Reviews for Dear Esther DNS

85

Very intriguing.

Zharwyn | May 16, 2013 | See all Zharwyn's reviews »

Most definitely a must-buy for people that are interested in interactive story-driven games. The beautiful environments and the ghost story makes up for the lack of gameplay, it's almost more like a movie. Although when it comes to concepts like these (and there are but a few) less is more in my opinion. It may seem short but since dialogue and other parts of the game are randomized, you may get a different feeling the second playthrough.

Sit back and enjoy a beautiful game with an interesting story.

70

An interactive movie that cost less than renting a movie.

PanzerIV | April 20, 2013 | See all PanzerIV's reviews »

If you want to "watch" a movie without paying 5$ or more for going at the theater, it's a worthy experience when you get this on sale for almost nothing. I think it was less than 2$ when I took it.

90

A beautiful experience

MarkDeejay | March 16, 2013 | See all MarkDeejay's reviews »

Now this is art. It's a beautiful 'game', an adventure, where all you do is walk around, with a bit of exploring. At certain points in this adventure a narrator will try to tell you (bits of) a story. A cryptic one, mind you. In the end its interpretation is up you, the player. Some of the stories are random, meaning you might get a different one the next time you play. It's a short story, and it will take about 1-2 hours to 'complete', but, in my opinion, it's worth it. There's so much atmosphere in it, it's beautiful. Who would've thought the Source engine could still produce these kind of graphics ? It's breathtakingly beautiful. The little music there is is also perfect. The only little glitch I found was occasionally getting stuck in the environment, but it's not at all gamebreaking. And even though the price is steep for such a short experience, I would still gladly recommend it.

91

A magical journey

Guardian412 | Jan. 29, 2013 | See all Guardian412's reviews »

Dear Esther is more of a mysterious visual novel, than a game. But its fulfilling its purpose perfectly and capable to grab your attention with storytelling and beautiful visuals. In this "game" you don't have greater goals. You simply have to reach the end of the island on foot, while you slowly learn how you got here, who you're and what Dear Esther is all about. The experience is like hiking on a beautiful, but deserted and mysterious island, where you want to discover everything, and the best is, you'll without anyone or the game would tell you to do so. You'll look around to check the beautiful landscape, the flora, even stones and you'll walk further and further until you reach the end. Curiosity and the great narration leads the gamer from the beginning to the end. If you accept the fact that this is a visual novel and not a game, if you love art and storytelling, you won't regret by purchasing this game. Dear Esther is pure art, a great story to learn and a magical, extraordinary journey you have to experience.

70

Poetic

Lekes | Jan. 6, 2013 | See all Lekes's reviews »

Dear Esther has a deep atmosphere and unique poetic narrative. The visuals and sound are great, especially for a low budget title, and the environment is as detailed as it is fun to explore. It's only an hour long and gameplay consists of walking forward and looking around, though Dear Esther is obviously meant to be more of an interactive story than an actual video game. It's biggest appeal would be the location of the game itself. The Island feels so lifelike and genuine, It'd probably be an awesome place to visit in real life. I guess it just has a magically feel to it, I don't know. My biggest criticism would be it's price. I couldn't recommend this at full price, but Dear Esther was a nice experience all the same.

45

Weird Game

Angeluzian | Dec. 22, 2012 | See all Angeluzian's reviews »

Dear Esther is not like other games. It's weird I say, Beautiful and it tells a story through "art". But I do not really get it. It's to little gameplay I say for it to even be a game. It does what it believes it should do well though, and that I give it. But there are better games out there for the same price.

79

Experimental Dream

Xibalba | Dec. 21, 2012 | See all Xibalba's reviews »

Dear Esther is an experimental first-person "adventure" game developed by thechineseroom, first released in June 2008 as a free mod for the Source engine, the game was completely remade in new source engine between 2009 and 2011 for a commercial release in February 2012 there is no action or typical interaction in this game, only great good looking graphic and sounds in this oniric-island

77

Not a videogame, but a art form.

KarmicOcean | Dec. 12, 2012 | See all KarmicOcean's reviews »

As somebody else called it, this is a "walking simulator". But calling it so reduces this to its simplest form.

Dear Esther is a story, told in a melancholic and slightly resentful monologue in a beautiful island (Source engine very well used here), full of metaphors and nice places to visit and contemplate... and that's about it. You walk from point A to point B, listening to the monologue and to its foreboding (and satisfying) conclusion. There's no real exploration and/or any other form of interaction with the sets.

It's only that, a story, and a nice one. It should be appreciated as such, not as the game that it isn't.

By "playing" this, I'm eager to see what can Chinese Room do with the sequel to Amnesia.

