takes far to long to walk back to the right path however there are some very nice places to see. One more minor thing that annoyed me were the plants, because once you notice they keep staring at you it can't be unseen. Because they are 2d and thus have no sides it makes sense that they did it this way but it still feels a bit awkward. In conclusion I'd say that this is a pretty good story but I don't think it should be placed in the game category. If it wasn't marked as a game I would definitely have rated it with an 8 or more. But if I had to recommend a storytelling game that actually feels like your part of the story I would pick either Amnesia, Penumbra or Bastion these are all completely different game as well from each other as from Dear Esther but the thing they all have in common is that they are all heavily based on their story however my examples are far more interactive. Expand
  3. Mar 5, 2012
    0
    Wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a waste of ten good dollars. You roam around this island with basically the same type of background replicated repeatedly.. There seems to be no point to any of it. The cave is an endless maze of similar background where the most exciting thing are mushrooms that turn toward you as you move. I want my money back, this game was disappointing..
  4. Mar 7, 2012
    10
    It is what it is. A short semi-interactive story. If you're looking for more in a "game" then it's not for you but if you accept what this is then you'll love it. It's beautiful, emotional and best enjoyed with a good alcoholic beverage. 10/10 and hoping to see more.
  5. Mar 8, 2012
    10
    This game is simply pure art. Something between good movie, game and book. Or combination of them all. I really experienced island and was there with main character, deep inside his mind. Ending is very sentimental. I can only hope there will be more games ( or what ever it is ) like this one.
  6. Mar 8, 2012
    10
    I have just one word for you guys: The graphics for this game are awesome, sure you can't blow **** up. But hey, you scrubs can play CoD for that. Because of the awesome visuals, the source engine, and the ace narration, I award this game five out of five stars. Nice going!
  7. Mar 12, 2012
    0
    A lot of people tend to try and justify the purchase of something that they cannot return. It's quite sad that people, held hostage by their own denial, have mistaken holding forward for gameplay and 'listless' narrative for a storyline. Sure, it has graphics, but every game has graphics. In fact, lots of films have graphics and some books have pictures in them too. And I think a film orA lot of people tend to try and justify the purchase of something that they cannot return. It's quite sad that people, held hostage by their own denial, have mistaken holding forward for gameplay and 'listless' narrative for a storyline. Sure, it has graphics, but every game has graphics. In fact, lots of films have graphics and some books have pictures in them too. And I think a film or graphic novel would be an infinitely more rewarding experience than this 45 minute "game", for the same price. Don't buy this. Expand
  8. Jun 2, 2013
    6
    Dear Esther is an interactive adventure that stands on the edge of what can be considered a "game". The entire experience consists of walking around an island, exploring it, and hearing pieces of a story from the narrator.

    This is absolutely a game for explorers. Much of the appeal of this game is simply taking in the beautiful landscapes and letting your curiosity. This game is
    Dear Esther is an interactive adventure that stands on the edge of what can be considered a "game". The entire experience consists of walking around an island, exploring it, and hearing pieces of a story from the narrator.

    This is absolutely a game for explorers. Much of the appeal of this game is simply taking in the beautiful landscapes and letting your curiosity. This game is incredibly, ridiculously slow. You can only move at a slow walking pace, and for me, the amount of time it took me to get anywhere ended up discouraging me from trying to do much more exploration than what was needed. The music is nice, and it's appropriate for a lonely island.

    There's a lot to discover with the story, and Dear Esther intentionally leaves many questions unanswered. Personally, I found the story to be too boring to care about, so I had little interest in teasing out the game's many mysteries.

    This game is absolutely not for everyone. It's an interesting think to think about and discuss, but there's little fun to be had with the game itself. The people who enjoy this game will love it passionately, though. If you would enjoy a super-slow, thoughtful experience, then maybe you'll like this. Then again, I normally do, and I feel ambivalent about this game. Don't buy Dear Esther unless it's cheap.
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  9. Mar 13, 2012
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is not a game. A waste of time and money. If you are going to have me push forward for an hour to hear a story then please just put the camera on rails and save me the boring journey. The slow trek up the rocks did feel like passing kidney stones. By the end you just want the guy to jump off the tower to end this miserable experience. The graphics looks great but that's about it. The menu says "Resume Game" What game?? there is no game. Moving a crawling camera through a level with no object interaction and listen to a block of text every now and then is NOT a game. Expand
  10. Mar 15, 2012
    9
    This is why we can't have nice things. The vast majority of the public sees a game without a sprint button and gets butt-hurt about spending $10 on it. Sit back, relax, and not worry about having to level up. Explore. Listen. That's it. The peace of mind I received was something I hadn't experienced since Myst and Riven. In a sea of games that cater to the ADD generation, I wouldThis is why we can't have nice things. The vast majority of the public sees a game without a sprint button and gets butt-hurt about spending $10 on it. Sit back, relax, and not worry about having to level up. Explore. Listen. That's it. The peace of mind I received was something I hadn't experienced since Myst and Riven. In a sea of games that cater to the ADD generation, I would gladly pay $20 for this rare gem. During my first play-through, I was captivated by the narrator and the eerie setting. I enjoyed making up my own theories to supplement the story, as opposed to the spoon-feeding I get when I play anything else. The caves were fantastic. Whoever wrote Skyrim had better caves needs a side-by-side comparison of the two. Don't get me wrong, I loved and still love Skyrim, bu just because a game costs more or sells more copies doesn't mean its better in any way shape or form. Then, I checked the forums. This game would've gotten an 8 out of 10 had I not read the forums. Those of you who have only played this game once are doing a HUGE disservice to yourself. You're missing half the content. Set pieces and dialogue are semi-randomized, and there are hidden things (I'm trying my hardest not to give it away) that will blow your MIND upon discovering them. Not to mention give you nightmares. If this game takes you an hour to complete, you're trying to beat it too hard. The only reason I docked this a point is because of the lack of choice at the end. Expand
  11. May 18, 2012
    6
    This game is boring. That's it. It is fun though, the music, athmosphere and graphics are just awesome, but the only thing you do is: walk. walk. walk. And walk. I thought the game would be something like Myst, but i was disappointed, and ended with a black screen, after playing 2 hours. If i had had _some_ challenge, like discovering a giant secret story, or having atThis game is boring. That's it. It is fun though, the music, athmosphere and graphics are just awesome, but the only thing you do is: walk. walk. walk. And walk. I thought the game would be something like Myst, but i was disappointed, and ended with a black screen, after playing 2 hours. If i had had _some_ challenge, like discovering a giant secret story, or having at least some interactive elements, the game would be MUCH better. Expand
  12. May 16, 2012
    0
    This so called game is nothing more than a story with pretty graphics. As many have stated, it isn't a game at all. It's hard for me to believe there are so many 10 ratings for something you just walk and let the game tell a story; a very weak story at that. The biggest problem is the dialogue doesn't match up with where you are in the game, which makes the whole thing feel pointless.This so called game is nothing more than a story with pretty graphics. As many have stated, it isn't a game at all. It's hard for me to believe there are so many 10 ratings for something you just walk and let the game tell a story; a very weak story at that. The biggest problem is the dialogue doesn't match up with where you are in the game, which makes the whole thing feel pointless. Also, there is no interaction of any sort. The best part was the scenery and the music score, but one can only stare at the weeds and flowers blow in the wind for so long. Sad to say, holding down mouse1 to zoom in 3 inches is about as interactive as it gets. Do yourself a favor and put your money toward another game. You will be happy you did. It took 75 minutes to complete, and at the end could not believe what I had just played. Two thumbs way down. Expand
  13. Mar 24, 2012
    10
    definitely not for everyone. It was willing to take the chance in creating sheer atmosphere and speculation for the audience.

    It's not at all like conventional games, for better or for worse. Despite the short length its production value (graphics, sound) is quite high. I personally liked it so I'm giving it a 10, that is, however, purely subjective and should only be taken as such
  14. Mar 22, 2012
    10
    A clear ten, this isn't just a game, its freaking art. Good music, great story and in general great concept. And the atmosphere is absolutely awesome. Its not for the average "CoD - head" but for anyone with a wider love of gaming will love this. I love that you never get guided anywhere, and the only thing you have to do is walk, and experience it.

