Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (3,741 reviews)
Release Date: 14 Feb, 2012

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Buy Dear Esther

Buy Dear Esther + Soundtrack

 

Recommended By Curators

"Is this even a game? I dont think so.... Its a very atmospheric experience though."

About This Game

“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.

Key features:

  • 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.

Soundtrack

Jessica Curry's haunting and beautiful soundtrack to Dear Esther, now available on Steam, has been a hit with gamers and critics alike. Reviewers have said ""Curry's score reflects the player's feelings without oppressively instructing them. Exquisitely constructed, both sonically and visually" (Eurogamer), "as beautiful as the game is, it’d be remiss not to mention Curry’s atmospheric soundtrack...impossible to ignore." (Edge), "spellbinding, fascinating aural landscape: a resounding success" (Square Enix), "Curry's delicate & understated musical score achieves a level of excellence. It's the ultimate achievement of composition." (Bitgamer). The soundtrack was shortlisted for the Excellence in Audio award at the Independent Games Festival 2012

System Requirements

PC
Mac

    Minimum:

    • OS:Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Processor:Intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz or higher
    • Memory:1GB XP / 2GB Vista
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compliant video card with Shader model 3.0 support. NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better (Pre-Sandybridge Intel graphics chipsets not yet supported)
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

    Recommended:

    • OS:Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Processor: Quad core 2.4GHz or higher
    • Memory:1GB XP / 2GB Vista
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compliant video card with Shader model 3.0 support. NVidia 8800, ATI Radeon 2900 pro or better (Pre-Sandybridge Intel graphic chipsets not supported)
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
    • OS: MAC OS X 10.6.7 or higher
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2GB
    • Hard Disk Space: At least 2 GB of Space
    • Video Card: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD Graphics 3000
Helpful customer reviews
13 of 23 people (57%) found this review helpful
8.6 hrs on record
IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BUY THIS GAME!!!

I want to live in the illusion to be the only one to ever experience the story in this game.

20/10
Posted: 13 October
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.8 hrs on record
Amazing Game, would walk again 10/10!
Posted: 10 October
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Absolutely mesmerizing storytelling, with the tone of a masterfully penned novella and music that bears the weight of endless sorrow. An island that feels more like a character than a place. The only choice you have is to keep advancing or stop playing.
Dear Esther manages to be a profound and unique experience, even though it consists solely of walking through a virtual environment and listening to a man slowly lose his sanity for a little over an hour. I've replayed it many times and loved it more each time, while still feeling like I hadn't understood all it had to offer. Whether you consider it a game or not, Dear Esther is certainly a work of art.
Posted: 12 October
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
It's okay
Posted: 23 October
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Simply stunning! I applaud the developers for showing restraint with the controls, putting the player in just the right state of mind to fully appreciate the wonderful environments & atmosphere.
Posted: 17 October
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Brilliant experimental design. Love the narration and visual elements
Posted: 2 October
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
I recommend this game.
Posted: 2 October
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Dear Esther opens with the beginnings of a letter. As the game's protagonist sets foot onto a deserted island, he starts the game's morose, floridly allegorical narrative with the titular words, "Dear Esther". This letter written to Esther contains a rich story whose open-to-interpretation-type narrative makes multiple playthroughs of Dear Esther equally lurid and enlightening, despite the game's somewhat tedious gameplay elements. When paired with Dear Esther's ethereal environment, this narrative creates a deeply mournful and intriguing walking simulator.

The player's journey up the island begins in the day time, beneath ominously gathered clouds and amid rolling hills of withered plantlife. The atmosphere of Dear Esther is filled with tragic elements that add to the story's themes of suffering and grief. During the first half of the journey, the player will pass by grounded ships and abandoned cottages. As the game continues on, the day will grow darker and soon you're plunged into the fantastical darkness of a cave that is illuminated by the rising moon and studded with chemically inspired, glow-in-the-dark paintings and lines of scripture. The environment of Dear Esther grows stormier and more otherworldly as it approaches the climax of the game.

The astounding scenery of Dear Esther is paired with frequent pieces of narration from the story's main character. The character's letter to Esther is one filled with metaphors that will depict incredibly abstract images while instilling terrifically tangible emotions in the player. The style of the letter swings between a solemn sadness and a bitter rage, and often the contents of the letter are vague and disjointed—almost as if there are multiple letters and the player is only getting pieces of each one. Each sections of the letter unveils another piece of the story behind your character's climb to the beacon, while leaving enough room for you to speculate about some of the game's more ambiguous plot points.

Completing more playthroughs of Dear Esther reveals more pieces of the game's shadowy plot; each piece of dialogue the player receives is one of many potential speeches delivered by a supurb voice actor. Untangling the mystery of Dear Esther's story is a slow and thoughtful journey that, with a little bit of patience, could leave you thinking about this game in moments when you least expect it. Dear Esther's literature quality writing and thought-provoking style of gameplay earns it a steady recommendation from me.
Posted: 24 September
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
I can't think of the words to come up with a proper review for a game like this. I mean, words by themselves would just be a subjective representation of something that should be experienced. Like a fleeting memory of a long lost loved one, or the recurring pain you feel on a winter night, about the past you want to correct, and a future of mistakes. It's reality in your face, in a world that lives in imaginary wonderlands and facades. If humans just took one moment to see what's in front of them, and truly cherish what is most important, the world wouldn't be like it is today.

