Dear Esther Image
Metascore
75

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

User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 705 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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Dear Esther - Official Trailer
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: 81 out of 249
  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. Jun 2, 2012
    10
    No I don't rate a game here, I can call it an interactive storytelling experience or an interactive cult cinema movie.

    The experience and the
    No I don't rate a game here, I can call it an interactive storytelling experience or an interactive cult cinema movie.

    The experience and the immersion where great! I felt the wind, I smelled the sea, I felt the loneliness and the acceptance of fate, I felt the melancholy and everything.

    I got it day one, and I believe that 8 euro were a great price for 2 hours of storytelling, it was like I paid those money to see a movie in cinema, just more immerse.
    Expand
  3. Mar 25, 2012
    9
    The game in Dear Esther is to put the story together, to walk through the character's turmoil and feel his thoughts and memories movingThe game in Dear Esther is to put the story together, to walk through the character's turmoil and feel his thoughts and memories moving through you. The beauty of Dear Esther is that part of the narrative must come from the player... impressions formed in the art, exploration of the countryside. It is up to you how much of this story you will experience, how far into the depths of its fever-dreams you will wade. Will you struggle to interpret what is scrawled upon the ground, etched into the hills, carved like lines of white chalk that alienate all help even as they cry distress? How much empathy will you feel, and for whom, and what will you make of the person whose voice comes echoing through your head, whispering to you to come back when you wander too far? How will you interpret a world which all at once gives you its narrative and yet leaves you with all the options as to what any of it means? I played Dear Esther with my partner, and I recommend doing that, because we discussed what we saw along the way, reacted to the narrator, and the experience each of us drew from the game was tinted by our own backgrounds, our own points of reference. Where I saw chemistry, she saw art, where I saw delirium, she saw verse. Together we made it something even more-- and when we've had time for the memory to fade, when the chalk lines etched across our brains have grown over and been erased, we'll walk again along that shore and perhaps take a different path, perhaps feel another way, or perhaps relive our first discovery. We will haunt that beach, now and then, and to me, that is enough, especially for the price. But, I cannot give it a perfect score when it is somewhat inaccessible and I wish it would have yielded up just a little bit more. 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. Feb 21, 2012
    6
    Dear Esther marked the beginning of a new genre in games. Half - interactive trip with meditation elements. Example of how far can a fantasyDear Esther marked the beginning of a new genre in games. Half - interactive trip with meditation elements. Example of how far can a fantasy authors who do not need to look at the gameplay. I think this is a qualitatively new stage in the establishment of games as art. 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 249 User Reviews

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