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Mixed or average reviews- based on 584 Ratings

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  1. Feb 16, 2012
    Dear Esther is an otherworldly experience, yet the uneasily becalming feeling of being-in-the-world, this sense of "coming back to oneself" is ineffable. The journey is mine as well as yours, it transcends the meaning of being-oneself. This experience is intangible, but real; mythical, but precise; familiar, but alien. Everything, from the atmosphere to the music, just everything contributes to this experience. An experience which deserves better words - but there aren't any.
    It will make itself speechless in the end, leaving oneself to become speechless. Its story renders everything immutable.

    This, the experience, the feel, the sense, this is art in its purest form. This is a masterpiece.
  2. Dec 27, 2013
    While it is certainly a beautiful and detailed world, Dear Esther is not a game. When you pay for a game, and expect a game, this is very disappointing. It is closer to a demo for a textuure artist and 3d modeler than a game. Not fun at all, lacks any real narrative and the experience is completely un-engaging. Don't waste your money on this.
  3. Apr 19, 2012
    This is not really a game when you remove the traditional gameplay style. Besides the boring storytelling, decent music and good graphics of the Source Engine, this HL2 mod turning into an Indie as a remake should have been a computer-graphic movie instead on YouTube rather than playing through it. Therefore it's not worth the money and the playing time.
  4. Aug 31, 2014
    This may or may not even be a video game. If The Stanley Parable had a retarded brother, this would be his incestuous and disfigured offspring. SCORE: 5/10

    You walk around in a mostly linear path while a story is narrated to you. The story itself is rather disjointed and incomplete, just like the game. The visuals are great, kind of like a tech demo. The story is weak. The gameplay is

    It is worth about one dollar. Anything more than that is a complete waste.
  5. May 30, 2013
    This is visually very beautiful no doubt, but it is not a game and should not be advertised as such. This title was clearly made by artists and they did a very good job, the environment is stunning but it feels like a tease since you cannot interact with anything. If at least they would have integrated some puzzle elements to make it more interesting. The only thing the player can do is look around and walk, even running is not possible which can be quite frustrating when you reach a dead-end and have to go back a long way. The emphasis is solely on the visuals and even then I caught a few textures that did not look good from close up. If your going to make a title that showcases graphics, you cannot allow blurry textures to make it in your final product. The purpose of the narrator is clearly to break the monotony but the story he tells did not even intrigue me the least. Again, this is visually very nice and immersing but it cannot be called a game. There should be a specific genre category for "games" like this, putting it the "adventure" genre on Steam is misleading. This is an experience that a lot people can enjoy but I would advise to wait for a special on Steam before buying, 10$ is too expensive. Expand
  6. Oct 16, 2012
    I bought this piece of art based upon it's shining reviews. It is stunningly beautiful to look at and the music is sublime. Why couldn't Skyrim have these deep colours and graphics? I'll be honest, for £6 it's worth the investment. I don't think I'll play it again, but as others have said, it's quite an emotional experience than a game. I felt a little strange after finishing the story.
  7. Feb 17, 2012
    An incredibly beautiful 'game'. The art style and aesthetics are, perhaps, the best that I've seen so far. Dear Esther really manage to capture the subtleties of nature in their graphical style. Are rare feet indeed.

    Combine that with a fantastic voice acting and music, and you've got a emotionally moving story, which brilliance is that it doesn't tell you much. That is the very genius of
    this game.

    A word of warning though. This is not your ordinary game, there is no interaction other than controlling the camera and movement. There are no objectives and nothing of the sort. It's a story.
  8. Feb 15, 2012
    Poetic to say the least. Don't buy it if you don't like story driven games. In fact, I'm not sure I would even call this a game. It's definitely art though. Beautiful for a source game. Pretty music. Makes you think for a little bit. The reason I gave it a 5 is because it left me extremely empty after I completed it. While I understand the story, there is no real resolution. Oh, spoilers or whatever. All in all I felt like this was strictly eye candy with a story. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't necessarily regret spending money on it.... but you know.. RESOLUTION NEXT TIME? Expand
  9. Mar 2, 2012
    Art = 10/10
    Game = 0/10
    Overall = 5/10
    It's really really nice, but it's also really rally booooring! I almost slept when I was 'playing' this 'game'...
  10. Feb 26, 2012
    Flawless. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  11. May 20, 2012
    I had completed the game in just over an hour, and I really took my time in exploring the environments. The game is short (too short really), but sweet. The 'game' is essentially a short story that is narrated as the player progresses through the environments. The actual environments are incredibly beautiful and extremely detailed, one of the most beautiful I've seen in a video game. Graphically, it is excellent. Some of the minor details (such as the twinkling stars and foliage that blows in the wind) really make the game. I paid £3.50 for the game on Steam, half its normal selling price. At it's normal selling price, it honestly wouldn't be worth the price at all, for the amount of gameplay in it. I have heard that some of the dialogue is different when you play the game again, but it's probably not enough to reel me in for another go, not immediately anyway. I thought the storyline was great too, and the ending I could not have predicted. I would recommend the game, if even just to sample this unique storytelling experience. Expand
  12. Oct 14, 2013
    [Game] Dear Esther I really enjoyed your art movie game thing it was.… fun or something but really I did like it I swear.... Fun to play the whole-game-art-thingymagig with just one hand on the mouse for one hour and then it was over. What was that? I understand that if I play it again then there will random story reconstruction? I guess I better play it again. Released 2012.02 and played 6 months later. Score 8. Firm. Expand
  13. Feb 20, 2012
    It is very hard to review this. In reality. It is not a game but more like a short story told through a game engine. I dont regret buying it as it was an interest hour diversion.
  14. Koo
    Apr 21, 2012
    I won't re-hash what others have said RE: Dear Esther. How you experience the game will be unique to you. What I CAN say is that for myself, Dear Esther has been an experience like no other: I found it calming, soothing and quiet - the perfect alternative to first-person shooters and other violent computer games. If you're willing to keep an open mind about what a PC game "should" be, and you want to unwind, I recommend Dear Esther. Expand
  15. Nov 14, 2013
    Dear Esther is not a game. A game has rewards, mechanics, puzzles, ect. Dear Esther is an audio book designed for a game engine. It has you walk in a designated path to learn a story. Your first walk through you will not get the whole story. You need to walk around another time. The path that you can take is severely limited. There is no real exploring. If you see something intriguing in the distance then that's it. You've just seen something intriguing in the distance.