80

Only for your eyes

abelfs | Dec. 8, 2012 | See all abelfs's reviews »

I don't know what happened to this game that made me relaxed, nostalgic and at the same time frightened. The gameplay is just walking, walking and walking, you can't neither jump. However, it is not necessary. Just surrender to the beautiful landscapes and its sad story.

80

Pure art

MarkDeejay | Nov. 5, 2012 | See all MarkDeejay's reviews »

Now this is art. It's a beautiful 'game', an adventure, where all you do is walk around, with a bit of exploring. At certain points in this adventure a narrator will try to tell you (bits of) a story. A cryptic one, mind you. In the end its interpretation is up you, the player. Some of the stories are random, meaning you might get a different one the next time you play. It's a short story, and it will take about 1-2 hours to 'complete', but, in my opinion, it's worth it. There's so much atmosphere in it, it's beautiful. Who would've thought the Source engine could still produce these kind of graphics ? It's breathtakingly beautiful. The little music there is is also perfect. The only little glitch I found was occasionally getting stuck in the environment, but it's not at all gamebreaking. And even though the price is steep for such a short experience, I would still gladly recommend it.

40

A Polarizing Game

BillyMays14 | Sept. 26, 2012 | See all BillyMays14's reviews »

Dear Esther is-quite frankly- what gamer's usually think of when hearing the phrase "art game". By that I mean it can come off as pretentious and places it's atmosphere and message above gameplay. The presentation is excellent but if you are looking for a "game", it isn't there. It is more like an a story narrated to you where the only way to continue is to progress down the linear path laid out in front of you. Some people may enjoy it, I did not. If you look for unique games that blur the lines between mediums, this might be up your alley. However, if you want your games to have a little more "game" to them, I would avoid this.

70

It's your Experience.

POOTDISPENSER | Sept. 16, 2012 | See all POOTDISPENSER's reviews »

You can call it a game or an interactive experience.

Dear Esther has incredible visuals courtesy of Source, nice settings and narrative.

The story is up to your imagination, and at the end of it you have a unique experience.

Don't get this expecting strong gameplay elements. The story and graphics hold the game together, and the last piece of the puzzle is, you.

30

Don't be fooled by the hype surrounding this one

schroff | Sept. 14, 2012 | See all schroff's reviews »

This title creates a lot of division among gamers and for good reason. It's not what we define as a game nor is it truly a story. All you have to do is press W or the left stick .. depending on how you like to play. That's it; wait for the narrator to say something at various checkpoints. People have claimed this game to be poetic but I just can't see it as all I see is classical music and strange sentences forced together. It tries hard but I don't feel any emotion, most feel the sadness which this title tries to evoke thanks to the soundtrack. Alan Wake is also about a guy and his missing wife and you collect story segments along the way, now THAT is a game and a story. It belongs as part of a level designer's portfolio than a paid for title, save your money and watch it 1080p on youtube, if you like it then buy and enjoy it on your system. Points for showing off the source engine and rather average OST.

20

Not a good game...

Zinzun | Aug. 23, 2012 | See all Zinzun's reviews »

First af all,Dear Esther was a mod for Half-Life 2.During this mod,you can only walk on a desert island,can't interact with anything,just explore the surrounding enviroment. The commercial game....is the same.The story is very confused,and if you play the game multiple times you can read different lines of dialogue,but you will never have the complete meaning of the story. After one and half hour,the game and you can only...play it again,but there's nothing to discover or interact. By the way,graphic is very good,many locations are wonderful but...that's all.Buy it only for a few cents,otherwise see a gameplay video on Youtube,because in the end this is only a tech-demo.

25

Next best thing to a warm glass of milk...

instantstupor | Aug. 13, 2012 | See all instantstupor's reviews »

As it does an amazing job at lulling you to sleep. First things first, this is not a game. By it's own admission, it is more an experiment of narrative in the game medium. It is, in my estimation, a failed experiment. If you've played the free "Stanley Parable" mod for Half-Life 2, you will have at least an inkling of what kind of template Dear Esther uses (though clearly, the former is more lighthearted than the latter).

Let's throw some complements about this title out there first. It does have some nice graphics and the environmental design is striking at times and...well...looks like I'm out of positively, I'm sad to say. The next nicest thing I've got is at least it only lasts about an hour.

You start the game with no idea how or why you are there, nor are you given any instructions. No problem. Let's just walk around, see what we can find out by knocking around this island. First thing you find out, you better enjoy walking around, because that is the only bit of participation you have in this entire thing. Oh, I forgot. You can hold in E to zoom in about 5% closer. Unfortunately all the other keys on that button laden keyboard go unused, as your bag of tricks have just been accounted for.

