Starten Sie ein Abenteuer durch eins der originellsten FPS Spiele der letzten Jahre.
Nutzerreviews: Größtenteils positiv (4,011 Reviews)
Veröffentlichung: 14. Feb. 2012

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"Not for everyone, I realise, but as an example of games trying Something Else, I think Dear Esther is hard to argue against."
Lesen Sie hier das vollständige Review.

Über dieses Spiel

“Eine verlassene Insel… ein verlorener Mann… Erinnerungen an einen schweren Unfall... ein Buch, geschrieben von einem sterbenden Entdecker.”

Nach zwei Jahren Arbeit erscheint das heiß ersehnte Indie-Remake des Kult-Mods Dear Esther für den PC. In Dear Esther tauchen Sie ab in eine verblüffend realistische Welt, eine abgelegene und verlassene Insel irgendwo in den äußeren Hebriden. Sobald Sie sich bewegen, beginnt eine Stimme, Fragmente eines Briefes vorzulesen: „Dear Esther…“ – und so beginnt eine Reise durch eines der originellsten First-Person-Spiele der letzten Jahre. Dear Esther verzichtet auf traditionelle Gameplay-Elemente, um sich allein auf die Geschichte zu konzentrieren und verbindet diese mit einem atemberaubenden Soundtrack, um eine beeindruckende Geschichte über Liebe, Verlust, Schuld und Erlösung zu erzählen.

Vergessen Sie die Regeln eines normalen Spiels; wenn nichts real erscheint, dann vielleicht weil alles nur eine Illusion ist. Welche Rolle spielt die Antenne – was passierte auf der Autobahn – ist die Insel echt oder nur eine Einbildung– wer ist Esther und warum hat sie beschlossen, Sie hierher zu rufen? Die Antworten liegen da draußen, am verlassenen Strand, an den vom Wind gepeitschten Klippen und tief vergraben in den Tunneln unter der Insel… oder auch nicht…

Dear Esther wird vom Indie-Fund unterstützt.

Produkteigenschaften:

  • Jeder Spieldurchlauf ist ein einzigartiges Erlebnis, denn Audio, Bilder und Events werden zufällig generiert.
  • Erkunden Sie unglaubliche Umgebungen, die die Source-Engine auf eine ganz neue Schönheits-Ebene bringen.
  • Eine poetische, semi-zufällige Geschichte, die Sie noch niemals so in einem Spiel erlebt haben.
  • Ein atemberaubender Soundtrack von Weltklasse-Musikern.
  • Ein kompromisslos einfallsreiches Spiel, angepasst an die höchsten AAA-Standards.

Soundtrack

Der eindringliche und schöne Soundtrack von Jessica Curry zu Dear Esther, jetzt erhältlich auf Steam, wird von Spielern und Kritikern gleichermaßen begeistert aufgenommen. Kritikermeinungen: „Currys Musik reflektiert die Gefühle des Spielers, ohne sie erdrückend zu steuern. Genial konstruiert, sowohl akustisch als auch visuell“ (Eurogamer), „So schön das Spiel ist, es wäre ein Verlust, nicht den atmosphärischen Soundtrack von Curry zu erwähnen… unmöglich zu ignorieren.“ (Edge), „eine bezaubernde, faszinierende aurale Landschaft, ein klangvoller Erfolg“ (Square Enix), „Currys zarte und unterschätzte Musik erringt ein Level der Exzellenz. Es ist die ultimative Errungenschaft der Komposition.“ (Bitgamer). Der Soundtrack wurde auf dem Indepentent Games Festival 2012 für den Excellence in Audio Award nominiert.

Systemvoraussetzungen

Windows
Mac OS X

    Minimum:

    • Betriebssystem: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Prozessor: Intel core 2 duo 2,4 GHz oder höher
    • Speicher: 1 GB RAM XP / 2 GB RAM Vista
    • Grafik: DirectX 9-kompatible Grafikkarte mit Shadermodel 3.0. NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 oder besser (Intel Grafikkarten entwickelt vor der Sandybridge-Technik noch nicht unterstützt)
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Festplatte: 2 GB verfügbarer Festplattenspeicher
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-kompatible Soundkarte

    Empfohlen:

    • Betriebssystem: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Prozessor: Quad Core 2,4 GHz oder höher
    • Speicher: 1 GB RAM XP / 2 GB RAM Vista
    • Grafik: DirectX 9-kompatible Grafikkarte mit Shadermodel 3.0. NVidia 8800, ATI Radeon 2900 pro oder besser (Intel Grafikkarten entwickelt vor der Sandybridge-Technik nicht unterstützt)
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Festplatte: 2 GB verfügbarer Festplattenspeicher
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-kompatible Soundkarte
    • Betriebssystem: MAC OS X 10.6.7 oder höher
    • Prozessor: Intel Core Duo Prozessor (2 GHz oder besser)
    • Speicher: 2 GB
    • Festplatte: Mind. 2 GB frei
    • Grafikkarte: ATI Radeon 2400 oder höher / NVIDIA 8600M oder höher / Intel HD Graphics 3000
Hilfreiche Kundenreviews
13 von 15 Personen (87%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.0 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 6. Juli
Zu Dear Esther gibt es nicht viel zu sagen, da es eher zu der Kategorie Exploration Games zählt.
Dennoch hat mich das Spiel im ersten Durchgang (ca. 1h) von seiner Qualität überzeugt.