    Dear Esther reminds me of shopping for groceries to cook dinner only to remember you need one more ingredient to start and must go shopping again. Then halfway through cooking you run out of something else and have to make a 3rd trip to the store to complete dinner. Dinner wasn't about the multiple journeys you had to take. It wasn't about how long it took to cook. It's just about sitting down and eating a delicious dinner. If, before you began cook, you knew getting dinner ready would take 3 trips to the store you'd probably just quit and order take out.
  16. Feb 15, 2012
    If David Lynch would make "games" (personally, I would call this an "interactive experience" instead), they would be like this. Probably scarier but still... the story is very similar to his movies concept-wise. Well, a character introduction, which even Lynch usually has, is missing. So the chaos that only starts after a while in Lynch movies starts right at the beginning in Dear Esther. You don't know anything about the people the text is talking about as if you would already know them. But after a while, a picture begins to form. Much like with the typical Lynch chaos. You start to think you know what it's about. And you probably really do get parts of it right. But aside from personal interpretitions... from an objective point of view, it will never be complete. Unless you can put it together from multiple playthroughs. I have only one behind me so far and that is the impression I got of the story. I don't think I have to say anything about how stunningly beautiful the game is, many others have done that already. And as much I would like to join the hype, I "only" rate it 9/10 for the following reasons: Content-related: It's a shame one doesn't have some sort of "diary" where one can read texts that one has already heard. Especially because of the sophisticated language involved that will be hard to understand for people who don't read English literature regularly. It often sounds more like pieces of poetry of the 19th century than a modern novel. Plus, saving only via hotkey is really a shame. They should have at least made that quick save functionality accessible through the menu. Technically: I HATE vegetation on planes always facing the player. That was probably the thing I loved most about The Witcher 2, visually - dense vegetation that didn't rotate around. Also, they could've used more polygons on some of those rocks and the textures are occasionally really low-res. Maybe partly engine limitations. It is quite ancient... And for a game that is a lot about it's visual beauty, it is a shame that it doesn't use SLI by default and does very badly with it if you force it. I'm also not sure how easy it is to put transparency AA settings into the menu but because of all the vegetation it would have been great if people could just enable all kinds of settings there. Overall, even though there are plenty of AA settings to choose from, I still find it lacking. It was clearly not made to take advantage of the most recent graphics cards. So overall... with a modern engine taking advantage of SLI, smoother geometry, consistently hi-res textures and all the settings I've talked about available, this would've been a 10 for me. Expand
  17. Feb 17, 2012
    Words cannot describe what I feel for this game. The bottom line is that even people who don't like games can enjoy this. Especially those who like to read a book. The game provides a beautiful environment for the player to explore and admire along with metaphorical dialogue that is read by a man who is presumably the husand of Esther. This game is a definite play and the best way to enjoy it is to forget about every other game you ever played and start anew. BUY IT! your missing out on a masterpiece. Expand
  18. Aug 9, 2013
    Any number known to man would represent an overrated score for this walking simulator. Dragging your excruciatingly slow character across the island is terribly uninteresting, and the tale being told does not make up for that. If this was actually art, as some would like to believe, you would see at least some creative use of the possibilities of videogames at work, but no, let's just walk around while hearing a story. I actually paid money to hear a poor audiobook while exploring a virtual place quite resembling the real world a few steps from home.

    Art can explore new ways to use a particular media, and the greatest works of art may change the way we see that media in a permanent way. This game doesn't even try to explore the possibilities of gaming. If this was a movie there would literally be no difference, except you wouldn't be pressing W. It is not fun, it is not creative, it is not an interesting story, but you can still buy it and tell everybody who says it isn't good that the game is just to deep for them.
  19. Jul 7, 2012
    I went back and forth a lot on this one, between 9 and 10. Rationale for "10": the developers have made something that captures our imagination; we become enrapt in an environment without having to blow anything up, kill things, solve complex puzzles, etc. There seems to have been a general trend towards less story-driven content and more blowing stuff up, and in my opinion the question has been, can we increase the story, the art, the atmosphere, etc., decrease the explosions, and still entertain people? This title *is* that experiment, having taken the shooting and problem-solving to absolutely zero -- and the response has been surprisingly (to me) positive. Rationale for "9": I was a little confused at the end; I had an expectation that by uncovering clues, I would be able to piece together a story that made sense. And I also read a little bit about this title, both before playing and after completing it, and I thought there would be more of a "ghost story" aspect to it. In the end I decided I was leaning more towards "10", as the rationale for "9" was reasoned away. Specifically, it dawned on me that there is no reason not to consider a game as a work of art; and as I began to consider this work amongst the many other types of works, such as poetry, music, painting, etc., and I realized that in art, there often is no "right answer" as to the meaning of the work. Some art works aren't so much important for their meaning as for their creativity, beauty, and their ability to make us think. The artist may have an idea in mind, a message to convey, but sometimes a work can lead to more questions than answers. It is often up to the beholder to decide what the meaning is, and to fill in the gaps. As for the "ghost story" aspect, once I came to find out (through fora and such) that there were mysterious shadows lurking around, and where they might turn up, I have to admit that I could no longer attempt play-throughs at nighttime with the lights out. That is a powerful statement. I'm not a spiritual person, but for some reason this story, setting, music, etc., had a very real effect on me. I'm not sure if I agree with the designers' approach of not allowing the player to get all the story fragments in one play-through, but it does give us the opportunity to go back through and pick up subtleties that we may have missed the first time through. In short, 9.5; I'll round up. Expand
  20. Jul 14, 2012
    What can I say that hasn't already been said? For about the cost of train fare across Los Angeles County you can experience a totally new gaming phenomenon. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, or allowance to allowance, you might want to focus on priorities. Otherwise this is a purchase the decision for which makes itself.
  21. Vag
    Dec 8, 2013
    See the hidden meaning in a piece of or a black square sign unsound mind. This is philosophy-schizophrenic interactive story for those who like a black square.
  22. Mar 7, 2012
    An incredibly beautiful and fascinating "game" with deep story and the brilliant music. It is not a game, actually, it is a wonderful prose poem, the unbelievable experience. It is a very rare piece of art in our times.
  23. Apr 11, 2012
    This isn't really a game. The only upside of this title are the graphics (great use of a old engine), and supposedly it's history, which I didn't bother to hear because the "game" itself is sooooo boring.
  24. Mar 4, 2012
    Dear esther puts you into a beautifully crafted world, the attention to detail is just excellent. Its one of the few games that ive played where it just leaves you sitting there wondering what just happened. The visuals, music and dialogue are all incredible and are weaved into the game perfectly.
  25. Feb 26, 2012
    Ask yourself these questions before deciding to pay 10 dollars for this game. What do you value more, gameplay or art? Raw fun or emotion? If you answered, gameplay and fun instantly. This game might not be for you. If you came somewhere in the middle, then this game will truly test which side you truly prefer. Like most of you, I am in the middle. I enjoy the gameplay like anyone else. However I also think games are - for the most part - emotionally and artistically stumped. Far more than music, traditional art, and film. This very short game is less stumped - the tradeoff is that there is no gameplay. Just your own interpretation based off obscure poetic narration and what are essentially cave paintings. One day a game could incorporate compelling gameplay AND this kind of emotional and artistic integrity. If you want that, and enjoy poetry, music, and mystery. Get this. If you don't want that. Don't get this. My score reflects the value i place on both the experience I was given, which was more emotional and personal than countless other games of a far longer length - and my support for this direction in gaming. 1 point was deducted due to it being a 75minute to 3 hour (depending on your curiosity) length. Expand
  26. Jul 28, 2012
    This...story has surely some good points, but also some bad ones. I said "thing" because I can't really talk about game because it has almost no game elements in it except, maybe, for the menus, but I can see why people are both discouraged and impressed by this: the first thing that actually disappointed me is that the story itself is very slow and sometimes very confusing...but that is actually one of the main points of the story, and at each playthrough the lines change among them, making the story more or less clear; however I can see people having issues with the story and even I had some issues to understand, at least in the beginning. Also, the fact that there is no exploration can be a little frustrating, because there's isn't much else to see and, unfortunely, you can't even run. Another flaw maybe is the length: it lasts only 1-2 hours tops and I can see why people are discouraged to pay (not a lot at least), for a game that don't even last like a movie. But with that said, this story is actually a good one, even if it's confusing: even if the lines and the descriptions takes a little to understand, once you get it you see that it's extremely touching and very deep, because it's basically a travel in the mind of a man and his thoughts about things around him and his past, and all of this has a reasonable but also a more confusing ending, after you have seen all of the places... and about these places, I must say this: even though I'm not a graphic lover, the scenery in this game are simply beautiful. I honestly never seen such beautiful scenery put in games: it looked like I was in a real place! And even though graphics alone are never worth the price in ANY game, this game showed that graphics can create a great scenery and beautiful places, and not only make a game more realistic. I can't say to give it a try mainly because, as I said, it's short and there is almost no gaming elements, but if you are interested in something different, in a different story, and in a different yet beautiful scenery, this is a ticket for a graphical museum that will accompany you together with a good, but also confusing, story. Expand
  27. Mar 6, 2012
    Amazing, i have no idea how someone could dislike this game.

