Dear Esther PC

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Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 681 Ratings

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  • Summary: Dear Esther is a first-person ghost story. Rather than traditional game-play the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of a lonely island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, makingDear Esther is a first-person ghost story. Rather than traditional game-play the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of a lonely island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making every each journey a unique experience. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. Mar 9, 2012
    100
    Dear Esther is an auditory and visual experience that interweaves a consuming narrative and array of emotions. The game's actual value must not be solely based upon its gameplay length, but rather on the random elements and new secrets discovered through multiple playthroughs. Those that brave the journey into the narrative and world of Dear Esther will discover an experience that few games have been available to accomplish in years. Highly recommended.
  2. Feb 13, 2012
    90
    The beauty of Dear Esther is that it raises questions about content rather than mechanics.
  3. Feb 16, 2012
    90
    Dear Esther. I will take flight.
  4. Feb 13, 2012
    80
    The game is recommended for anyone who likes taking a close look at a piece of art that goes against the grain of the medium. You should consider checking out Dear Esther the same way you'd appraise a film. If you're interested in absorbing an intellectual story and gorgeous visuals without having to exert a drop of effort, take a chance on this curious experiment.
  5. Feb 20, 2012
    80
    If you're into the idea of experimental "games" pushing the boundaries of the medium, you might like Dear Esther, but if you're looking for a detailed story of Event A causing Event B which then naturally led to Event C, then this is not for you.
  6. Feb 29, 2012
    77
    Play this just for yourself and try to see where things might go from here. The possibilities are endless and almost completely unexplored.
  7. 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.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 88 out of 251
  1. Feb 14, 2012
    10
    To call this a game would be almost entirely inaccurate. This piece is better described as an interactive fiction narrative. The only gameTo 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
  2. 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 ofThis 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
  3. Feb 14, 2012
    9
    It would be difficult for me to call this a game in the traditional sense. It is certainly an adventure, and the fragmented, random narrationIt 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
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  4. Jul 16, 2012
    7
    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 atDear 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!
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  5. Feb 15, 2012
    5
    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'sPoetic 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
  6. 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
    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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  7. 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 corpsHonestly, 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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