    Lovely
  15. Dec 27, 2012
    10
    I was very pleasantly surprised by this game. Best experienced in the dark with a hot beverage while it is raining outside. I don't think a video game has ever communicated emotions as complex and meaningful as this one has. It's true, the level of interaction is very subtle, however, those who say it should be a movie have missed the point. Also, be careful not to mistake ambiguity forI was very pleasantly surprised by this game. Best experienced in the dark with a hot beverage while it is raining outside. I don't think a video game has ever communicated emotions as complex and meaningful as this one has. It's true, the level of interaction is very subtle, however, those who say it should be a movie have missed the point. Also, be careful not to mistake ambiguity for pretension as some critics have. The strength of this medium is that it forces the player to reflect. Though I only played it on a 15" 720p screen, the visuals are stunning. Be sure to take screenshots while playing. Expand
  16. Apr 1, 2012
    7
    Stunning visuals, but not interactive. The only controls the player has access to are movement, and looking closer at things. I really would not consider this a game, so much as a visual narrative. That being said, I enjoyed the play-through and piecing together the bits that Dear Esther gives the user. It does a good job of making the player feel desolate through environment and qualityStunning visuals, but not interactive. The only controls the player has access to are movement, and looking closer at things. I really would not consider this a game, so much as a visual narrative. That being said, I enjoyed the play-through and piecing together the bits that Dear Esther gives the user. It does a good job of making the player feel desolate through environment and quality sound effects. If you are brand new to Dear Esther it's a nice change of pace from normal games, but if you've played the original source mod, I would not spend the $10 on it. Expand
  17. Apr 18, 2012
    1
    This is not a game. It is a story, that's it. Nothing more than a story, where you can walk around. It doesn't have anything else but the walking and the story. I don't think that this should be marked as a game, since this simply isn't a game.
  18. Sep 4, 2012
    3
    I like it when games dare to be different. I liked Penumbra, and I liked Amnesia even more; those games struck a nice balance with atmosphere and gameplay while being different from almost everything I had played before. This game, however, offers no such balance since it abandoned any semblance of gameplay altogether. It's been said here by other reviewers and I'll say it again, just toI like it when games dare to be different. I liked Penumbra, and I liked Amnesia even more; those games struck a nice balance with atmosphere and gameplay while being different from almost everything I had played before. This game, however, offers no such balance since it abandoned any semblance of gameplay altogether. It's been said here by other reviewers and I'll say it again, just to reinforce the notion: there is no interactivity to speak of and no real gameplay whatsoever. There are no meaningful choices to make, no consequences, no inventory to manage, no characters to interact with, no enemies to defeat or evade, no objectives to complete; you can't even control when your flashlight turns on and off (this feature is automanaged for you as you enter and leave unlit areas). It is a game that dared to be so different that it actually stopped being a game. Moving on, I don't want to obsess over what Dear Esther IS NOT this whole review, so I will talk about what it IS. As others here have pointed out, it is simply a different way of telling a story... a visual metaphor, if you will. In my opinion, it is an unsuccessful way of telling a story, and I wont be paying for any other "games" that may appear in this "genre". As a game, story, and movie respectively, it was boring and un-entertaining. Dear Esther's soundtrack is quite good, and it is visually is nice to look at, especially in the caves chapter; I will award a couple points for those qualities, even though I want to give it a flat zero. I'll award one more point to the fact that the developers had the balls think out side the box... in fact, they stepped outside the box, picked it up, folded it, put it in the recycle bin, went to the nearest Blockbuster Video and rented What Dreams May Come. So that's it, a generous 3 out of 10. Expand
  19. Nov 4, 2014
    2
    Bad game, not because it doesn't have guns or monsters, in fact I thought it would be GOOD for those reasons. I stand corrected. I didn't pay for a two hour game that is just a guy talking in riddles. I payed for a great story that I could really get into, because that's what it was meant to be. At the end all I was saying was "Huh? What? Is it over? What happened?" and to be honest, theBad game, not because it doesn't have guns or monsters, in fact I thought it would be GOOD for those reasons. I stand corrected. I didn't pay for a two hour game that is just a guy talking in riddles. I payed for a great story that I could really get into, because that's what it was meant to be. At the end all I was saying was "Huh? What? Is it over? What happened?" and to be honest, the graphics are horrible, Sure, it's great for the Source engine, but Source came out 2004, this game was released in 2012 people! If you want to walk around a countryside with good graphics, then get Skyrim. Also it only has two hours of gameplay. And even if it was longer, it wouldn't be any better because there isn't even any gameplay to speak of!
    Gameplay: N/A
    Next gen graphics: N/A
    Anyone who gives this game a score of 7/10, or above, should not be trusted. I cannot recommend this game to anyone.
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  20. Sep 16, 2013
    10
    Dear Esther isn't like anything u have played before. It isn't about competing, beat enemies, or even interacting with anything. Dear Esther is maybe more like a 3D book than it is a videogame, and in this genre, it's probably the best work ever. It also beats in inmersion, atmosphere and story to most games out there. If you are looking for a completely new and bittersweet experience, andDear Esther isn't like anything u have played before. It isn't about competing, beat enemies, or even interacting with anything. Dear Esther is maybe more like a 3D book than it is a videogame, and in this genre, it's probably the best work ever. It also beats in inmersion, atmosphere and story to most games out there. If you are looking for a completely new and bittersweet experience, and you don't mind risking 10$ in a game that you could love or hate, then go for it and prepare to squeeze your brain to understand this tragical story (even the protagonist's identity remains a discussion among the players!). Expand
  21. Apr 28, 2012
    1
    Dear Esther is not a game.

    If it is anything, it is an art piece. However, the developers have billed it as a game, and this is a title it fails utterly to live up to. Artistic as it may be, and Dear Esther is certainly beautiful, only by the most loose of definitions can it ever be called a game. Simply put, it is missing any element that would qualify it as one. In games, there is a
    Dear Esther is not a game.

    If it is anything, it is an art piece. However, the developers have billed it as a game, and this is a title it fails utterly to live up to. Artistic as it may be, and Dear Esther is certainly beautiful, only by the most loose of definitions can it ever be called a game. Simply put, it is missing any element that would qualify it as one.

    In games, there is a challenge. In games, your choices and actions have an effect on the outcome. In games, there is the possibility of success or failure. However, in Dear Esther, there is only observation. You walk through a world that you have no influence over, an audience rather than a player. Nothing you do will have any influence on the story. In fact, there is nothing you can do. You walk. You observe. You listen. The story is spoon-fed to you, but without context and requiring your own interpretation.

    In essence, Dear Esther bares more in common to a painting than a videogame. Look at it from any angle you like. Take as long as you want to study it, or see it all quickly. These are the kinds of choices that Dear Esther offers. It invites you to admire its beauty...to look but not touch. The result is a very moving experience, but not a very entertaining one. It feels very much like seeing an exhibit in a museum. Indeed, artistically it is excellent. However, as I said at the beginning, Dear Esther is presented as being a game, and it is nothing of the kind. It must be scored as a game, and not as art.

    Dear Esther is not a game.
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  22. Sep 2, 2013
    3
    Dear Esther,

    Your game sucks. You basically just walk through an (admittedly mostly beautiful) environment with no interactivity while you listen to little bits of a mediocre story. You'd expect the island to hold clues, but really just has some nonsense. I sort of knew the premise and was still very disappointed. $10 for this game/experience is very frustrating for a consumer. It
    Dear Esther,

    Your game sucks.

    You basically just walk through an (admittedly mostly beautiful) environment with no interactivity while you listen to little bits of a mediocre story. You'd expect the island to hold clues, but really just has some nonsense. I sort of knew the premise and was still very disappointed. $10 for this game/experience is very frustrating for a consumer. It would also be different if there were multiple pathways or something, but it is completely linear destroying all possibilities of any replay value. I would advise to stay away unless it becomes on sale for only a few bucks.
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  23. Apr 30, 2014
    9
    Dreamy dialogue, subtle score and a total lack of guns lift the first-person immersion to new heights. I only wish there was more, but what there is, engulfs. Caves so captivating as to make the inclusion of any contemporary characters within them beyond measure. Carries some of the intentional artistic detail level that was previously hinted at by adventure greats of old (Simon theDreamy dialogue, subtle score and a total lack of guns lift the first-person immersion to new heights. I only wish there was more, but what there is, engulfs. Caves so captivating as to make the inclusion of any contemporary characters within them beyond measure. Carries some of the intentional artistic detail level that was previously hinted at by adventure greats of old (Simon the Sorcerer, Gabriel Knight, I'm looking at you). I found myself tip-toeing on stones not to get my shoes wet, worrying about tripwiring the contents of dense thickets and carefully judging my character's balance. Like travelling to an end of the world with a poet by your side. How odd. Expand
  24. May 6, 2012
    0
    This is not a game its a CGI video of the Hibredian islands I know its £6 or so on steam but save your money go on youtube and look at the vista's on there it will have more gameplay than this
  25. May 18, 2012
    9
    Dear Esther is a thrill ride, brilliant in the way it immerses the player without having to interact in any way with the environment (which btw is stunning) other then movement. One of the best indie titles ive had the joy of playing and sooo worth my £3.75 on steam
  26. Oct 2, 2012
    8
    Even though it's questionable if you can call Dear Esther a game since it's more of an interactive story telling. If you're going in to it expecting it to be a game, you're gonna have a bad time. But if you're going in to it with the expectation of seeing exceptionally beautiful landscapes and and a great narrative, chances are you'll end up loving the game. 8/10
  27. May 16, 2012
    0
    Where is the game here? Interactivity ends and begins with movement and observation. This is not the problem in itself; what is: the sum of all possibilities effected by this mode of "interaction" amount to no more than a monologue being regurgitated piecemeal. There's no problem with this not being a game - just that it is marketed (and priced) as one. Wandering around an environment withWhere is the game here? Interactivity ends and begins with movement and observation. This is not the problem in itself; what is: the sum of all possibilities effected by this mode of "interaction" amount to no more than a monologue being regurgitated piecemeal. There's no problem with this not being a game - just that it is marketed (and priced) as one. Wandering around an environment with a couple of audio tracks does not constitute a game. End. Expand
  28. May 16, 2012
    10
    First of all, game or not, this is for sell for a fantastic price. As for the mechanics of the game, there is very little to do in the way of interaction, apart from walk your character around a beautifully graphical island, and immerse yourself in the narrated story that creates an emotional effect as if you were really there. Gazing at the graphics mainly as I wandered around, I foundFirst of all, game or not, this is for sell for a fantastic price. As for the mechanics of the game, there is very little to do in the way of interaction, apart from walk your character around a beautifully graphical island, and immerse yourself in the narrated story that creates an emotional effect as if you were really there. Gazing at the graphics mainly as I wandered around, I found the music to pull me deeper into the story. There are places that are truly amazing, and although some plants do have a 2D effect, they never bothered me at all.

    I would recommend this 'game/narrative story' to anyone wanting to marvel at the capabilities of the source engine a must. Not to mention the ambient sounds and musical score. For the price, it is definately worth buying.
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  29. May 16, 2012
    9
    I absolutely love Dear Esther. I've waited a long time for something like it to come along. Having created game levels in the Source engine myself its clear how much care and attention went into creating the environment, I'm sincerely impressed by what the developers have been able to build. The visuals are simply stunning and the eerie soundscape is wonderful too.

    The pace of movement is
    I absolutely love Dear Esther. I've waited a long time for something like it to come along. Having created game levels in the Source engine myself its clear how much care and attention went into creating the environment, I'm sincerely impressed by what the developers have been able to build. The visuals are simply stunning and the eerie soundscape is wonderful too.

    The pace of movement is slow, but that is just right for the experience this game was designed to provide. It allows the mind to slide into a more contemplative mode as you explore and I found my thoughts wandering just as they would on a long walk.

    Overall I felt like I was trespassing on somebody else's dream. I realised as soon as I launched the game that it deserved to be played in a dimly lit room with the sound turned up, and found that once I allowed myself to become absorbed by the surroundings, it triggered unusual feelings of trepidation, loss, and a strong sense of 'l'appel du vide'. It brought Iain Banks' story The Bridge to mind.

    I would rank the journey through the second 'level' of Dear Esther alongside the end credits of Portal, the final scene of HL2 Ep2, and the first nightfall in Minecraft, as one of the great 'moments' in gaming.

    I really look forward to seeing more games that build on what Dear Esther has achieved, and extend that in different and unexpected ways.

