Dear Esther PC

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75

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

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6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 645 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 243
  1. Sep 26, 2013
    10
    A glorious piece of art telling a story through a progressive narrative. Dear Ether is an extremely moving journey of self discovery andA 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
  2. Dec 2, 2012
    10
    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 greatGreat 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. 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 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
  4. Feb 1, 2015
    7
    Whether Dear Esther is a game or not is irrelevant, however the experience I derived from it is difficult to evaluate. I didn't regret theWhether Dear Esther is a game or not is irrelevant, however the experience I derived from it is difficult to evaluate. I didn't regret the purchase, but I'm reluctant to call the 'game' enjoyable. If anything, it felt more like a spiritual journey in a sense; a journey that sometimes overextended itself in the more bland and empty sections of the game. This is primarily due to the lack of gameplay mechanics, so Dear Esther must rely heavily on the following three things - story, visuals and sound.

    Of those three, the visuals and sound are of great quality, imbuing a satisfying sense of tranquility, which sometimes shifted to a more haunting tone. The caves section in particular demonstrated excellent use of colour and was probably the only chapter in which I was fully engaged due to the constant change in the rock formations and scenery. Unfortunately, pretty rocks and water can only get you so far. It's ultimately up to the game's narrative that determines whether Dear Esther offers something more meaningful, and while it did, the delivery had more than a few flaws.

    Dear Esther's story relies heavily on the player's ability to interpret symbols and metaphors. It's like high school English class all over again, like analyzing a text but in digital form. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but the dialogue is in my opinion far too convoluted and too full of purple prose for this interpretation to be done in an accessible manner. The fact that dialogue is randomly generated in this game also means that the player's interpretation is incomplete, they're not getting the full picture regardless of whether they explore the map or not. I think it's also unrealistic for a player to fully analyze and understand a paragraph of text that is read out with no more than 20 seconds of screen time and then never to be seen or heard of again, especially with the kind of writing that's presented in this game.

    Most players will end up floundering in confusion, and I suspect that for most of those who've played Dear Esther, the main reason they understood the story is because they read a wikipedia entry on the plot after they finished the game. That's what I did too, and when I consulted other wikis and read other people's interpretations, it was only then that things started to really make sense. Upon playing the game again, it was only then that I understood the various obscure references that formed the story. There's power in simplicity, and I feel that the Chinese Room made their writing too complex for the sake of sounding poetic. In the end, it becomes something that detracts from a potentially unique and unforgettable experience.

    Overall rating: 6.9/10
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  5. Oct 1, 2012
    5
    While the island you visit is pretty, you
  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 andVery 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. Dec 25, 2014
    0
    This whole game could have been included in a larger trailer. It is no more than one long cut-scene, and the developers and players bluntlyThis whole game could have been included in a larger trailer. It is no more than one long cut-scene, and the developers and players bluntly lie to you - it is NOT INTERACTIVE. It is NOT AN INDIE ADVENTURE GAME.

    It's an okayish mind-teaser, but it is even below low-quality visual novels and doesn't deserve being paid for. As a free mod or video, this would be nice.
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