    Absolutely beautiful visuals, writing and dialogue. Albeit slow, it draws you in to have full attention for it's entire rtunning time. Does not overstay it's welcome, and was worth every cent. Buy this if you want beauty out of your purchase, not longevity or gameplay.
  28. Feb 15, 2012
    A real gamers game, a game that is more like interactive art and a poetic, beautiful game. Dear Esther is one of the most unique games that has been released in recent years thanks to the interesting storytelling and voice acting, top notch visuals that push the source engine to beautiful heights. Whats truly astonishing is that the developers decided to step outside the box and create a truly unique and different experience. For a measly 10 dollars, You've got to check out Dear Esther Expand
  29. Feb 16, 2012
    Absolutely brilliant. Very poetic, relaxing and beautifully enjoyable experience.
    Dear Esther is a interactive story driven game where you explore an island while you listen a story. The sounds, music and graphics, everything makes this game so artistically wonderful.
    The bad thing is that it is a bit short. However, i'm looking forward to see additional content and new stories. I would
    gladly pay for more content in this game. Expand
  30. May 23, 2012
    Dear esther n'est pas vraiment un jeu, c'est un ovni qui peut plaire ou pas. En tous les qu'à l'atmosphère qui règne dans cette oeuvre est magnifique, les somptueux graphisme y sont pour quelque chose, quel plaisir de se balader sur cette île et dans prendre plein la vue tout au long de l'histoire, et quand on sait que le moteur graphique est celui de half life 2 on a du mal à y croire. Pour tout ceux qui veulent passer un petit moment magique un peu en dehors du temps, je ne serai que vous conseillez cette oeuvre. Par contre si vous cherchez un jeu d'action aventure, laissez tomber. Voyez ce jeu plutôt comme un livre, ou plutôt une nouvelle, car une grosse heure de jeu vous suffira pour finir le jeu. Expand
  31. Jul 16, 2012
    this is really not a game. there is not gameplay to be had. no exploring to do. in fact you really dont do anything. you just walk in a straight line from point a to point b. then its over. took me about 10 minutes to beat the "game". there is no content. no story. nothing.