It's not about Dear Esther changing the landscape of gaming, it's not the somber narrative, or the mixed messages you as the player try to interpenetrate. It's more than that, it's everything you want it to be, and nothing. It can be a silly game with no point, or it can be an important piece of literature. To me, it's what I've seen and been through, it's loss, it's regret, it's sorrow and happiness, and most importantly it's freedom. So yes, Dear Esther is an important piece of work, and it just so happens to come in an interactive format. Laugh if you must, and mock if you will, but game companies can learn from Dear Esther. It's just too bad, that the masses like shooty shooty bang bang, and sparky sparks go flashy flash.
Posted: 5 October
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Dear Esther takes you on a 1 hour journey on an island while a narrator is telling a story. I thought the story was pretty good and some of the sceneries are pretty well done. There isn't much else to it really and you probably won't replay the game.

Posted: 15 October
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
There's something inherently appealing about the "walking simulator" genre - maybe the hope that games really can be a form of high art, that they'll be able to evoke a sort of deep, aesthetic response akin to poetry, or that the visuals alone will (must?) be so amazing that they'll stand on their own merits.

Then you actually play Dear Esther, and you wind up slowly plodding through some bland hillsides for an hour.
While there's some semblance of a story, it's too vague and frankly uninteresting to leave much of an impression.

That said, one part where you walk through some caves is kinda pretty. Watch that on YouTube instead.
Posted: 4 October
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
I secretly enjoy pretentious art games. Don't tell anyone, OK?
Posted: 7 October
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
A beautiful and atmospheric game.
Posted: 28 September
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
I can't believe it took me so long to get around to playing this, I loved it.
Posted: 29 September
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
I absolutely loved this game. This is more of an experience than a game, so keep that in mind if that's not your thing. I received this game as a gift from someone who was unsure that I would like it, but after I played it, I knew this was an amazing game. The graphics, story, and music in this game/experience were absolutely phenominal. I was never lost/confused where to go, everything was linear enough.

I am not about spoiling games, but the ending to this game was breathtaking. I would play this game again, and again. Definitely a good buy, but not at full price.
Posted: 29 September
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
turn off the world.... boot this game...
Posted: 30 September
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
First off this game pushes the limits of what can be actually called a game. There is no game here. There is no fun, no puzzles, no action, no thing. It is as close to the description of a walking simulator as you can get. Having said that this is easily my most favourite digital "thing" I've "experienced" for a very long time.

You explore and island but really even this is only an illusion, any choice you make in direction essentially leads to a dead end or loops around to where you started. There isn't really a story, only snippets of letters that the narrator in a random order reads to you.

What you take from the experience is what you put into it. Listen to what you find out, analyse the smallest details of the island and you'll draw your own conclusions on just what the Hell is going on. So little is given to you as fact that you never *really* know who you even are.

My only advice is approach it with an open mind, make sure you've got 2 to 3 uninterrupted hours (tops) to spare, snuggle in warm with you hot drink and cosy blanket of choice and don't rush anything - take your time to notice how immensely beautiful the game world is. I lost count how many times I just stood and looked out over the landscape.

I now have an uncontrollable urge to visit a Scottish island on a rainy and overcast day.
Posted: 7 October
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
this is really good and really beautiful. though it is not a game. it is an experience. an interactive art piece. a notgame. but it is not a game and should not be marketed to gamers and sold on a gaming platform. it does a disservice to this wonderful work of art and gives potential audiences the wrong idea. do not expect any game mechanics or any 'rules'. you are experiencing a story. there is no challenge because it is art, not a game. also the tag 'walking simulator' is just insulting. if you want art, buy this. you will enjoy it. if you want a video game, do not buy it. that is all.
Posted: 10 October
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
The protagonist has landed on a hebridean island to reminisce about their lost love, Esther. Guide him through the island in slightly different ways and you'll reveal different parts of the dialogue.

The fragments of the story are brilliantly narrated, and leave a lot to interpretation, which just draws you in further.

As a whole, this is genuinely beautiful; it can barely be described. It takes around 50-60 minutes but you absolutely must not be disturbed during it.. Don't worry about saving, or any typical 'game' stuff. Just experience it, preferably with headphones and no other external stimulus.

You will feel that you understand, but what is to be understood?
Posted: 13 October
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
I usually enjoy games which are entirely based on story, however I found Dear Esther extrememly dull. I thought that the story itself was pretentious and it didn't interest me at all and the pace of the game was awfully slow. The game is undeniably beautiful but unfortunately that is not enough to carry the game. I definitely would not recommend it.
Posted: 28 September
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