“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.
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.