    If you're someone who likes Iain Banks, 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', Wes Anderson films, Sigur Ros, Laura Marling or Lisa Hannigan, I think you'll enjoy Dear Esther.
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  30. May 19, 2012
    3
    Very pretty graphics, the sea looks excellent and the mountains are great, if you like graphics then buy this program. The story is weird and interesting but this is NOT a game. It is a walk though a dark and wonderful 3D island, you can't win or lose so no game.
  31. Jan 27, 2015
    7
    To call Dear Esther a game is pretty misleading. There is essentially no gameplay- no puzzles, interaction, fighting, etc. All you do is walk. It is also over in about 2 hours if you look at everything. So it fails as a game. A better classification for this would simply be to call it an art piece. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, and the music and sound effects compliment theTo call Dear Esther a game is pretty misleading. There is essentially no gameplay- no puzzles, interaction, fighting, etc. All you do is walk. It is also over in about 2 hours if you look at everything. So it fails as a game. A better classification for this would simply be to call it an art piece. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, and the music and sound effects compliment the melancholy nature of the visuals. If viewed purely as an art piece, as I think it should, Dear Esther is totally worth it. But if you want game play, look elsewhere. Expand
  32. Aug 12, 2012
    3
    Regardless of how good the storytelling is, or isn't, 10 USD is way too expensive for an hour of gameplay, let alone non-gameplay. If this is art, I'd rather stick to being an ignorant and uncultured hick.
  33. Oct 7, 2012
    4
    I bought this game day 1 and found myself regretting dishing out 15 dollars for it. The island is beautiful and very atmospheric, but that's about all. I would have liked to see a little bit more interactivity than holding down the W button for an hour and a half.
  34. Jun 5, 2012
    0
    To score this game even 0.01 would be generous. A game that is not a game, is not a game! If I wanted to walk round listening to an old man talk about a crash on a motorway that may or may not have happened, I would go to the local old folks home. I feel totally robbed. Does the graphics designer wear a mask? What is relaxing about having a headache whilst trying to figure out what thisTo score this game even 0.01 would be generous. A game that is not a game, is not a game! If I wanted to walk round listening to an old man talk about a crash on a motorway that may or may not have happened, I would go to the local old folks home. I feel totally robbed. Does the graphics designer wear a mask? What is relaxing about having a headache whilst trying to figure out what this tack is all about? £6 my left arm. Rubbish. Expand
  35. Jun 8, 2012
    10
    This game has integrity and dignity. It offers an unparalleled experience that implies that players have the capacity to slow down, take a deep breath, and be "in the moment". The incredible music, breathtaking atmosphere, and mysterious narrative will make you forget the absence of "game play". There's no interaction, just exploration. The creators of this game do not treat you like aThis game has integrity and dignity. It offers an unparalleled experience that implies that players have the capacity to slow down, take a deep breath, and be "in the moment". The incredible music, breathtaking atmosphere, and mysterious narrative will make you forget the absence of "game play". There's no interaction, just exploration. The creators of this game do not treat you like a stereotypical "gamer" who depends on gore and big guns to be satisfied. This is not a video game, it's a work of art. Expand
  36. Jun 18, 2012
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This "game" is pathetic and horribly disappointing. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel to Amnesia by thechineseroom, so I decided to play this first. Sadly, it was terrible.

    There is no option to run, so you have to maintain a very slow walking pace. If you try to swim around and 'explore' (as the game was advertised to be about) then you will drown, and a man will say "Come back." (which I'll get to in a minute.) Tiny rocks are impossible to traverse, and there is no jump button. This game is about exploration, but exploring is hardly rewarded at all--you may get a slight hint about the extremely obvious 'twist' in the storyline, such as finding a picture of Esther, or some medical bags, or seeing ghosts in the distance wandering the island, however very rarely do you actually get to hear extra dialogue as a result, and when you do it is usually extremely limited, and then you have to make the long, arduous walk back.

    Before this seems like a complete rant, I'd like to point out that the music and graphics are fantastic. The graphics are probably the best I've ever seen in a Source title, and the caves in particularl looked beautiful (plenty looked like they would make perfect backgrounds, and some of the outdoors environments looked great too...) but... you're better off just googling "pretty landscapes," and then playing some beethoven on youtube while you look at them than playing this "game."

    This game lasted me a total of forty five minutes, and I never see myself going back to it. It cost me 10 bucks... 2 dollars is the most this should reasonably cost. I don't understand how this game took other people 2 hours.. I looked all around the island, found many hidden things, read the paper boats in the water, and read all the text on the walls... but it still lasted me forty five minutes and felt like an eternity. That being said, after the ending, I thought it was the end of chapter one (especially without the credits playing... or anything happening, it just stayed on a black screen.)

    People seem to ignorantly praise this game for the fact that it tried somethign new, which, I disagree with. This isn't new. There are many games that favor exploration and storyline over gameplay (look at Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, or Penumbra.) The ideal is to have excellent gameplay, but also to have excellent exploration and storyline, like my all time favorite game Zelda: Majora's Mask. They also praise it for its storyline... oh, my, no.

    The storyline is undeniably poor. I'm going to spoil it in this paragraph, so if you still want to play this game for some reason, don't read this. Over and over, incessently the narrator keeps talking about the car crash, the drunk driver, and the road to Damascus. It never ends. There are medical bags laying on the floor. There is a point where you're on the road where the car crash happened, and instead of the car crash there's a medical bed. Everytime you almost die from drowning or falling, a heartbeat rises, and the narrator says "Come back." And the game ends with him saying "Esther, come back, come back.." Do I even need to say it? Its so painfully obvious and not at all clever.. the narrator is a man next to Esther, and he is talking to her in her dreams/coma after the car crash. She's coming to terms with what happened to her, and eventually dying (the ending.) Its not exactly difficult to piece together, and calling it clever is just silly.

    This game was a horrible disappointment, and I wish I had a refund.
    + Graphics
    + Sound
    - 'Gameplay'
    - Story
    - Absolutely no fun at all.

    This 'game' probably deserves a one or two out of 10, or, understandably, an aggregate of about 4 to 4.5... but seeing how inexplicably people like this and the aggregate is 6.5, I'm going to try to do my part to pull it down so other people won't waste their money like I did.

    Thanks for reading! Don't make the same mistake I did!
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  37. Jan 1, 2013
    3
    This game was quite simply boring and not an "experience" as many call it. Its story isn't bad and the graphics look nice, but aside from those two features the game is no fun. All you are doing is walking around at a slow pace throughout the duration of the game and it is being acclaimed likely because people are attempting to look for something in the game that isn't there. Don't wasteThis game was quite simply boring and not an "experience" as many call it. Its story isn't bad and the graphics look nice, but aside from those two features the game is no fun. All you are doing is walking around at a slow pace throughout the duration of the game and it is being acclaimed likely because people are attempting to look for something in the game that isn't there. Don't waste your time with this game, it would better be spent playing games that are guaranteed to be fun. Expand
  38. Jul 26, 2012
    8
    It is truly difficult to rate this as a game. But rather than viewing it as a game it should be viewed as an experience. Therefore, the elements need to so often be in sync, as there are fewer elements in this story than in most. Most often the visuals, narration, and sound combine as perfect elements. The sprawling landscape of the tattered, seemingly once inhabited island is beautiful,It is truly difficult to rate this as a game. But rather than viewing it as a game it should be viewed as an experience. Therefore, the elements need to so often be in sync, as there are fewer elements in this story than in most. Most often the visuals, narration, and sound combine as perfect elements. The sprawling landscape of the tattered, seemingly once inhabited island is beautiful, as are the caves and water. Its stunning to walk through and be able to observe, much like a stroll in a place you will forever want to go to but never be able to go. The landscape is only outdone by the caves, which are dewy and wet and feel as such. Truly though the mastery of the game is in the audio. Jessica Curry's soundtrack is sublime and brimming with melancholy. Each piano strike feels somewhat forlorn, but remains beautiful and reminds one of the nature of the adventure. To accompany the music is a wonderful narration, which is the basis of the game. The narration guides the player through and allows the player to try and piece together the broken pieces of the past of the main character. Multiple play throughs will allow for more narration to be opened, as it becomes further evident that the character is deeply troubled and that he is not coping well with the past. The game is not without flaw as the play time is very short. Its unfortunate as the story being more fleshed out would have been welcome. But game is fantastic regardless and deserves reflection and discussion about its narrative. A true rarity in games. Expand
  39. Mar 14, 2013
    7
    I got it for like 2 bucks and for that its an interesting experience. Worth more than the 2 coke cans I might have bought otherwise. I think I beat it in two hours and never picked it up again, but that's longer than the coke cans would have lasted.
  40. Jul 16, 2012
    1
    How the hell do they get away with charging money for this piece of trash? This is not a game, there are no gameplay elements WHATSOEVER. You literally can't interact with ANYTHING in this game. There's hardly anything in the game, I beat it it under an hour (or finished it I should say, like I said there are no gameplay elements whatsoever). Apparently there is supposed to be a storyHow the hell do they get away with charging money for this piece of trash? This is not a game, there are no gameplay elements WHATSOEVER. You literally can't interact with ANYTHING in this game. There's hardly anything in the game, I beat it it under an hour (or finished it I should say, like I said there are no gameplay elements whatsoever). Apparently there is supposed to be a story here but it's so unintelligible that by the end you'll be left scratching your head as to why you wasted all this time thinking the story would tie together somehow.

    The creator of this game must think he's a real Stanley Kubrick, but in the end it just reaks of Uwe Bol. Trash trash trash... just utter trash, don't waste your money on this. It's not even a good looking game, the island is bland as hell and aside from a grant total of 3 or 4 structures and some meaningless paintings on the walls every now and then - the level design is literally just bland rock. The only reason I even give it a 1 and not a 0 is because I guess at least they spent a long time building their boring bland island, and I suppose there were 1 or 2 views that looked decent. In the end though avoid this game like the plague, it isn't even a game, nor is it art. It's utter **** seriously **** this bull**** I expected more from a game receiving such good ratings, you all make me sick.
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  41. Jul 16, 2012
    10
    First things first, you will only get about an hours game play out of this game and if you're looking for action then go elsewhere. Now that's out of the way I would definitely recommend this game, gripping, interesting, at times emotional, breathtaking and I have no regrets about paying the price I did for it. At first you may think £9.99 (RRP?) is a bit of a rip off for such aFirst things first, you will only get about an hours game play out of this game and if you're looking for action then go elsewhere. Now that's out of the way I would definitely recommend this game, gripping, interesting, at times emotional, breathtaking and I have no regrets about paying the price I did for it. At first you may think £9.99 (RRP?) is a bit of a rip off for such a short game, think again, this game gripped me from start to finish, it is a breath of fresh air, don't compare it to other games, think of it as a concept within itself, try putting yourself in the mindset that you are playing through a film or a story rather than a regular game. It will play tricks on you, you will be unsure if you just saw/heard something or if you just imagined it, the story drags you in, you feel attached to the character despite not seeing them, you understand their mindset, and the game sort of lets you make of it what you will, give it a chance, play through to the end, and you won't regret a second of it. Expand
  42. Jul 16, 2012
    10
    Best game i have played in a long time. Only Spec Ops:The Line beats it based on story. Great relaxing game that is hard to understand for younger children.
  43. Jul 16, 2012
    1
    I'll give this game a 1, on the principle that it tries to do something different, it is visually stunning, and its got a great soundtrack. All of that, ups it to a 1. It is possibly one of the worst PC experiences I have ever had. Look at the screen shots and put on some classical over ocean sounds in the background and you've played the game. Don't waste even $1 on this game. II'll give this game a 1, on the principle that it tries to do something different, it is visually stunning, and its got a great soundtrack. All of that, ups it to a 1. It is possibly one of the worst PC experiences I have ever had. Look at the screen shots and put on some classical over ocean sounds in the background and you've played the game. Don't waste even $1 on this game. I would not be nearly as upset if this game was touted as including "Exploration" and "Adventure" there is nothing. It is a straight line experience with zero interactivity. Art hanging on a wall is more enticing and engaging then this piece. Do NOT buy this "game".

