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 661 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: 87 out of 245
  1. Oct 30, 2013
    10
    Couldn't help myself and rated the game 10/10.

    With Dear Esther, The Chinese Room shared their vision of video games, according to which
    Couldn't help myself and rated the game 10/10.

    With Dear Esther, The Chinese Room shared their vision of video games, according to which games are not just market products but also evocative of strong, pure feelings.
    The graphics are amazingly beautiful, the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard, the writing is wonderful... All these things serving this unique gameplay, this unique story, this unique experience.

    A lot of people, not very art sensitive, will hate it, won't call it a game and won't be able to get over the slowness of the character or the game's price but a few others will absolutely love this game, for what it is and what it has to offer a brief, but intense, deep, beautiful and inspiring journey.
    A piece of art.
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  2. Jul 7, 2012
    10
    I went back and forth a lot on this one, between 9 and 10. Rationale for "10": the developers have made something that captures ourI 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
  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 20, 2012
    7
    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 itIt 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. 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'...
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  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 1, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Possibly one of the most lamest games I have ever had the unfortunate displeasure of playing.

    The only thing that is good in the entire "multi-angle" movie is the scenery.

    The scenery looks amazing, however I'm quite sure you could see better with a cheap blender file rendering. Thankfully Steam had this game on offer when I bought it and I can see why, had I paid full price I'd have been taking it up with trading standards for false advertising.

    The game is advertised as an "adventure game" when I think of an adventure game I think of games like maybe text adventure games Behind Closed Doors, Very Big Cave Adventure, or point and click adventures like Secret of Monkey Island, Flight of the Amazon Queen, Grim Fandango, or puzzle adventure games like Myst or Dark Fall, or finally adventure/action games like Tomb Raider, or Uncharted.

    This game doesn't fit into any of these categories. This game is a very bad and very cheap effort at the games company trying to make a quick buck.

    The thing that makes the game so poor is that in the game the end user has absolutely nothing to do, other than admire the scenery and move the character around the island.

    Yes really that is it. It's like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book without any turn to this page, or turn to that page.

    You have absolutely nothing to do within the game other than follow the path round try and veer off the path to look at something you quickly find yourself stuck on a rock unable to go any further, at most if you get bored there is a really big chasm that you can throw yourself into or drown yourself in the sea but unfortunately that just leads to a message stating "come back" and then a regeneration on the nearest land.

    There are no puzzles whatsoever in this game, there is stuff scrawled on walls like science symbols which you would have thought maybe used later in some kind of puzzle or something, but no they aren't used for anything.

    The scenery is stunning, especially when your in the cave, but other than that it is nothing more than just an interactive multi-angle movie which is something DVD's did years ago and is nothing new.

    As for it's definition as a game I'd actually question as to whether that is actually accurate the definition of game is as follows

    "A form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.".

    There is no skill, strength or luck and I don't think just following a path around an island constitutes playing either, so it is more an interactive movie than a game.

    In addition to this the story line is just as bad. The entire story seems to depict the lives of a number of people 2 of them ended their lives on the island, whilst another 2 managed to kill themselves on the M5 motorway the scene of which is re-built in a pool, and finally you end up being another victim of the island or do you turn into a gull at the end and fly over the island?? Very bizarre story line.

    If you ever played Myst or Dark Fall and thought you might like it if they removed all the puzzles then you'd like this, but if you like the puzzles and at least some kind of a challenge then this is not the game for you.

    The game took me about 30 minutes to complete this morning, but now knowing how it works I could probably whizz round that island in about 10-15 minutes.
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See all 245 User Reviews

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