    really poor.
  32. Feb 14, 2012
    The best about this game is how it manages to recreate an emotion that most games don't even dare to get close to: solitude and unhappiness. That, accompanied by an excellent atmosphere. Sure, there is no actual gameplay, but that is insignificant when compared to the sheer sense of sorrow that the game conveys.
  33. Sep 26, 2013
    A glorious piece of art telling a story through a progressive narrative. Dear Ether is an extremely moving journey of self discovery and acceptance, a truly moving narrative of a mans journey to seek peace. A game that I personally found to tug at the deeper-most emotions I never thought I had. I cant really say any more without compromising the story the game unfolds before you but I can at least say the Dear Ether is in the top tier of essential games to play in anyones life. I admit the story starts off confusing and quite slowly but as the story is further expanded connections are built and understanding follows with the progress you make. Expand
  34. Mar 8, 2012
    Play Dear Esther in a dark room, headphones on, no distractions, and subtitles turned off. Dear Esther is a broadly magnificent and genuinely moving experience, and that was almost entirely on a sensory level. Playing the game on ultra, I've never seen something this beautiful before. Not even the great BF3 on ultra can't compare itself to this island. Deciphering the plot â
  35. Mar 5, 2012
    What a beautiful game. If you found yourself in Half Life 2 and Left 4 Dead spending just as much time taking in the artwork, reading every little message the survivors left in the safe room, and hanging out in levels far longer than you needed to, you will love this game. If you liked Amnesia, you will really like this game alot. You play FPS games with your eyes and your hands, you play a game like this with your SOUL. So beautiful and I hope we see more in this genre for years to come. Great visuals, great soundtrack, and absolutely amazing atmosphere, I had goosebumps most of the game, the same way I was scared out of my mind while playing Amnesia. Expand
  36. Feb 21, 2012
    Dear Esther marked the beginning of a new genre in games. Half - interactive trip with meditation elements. Example of how far can a fantasy authors who do not need to look at the gameplay. I think this is a qualitatively new stage in the establishment of games as art.
  37. Feb 19, 2012
    A pretty visual game, but it is 85 minutes of gameplay for 10$. I cannot seem myself walking through that island again. Maybe at 3$ that would not be so bad
  38. Feb 20, 2012
    One word - unique. It's hardly a game. Not much of gameplay here, but story is great and visuals astonishing. You just move your character across the island, hearing the cryptic narration, looking for clues, enjoying the landscapes... Nothing is really explained here, you need to put the puzzles together in your own head. You'll finish your first playthrough in about 1,5 h and Im pretty sure you'll find yourself staring in the ending screen... trying to make sense of all what you have seen.. then again, you'll visit the island one more time. And maybe one more... Great experience, great game, great art. Why 10 out of 10? It's a masterpiece in it's own genre.. I can't think of any other project, so emotional, so engaging .. with so less effort. There's no special effects here, no bombs exploding, no tragic deaths on screen.. There's just the island, the mystery, voice of the narrator.. Blowing wind, shadows playing tricks on you.. And music. Beautiful music. Expand
  39. Mar 11, 2013
    As a 1 hour long "game", it's hard to recommend it at any price, even at a steam sale. You might aswell just watch a playthrough on youtube and you'll get a identical experience (since the only thing you can do is walk... slowly). That being said, i kind of enjoyed it, music and graphics were on a really high level (except 2d sprites of foliage). It's definitely unusual, but as i said, it's hard to recommend. Expand
  40. Feb 14, 2012
    This remake looks better than older but this is mod for half life you have to half life 2 and thats bad for someone
  41. Dec 2, 2012
    Great interactive story. Be ready that you won't get a game, but you'll get a story. Story is just clear to me, game (uhm, story) has a great idea behind, visuals are incredible, music is spellbinding. I really admire projects of these kind because developers respects not only instincts but also a brain. I really glad that more projects are on the way, not only from "the chinese room" but from other independent developers. Great stuff, really worths to spend money and time. Collapse
  42. Apr 25, 2013
    A beautiful environment and poetic story, making for an amazing experience. You can't play it just once. It only seems lacking in that you only get to see the one path.
  43. Apr 1, 2012
    I'm writing this as a warning for people not to waste their money thinking this is a game. It shouldn't be marketed or sold as a game. Steam don't give refunds (which is outrageous in my opinion. They wouldn't get away with it in any other industry) so don't waste your money. All you do is just wander around. There's nothing to do or any way to interact. Yes the graphics are fantastic and the music atmospheric but what's the point? I can't give this any score at all because it's just a graphic showcase. I can't think I've ever been so bored. Watch tv if you want something that you can only look at at and not interact with at all. Avoid at all costs because charging money for this is an outrageous rip off. Expand
  44. Feb 18, 2012
    Superb. If you are prepared for reflection, then you will be deeply moved by this masterpiece. Ignore the low ratings as they are not the intended audience. This is a work for adults.
  45. Feb 23, 2012
    If you take the discussion about "is this a game or what is it?" aside, this mod is what brings once again an inventive way of using game engines to another level! If people were to search and experience the limitation from the Source Engine (even the Portal version), you could not say this was made on an 'old' engine, pre-made brushes and whatever. If there were people to come close to this level of world design, I would like to see it. Regardless of the facts, the poetry, voice, story, atmosphere and visual content expands our imaginations and possibilities, being a mod that can now motivate other players to start on the Source Engine, and perhaps make a game, mod similar to this or something totally different, but on the same level. If I were to say it, Dear Esther deserves a 10/10 just because of all those reasons. If I could meet Robert Briscoe ever, I would be honoured! Expand
  46. Aug 8, 2014
    Dear Esther is the kind of video game which is cursed, doomed to be criticized. The reason is gameplay for you only do three things: walk, listen and watch. Formula like this can encourage a fair number of people to confer a title of Walking Simulator - 2012 on this new adventure game from the British developer The Chinese Room, who previously worked on the atmospheric Half-Life 2 mod Korsakovia. But on this point gamers should ask themselves a question: do they need another FPS on the rather flooded modern VG-market or are they open for innovative ideas and blending of various kinds of art?
    WASD and a mouse are required to experience this title. Considering this fact, if Dear Esther was the first video game ever made by man, the industry would have been slightly different... However, alternate history theories aside, DE is to be considered as an unusual experiment, which strays from traditional principles of electronic entertainment. Gameplay is stripped of some widespread features: interactive objects, logs and puzzles. It takes away the fun in a traditional sense of the word. Though it may be all of this have been sacrificed for the sake of storytelling and getting more engaging and emotion-focused experience.
    Dear Esther looks and sounds gorgeous. It is not about photo-realistic visuals but about game of light and dark, colors and shapes. The island you explore is alive: grass sways, water flows, caves breathe and glimmer. The result: one of the most impressive landscapes in gaming. The Chinese Room's game is in one league with Dead Space and Skyrim in this category. Sound design is faithfully backing it all up. Here everything - from chilly wind to distant ship horns - sounds so naturally yet somehow not ordinary, unusual. Combined with serene, at times dreadful music it makes a huge impact, immersing one into the atmosphere.
    The storyline is another strong point of the game. Presented in a form of an audio messages, it tells about the man who lives (lived?) on the island as a hermit. He wrote a letter to Esther, supposedly his wife, and messages you hear exploring the island are clippings from this writing. They appear when you reach certain spots of the location. This feature adds some replay value as one can discover new pieces of the story should he visit places he missed in the next play-through. The narrator is brilliant and reminds of the great Richard Burton, who lent his voice for Jeff Wayne's 1978 epic rock opera War of the Worlds. The story raises some major existential questions, leaves room for interpretation, and overall feels like it has been inspired by H.P. Lovecraft works.
    Giving the game credit where credit's due, it is more than just a bold experiment. Dear Esther is an indie title which shows that gaming has grown up and is not just about mashing buttons and shooting galleries anymore. It offers no challenge but challenges your mind. It doesn't pull of any tricks but broadens the boundaries of PC gaming instead, thereby bringing rage upon itself. If your slogan is "No gameplay, no game", there is nothing for you here and there'll never be.
  47. Apr 28, 2012
    This is a poor excuse for a game. It simply isn't interesting to play and is just simply boring. This is not my type of game. The idea of listening to some boring English guy drone on about crap could put my in a coma. I do not like this game. I simply hate it.
  48. Mar 11, 2012
    Dear Esther, What a complete and total waste of time and money you were. You thieving bastard give me back my money and 60 minutes of my life. I recommend staying away from this boring, slow moving, poor graphic motion picture.
  49. May 19, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This game is visually beautiful, audibly intriguing yet because of the content of the story I find it actually let me down like a falling stone. This contains spoilers so stop reading NOW! Due to the fact that I have actually experienced a "suicide" personally pretty recently in my "own" family, I see absolutely no value on the subject of death for "entertainment's" sake. But rather it's a harsh reality that we all have to succumb to one day, in our own lives. Because life is already very difficult at times, it sincerely pissed me off to see me investing 3-5 hours of my own life's time, to see the outcome of some unfortunate soul commit such a tragedy at the end of this short story. I will share a pure truth with anyone that's just curious enough to ponder suicide. I personally feel that if you are "brave" enough to end your own life? Then you are "brave" enough to face any problem that comes your way. And in closing, this game really made me furious when they tried to "incorporate" Christianity within the madness of this story. Trying to fuse the logic of ending one's life, to make it just ok with God that's I "offed" myself? Doubtful...very doubtful...It had a lot more promise, yet miserably failed with such a bad ending. Expand
  50. Jun 4, 2012
    A wonderful experience that is a breath of fresh air in a genre bogged down with boring iron sights shooters. Most negative reviewers of this experience are missing the point entirely. Like someone watching a play of Hamlet while yelling they want their football. I guess this game is not for everyone, just the intelligent.
  51. Nov 13, 2013
    Dear Esther is more of a visual showcase or tech demo than a game. That being said, I cannot recommend this title to a fellow gamer. The story is forgettable and all you do is walk down a very linear path for 2-3 hours. A great example of how a game being different does not necessarily mean it will be good.
  52. Feb 24, 2012
    I wouldn't call this a game per se though if I had to use a single word to describe it I would say that it is definitely 'captivating'. The only real flaw that I have with it is that it is too short, there are games that overstay their welcome and noticeably try to stretch out playtime. The flip-side is that it does not drag the slightest, but you can't help but wanting to know more. I give the game an 8 because it is very good yet no higher due to its (short) length. Though if I were to take the price into consideration as well I would probably rate it a 6 or a 7: at eight euros it is a bit too expensive for the playtime (bit over an hour in my case), but if you see this on sale and you want to escape from the world dominated by Call of Duty, Battlefield and Counter-Strike, definitely pick it up! Expand
  53. Mar 28, 2012
    Dear Esther was never intended to be like other productions commonly referred to as video games. So it is ridiculous to judge it according to what people think a game should be. There are no real objectives, no obstacles you have to deal with, no challenges (except intellectual ones). I would call it an interactive visual-auditory poem.
    The visuals and sounds and music are astonishing and
    create an atmosphere unlike any I've ever witnessed in a computer game. The story is intriguing; it's certainly very enigmatic and confusing, but this is exactly what makes this game so intellectually engaging. The world around you and the narration are full of complex metaphors, symbols and allusions, and you will discover new facets, new angles to view and interpret the story and the world it creates if you have the patience to play the game a second, or maybe even third time.
    Dear Esther is a successful experiment and a singular experience.
  54. Feb 17, 2014
    Make no mistake, this is not an adrenaline junkie twitchfest, and If that's what your attention span demands from a game then don't bother. But if you're driven by mood and story, then this is an interactive piece of art that shouldn't be passed up.
  55. Feb 15, 2012
    'Dear Esther' is a beautiful piece of art. And as such it is priceless. There is no sense in arguing about the length/price ratio. It is more like reading a short story. It want's to leave an impression and with this it succeeds. Sounds, music, and visuals are perfectly arranged around the narration. Everything feels perfectly polished. An artistic masterpiece with lasting appeal.
  56. May 12, 2012
    Confusing and boring story. No interactivity AT ALL. The beautiful was not enough to keep me playing till the end. I dropped the game after about 20 minutes. I later read in wikipedia the rest of the story and I still insist that it is boring and the end would probably annoy me even more.