    Honestly I'm considering not buying any game that gets recommended to me if I "Liked" this game. I would not trust their content at all.
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  44. Jul 17, 2012
    10
    Dear Esther is, simply put, a work of art. From the very first moment, when the screen fades into view and you take your first steps out into the world, it is like opening up your favorite short story and soaking in every word for all it's worth. The stunning visuals, the beautiful soundtrack, and the increasingly eerie narrative all serve to pull you into this world as if it was yourDear Esther is, simply put, a work of art. From the very first moment, when the screen fades into view and you take your first steps out into the world, it is like opening up your favorite short story and soaking in every word for all it's worth. The stunning visuals, the beautiful soundtrack, and the increasingly eerie narrative all serve to pull you into this world as if it was your own. The worst thing you could do with a game like this is to rush through it to the end, because every moment is precious. Stop and stare off into the sunset from the cliffside, go explore that abandoned house on the hill, or dive into that pool of water. Let the game guide you on your journey, and I can promise you won't be disappointed by what you find. Expand
  45. Jul 18, 2012
    10
    This game is beautiful. I have never written a review before and created a metacritic account specifically to say how wonderful this game is. It made me smile at how stunning and ethereal some of it is, it made me sad, it made me a little scared in places, it even made me shiver while sitting in a warm room because the mist blowing off the sea is so effective. I played through this in oneThis game is beautiful. I have never written a review before and created a metacritic account specifically to say how wonderful this game is. It made me smile at how stunning and ethereal some of it is, it made me sad, it made me a little scared in places, it even made me shiver while sitting in a warm room because the mist blowing off the sea is so effective. I played through this in one sitting and I am glad for the experience. It's important not to go into the game expecting the usual fare, it's a very passive experience. Having said that the game does reward players partaking in the small amount of exploration available. As a gamer I think we need more of this. A game made out of love, with attention to detail and not to a financial bottom line. Game designers have a duty to make good games, true, but game players also have a duty: to support pieces like this when they come along and reward them like they deserve. If your looking for a unique experience that is a far cry from the usual FPS on rails shooter then I cannot recommend this game highly enough. Incredible Expand
  46. Jul 19, 2012
    0
    "Dear Esther, how horrid you truly are. Like a virtual tour I grew endlessly tired and helpless, evermore hopeless I was. Wanting, dreaming, and then dreading the time would come when I would then see the light~to find no answer; a shadows cast
  47. Jan 29, 2013
    3
    I'm all for stretching the boundaries of what can be considered a "game," and I love games with a emphasis on story. But this game fell flat. The story was uninteresting, the music was forgettable, and the pace was unbearably slow.
  48. Jul 22, 2012
    0
    The zero was for the sole purpose to bring down Dear Esther's score. I knew it was not a game and that it has no gameplay. But I thought I should give a try 'cause there are plenty of positive review.
    Somebody said it is a piece of work. A pile of crap would be the most accurate definition.
    You wander two hours on a very beautiful island, guided by an high quality atmosphere blending
    The zero was for the sole purpose to bring down Dear Esther's score. I knew it was not a game and that it has no gameplay. But I thought I should give a try 'cause there are plenty of positive review.
    Somebody said it is a piece of work. A pile of crap would be the most accurate definition.
    You wander two hours on a very beautiful island, guided by an high quality atmosphere blending soundtrack. The purpose of Dear Esther is telling a good story in a different way. Unluckily, the story is crap. Random monologues, representing character letter to a dead girl are heard from time to time. The fact is, they don't make sense. And the story, if there's one behind this letters, is a crappy pile of cliches.
    As many suggested, a short film would have made more sense. If I knew, I would have refused Dear Esther even if it was for free. There are tons of things you could enjoy more, including being raped by a gorilla.
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  49. Jul 28, 2012
    10
    This is THE first indie game I actually loved, in fact maybe the first game, in general, I have loved! Everything about this "game" is amazing. Except the fact it isn't really a game but more like a narrated movie or story in which you walk around an island. Although you cannot run and it may start off slow the story line of the "game" is so amazing that quite Frankly once I start I cannotThis is THE first indie game I actually loved, in fact maybe the first game, in general, I have loved! Everything about this "game" is amazing. Except the fact it isn't really a game but more like a narrated movie or story in which you walk around an island. Although you cannot run and it may start off slow the story line of the "game" is so amazing that quite Frankly once I start I cannot stop until I've finished it. Only two movies in the past ten years have made me cry "Marly and Me" and "Click" but by the end of this game I couldn't stop wasting tissues and wiping my eyes. Perhaps not even a book I've read in the past ten years has made me cry as much as this simple, fictional "game." Please don't take me for some literate smart 'A' who has no idea about games because on steam alone I have 67 games ranging from COD to Warhammer, Gary's mod to Skyrim, and even games like Amnesia and Penumbra. So if maybe you are looking for a more meaningful game as opposed to the nonsense of' first person shooters then this is exactly what you want. I have never played a game that's less than an hour long that has brought me that far into the story and I hope they make more games like this one. Although Dear Esther has a somewhat short play through (first time about an hour, second maybe 40 min) you can play it a thousand times and there will always be something new, it's details are so rich that there will always be something you have overlooked or walked passed that will link more of the intense story together. Don't listen to those who say "Don't bother, it's not even a game" because maybe not it's essentially a game I believe one day, soon hopefully, It will become an entirely new genre! I'm sure there are quite a few people who wouldn't like this game because it takes a more literate, developed mind to understand. Even if this game had no story line the graphics and stunning sound as well as the music are enough to make you love it. Every time I hear the song they play in the trailer, which is also played at the end of the "game," I cry now and, now I truly believe this game is a part of my heart. I'm sorry this 'review' is all over the place but I hope you will give Dear Esther a chance since it is the greatest "game" I have ever played and I hope you too will think so as well! Expand
  50. Aug 19, 2012
    7
    Dear Esther was an unusual hate-love experience for me. For the first 45 minutes you will feel like a sucker duped into paying for nothing more than a tech demo. You will be walking around in a snail paced first person camera, unable to interact with even the most basic of objects, such as books or papers strewn about in a room. It would have been nice to be able to pick them up and readDear Esther was an unusual hate-love experience for me. For the first 45 minutes you will feel like a sucker duped into paying for nothing more than a tech demo. You will be walking around in a snail paced first person camera, unable to interact with even the most basic of objects, such as books or papers strewn about in a room. It would have been nice to be able to pick them up and read them as is common in adventure games, but apparently that was asking too much. In fact, the only controls in this title are move forward, back, left, right, and swim up (which is used sparingly if at all). Your purpose is to wander - wander aimlessly hoping beyond hope that you will stumble upon the imaginary trip wires placed around the world that trigger the narrator and bring some purpose to this dull experience. And I say dull not because of the pacing, or the lack of interactivity, or a graphically hideous engine (as in fact its quite beautiful when maxed out), but rather the lack of imagination that went into the world as the island is nothing but the same bland repeating rock, ground, and grass textures over and over. As for your lone companion, the narrator (whose voice is exceptionally well done), he rambles incoherently. Its as if he walked into a book store, picked up a random book, flipped through the pages, and just started reading obscure passages out loud. The whole experience is a disjointed mess. Oh and it got worse; the island which at first felt like a sandbox you could freely wander in is soon to be revealed as being a closed one-way track. When it does fork you are quickly led to a dead-end, with no narration, no purpose, only a few rocks that a newborn toddler could conquer, but yet you somehow are unable to step over. All that is left is to backtrack - backtrack with a slow moving camera only adding to the frustration. Troubles continued. As I approached the first interesting thing in this game, a half sunken ship submerged in shallow water, I like any normal person had the urge to swim to it. Well, I drowned in about 4 feet of water, "come back..." the narrator says, as I am transported back to land and free to continue on. Only I wasn't. I could look around, but I could not move. Nothing is blocking my way I'm just stuck. So this thing is bugged too? . In a blood boiling move I had no choice but to restart from the beginning and re-walk the whole bleh experience up to this point (interestingly however was the fact that some of the narration had changed). So, if you do decide to try Dear Esther do yourself a favour and quick-save before jumping off any cliffs or swimming in any water. I might have fallen victim to a rare bug, but no point in risking it yourself. Anyways, out of sheer stubbornness, I continued on from the start, mere inches away from bursting out in profanities condemning Dear Esther to the 9th levels of Hell. But, see... this is where the hate ends and the love begins. For the cave - the blue cave is where Dear Esther grabbed me and didn't let go. From here till the end I was captivated by the world. Long gone is the bland island and instead is a wondrous cave of waterfalls, streams, smoke-effects, creative lighting, and emotion inspiring environments ranging from psychosis to tranquillity. This was the experience I was hoping for when I bought Dear Esther. The story comes together, the narrator's incoherent ramblings start to actually make sense, and your purpose takes shape (which of course I won't spoil). I still don't know whether Dear Esther can be categorized as a game - and having only lasted 85 minutes in length (including my restart) I'm not sure its really worth the $9.99 price tag being sold for. However, if you wait and buy it on a Steam sale like I did for 75% off its hard to argue its not worth $2.50. Despite the slow starter it did come on strong and its unusual epistolary style of story telling will leave just enough holes to give you plenty to think about even after Dear Esther is long over. Expand
  51. Aug 6, 2012
    10
    I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this game. Just understand, this game requires patience and the understanding that it isn't what you'd commonly think of as a game, it's more of a graphical experiment. You walk through an island and marvel at it's beauty, with bits of story here and there. If you don't have the patience, I do not recommend this game to you.
  52. Aug 12, 2012
    9
    I agree with others that calling Dear Esther a "game" is a mistake. I am also not convinced that it is well described as an "interactive story" either, as the level of interaction is quite minimal. You can control how quickly you move through the space, and to some degree in what order the story elements are revealed, but ultimately the path and the story are unalterable. It's a poeticI agree with others that calling Dear Esther a "game" is a mistake. I am also not convinced that it is well described as an "interactive story" either, as the level of interaction is quite minimal. You can control how quickly you move through the space, and to some degree in what order the story elements are revealed, but ultimately the path and the story are unalterable. It's a poetic short story. The fact that it was created and delivered using the tools of game creation and distribution have created some confusion on the user end.

