Dear Esther Image
Metascore
75

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

User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 688 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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

Trailer

Please enter your birth date to watch this video:
You are not allowed to view this material at this time.
Dear Esther - Official Trailer
Autoplay On Off
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: 82 out of 246
  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
    Expand
  4. Jul 30, 2017
    7
    I think that this is truly a unique game and I would recommend that if you are a fan of this type of genre then I think you should give thisI think that this is truly a unique game and I would recommend that if you are a fan of this type of genre then I think you should give this game a try. Expand
  5. Mar 2, 2012
    5
    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
    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'...
    Expand
  6. 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 atmosphereI 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
  7. 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 forIt'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. Expand

See all 246 User Reviews

Trailers