    I wouldn't call this a game at all. And people giving this a 10 are probably out of their minds. If
    this is a 10, then what would you put on Amnesia? 310? Expand
  57. Sep 9, 2013
    This may very well be the worst "game" I ever played.This is more of a demo and even as that feels empty.Its a hour long ambiguous plot of a story.Nothing, is concrete nor explained leaving ppl left to connect the dots.Some ppl would say thats one of the games beauty but from a paid game,it just felt incomplete.
  58. Jul 4, 2013
    There is no gameplay. Its NOT a game. extremeky boring, you just walk slowly trying to discover the correct way out there is an annoying story that doesn't matter too much since there is nothing today. Even if u don't pay for this so called game it would be a waste of time
  59. Feb 16, 2012
    This game exudes polish. it is so organically presented and real attention was paid to color palettes, voice-over work and timing. its a gorgeous game that tells a cryptic yet emotional tale. it's a shame that it only takes an hour and a half to experience it, but i see it as a massive step in the right direction for games being finally taken seriously as an artistic medium. you don't have to solve puzzles to get past a door, but to understand the story better you have to look and really listen. it is an interesting gameplay mechanic, i am guessing the drawing board in their offices said "look, this is a story, but we're gonna tell it in a way that television, movies, books, paintings and photographs (and other games for that matter) have never been able to do." that is an achievement. Expand
  60. Feb 20, 2012
    If you are a David Lynch fan(as i am), then you would love this "game" To call it a game is very inaccurate. It is an emotional, atmospheric, story telling experience. Its a very alien experience in the sense that it will make you feel odd sensations and emotions you never even knew about. You'll never expect what you must do to keep moving on in your journey. Definitely the most unique title I've ever played. Expand
  61. Oct 25, 2012
    One of the most beautiful & captivating games I have ever had the fortune to play. Little can be said about this rare gem which in all honesty cannot be branded a videogame, rather an interactive experience or test of ones emotion and perception. All I will say is if you start Dear Esther with a mind like a blank canvas you will emerge with your own uniquely vivid and moving memory of an island and story like no other. Expand
  62. Feb 23, 2012
    The game is a really interesting idea. Sure it is a huge player that does not say when the first 5 minutes of the game, but this is not about. The game is simply a new type of game (for me this is no ordinary adventure) terribly turned on its story and views, and feelings that are at playing the game. This game can not be offended by this game you have no opinion. But the game has a really interesting atmosphere, but so far few people get to like it. My rating, do not know how to judge, so he just says that the game interesting Expand
  63. May 29, 2013
    I played Dear Esther and Proteus back to back, and it is clear to me that this is the superior "art adventure" game. I went in to this game knowing what it was and I have to say i was somewhat pleasantly surprised. The environment you are in is actually interesting and the narration that plays throughout your experience adds to that. But, I must say, I tried so hard to make sense of the story but I just couldn't do that. If your game is all about enjoying the story, yet the gamer is having a hard time trying to understand it, then you've messed up. The graphics and sounds are decently done, I can't really complain about them. The game length, however, is very, very short. I completed it in less than 1 hour and really have no desire to return to it. With such a short length, and a price tag of $10, it's very difficult to recommend this. There is no interaction with the environment whatsoever and that is something I feel was a mistake. This game could have really benefited from being able to find hidden notes or other items relating to the story throughout the environment. This would have encouraged me to explore my environment more so than I did. This was a promising game that ultimately fell very short of expectations. Hopefully this developer tries making a true interactive experience in the future. Expand
  64. Mar 7, 2012
    i got this game the day it was released on steam, and about an hour after i was left more puzzled than anything the game had offered. it wasn't due to the story, or not being capable of deep thought. some of my favorite films are from the likes of tarkovsky (where the stalker game came from), jodorowski, and have a love of art, literature and all things strange, minimal etc. as my user name would imply i've played games of every genre since DOS. point and click adventures and so on. something like dark seed, or the path is really more reminiscent of what i had hoped for. dear esther just kind of tells you a story for an hour. at the end, i had no desire to replay it, and was left wondering if the money invested went to licensing fee's to pay for the music and narration. a few things change places, and a bit of the dialog is mixed up in replays. there's absolutely no puzzles, or interactivity other than listening watching and holding forward. upon sharing these thoughts on a forum like steam, you're immediately clawed at by a relentless army of fanboys who must have skipped over the last 20 years of PC gaming. to some this game is probably a great breakthrough, but alas i felt like it would have been great only if it were the prologue to an actual game. overall the experience was very negative to me, i felt like this should have been half price at the MOST, if not free. to top it off i was in disbelief that news dropped saying they made back all their investment, in a matter of hours after release. i guess this is why we are getting video games that could have been so much more these days. because most of them are just cash in's. they see a marketable area and go for it, inevitably enough people will buy any game that didn't cost a million bucks to produce and make it profitable. Expand
  65. May 3, 2012
    Here is my detailed guide to Dear Esther. Hold W and guide your character with the mouse. That is the limit of interaction Dear Esther offers. Along the way there are segments of a story which reveals itself as you progress through the island. This is in no way a game and I would not recommend it at even 10 notes.
  66. Jul 16, 2012
    Dear Esther is not a game, so it should not be reviewed as a game. It uses a game graphics engine, and game controls, but games require at least a basic level of skill or interaction, and Dear Esther requires nothing more than movement (as do 'maze' games, but they require skill).
    What you do have is graphics, a story, music and atmosphere; things which most modern games require and are
    critiqued upon in games reviews, so it's these things that should be evaluated. Dear Esther excels in all of these areas, putting most games which try to be 'atmospheric' to shame.
    The problem is, because it looks and feels like a game, you want to do game things, at the very least, jump, crouch, open doors and pick things up. Once you get over this lack of freedom and settle into the narrative you start to enjoy the experience a little bit more.
    It should probably come with a 'this is not a game' sticker, but if you keep an open mind, and offer Dear Esther your time and patience, you'll enjoy a visually enchanting, and occasionally creepy story.
    I would still have liked the ability to jump and crouch!
  67. Feb 20, 2012
    Ignore all the negative views, as they do not understand. This isn't meant to be something like Cod, Dragon Age, or anything like that. It's supposed to be a story told throughout the game. You're not meant to fight anything. I guess it could be similar to Penumbra, but without the fighting and scary elements. I found that this used to be a mod for Half Life 2. Since then it has become much better. It's a great game and is definitely worth the money. Expand
  68. Feb 20, 2012
    A new medium for story telling, the story consists of diary entries and narration that serve the explorable world. The graphics are spectacular, and help aid the story by being relevant to your immediate surroundings or places you soon encounter. It's very original idea to use computer game graphics to serve a story while allowing the audience general interaction while it's taking place. Like a picture book on steroids, this new approach to story telling should certainly be expanded in the future. At $10, it's the price of the usual paperback and delivers a unique experience that's well worth the money. Expand
  69. Jun 2, 2012
    No I don't rate a game here, I can call it an interactive storytelling experience or an interactive cult cinema movie.