    I very much like Dear Ester. When playing a FPS I will often clear a level of monsters and enemies so I can spend some time just wandering around and explore the environment, looking at the details. My only disappointment with Esther came when it ended. I wanted more.
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  53. Aug 12, 2012
    2
    First things first, this is not a game. By it's own admission, it is more an experiment of narrative in the game medium. It fails, in my estimation, a failed experiment. If you've played the free "Stanley Parable" mod for Half-Life 2, you will have at least an inkling of what kind of template Dear Esther uses (though clearly, the former is more lighthearted than the latter). Let's throwFirst things first, this is not a game. By it's own admission, it is more an experiment of narrative in the game medium. It fails, in my estimation, a failed experiment. If you've played the free "Stanley Parable" mod for Half-Life 2, you will have at least an inkling of what kind of template Dear Esther uses (though clearly, the former is more lighthearted than the latter). Let's throw some complements about this title out there first. It does have some nice graphics and the environmental design is striking at times and...umm...well, I'm sadly out of good things to say. The next nicest thing I have to say is at least it only lasts about an hour. You start the game with no idea how or why you are there, nor any instructions. So, inevitably you begin to walk around. And I hope you enjoy walking around, because that is the only action that you, as the player, get to do. As you amble onward, every 5 or so minutes the game spits a bit narrative at you. Unlike the Stanley Parable, none of Dear Esther is particularly interesting or well written, and it most definitely isn't cohesive. I believe that lack of cohesion was done unwittingly, rather it was used as a mechanic by the game's designers to give the paper thin prose an air of mystery...being obtuse makes things hard to understand and, when done right, makes you work to follow the thread and give you a sense of accomplishment or reward once you start piecing things together. Problem being on this breadcrumb laden story's path, there is no thread. You come across bits of narrative slowly (and I do mean slowly - you walk at the pace of a geriatric snail, mash the Shift key all you'd like), and over time you realize none of them really connect. There is just random narrative, islands of text that refuse to work together in harmony to create an overarching story. Little things that do start to have any kind of meaning or interest or appear to be revealed in interesting ways end up being things that are already explained to you in the synopsis of the game. If you want a mild surprise, read as little about this game as you can - including, and especially, it's own synopsis. In the end, you might as well just fire up Skyrim, start wandering aimlessly, and play a 15 second clip from a different book-on-tape every 5 or so minutes. It'll be just as interesting. All I can say is I'm glad I was able to get the game on sale for $1.39. Expand
  54. Dec 22, 2012
    8
    I won't be discoursing if this IS a game or not, I'll just try to describe my impression. All the thing is about exploring an abandoned island and listening to The Narrators monologues, uncovering pieces of story. You don't need to fight, you don't even need to pick up/collect items. All you can do is go and watch around. The story is pretty abstract and most of it you should think out byI won't be discoursing if this IS a game or not, I'll just try to describe my impression. All the thing is about exploring an abandoned island and listening to The Narrators monologues, uncovering pieces of story. You don't need to fight, you don't even need to pick up/collect items. All you can do is go and watch around. The story is pretty abstract and most of it you should think out by yourself (to be honest, I'm not a fan of this kind of stories), so you can get more details by replays (some of the monologue parts are selected randomly) and also you can explore different routes across the island to get some extra ins and food for your thought. So the main things here are the storyline and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is fantastic, the depressive loneliness, feeling loss and unwilling to live. The visuals and locations design are great. And so is the perfect soundtrack (violins, cellos, piano) + The Narrator's voice fits nice. Overall, trying this was an awesome and unique experience and I'll be looking forward to check thechineseroom's new products! Expand
  55. Oct 20, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's hard for me to explain how I feel about Dear Esther. It is so beautiful and well done. I absolutely adore the concept of this game. I'm usually a big fan of less interaction to focus on the narrative. I even think the story is great, and combined with the scenery, the game is pretty haunting and emotional. The problem is that the story is so vague, it almost makes no sense at all. All I'm really sure of is that a woman named Esther died in a car accident. It is implied that maybe the narrator is her husband. It is implied that he was the drunk driver. Was he the drunk driver and her husband and they were in the same car? He makes it sound at one point as if Jackobson and such are brands of liquor he had been drinking, and he also refers to these names (one of which is Esther's last) as actual people. I understand that the point is to be vague, but how far can you go towards vague before you stop making sense at all and start being overly frustrating? I could very well just be too stupid to understand symbolism in words, but I think they could have made the narrative a little more coherent. Had they done that, I'd be happy with the gameplay just the way it is. However, since the story doesn't make a lot of sense, you're left with walking around an Island (a *beautiful* island, so it is hard to complain) and bits of story that at some points seem to contradict each other. I was left wishing I could care, but not knowing/understanding enough to do so. Too much symbolism and not enough fact make it impossible for me to have a real emotional response. My experience is my own and you may feel differently. It's a beautiful word of art and I recommend it on that alone. If you get something out of the narrative, then even better. Expand
  56. Sep 17, 2012
    10
    Wow! I finished this game 5 minutes ago and I'm totally delirious. This is real masterpiece. It is very strong point in the history of video games for me. Thank you!
  57. Feb 27, 2013
    5
    wow. I bought this game from steam for $2.50-what a waste! I understand what the game was trying to do, and I understand the information is not spoon fed to you. But after extensive time digging through the internet to understand the story, it was still not worth it.
  58. Sep 25, 2012
    3
    WARNING! THIS "GAME" IS 20 MINUTES LONG!

    I'd give the score lower were it not for the beautiful graphics. There are SO MANY DAMN BAD THINGS about this game that it's hard to decide where to begin. FIrst of it ISN'T A GAME, there is 0 INTERACTION with everything! No, really! THIS IS A HOLD W (forward) SIMULATOR! The story is really really uninteresting, this game is the equivelent of
    WARNING! THIS "GAME" IS 20 MINUTES LONG!

    I'd give the score lower were it not for the beautiful graphics. There are SO MANY DAMN BAD THINGS about this game that it's hard to decide where to begin. FIrst of it ISN'T A GAME, there is 0 INTERACTION with everything! No, really! THIS IS A HOLD W (forward) SIMULATOR! The story is really really uninteresting, this game is the equivelent of watching a **** film major's indie film that he couldn't get funded so he put it onto a game instead, easy to understand but arrogant and pretentious enough to believe it self to be otherwise, you will simply rather early begin to wonder when will the narrator shut up since you already got the idea of what occur a while back.

    So yeah, if you wanna spend 10 bucks like I did to see nice graphics go ahead or just you know....buy a GAME with good graphics rather than this......thing.
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  59. Sep 25, 2012
    9
    Dear Esther, released on the Steam Network, is a remake of a 2008 Half Life 2 mod. But to simply call it a remake does not do the game justice. It is a complete overhaul of the original, with a new score and a complete graphical make over.

    Having never touched the mod, this was a new experience for me. Loading the game, I immediately went to the options menu and checked my control
    Dear Esther, released on the Steam Network, is a remake of a 2008 Half Life 2 mod. But to simply call it a remake does not do the game justice. It is a complete overhaul of the original, with a new score and a complete graphical make over.

    Having never touched the mod, this was a new experience for me. Loading the game, I immediately went to the options menu and checked my control scheme. Odd, there is no action button. I can only walk and swim upwards. No "use", no "shoot".

    This sent alarm bells running through my head. Is this a $9.99 tech demo? Is this even a game?

    2 hours of playtime later, I would have my answers. No, this is not a glorified tech demo and not only is it a game, but it is one of the most fulfilling and rich game experiences I have had in a very long time.

    While I won't give away any of the details of the story, the premise is pretty simple. You are on a massive island that you will explore while triggering dialogue sequences that are in the form of a letter to a woman named Esther. As you travel, you will uncover more and more of the plot.

    Upon completion of the game, I felt as if I had been emotionally drained. Everything about the presentation was almost perfection. The score (composed by Jessica Curry) would swell at just the right times while never becoming overbearing and overly dramatic. The voice acting (Nigel Carrington) was equally well done, keeping with the tone of the story line. And then there were the graphics. I didn't realize that it was possible to pull this much stunning beauty out of the Source engine. The island itself is full of details, down to the trash on the beach and the markings on the walls. With all of that in mind, I still have a couple of very minor complaints. For one, the experience, while engaging and emotionally draining, still feels too short. I wanted more dialogue and more story. While I am sure there is more in a second play through, I still feel as if I should get more plot in my initial sitting.

    Another small thing is the lack of a "pick up" button. While it was appropriate to not have action oriented buttons, there were plenty of in game objects that were amazingly rendered and would have been even better if I were able to pick them up and examine them. While you could zoom in with the left mouse button, I wanted to get even closer to some objects.

