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75

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

User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 543 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, making every each journey a unique experience. Expand
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: 80 out of 219
  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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 incredible experience. Expand
  3. 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 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
  4. 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 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
  5. 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
  6. 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. Expand
  7. Feb 25, 2014
    0
    The system won't accept negative values, so I had to vote 0.
    I really enjoyed the ending because the character does exactly what you wanted
    to do since mid-game.
    There are tons of things you could enjoy more, including being raped by a gorilla.
    Save your money, don't buy this game.
    Expand

See all 219 User Reviews