    The experience and the immersion where great! I felt the wind, I smelled the sea, I felt the loneliness and the acceptance of fate, I felt the melancholy and everything.

    I got it day one, and I believe that 8 euro were a great price for 2 hours of storytelling, it was
    like I paid those money to see a movie in cinema, just more immerse. Expand
  70. Feb 16, 2012
    This game certainly was very different to most games of our time, I first saw it on steam and it looked pretty interesting so I looked at a review for it, instantly fell in love with the idea and bought it. In total I was able to put in about 80 minutes of game play by straight out playing it from beginning to end, I was not disappointed even by the shortness of the game. For a £7 price tag (UK currency) it was defiantly a treat, re imagining the idea of what games can do. The dialogue is extremely poetic and interesting and at first you will have no real idea what the protagonist is talking about, but as you walk around the island you will start seeing signs of things as the dialogue becomes more and more obvious. Once you get into the game it also becomes very eerie and creepy. This game is nothing short of a ghost story and it represents that perfectly, I swear I saw a man carrying a lantern off in a cave this one time I was looking around the island. As the game got to the conclusion I was so gripped I had to go on, ignoring my friends talking to me over steam. This game was an incredible experience for me and for gamers who do not mind and enjoy story and dialogue more than actual interaction with the game world. I only wish now that the developers would make a sequel or a similar game. Expand
  71. Jul 18, 2012
    I'm all for great story telling in a game, but this is no game at all. You explore a landscape while being told a story. No puzzles, no combat, no inventory, no jumping. You can't interact with anything. None of the buttons do anything except zoom in (they all zoom in). Occasionally you find a fork in the path you are on and think "Oh man, some semblance of risk/reward" only to find out it's either a dead end or it winds back around to the other path. This is as linear,l and as boring, as a "game" can get.

    I gave it 1 point for the atmosphere and writing.
  72. Feb 17, 2012
    Not a game, but beautiful. Graphics are way better than those of Valve itself. The original mod was of course nothing to brag of. I waited eagerly ever since the first screenies came out of this new one and was excited when it was finally released.

    Seems like a nice idea for a L4D2 campaign.
  73. Mar 9, 2012
    Since we are reviewing games here i give this 3d show reel a 0/10. And to kids the only piece of art they've seen is located in a bathroom saying this is art, replicating reality with photo-realism and nothing else in mind is not ART, it's just mere artisan's work, and not even the best attempt at. The narration is even worse than the visuals, enough said.
  74. Dec 4, 2012
    This is worth playing/experiencing. When I first heard of the game I was interested, but I had heard mixed reviews so I waited for a Steam sale but am very glad I bought it and played through. Even after playing I kept thinking about the game and piecing together what it all meant. (I've heard the story pieces you see change with different playings - so I'll do it again after a while). It's short - I didn't keep time but probably 3 hours or so max(?) - and I took my time looking around, trying to get into places I couldn't get to, etc. Some of the visuals - especially in the cave were - were very memorable. It's a game that has a melancholy mood - but for some reason it didn't get me down. For me, even though it's short, the length of the game was about right. As you're playing through pay attention to the little details - they really do help you piece together what's going on if you pay attention.