    Those two issues are very inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. This game is high quality and well worth your time.
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  60. Mar 29, 2013
    10
    Dear Esther is, by far, one of the most beautiful and moving games I have ever played. It may be better to call it "interactive art," rather than a "game." It isn’t about defeating enemies, or solving puzzles, or any test of skill. It’s about exploring a beautiful world and slowly unraveling a complex story. As long as you don’t go into it with the wrong expectations, it’s an incredibleDear Esther is, by far, one of the most beautiful and moving games I have ever played. It may be better to call it "interactive art," rather than a "game." It isn’t about defeating enemies, or solving puzzles, or any test of skill. It’s about exploring a beautiful world and slowly unraveling a complex story. As long as you don’t go into it with the wrong expectations, it’s an incredible experience. Expand
  61. May 18, 2014
    3
    The interactions in this game are very minor, couple that with the excruciatingly slow walking speed and you have a game that grows boring quickly. However if you can find it cheap enough you may enjoy this short experience.
  62. Oct 8, 2012
    8
    Most people wont be able to appreciate this game. Ignore the majority of bad reviews here because most of them are from people who did not understand this game. This is a beautiful game. The visuals are fantastic and the story is very interesting. More or less you make up the story yourself based on details in the game and the narration. This is not a game that has actual gameplay in it.Most people wont be able to appreciate this game. Ignore the majority of bad reviews here because most of them are from people who did not understand this game. This is a beautiful game. The visuals are fantastic and the story is very interesting. More or less you make up the story yourself based on details in the game and the narration. This is not a game that has actual gameplay in it. If you don't want a story based game where you basically go through a visual story, don't buy this game and definitely do not review it. The narration can be difficult to piece together and will require a few playthroughs to figure things out. This is a fantastic game and I would recommend it to anyone with the sophistication to appreciate it. It is not meant to be an action filled game, its meant to be a walk through kind of game and it does what it does very well. Expand
  63. Oct 16, 2012
    4
    When I pay money for a VIDEOGAME, I expect it to be something I can play. And walking around on an island is not my idea of playing a videogame. The game is visually amazing. Yes. I can agree with that. Paying 10$ to walk around and just watch the environment while a story develops might be appealing for some. It's just not what I expect when I pay money for a game. Yes, Dear Esther isWhen I pay money for a VIDEOGAME, I expect it to be something I can play. And walking around on an island is not my idea of playing a videogame. The game is visually amazing. Yes. I can agree with that. Paying 10$ to walk around and just watch the environment while a story develops might be appealing for some. It's just not what I expect when I pay money for a game. Yes, Dear Esther is very artistic, but it's not what I call a videogame. Expand
  64. Dec 13, 2012
    1
    Went into this expecting some kind of Myst ripoff and I got an "interactive" movie instead. The narrator speaks cryptically about everything making what little story there is here very convoluted (randomization doesn't help the situation either). Dear Esther functions on intricate set pieces and music to keep your attention away from all the other problems with the game, like the fact itWent into this expecting some kind of Myst ripoff and I got an "interactive" movie instead. The narrator speaks cryptically about everything making what little story there is here very convoluted (randomization doesn't help the situation either). Dear Esther functions on intricate set pieces and music to keep your attention away from all the other problems with the game, like the fact it isn't a game. I'd be OK "playing" this if I got it in some Humble Indie Bundle but $10 for a remake of a 1 hour mod using the Source engine is ridiculous. The only reason this game isn't being slammed as being pretentious hipster garbage is because of the subject matter at hand. Otherwise this game would be totally overlooked and reveiled for being what it is: another overpriced, misleading, pretentious "indie" game. Expand
  65. Jul 29, 2013
    0
    It's not a game. You just run around and listen to random paragraphs of text which doesn't make much sense. Playing this so-called game for free is not worth the time spent, but paying for it is just nonsense.
  66. Nov 15, 2012
    6
    Not really a game but a very unique experience in a great environment. Only get out of it what you put it. Not really worth the full price however but makes you think about what a game really is.
  67. Nov 22, 2012
    8
    This is a game that solely concentrates on storytelling and beautiful graphics. At first I felt like playing a tech-demo but the story is a puzzle in itself and unfolds as slowly as the pacing of the game is. It is a melancholic and isolated world and the player has to unravel its mystery. Although the publishers state that there is not one story here as the triggered story pieces areThis is a game that solely concentrates on storytelling and beautiful graphics. At first I felt like playing a tech-demo but the story is a puzzle in itself and unfolds as slowly as the pacing of the game is. It is a melancholic and isolated world and the player has to unravel its mystery. Although the publishers state that there is not one story here as the triggered story pieces are randomised, I have figured out a back-story that fits all pieces generated in the game. Still, the narration is not exactly reliable and the confusing bits you learn by and by will keep you thinking, long after your first play-through and the ones that will (probably) follow. I really enjoyed the ambiance of the island and the story becomes quite dramatic towards the end. For me, the experience is definitely worth the price and you should take a look at a trailer or the beginning of a let's play and see if it might be interesting to you. If you like good story-telling, you will not regret buying Dear Esther. Expand
  68. Jun 19, 2013
    7
    Dear Esther is an amazing video/game which has to be explored and understood in order to like it.
    It features a pure realistic and fantastic world with unbelievable graphics and performances, all combined with a great plot. It is a very short game, but really exciting, which can give you a lot of feelings.
    -Technique- Dear Esther featuers the best graphics that have ever been in
    Dear Esther is an amazing video/game which has to be explored and understood in order to like it.
    It features a pure realistic and fantastic world with unbelievable graphics and performances, all combined with a great plot. It is a very short game, but really exciting, which can give you a lot of feelings.

    -Technique-

    Dear Esther featuers the best graphics that have ever been in videogames of these last years; they're very clear and very advanced, as well as very clever (there are some "sprites" that are even featured in old games like the first Tomb Raider, but they're put so well in the environment that they look like 3D objects which even make animations when you walk near them, but actually are always in the same position, they just "turn" in your looking direction, which makes great graphics and very high framerate savings). All this must be mixed with, thanks to Source Engine and some great tweaks, a very good/excellent performance, which is really amazing. Light effects and textures are really impressive in this game.

    -Plot and sounds-

    What makes Dear Esther so great is also the plot, which is really intriguing and deep. It seems to contain a lot of metaphors, and what actually happens is relative to player's interpretation. Now, combine all this with some great soundtracks and really creepy sounds, which will make of Dear Esther an excellent video adventure, which will bring you into its finest, melancholic and deepest experience.

    -Longevity and gameplay-

    Unfortunately, the game lasts for a very short time, because you can complete it in no more than two hours (even exaggerating; actually, you can complete it in a hour). Basically, all you do is explore an island and follow some monologues.

    Technique: 8- [7.75]:
    ▪Graphics: 8;
    ▪Performance: 7½ [7.5];
    Gameplay: 7½;
    Plot: 7½;
    Longevity: 3;
    Sound: 8;

    Videogame avg. scores: 7- [6.75];
    OVERALL VIDEOGAME SCORE: 7.
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  69. Dec 3, 2012
    4
    It's already been noted that Dear Esther isn't really a game as such. That's fine, and I'm actually a bit of a fan of interactive fiction (give Shade or Anchorhead a go sometime) and other 'games' that bend the definition a bit. However, despite the lovely visuals and the neat caving section I can't really recommend it. The prose is florid and purple, and thinks it's a lot more meaningfulIt's already been noted that Dear Esther isn't really a game as such. That's fine, and I'm actually a bit of a fan of interactive fiction (give Shade or Anchorhead a go sometime) and other 'games' that bend the definition a bit. However, despite the lovely visuals and the neat caving section I can't really recommend it. The prose is florid and purple, and thinks it's a lot more meaningful than it actually is. Despite the ill-considered random allocation of voice clips to each playthrough, the plot is pretty much given away at the start by chemical formulae on walls and overly obvious hints. Interactive fiction is fine, but this is bad fiction. Expand
  70. Oct 22, 2013
    10
    This is hardly a video game, and more a piece of art. The scenery is breathtaking, the music is spectacular, and the story is eerie. A lot of people won't see this for what it is simply b/c there is little to do except walk around. This is the type of game that you lock the doors and turn off all lights, and sounds and just experience it. Experience the history, the serenity, theThis is hardly a video game, and more a piece of art. The scenery is breathtaking, the music is spectacular, and the story is eerie. A lot of people won't see this for what it is simply b/c there is little to do except walk around. This is the type of game that you lock the doors and turn off all lights, and sounds and just experience it. Experience the history, the serenity, the loneliness, the sorrow or an island world and a mans story. I found the game to be like a good book with the pieces of the narrator slowly filling in the gaps to find out just what has happening, is going to happen, and what once was happening. Though it was short, I felt it was worth every penny of the sale price, and has replay value on the living and breathing world alone. I can't imagine if skyrim had had a world so alive, bright, dark, and dead such as this. What an amazing time for video games we live in. If you play consoles and Call of Duty, you won't be able to appreciate this sort of artwork most likely. Expand
  71. Feb 1, 2013
    1
    I wouldn't even really call this a game. Its just wandering around in some nice graphics with a not so good story line that doesn't really go anywhere.

    Its kinda like a book with a great cover and blurb....but was never finished, and somehow is being sold in stores...

    I play most of the games I have at least twice. But this one I wont go near again as its just a waste of my time.
  72. Dec 23, 2012
    6
    Dear Esther has a deep atmosphere and unique poetic narrative. The visuals and sound are great, especially for a low budget title, and the environment is as detailed as it is fun to explore. It's only an hour long and gameplay consists of walking forward and looking around, though Dear Esther is obviously meant to be more of an interactive story than an actual video game. It's biggestDear Esther has a deep atmosphere and unique poetic narrative. The visuals and sound are great, especially for a low budget title, and the environment is as detailed as it is fun to explore. It's only an hour long and gameplay consists of walking forward and looking around, though Dear Esther is obviously meant to be more of an interactive story than an actual video game. It's biggest appeal would be the location of the game itself. The Island feels so lifelike and genuine, It'd probably be an awesome place to visit in real life. I guess it just has a magically feel to it, I don't know. My biggest criticism would be it's price. I couldn't recommend this at full price, but Dear Esther was a nice experience all the same. Expand
  73. Dec 31, 2012
    10
    I don't often buy games knowing nothing about them, but I picked up Dear Esther during a Steam sale and couldn't be happier with what I found. It is arguable that it doesn't fit the typical expectations of an interactive game, but when one considers gaming as an art form, Dear Esther fits beautifully. It allows the player to experience a narrative story at your own pace, sort of like anI don't often buy games knowing nothing about them, but I picked up Dear Esther during a Steam sale and couldn't be happier with what I found. It is arguable that it doesn't fit the typical expectations of an interactive game, but when one considers gaming as an art form, Dear Esther fits beautifully. It allows the player to experience a narrative story at your own pace, sort of like an interactive short film. The lack of total closure or specific details behind the story left me deep in thought for quite some time afterward, which is a feeling that I strongly value as an aspiring writer. Initially I did find the lack of environmental interaction frustrating, but I came to understand that it heightens the players senses when their interactivity is limited. Knowing there is only so much one can do shapes how the world of Dear Esther is perceived makes it difficult to miss any important points of interest. I'd have gladly paid more than the $4 I spent for such an experience. Expand
  74. Jan 1, 2013
    8
    First and foremost, Dear Esther is a game that will cater to a very specific type of gamer, so if you aren't the kind of person that likes walking along a fairly linear path for no reason other than to progress the story (i.e. Final Fantasy without the battle sequences) then chances are you won't like Dear Esther enough to justify the $10 required.

    Dear Esther is quite a change of pace
    First and foremost, Dear Esther is a game that will cater to a very specific type of gamer, so if you aren't the kind of person that likes walking along a fairly linear path for no reason other than to progress the story (i.e. Final Fantasy without the battle sequences) then chances are you won't like Dear Esther enough to justify the $10 required.

    Dear Esther is quite a change of pace in the video game industry, moving the emphasis away from action and twitch gameplay and toward passive narrative and storytelling. Right off the bat you are dropped in a world in which nothing is readily apparent except to just keep exploring, and all the while you hear snippets of dialogue from an unknown source. Throughout the game, these snippets come together to explain the setting and story as well as the significance of the world you are in.

