“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 it’s beautiful environments with a breathtaking soundtrack to tell a powerful story of love, loss, guilt and redemption. Winner of 2012 IGF Excellence in Visual Art. Supported by Indie Fund.
A word of warning, this is definitely not for everyone, I can imagine someone downloading it thinking there would be a lot of action, but there is not.
The game contains breathtaking vistas and other sights, the visuals is absolutely astonishing. I first thought that this game would only run with 30 fps on my computer, but the game ran surprisingly well, I don't think I had a single (visible) framedrop.
If I had to give some criticism to the game, it would be the story and the way it is presented. It requires quite the English vocabulary, but not only that, the story is cut down to bits, and the game will read the bits as you go along, but they aren't directly connected to each other, so sometimes it just seems random. This may or may not be deliberate, so it is hardly a real criticism.
The question I have had was: "Is it worth the money?"
It takes around 75 minutes to complete for me. (note: I did not try to complete it as fast as i could, but I didn't see everything either). Dear Esther has some replayabilty as it is almost impossible to see everything first time around, there are some paths I have yet to follow.
The game is 8 €, so it's cheaper than the usual indie however it is also shorter than the usual indie game, but this gets balanced out by the fact that Dear Esther is 100 % all the time, it does not have it's bad moments.
All in all, I think it has been worth it, but I doubt that everyone will love it as much as I have. (and am having)
(Another note: I have played the mod, so I knew what I was going into, and I would recommend to people who are in doubt to go play the mod.)
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 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.
Dear Esther is one of those games that pushes its identity strongly as an art form. An art form meant to encapsulate an idea rather than deliver an entertaining experience. I would compare this to the difference between moden and classical art, with Dear Esther being in the former category.
It focus exclusively on delivering atmosphere, but the immersion level of the mod can only go so far with just that. A barely coherent story and the lack of variety in gameplay will inevitably subtract from the overall austerity of the game.
The only revolutionary input for this game seems to be the fact that it's soley based on exploration, novelity derived from a lack of novelity(if that makes sense). The fact that the game has so little that you have to make more of what remains. Thankfully what you have left are beautifully detailed environments and exquisite voiceacting. But the incoherency of what has to be said only intrigues the brain in trying to figure out what the hell the damn narrorator is trying to make sense in the first place, instead of pondering the ideas he has left with us.
Dear Esther is not something I would pay for, but I would nevertheless play if I got the chance. Dear Esther is in every means a beautiful game, if you can even call it a game.
This game is not a game and the game length is almost as long as a movie. It's not worth the price tag for such a remake like this and should have deserved watching this through YouTube without the need to walk and play through a boring tale without the usual purpose of gameplay.
I've already enjoyed the mod and so I had to buy the game. It took me 1-2 hours to play through and I guess it was the money worth. The visual is breath taking and that was the only negativ point about the mod. Now the project "Dear Esther" is quite perfect.
If you support these guys with buying their game, you'll put an example that quality should stand at the top of every video game. Maybe some big will recognize...
And amazing sounds.
"Dear Esther" stands as one of my all-time favorite game, (along with LBA2 ;)). Apart from the aesthetically pleasing side of "DE", with hindsight it became an enigma, that encounters an urge to decipher...
Невероятное по своему эмоциональному эффекту грустное путешествие по острову, сотканному из обрывков воспоминаний и чувств.
От компьютерной игры в привычном ее понимании проект взял только технологическую форму. Разработчики не просто сместили фокус с игровых ситуаций, что можно встретить в похожих проектах, они полностью от них отказались, как от ненужных (вероятно, даже мешающих) в рамках заданной концепции. И в итоге взаимодействие с виртуальной средой, повествование, визуальный и звуковой ряд находятся в идеальной гармоничной взаимосвязи, акцент с которой ничего не сбивает и которая прекрасно выполняет поставленные задачи.
Я очень надеюсь, что инструменты разработки компьютерных игр все чаще будет использоваться для создания подобных произведений.