As you amble onward, the game spits a bit narrative at you every 5 or so minutes. Unlike the Stanley Parable, none of Dear Esther is particularly interesting or well written. Despite the narrator's best efforts to make EVERYTHING sound important, you can't help shake the feeling after a while that nothing is. Even worse, it becomes apparent it is most definitely not cohesive. I believe that lack of cohesion was not done unwittingly, but rather was used as a mechanic by the game's designers to give the paper thin prose an air of mystery...being obtuse makes things harder to understand and, when done right, requires you work to follow the thread and ultimately gives you a sense of accomplishment & reward when you start piecing things together.

Problem being on this breadcrumb laden story's path? There is no thread. You come across bits of narrative slowly (and I do mean slowly - you walk at the pace of a geriatric snail, mash the Shift key all you'd like), and over time you realize none of them really connect. There is just random narrative; islands of text that refuse to work together in harmony to create an overarching story. Little things that do start to have any kind of meaning or interest, or appear to be revealed in interesting ways, end up being things that are already explained to you in the synopsis of the game. If you want a mild surprise, read as little about this game as you can - including, and especially, it's own synopsis.

In the end, you might as well just fire up Skyrim, start wandering aimlessly, and play a 15 second clip from a different book-on-tape every 5 or so minutes. It'll be just as interesting. All I can say is I'm glad I was able to get the game on sale for $1.39. Oh, I guess I was wrong. I did have one more good thing to say.

86

A beautiful thing to walk through.

mrmotinjo | Aug. 13, 2012 | See all mrmotinjo's reviews »

Dear Esther is not a game, in the conventional sense. There is no gameplay, no interactivity, no weapons, no enemies.

You walk through it, listen to it, and follow the story through occasional narration. It is a true work of art, both a visual and literary masterpiece, with gorgeous scenery and interesting, if a bit grim and sad story you're left to interpret on your own. It is like playing a book or a poem.

It is no game, but it is a beautiful thing.

71

Good, but not a game

DrHouse | Aug. 12, 2012 | See all DrHouse's reviews »

The fact that it's sold in game stores doesn't mean it's a game at all. It more like a movie. You don't have to do anything, just walk around the island and listen to what a mysterious omnipresent narrator has to say. It's a good experience, and visually it's one of the best things ever done in Source. So it's good to some degree, but don't expect to "have fun" or a great gameplay, because there isn't any gameplay at all. Just sit and relax.

100

Unique

Raoin | Aug. 12, 2012 | See all Raoin's reviews »

I would say Dear Esther is rather an interactive experience than a game properly. Most of the gameplay is to explore an abandoned island as a lone survivor, and listen his story. It may sound rustic and boring, but it isn't. Dear Esther uses a randomized system of sounds and little events what makes a slight difference for the gameplay. Further, Dear Esther plays with subjectivity, engaging different players by awaken them different feelings during the gameplay. The game itself isn't long, but has a replay valor, since every walkthrough can be quite unique.

90

Excellent experience

hellinperson | July 19, 2012 | See all hellinperson's reviews »

Dear Esther is more like an experience rather than a story. You can beat in less than 2 hours. But you'll want to play it several times. Each time you discover new things. This game has amazing graphics. If you have a nice PC and you can play it maxed out, it will look incredible. Despite this is a remake of a mod, it is well worth the money.

85

But is it art?

GAMERamble | July 18, 2012 | See all GAMERamble's reviews »

The biggest debate surrounding Dear Esther is whether it is even a game & deserve to be judged by the standards of other games or not. This is a very difficult question to answer since for every gamer exploring the island in rapt fascination you'll find another frustrated by the plodding pace & lack of interaction. This obviously makes it a very hard experience to review since the whole adventure is very brief & very open to interpretation. To say anything about the story will inevitably spoil some of the surprises. I finished the whole thing in less than two hours & while it was definitely a departure from what I am used to the whole experience was captivated enough that I did so in one sitting without growing bored. This is quite a mean feat for something that required almost no interaction from my part.

87

Make sure you know what you're gettting in to

Wormy | June 17, 2012 | See all Wormy's reviews »

Dear Esther is not a game, it's a first person story; one that is told exceptionally well. Essentially it is a remake of a free Half Life 2 mod with overhauled visuals and audio. There's very little for you to do in the game: you must explore a haunting island while a narrator chimes in whenever you trigger certain events. I can't talk in detail about the story as that's were the bulk of the enjoyment comes from but you can get through it in about an hour if you don't spend time exploring on your own. If this only sounds mildly intriguing then I would recommend downloading the Half Life 2 mod as it is an experience that should not be missed.

84

Somewhat creepy

NoLove3827 | June 16, 2012 | See all NoLove3827's reviews »

Dear Ester is a very creepy game. It doesn't take that long to complete (several hours). The atmosphere is amazing, and has some of the best graphics I've ever seen in a video game, they look almost like a CGI movie. It originally was a modification for Half-Life 2, but was remastered and re-released as a standalone game. This game is one that should be played at nighttime in the dark alone to fully feel what the developers intended.