    As far as what makes Dear Esther a good game, I feel like I should point out that it isn't a game as much as it is a narrated benchmark. Interactivity in the game is next to nothing as the only things you as the player are allowed to do is to go from area to linearly-arranged area at a single set speed. The controls are limited to walk (emphasis on "walk") and a slight zoom, and the only real motivation to proceed further into the game is to find the next scripted point in which you are gifted another chunk of dialogue.

    That said, Dear Esther is a remarkable narrative experience. The game is presented in a very poetic and artistic style. The graphics are beautifully presented and the dialogue is well delivered. There's a bunch of places in which cryptic spots of graffiti are splattered onto the wall, adding to the mystery of the world that you are placed into. Also, if you play the game multiple times through, you are given new secrets that explain the story further.

    In conclusion, Dear Esther is a beautiful example of narrative-driven gameplay, although the term "gameplay" is used here very loosely. The lack of any real forms of interaction would seriously challenge anyone's definition of the term "game", and as such it would be a specific demographic of gamer that would appreciate what this game is. At the end of the day, if you were one of the people who only played Diablo III or Mass Effect for the visuals and the storyline, then you wouldn't be amiss giving Dear Esther a go.
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  75. Jan 14, 2013
    10
    People that say that the game sucks. Yes, it sucks as a game, but if you see like a story.
    I'm trying to say that the people that review this just care about the game play, the graphics and all that.
    And, you should revisit the game, because the story changes. I really liked it. And by reading the other reviews i see A LOT of people thinking that this game was going to be the next call
    People that say that the game sucks. Yes, it sucks as a game, but if you see like a story.
    I'm trying to say that the people that review this just care about the game play, the graphics and all that.
    And, you should revisit the game, because the story changes.
    I really liked it.
    And by reading the other reviews i see A LOT of people thinking that this game was going to be the next call of duty (I don't really like call of duty) or saints row.
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  76. Jan 15, 2013
    0
    As a mod for a game, this is cute. As it's own game, it's nothing worthwhile. The story could easily have been packed into 20 minutes instead of 60-90 minutes of walking through beautiful, but generally uninteresting terrain.
  77. Mar 8, 2014
    8
    This is an amazing and surprising game, forgetting the endless discussion about definitions on what a game is. It's not conventional, it have few gameplay elements, it's story-driven - an intriguing, mysterious and very beautiful story, by the way.

    It starts very boring and confusing. You have to spend some time, wandering around the island - with beautiful graphics - to catch fragments
    This is an amazing and surprising game, forgetting the endless discussion about definitions on what a game is. It's not conventional, it have few gameplay elements, it's story-driven - an intriguing, mysterious and very beautiful story, by the way.

    It starts very boring and confusing. You have to spend some time, wandering around the island - with beautiful graphics - to catch fragments of this story, which are randomly narrated, and may reveal something to you through the journey. But this story will finish with some gaps, leading you to want to play again to catch more fragments and then, possibly understand the full story of Esther and the protagonist, although that story have a lot of metaphoric interpretations too. The journey is full of small well placed elements you can see and add to your interpretation.

    It lasts three hours to me, and after two more hours i'm still thinking about Dear Esther story, my head full of the images, the thoughts, and the music of this really wonderful game.
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  78. Jan 28, 2013
    3
    Oh dear. I "played" (read that as walked) though this game and was left wanting. Although the story itself was compelling enough I felt no connection to it's world as you can't interact with anything at all. It is essentially a walk though some admittedly scenic areas but that's really all there is to this "game". If your in the market for an art game there a lot better titles out there;Oh dear. I "played" (read that as walked) though this game and was left wanting. Although the story itself was compelling enough I felt no connection to it's world as you can't interact with anything at all. It is essentially a walk though some admittedly scenic areas but that's really all there is to this "game". If your in the market for an art game there a lot better titles out there; but if you like waliking about (without leaving home) and listening to an audio book this is you thing. Expand
  79. Feb 8, 2013
    9
    This isn't a game and wasn't really meant to be a game so I'll review it for what it is, which is visual/auditory art that you walk around in. Most kids won't appreciate this title, the emotional impact would just go over their heads just like they'd be bored with experiencing any art. The environment design is top notch especially for the old engine. If you've ever played an MMO or FPSThis isn't a game and wasn't really meant to be a game so I'll review it for what it is, which is visual/auditory art that you walk around in. Most kids won't appreciate this title, the emotional impact would just go over their heads just like they'd be bored with experiencing any art. The environment design is top notch especially for the old engine. If you've ever played an MMO or FPS and said, "that place way over there on top of that mountain would look cool" and get there and it's not all that impressive, well, every part of this environment just looks really nice and beautiful from any angle. The sound and music really add to this as well. This title is just a feeling and it instills feeling more than any other game I've played. The only problem I had with it is that it's so short, but the impact, what you take away from a game after playing it, was still very real. Expand
  80. Mar 1, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Possibly one of the most lamest games I have ever had the unfortunate displeasure of playing.

    The only thing that is good in the entire "multi-angle" movie is the scenery.

    The scenery looks amazing, however I'm quite sure you could see better with a cheap blender file rendering. Thankfully Steam had this game on offer when I bought it and I can see why, had I paid full price I'd have been taking it up with trading standards for false advertising.

    The game is advertised as an "adventure game" when I think of an adventure game I think of games like maybe text adventure games Behind Closed Doors, Very Big Cave Adventure, or point and click adventures like Secret of Monkey Island, Flight of the Amazon Queen, Grim Fandango, or puzzle adventure games like Myst or Dark Fall, or finally adventure/action games like Tomb Raider, or Uncharted.

    This game doesn't fit into any of these categories. This game is a very bad and very cheap effort at the games company trying to make a quick buck.

    The thing that makes the game so poor is that in the game the end user has absolutely nothing to do, other than admire the scenery and move the character around the island.

    Yes really that is it. It's like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book without any turn to this page, or turn to that page.

    You have absolutely nothing to do within the game other than follow the path round try and veer off the path to look at something you quickly find yourself stuck on a rock unable to go any further, at most if you get bored there is a really big chasm that you can throw yourself into or drown yourself in the sea but unfortunately that just leads to a message stating "come back" and then a regeneration on the nearest land.

    There are no puzzles whatsoever in this game, there is stuff scrawled on walls like science symbols which you would have thought maybe used later in some kind of puzzle or something, but no they aren't used for anything.

    The scenery is stunning, especially when your in the cave, but other than that it is nothing more than just an interactive multi-angle movie which is something DVD's did years ago and is nothing new.

    As for it's definition as a game I'd actually question as to whether that is actually accurate the definition of game is as follows

    "A form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.".

    There is no skill, strength or luck and I don't think just following a path around an island constitutes playing either, so it is more an interactive movie than a game.

    In addition to this the story line is just as bad. The entire story seems to depict the lives of a number of people 2 of them ended their lives on the island, whilst another 2 managed to kill themselves on the M5 motorway the scene of which is re-built in a pool, and finally you end up being another victim of the island or do you turn into a gull at the end and fly over the island?? Very bizarre story line.

    If you ever played Myst or Dark Fall and thought you might like it if they removed all the puzzles then you'd like this, but if you like the puzzles and at least some kind of a challenge then this is not the game for you.

    The game took me about 30 minutes to complete this morning, but now knowing how it works I could probably whizz round that island in about 10-15 minutes.
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  81. Mar 5, 2013
    0
    Honestly, it's not a game. It could easily have been a cut scene or a short movie, but then again you wouldn't get the fan boy defence corps or all that juicy profit if it wasn't sold as a game. The game tells you the story of Esther's husband wandering through a Hebridean island (A thoroughly ugly scene to behold) coming to terms with his wife's death. You are somehow automaticallyHonestly, it's not a game. It could easily have been a cut scene or a short movie, but then again you wouldn't get the fan boy defence corps or all that juicy profit if it wasn't sold as a game. The game tells you the story of Esther's husband wandering through a Hebridean island (A thoroughly ugly scene to behold) coming to terms with his wife's death. You are somehow automatically expected to care about the wife or his plight and are subjected to 45 minutes of gripping.... holding down the W button. You walk painfully slowly through the island, often being encouraged to take a wrong turn to try and find additional dialogue. The problem is the dialogue just isn't interesting or rewarding. The whole piece is neither emotionally gripping nor philosophically gripping, so I honestly don't know what it is aiming for.
    What Dear Esther needed was dynamic content and emotion. What it has is neither.
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  82. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    A brilliant, beautiful game. Jessica Curry's soundtrack is amazing! I have played and replayed this game and it never gets old. I'm sure it's not for everyone but the way the story unfolds and leaves you to make your own conclusion about what happened.
    Great game!
  83. Jul 20, 2013
    7
    This is an experience, not a game. There is no interaction, no clicking, no shooting, no anything. This doesn't make Dear Esther bad, it's just important to know beforehand that all you're required to do is walk around, enjoy the beautiful graphics music, listen to the narrator, and try to sort out what's going on. Anyone who enjoys thinking for themselves and having to draw their ownThis is an experience, not a game. There is no interaction, no clicking, no shooting, no anything. This doesn't make Dear Esther bad, it's just important to know beforehand that all you're required to do is walk around, enjoy the beautiful graphics music, listen to the narrator, and try to sort out what's going on. Anyone who enjoys thinking for themselves and having to draw their own conclusions will really enjoy this. Expand
  84. Oct 24, 2014
    7
    Provided that you are willing to be flexible about the definition of a game, this is an experience which I recommend to anyone who enjoys anything thought provoking. There are certain aspects of the story which are clearly laid out, but the vast majority of the narrative can be vague, relying heavily on the interpretation of the individual. Initially I hadn't realised that the snippets ofProvided that you are willing to be flexible about the definition of a game, this is an experience which I recommend to anyone who enjoys anything thought provoking. There are certain aspects of the story which are clearly laid out, but the vast majority of the narrative can be vague, relying heavily on the interpretation of the individual. Initially I hadn't realised that the snippets of narrative are actually randomised, so the game can be played through multiple times with different results. If you have a lot of experience in role-playing games, you might be used to checking the corner of every room and going down every path - on the off-chance that there's something special there. I recommend that you don't do that in Dear Esther. I went down every little path, explored the corners of every room and I am none the wiser. Apart from a few scribbles on walls here and there, don't expect to find some Easter Egg or a special note. Expand
  85. Apr 2, 2013
    8
    Nope. It's not a game. Perhaps it should be listed under movies?

    And yet.... haunting. Strangely disturbing. The music and the ambience create an atmosphere that will immerse your psy and make you wonder. Some of the places you "find" are stunning and at least one scene became my desktop for months. The soundtrack sits as a folder on my desktop and occasionally I play it and relive the
    Nope. It's not a game. Perhaps it should be listed under movies?