    Bottom line on this one: Good game. Glad I played it.
  75. Mar 14, 2012
    Dear Esther is a somewhat beautiful, somewhat tepid mixture of "doomed romance" and Ballardian psychology. That is, the island appears to be a representation of masculine Inner Space, haunted by loverghosts and cryptic prose. Cool. But the developers never push the human element or the weirdness far enough, leaving us with a lavishly detailed but paradoxically empty experience.
  76. Jul 16, 2012
    I picked this game up in the Steam Summer Sale on July 16th. People complain about video games becoming movies, then talk about this game as if it is something unique or game changing. This game is an interactive island walking simulator that tells you bits of story every now. The people telling you that it is an "interactive fiction narrative" or "interactive story" are misleading you. It is no more an interactive story than a book is an interactive story. The story is partially randomized at the very start of the game and it is set in stone at that point. You must then walk through the island, discovering fragments of the story, and have the game tell the story to you. There is nothing intellectual, artsy, or deep about this game. The game is stunningly lackluster in everything that makes it a game. This game comes across as being made by a company that wanted to do a 1 hour cinematic, but knew that moviegoers wouldn't care for this narcissistic, pretentious drivel. Expand
  77. Mar 25, 2012
    The game in Dear Esther is to put the story together, to walk through the character's turmoil and feel his thoughts and memories moving through you. The beauty of Dear Esther is that part of the narrative must come from the player... impressions formed in the art, exploration of the countryside. It is up to you how much of this story you will experience, how far into the depths of its fever-dreams you will wade. Will you struggle to interpret what is scrawled upon the ground, etched into the hills, carved like lines of white chalk that alienate all help even as they cry distress? How much empathy will you feel, and for whom, and what will you make of the person whose voice comes echoing through your head, whispering to you to come back when you wander too far? How will you interpret a world which all at once gives you its narrative and yet leaves you with all the options as to what any of it means? I played Dear Esther with my partner, and I recommend doing that, because we discussed what we saw along the way, reacted to the narrator, and the experience each of us drew from the game was tinted by our own backgrounds, our own points of reference. Where I saw chemistry, she saw art, where I saw delirium, she saw verse. Together we made it something even more-- and when we've had time for the memory to fade, when the chalk lines etched across our brains have grown over and been erased, we'll walk again along that shore and perhaps take a different path, perhaps feel another way, or perhaps relive our first discovery. We will haunt that beach, now and then, and to me, that is enough, especially for the price. But, I cannot give it a perfect score when it is somewhat inaccessible and I wish it would have yielded up just a little bit more. Expand
  78. Dec 28, 2013
    I seriously wish I could give Dear Esther a better score, but the only thing it has going for it is it's over-the-top beautiful graphics. This game is basically a demonstration of the developer's 3D modelling skill, and being a 3D modelling student I loved every second of this game. I didn't care that it didn't have a story, and I didn't care that it really wasn't even a game, more of a slideshow. But to be fair to others, I feel obliged to say that if you want an actual game, then I guess you're looking in the wrong place. I feel bad saying that but literally the only thing this game has going for it is good graphics. The story is boring, the voice acting is even below par, and there's literally no interaction with your surroundings throughout the entire 40 minutes the walk lasts. Yes, the game is basically a Sunday stroll. But I got this for a dollar, and the graphics are unbelievably amazing, the composition of each scene is so well thought out, and there is SO much attention to detail it's breathtaking. Too bad thechineseroom didn't do anything more creative with this. It's definitely a masterpiece, but in the art definition of the term, not when referring to the overall game. Only get this "game" if it's on sale, and you just want to see some awesome graphics and beautiful scenes, and NOTHING more. Expand
  79. Feb 15, 2012
    This is more than a game, it is an experience. Anyone could quite easily take a screenshot of anything in a play-through of this vivid setting and frame it, because it is so wonderfully crafted. For a game developed on a comparatively old engine the setting is truly stunning and brilliantly structured - The transition between each chapter is totally seamless and adds to the depth of the game. The carefully timed and sporadic ambiance of the music really adds to the atmosphere created by this game - one of isolation, loss and borderline insanity. You feel what the character feels as you piece together the shards of their tale. Appreciate the art of this piece as it is unlike no other game released at this moment in time. Expand
  80. Oct 24, 2013
    Mind numbingly dull; I forced myself to complete it despite how bored I was throughout because I was expecting some revelation to make the game worthy of all the praise thats been heaped upon it (and to get my moneys worth). As others have said Dear Esther isn't a game, its a SLIGHTLY interactive story (interactive in that you walk around and look at things, thats pretty much it). That'd be fine if the story was any good but its not; its a boring and very, VERY predictable. 2 points for trying something different (in spite of failing) and 2 points for the occasionally lovely environments. Expand
  81. Feb 18, 2012
    Having completed the mod version, I can say the game has been greatly improved. I don't want to spoil anything, but the source engine has never looked so haunting and beautiful. The narrative is superbly written, among the best in the industry. This is a narrative, not a game. A captivating narrative at that. The game is relatively short, even with multiple playthroughs. Give this a try if you are an open minded gamer looking for something different. Expand
  82. Dec 24, 2013
    It might be a nice piece of art but it's not a game. It could have been a video I would had the same experience.... Nice graphics & story but absolutely no gameplay.
  83. Feb 14, 2012
    Most beautiful game I have ever played. Not so much a game as an audio-visual experience with a poetic narrative and an emotional pay-off. If you are a skeptic as to whether or not games can be art, please buy Dear Esther...
  84. Feb 16, 2012
    Dear Esther's price is hard to justify when you consider that you can walk through the entire thing in under 45 minutes and there is absolutely no reason to come back once you're finished. That said, this experience is definitely worth your time and it will definitely launch another round of discussions on "what is a game?" I was really not expecting to enjoy this kind of "walk-through" experience, but after about five minutes I was enthralled and couldn't stop until I finished. The sights and sounds of this island are absolutely awe-inspiring, but because of the brevity and the fact that it's very easy to classify this as a non-game, I'd still recommend waiting for a sale if you're at all unsure if this will be something you can get into. Expand
  85. Feb 14, 2012
    Originally a mod for Half-Life 2, this remake is very different from what you might expect a game to be.
    Calling it an interactive story would be more accurate. There is no "action", no real items or objectives, you just explore the island while a narrator tells you a story. It is certainly not for everyone, but for people that are looking for an experience rather than a game I would
    highly recommend it. The visuals and soundtrack are breathtaking, the narrator does an excellent job, and the atmosphere in general is amazing. If you are looking for something different and have the time and patience to immerse yourself into it, this game will provide you with an unforgettable experience. Expand
  86. Feb 14, 2012
    Simply amazing , the incredible atmosphere in this game is worth it's price alone , the environments are gorgeous , the ambient sounds are perfectly done , this is easily the best looking and atmospheric game i have ever played , hopefully these guys will make a bigger game with more than just exploration.
  87. May 2, 2012
    10 dollars for one hour of a game with absolutely no replay value may be worth it, if you really like the story, what you can't tell before you actually finish the game. Still, the game centers itself in two aspects: 1 - Story, 2 - Graphics. The story is nice, sometimes you wish you could just press shift so the character would go a bit faster... The graphical part is really good, if you ignore completely all the plants on the ground. They are all camera-aligned billboards and, as you pass near them, makes the game look synthetic, killing part of the immersion (and immersion is really important to it, more than to most games). In fact, it's not really a game, it's an interactive narrative that is not really interactive at all (sometimes you'll wish you had an auto-walk button or something to keep the W button down). Have to say that the title is pretentious, that's a fact. Expand
  88. Feb 14, 2012
    What you get out of this game depends on what you're going in expecting. Personally, I was expecting something along the lines of Amnesia: puzzle solving while unraveling a mysterious story. This is not what Dear Esther is. The simplest way to describe this game is an interactive movie. Not to say that there's something wrong with an interactive movie. The artistic gamers will light up at the mentioning of this game, whereas those who see video games strictly as constant stimulation will feel as though they wasted their money.

