Third party DRM: SteamThis game requires a free Steam account to play.
"One of the most haunting and well-executed titles of this or any other generation." - StrategyInformer.com
"A trip through a brilliantly conceived landscape that rewards attentive engagement with a moving story." - PCgamer.com
“A deserted island…a lost man…memories of a fatal crash…a book written by a dying explorer.”
Two years in the making, the highly anticipated Indie remake of the cult mod Dear Esther arrives on PC. Dear Esther immerses you in a stunningly realised world, a remote and desolate island somewhere in the outer Hebrides. As you step forwards, a voice begins to read fragments of a letter: "Dear Esther..." - and so begins a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years. Abandoning traditional gameplay for a pure story-driven experience, Dear Esther fuses its beautiful environments with a breathtaking soundtrack to tell a powerful story of love, loss, guilt and redemption.
Forget the normal rules of play; if nothing seems real here, it’s because it may just be all a delusion. What is the significance of the aerial -- What happened on the motorway -- is the island real or imagined -- who is Esther and why has she chosen to summon you here? The answers are out there, on the lost beach, the windswept cliffs and buried in the darkness of the tunnels beneath the island… Or then again, they may just not be, after all…
Dear Esther is supported by Indie Fund.
Every play-through a unique experience, with randomly generated audio, visuals and events.
Explore Incredible environments that push the Source engine to new levels of beauty.
A poetic, semi-randomised story like you've never experienced in a game before.
Stunning soundtrack featuring world-class musicians.
An uncompromisingly inventive game delivered to the highest AAA standards.
This Game is Gorgeous...but is There More?faerie241 | April 18, 2015 | See all faerie241's reviews »
I am incredibly mixed on this game, as are most people who play this game. On the one hand, it is an absolutely gorgeous experience. The way that the sun shines down on the island and the plant life sways in the breezes makes the game a fully immersive experience not often found in video games.
That said, there really isn't much to this game outside of its beauty. The game is only about an hour long, and while you may want to play it a few times in order to get everything the story has to offer, it still means that the game will not entertain you for more than around 3-4 hours at the most.
Additionally, and most critically, is that there is no real "gameplay" to this game. The entire game is your character walking around the island. Exploration is pretty limited, making most of the game just walking from point A to point B with no challenges or roadblocks.
Ultimately, is this game worth playing? On a decent sale, I would say yes. I did deeply enjoy pondering exactly what this game set out to do and why, which is the mark of a compelling game at the least. That said, it is not a good game for someone impatient or a person who expects a lot of content packed into their games. It just isn't that kind of game.
Beautiful But Divisivebwrussell | April 14, 2015 | See all bwrussell's reviews »
The debate centers around not the games quality but it's standing as a game at all. Fortunately for a review there is no reason to wade into this but the reasons why there is a debate come down to the fundamentals of what this game is. Skin deep Dear Esther is simply a story told to as you wander around an empty island, exploring abandon structures and glowing caves.It is important to understand this before playing this game, you will not be physically interacting in any way, this is all about the story.
So how is the story? Well, frankly I found it a little pretentious and overly vague but those are things that it uses to draw in some people. While I gained very little from the experience others have found much more depth, including some hidden secrets on the island, and this is where any merit this game has will be. Each time you play the game you will get different parts of the story which is an ok mechanic but in Dear Esther it flounders for two reasons. First of the world doesn't really change in any significant way so visually multiple play thrus quickly become rote, despite the impressive graphics. The second, and related flaw is the dismal movement speed which means way to much time is spent walking in silence. I can not recommend modifying the game to allow for increased movement speeds if you decide to play this game (a quick search will give plenty of results for easy ways to do this).
If you're the kind of person that loves digging into and trying to find the meaning in vague stories but aren't looking for the interaction seen in most games then Dear Esther will be something you really enjoy. Otherwise you'll probably want to pass.
More of a storyVenhiem | Jan. 7, 2015 | See all Venhiem's reviews »
This isn't really a game. More like a story that you walk through. You can call it a walking simulator.
The graphics are very good. Not excellent, but fitting.
The story is also very good. That is what this game is: just a story.
The dialogue and sounds are good. The narrator just babbles random stuff at you mostly.
The gameplay sucks. No jump, run, punch, anything. Just walk and walk and walk. I'd recommend it only if you know what you're getting. Also, know that you could probably just watch a let’s play of it and get the same experience, if not better, since it'd be free.
Well ... you can trudge around and look at stuff.mushclone298 | Oct. 26, 2014 | See all mushclone298's reviews »
Story: 20/25 Gameplay: 10/25 Graphics: 23/25 Sound: 20/25 Well, I thought I was reviewing a game. But ... a game let's you do stuff. This is more of a non-interactive story. Speaking of story, it's pretty good. If only the narrator didn't speak in a monologue every few minutes. It's very good, just too wordy, which means most of today's audience won't care enough to listen to it. The gameplay is ... trudging. It would appear at first that you could explore this island, but you can't, gotta follow the path. Not sure why you would want to explore anyway cause the guy walks as slow ... as ... balls. But look pretty stuff. The graphics are actually pretty good. Very nice and depressing with ghosts that freak you out at first. The sound is done very nicely too. All in all, what the hell did I just "play"?
Mixed Feelingsemptyhaven | Oct. 20, 2014 | See all emptyhaven's reviews »
I really like good stories. I really, really like good and well written stories. Games like To the Moon draw me in because the story engages me and puts me in a world I can understand.
Dear Esther is also a good story, but I don't know if I wanted to play through the story as I did, or if I would have preferred reading it in a book. Sometimes, one form doesn't do as well as another, and finding the right medium for a story can be tricky.
What works for this game is that the first-person perspective attempts to immerse you in the world, making the experience seem more urgent to your senses. The story, in a way, becomes yours, or at least the persona you project onto the avatar you control. Dear Esther drives you through the story, hoping the story drives you in even further. If this was its purpose, then I can rate it well, considering it fulfilled its purpose with me.
Overall, I think it is worth a try. You might not like it and say that it lacks proper gameplay aspects, and I will say, in its defense, that you should listen to the story and stop reading too much into the "game" aspect.