    And yet.... haunting. Strangely disturbing. The music and the ambience create an atmosphere that will immerse your psy and make you wonder. Some of the places you "find" are stunning and at least one scene became my desktop for months. The soundtrack sits as a folder on my desktop and occasionally I play it and relive the tale.

    It was cheap. I finished it and I bothered to write this review.

    Must have meant something. Not sure what though...... Still.
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  86. Apr 13, 2013
    5
    Not a game, but I would call it art. It kind of has a museum element going. You can look at all the pretty pictures and areas, listen to some "tour guide" talk but don't touch anything or you might break it.
    I frequently ask this question of the people who have "played" it. If you watched a playthrough video, what would be different? You might walk to some area in a different order...but
    Not a game, but I would call it art. It kind of has a museum element going. You can look at all the pretty pictures and areas, listen to some "tour guide" talk but don't touch anything or you might break it.
    I frequently ask this question of the people who have "played" it. If you watched a playthrough video, what would be different? You might walk to some area in a different order...but ultimately, it really is more like a video "museum" and less of a video game.
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  87. Apr 26, 2013
    1
    This dosen't even deserve to be called a game. It's an hour or so long "game" where all you do is walk on some island and listen to narrator telling an very uninteresting story. If there is one thing i can say good about this game is that it had very nice graphics. But graphics don't make game good. This is something that i assume The Chinese Room didn't understand, and that is why we haveThis dosen't even deserve to be called a game. It's an hour or so long "game" where all you do is walk on some island and listen to narrator telling an very uninteresting story. If there is one thing i can say good about this game is that it had very nice graphics. But graphics don't make game good. This is something that i assume The Chinese Room didn't understand, and that is why we have this utterly boring game. I am giving it a low score because this is a game i am reviewing, but if this was made for artisic attempt, it would have better score. I am guessing that's why there are so many positive score for this game, because all this people looked at it as an art but not as a game. But i will not go there as developers are saying that this is a game, so i am giving it a low score. Expand
  88. May 14, 2013
    8
    There's not a huge amount to Dear Esther but what there is genuinely touching and positively intriguing. It tells a slow and confusing story and I enjoye trying to piece together the elements as I made my ascent to an equally obscure climax. It's not going to be something for everyone as it lacks what most would consider gameplay elements but it was a game that I enjoyed my time with andThere's not a huge amount to Dear Esther but what there is genuinely touching and positively intriguing. It tells a slow and confusing story and I enjoye trying to piece together the elements as I made my ascent to an equally obscure climax. It's not going to be something for everyone as it lacks what most would consider gameplay elements but it was a game that I enjoyed my time with and that's all I was looking for. Expand
  89. Jan 14, 2015
    3
    The "game" is literally 30-40mins long, but because your character has a "forced slow walk" (no run, jump or crouch at all) it pads that out to 60-90mins. Short narration based games aren't bad in themselves, but REALLY SHORT sub-1 hour story-driven games are actually too short to build any sense of empathy or rapport with the main character you're supposed to be "playing". It's over soThe "game" is literally 30-40mins long, but because your character has a "forced slow walk" (no run, jump or crouch at all) it pads that out to 60-90mins. Short narration based games aren't bad in themselves, but REALLY SHORT sub-1 hour story-driven games are actually too short to build any sense of empathy or rapport with the main character you're supposed to be "playing". It's over so quickly any intended tragedy based emotional response is watered down into mildly-disinterest.

    It's also buggy. You get stuck behind 6 inch rocks, and you instantly drown if your head dips below the water in some points even for 0.5 seconds. I actually managed to accidentally break the game within the first 10 seconds by jumping down on the rocks to explore them with the not unreasonable expectation of a grown adult being able to climb back over a 12" rock, and ended up well and truly stuck there forcing a restart. The second time I drowned 10ft away from the shore...

    A quick glance at other reviewers with gushing 10/10 scores reveals half have given 10/10 to every game they've reviewed (which for many is only this one), whilst the other half seem to be the "pretentious snob" crowd that "nouveau art forms" seem to attract with comments like "Ignore the low ratings as they are not the intended audience. This is a work for adults." and "I guess this game is not for everyone, just the intelligent" (which certainly speaks volumes as to who they perceive the "intended audience" to be (ie, the "fake talent with people issues" crowd apparently)...

    Overall : 3 (+1 for effort and +1 each for GFX/sound but nothing else for having literally no game-play or game length). Given there's literally almost no interactivity, I get the feeling the writers simply chose the wrong format for the story and it would have been better off as a 2-3hr short novel / movie / non serialized TV drama rather than a 30-60min fake game.
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  90. Jul 15, 2013
    8
    Dear Esther certainly has a different way of telling story in a video game, which is probably the cause of the many mixed reviews, but for someone who is ready to experience something different and truly immersive, it's an indie game that is well worth the money. The main draw to the game is the beautifully crafted levels and mountain vistas that were all somehow achieved in Source; a gameDear Esther certainly has a different way of telling story in a video game, which is probably the cause of the many mixed reviews, but for someone who is ready to experience something different and truly immersive, it's an indie game that is well worth the money. The main draw to the game is the beautifully crafted levels and mountain vistas that were all somehow achieved in Source; a game engine that is quickly becoming dated and doesn't handle open environments very well. Despite the technical limitations, the art assets are nothing less than spectacular at a great performance rate and compliment the many mysteries and often eerie situations that the narrative invokes. Many times I found myself stopping to admire the environments and many details that make up the whole game experience. It would also be a shame not to commend the game for its soundtrack, as it has a very mesmerizing quality to it and adds to the overall atmosphere of the game beautifully. Expand
  91. Jun 6, 2013
    9
    It's a great experience, yes, an experience more then a video game. It has one of the best soundtracks and sceneries in any computer generated "things". A bit short but replayable. Definitely a must buy with a sale or in a bundle. 9/10
  92. AWG
    Jun 17, 2013
    4
    Boring. I really wanted to understand what was behind Dear Esther but I couldn't do that over the amount of boredom this "game" inoculated in me: you can do nothing, you can interact with nothing, you never have to take a decision, a choice. You keep walking and listening, walking and listening. walking a listening.
    It's not a game, it's an audio-book.
  93. Jun 6, 2013
    9
    Oh wow. Dear Esther was really a delicious treat for anybody who likes philosophical games and the likes. The game features many many clues and possibilities, you, as the player, must construct your own version of what happened. I must admit I was going to give this game a 7, but, it just stuck with me, I couldn't stop thinking about it for about thirty minutes.
    I checked other people's
    Oh wow. Dear Esther was really a delicious treat for anybody who likes philosophical games and the likes. The game features many many clues and possibilities, you, as the player, must construct your own version of what happened. I must admit I was going to give this game a 7, but, it just stuck with me, I couldn't stop thinking about it for about thirty minutes.
    I checked other people's thoughts and possible endings and my own version was suddenly there, it made the game SO much better and profound. I got this game along with a bunch of other indie games for a dollar on "Humble-bundle" and man, it was so worth it. This game is seriously superb, you might not catch it at first though, let it sink in, it's worth the wait.

    Warning: This game appeals to a very specific audience of people who appreciate games that are as artfully and skillfully crafted as this one, if you're the casual "Hack & Slash" PC gamer (nothing wrong there, I enjoy those too occasionally), don't play this game as you might be disapointed.
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  94. Jun 25, 2013
    2
    The walking is jittery, the graphics are pretty bulky and unimpressive, and the story just isn't good. The sound effects don't even work well. Its like someone took everything good that Proteus had and forgot to put it in this game.
  95. Aug 31, 2013
    9
    Beautiful, poetic, fresh, refreshing, short (but then I suppose it had to be short, hopefully in the future more such stuff will follow as the format lends itself well to experiential extension). Overall, awesome experience, a definitively innovative approach to the use of virtual environments.
  96. Apr 19, 2014
    7
    Well, I finished the game and had a rough idea of what was happenning. I felt like I missed something and was curious so I read some guides, watched videos, etc. I must say I missed a lot what this game offers. At the same time it's impossible to see most of it on the first playthrough. It's quite nice when it comes to storytelling and exploration, but myself I haven't found a taste norWell, I finished the game and had a rough idea of what was happenning. I felt like I missed something and was curious so I read some guides, watched videos, etc. I must say I missed a lot what this game offers. At the same time it's impossible to see most of it on the first playthrough. It's quite nice when it comes to storytelling and exploration, but myself I haven't found a taste nor will to play it again. Maybe I will another day.
    If you are patient and looking for a nice chill adventure with beautiful music and scenery and mystery story, go and play it - the first playthrough is definitely worth it and will leave you somewhat sentimental.
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  97. Jul 21, 2013
    10
    This is not a game. It is a wonderfully sad and beautiful experience. It's worth every minute and penny
    The enviroment is amazing in every way and it's almost impossible not to be engulfed by the depressing and romantic narrative.
    If I could I would vote 15/10.
  98. Dec 25, 2014
    0
    This whole game could have been included in a larger trailer. It is no more than one long cut-scene, and the developers and players bluntly lie to you - it is NOT INTERACTIVE. It is NOT AN INDIE ADVENTURE GAME.

    It's an okayish mind-teaser, but it is even below low-quality visual novels and doesn't deserve being paid for. As a free mod or video, this would be nice.
  99. Aug 10, 2013
    8
    I have to agree that this is not a game, and I was frustrated at first because I was expecting something more along the lines of a horror adventure game. When I started playing I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did, the main character kept telling the story, it was until halfway through the second chapter that I realized that I was not playing a game. I wasI have to agree that this is not a game, and I was frustrated at first because I was expecting something more along the lines of a horror adventure game. When I started playing I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did, the main character kept telling the story, it was until halfway through the second chapter that I realized that I was not playing a game. I was experiencing a retold tale, everything was symbolic in some way to the story your character was telling. At first I was gonna quit, but the graphics, were stunningly beautiful and the story was intriguing. I kept traveling through, taking plenty of screen shots, it was pretty incredible. Unfortunately there is not much replay value in this game, I was not surprised though on most of the reviews found here, I can see where people would be frustrated, as I was discovering I paid for something that should free or next to free. Expand
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. Jan 10, 2013
    30
    With no story or true narrative to latch onto, there's no reason for players to care about what's going on. And there's only one thing ever going on in Dear Esther: nothing. Broken up into individual pieces-the graphics, writing, and music clearly show talent and might have led to interesting stories or games-but together they form a dull, lifeless experience that's quickly forgotten.
  2. 50
    To call this piece "a game" and rate it as an ordinary game is not fair. You can find many flaws in the game's mechanics but if you just follow the story your experience will be unforgettable. [Apr 2012]
  3. Mar 13, 2012
    55
    Thechineseroom studio managed to create something surprising and original, but Dear Esther is something you experience rather than play. [April 2012, p.79]