    You begin on an unknown island that you must explore. However, there is nothing to do in this game except to press "W" with an occasional "A" and "D" and perhaps an "S" if you're feeling up to it. You follow a linear path with branching paths that all lead to dead ends. This isn't as negative as I make it out to be; the enjoyment you get out of this game depends on how much you're willing to get involved in it. Taking the side paths and listening to the narrator's dialogue you might otherwise miss only adds to the immersion.

    Don't expect a very long experience, either. If you take every possible path and enjoy every scene this game has to offer, you're looking at 1-2 hours. Dear Esther boasts having replayability through the changing dialogue, but the ending and paths you take will be the same, questioning the definition of "replayability".

    Overall, don't expect a game, but rather a story. Setting your own pace and really exploring the island down to every nook-and-cranny will allow for a much better story and deeper immersion, but many will find this to be boring and a waste of time / money.
  89. Feb 14, 2012
    To call this a game would be almost entirely inaccurate. This piece is better described as an interactive fiction narrative. The only game play mechanic in this work is to guide your character through the story. However, what makes this piece of work interesting and outstanding is the atmosphere that is created through the narrator's speech, the beautiful graphics, perfect music score, and amazing ambient sound. This is an experience that no one should pass up, my first play-through took up a little over 2 hours of my time; for $10 this is a fantastic deal. Expand
  90. Feb 14, 2012
    It would be difficult for me to call this a game in the traditional sense. It is certainly an adventure, and the fragmented, random narration really helps to expand on the very heavy themes found in Dear Esther. I certainly enjoyed it, and would definitely play through multiple times, just to get a better grasp on the big picture that the plot constantly alludes to. That said, the ending is... remarkably intense, and the last action that you take really makes you think. Not enough games are willing to take existentialism and the strangeness of the unknown into their plot, and it definitely pays off in this one. This is the kind of plot that keeps you awake at night, thinking of actions and consequences, as well as how all things must end.

    Gameplay 5/10
    Atmosphere 9/10
    Plot 10/10
    Execution 10/10

    Excellent Game
  91. ktm
    Feb 14, 2012
    Dear Esther is more of a poem about the degradation of the mind, rather then a game. The story offers a engaging story of a man struggling with the death of his love, abandonment, guilt, and his ultimate degradation into insanity at the hands of an unforgiving desolate island. The story is amazing, but so is the beautiful environment. I have never seen a source game (let alone with any game) with such a stunning, visually pleasing environment. The beginning is quite beautiful, but once you hit the caves, you will be taken back by the beauty. All in all I would say this has to be one of my favorite releases in the last two years. I really hope that games like this will make their way to the spotlight.

    What, your still reading. Please go play the game. Really, you won't regret it.
  92. Feb 15, 2012
    I'm not exactly sure what I just played, but it was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever experienced. Dear Esther is something of a new genre of game, all to itself. It's more of an artistic expression coupled with minor interactivity and a frighteningly poetic story. As an advocate for games as art, this is my new "exhibit A". The visuals, the weather, the sounds, the music, and the narration all came together to give me an experience that was as immerse and gratifying as the best of more hardcore genres. I am personally terrified of heights, and there were certain moments in this game that put that fear into practice for me, and most games don't do that. It was a unique journey and I know that I will play it again someday, and again after that. But I don't know when. I'll have to let it simmer in my mind for awhile. Expand
  93. Feb 16, 2012
    I think this is the most unusual "game" of he last years, nevertheless i think it's worth and 40-60 minutes of your life to meet the interesting story lined presented in a form of monologes, absolutely unique music and sound effects and Source engine based beautiful picture of the lost island.
  94. Mar 3, 2012
    I respect the artistic merits of this 'game.' I do. But let's be honest, this is slightly interactive fiction. It's an amusement park ride, albeit a tepid one. I recognize I am not the target user of this game, and that's fine.
  95. Feb 18, 2012
    To each their own I guess. Dear Ester is not a game. At best it is an interactive movie. In reality it is one of the 1990 Multimedia scenery viewers. This "game" has been horribly mislabeled and advertised.
  96. Feb 19, 2012
    A very... different experience. I really enjoyed it over all. Simple and minimalist can be a good thing, and it certainly is here. Not a hack and slash in any way, very much a contemplative game. Finished it in two hours, but it was well worth my $10. Very sad, but in the end it seems hopeful, maybe because I am optimistic at heart. It's all so left up to the player.
  97. Feb 24, 2012
    It is just a beautiful game. It redefines how we play video games today..... a MUST HAVE. It has amazing graphics. And it's really for anyone. It's just such a smart game. You can play it over and over and over again. It never gets old. I just love it!
  98. Jun 3, 2012
    Horribly boring. I based my decision only because the reviews were ravingly good. Even the ratings were in the upper 80s. I will never base my choices on that again. I will from now on, download demos and see for myself.
  99. Apr 6, 2013
    Anyone who goes into this game expecting it to be like any other game is going to be surely disappointed, but I knew what sort of game Dear Esther was and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The pacing is a bit slow, but the overall story is thought provoking and open to interpretation. The landscapes you'll come across are absolutely gorgeous, with the caves section probably being one the most awesome places to play through in any game I've played from a graphical standpoint. Sound design is top quality as well. My recommendation is to research the game first and know whether it suits you or not. If you decide to play through it, wear headphones for a truly immersive experience. Expand
  100. Mar 1, 2012
    Easily the very best game that I have played for years. The level design is first rate, as are the superb graphics and sound and incredibly immersive atmosphere. They story-telling is excellent - it gives you enough to get an idea of what is going on, yet doesn't spoon feed you. Multiple playthroughs will reward you with more narrative clips and different objects to see. It's a game that rewards patience, open-mindedness and imagination - those who only like to play shooters should avoid this, unless you feel like trying something very different. Dear Esther gets an easy 100% from me. Expand
  101. Dec 2, 2012
    Great interactive story. Be ready that you won't get a game, but you'll get a story. Story is just clear to me, game (uhm, story) has a great idea behind, visuals are incredible, music is spellbinding. I really admire projects of these kind because developers respects not only instincts but also a brain. I really glad that more projects are on the way, not only from "the chinese room" but from other independent developers. Great stuff, really worths to spend money and time. Collapse

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
    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
    Thechineseroom studio managed to create something surprising and original, but Dear Esther is something you experience rather than play. [April 2012, p.79]