Während seiner Reise über eine scheinbar verlassene Insel, die meiner Meinung nach, sehr stark an Island erinnert, werden einem nach und nach einzelne Teile eines Briefes an "Esther" vorgelesen, welche zufällig generiert werden und erst nach einer Weile einen Gesamteindruck der Hintergrundgeschichte verschaffen.
Während man an der Küste entlangwandert, verfallene Häuser untersucht oder Höhlen erkundet wird man von zufälliger, aber dennoch passender Musik, von Jessica Curry, begleitet. (Fans von Sigur Rós sehr zu empfehlen)

Dear Esther ist definitv ein Spiel, das man nach dem ersten Durchlauf noch mal anfassen würde, allein, um ein paar andere Wege in der Story zu erkunden oder um sich an der detailreichen und realistischen Umgebung zu erfreuen.

10/10
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
6 von 6 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.3 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 20. Juli
Also, es ist ein atemberaubendes Spiel welches wirklich mit seiner Grafik (auch für ältere Computermodelle) umhaut. Die wundeschönen Höhlen mit ihren leuchtenden Tropfsteinen und die Wasserfälle... alles einfach WOW!
Die Geschichte ist sehr schön, wenn auch etwas schwer zu verstehen... da man mit nichts interagieren kann und eigentlich nur eine Linie abläuft und wartet das man neue Textstellen vorgetragfen bekommt, gibt es hier einen Minuspunkt. Auch für die Spiellänge welche sagenhafte 78 MINUTEN beträgt bereue ich fast 8€ bezahlt zu haben...

Für das Geld kann man sich Spiele mit weitaus besserer Story und viel Längerer spielzeit kaufen.
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
5 von 5 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
26.7 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 5. Dezember
First German, English below

Eigentlich nur zum Spaß gekauft besticht das Spiel durch seine unglaublich gute Musik und Spannung. Leider kurz aber unglaublich gut hat mich das Ende zu Tränen gerührt...

Das Spiel kann man am besten in die Kategorie First Person Adventure / Exploration einsortieren. Rätsel gibt es keine, es geht nur um das pure Spiel das einem die Geschichte "vorliest". In Englisch, aber stimmungsvoll.

Die Grafik ist für die "einfache" Source Engine schon fast unglaublich. Zwar sind Pflanzen wenn man nah ran geht nur 2D, aber das Gesamtbild zeichnet eine wunderschöne Umgebung, die zusammen mit der Musik in Erinnerung bleibt.

Kein Spiel, eine Erfahrung....

English:

Actually bought just for fun, the game impresses with its incredibly good music, feelings and visuals. Unfortunately, short but incredibly well made me end in tears ...

The game can best sort 1st person adventure /exploration category. No puzzles, it's all about life the story. Voice "reads" the story. In English, but atmospheric.

The graphics for the "simple" Source Engine almost unbelievable. Although plants are if you go get close only 2D, but the overall picture paints a beautiful environment that will be remembered along with the music.

Not a game experience ....
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
4 von 4 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
3.2 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 7. August
Hier mein Empfinden: Sofort gefiel mir die Grafik, auch die damit verbundene Atmosphäre. Die Sound-Effekte waren ebenso super. Die ersten "Story"-Elemente tauchten auf und ich hielt das Gerede des Hauptprotagonisten für geschwollenes Geschwafel. Es wirkte aufgesetzt. Zwanghaft poetisch. Während den ersten 15 Minuten war ich kurz davor, das Spiel abzuschalten. Ich bin ein großer Fan von GONE HOME und im Vergleich dazu sah DEAR ESTHER eher blass aus: Noch weniger Interaktion und eine "Love-Story", die eher an den Haaren herbeigezogen wurde. Auch die hochgepriesene Musik haute mich kaum aus den virtuellen Socken.

Von wegen.

Ich gab dem Spiel noch eine Chance - und betrat eine weiträumige Höhle. Von da an fesselte mich DEAR ESTHER; irgendetwas Magisches ist da unten passiert! Die Kommentare des Chars fielen knapper und direkter aus (bilde ich mir ein), die Kulisse raubte mir den Atem und die Musik wuchs zu etwas Epischem heran. Von da an staunte ich bis zum Ende und verspürte ein Hochgefühl, welches dem von GONE HOME (fast) nahe kommt.

Wem empfehle ich dieses Spiel? Ja, es ist ein Laufsimulator. Ja, hier geht es im Prinzip nur um Atmosphäre. Wer darauf steht, erlebt mit DEAR ESTHER eine kleine, stimmungsvolle Reise. Alle anderen sollten die Finger davon lassen und später nicht behaupten, dies wäre "kein Spiel".

Atemberaubende Landschaften, ein toller Soundtrack und eine Story, in die man sich reinfinden muss. Wer sich Zeit lässt, hat 2-3 Stunden Spaß und einiges an Gänsehaut.

Tatsächlich zu empfehlen ist die Synchronisation von Hans Duschl. So können auch Leute, die nicht so gut Englisch beherrschen, DEAR ESTHER genießen. Einfach "Dear Esther + Hans Duschl" bei Google eingeben und den Anweisungen folgen! Viel Spaß!
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1 von 1 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.7 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 7. September
Es ist kein Spiel, sondern ein Erlebnis. Ein wunderschönes Erlebnis, dass gute Englischkenntnisse voraussetzt ;)
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
1 von 1 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
0.9 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 8. September
Die Hauptkritikpunkte an Dear Esther sind ja häufig, dass es zu wenig einem Spiel gleicht, und das man für den Preis zu wenig geliefert bekommen würde. Dem muss ich wiedersprechen. Ich finde die Atmosphäre in Dear Esther einfach nur einzigartig, mir ist nein ein Spiel untergekommen mit einer vergleichbaren Atmosphäre. Die Soundkulisse, die Musik, die Story und die Grafik; Alles fügt sich hier ein Gesamtkunstwerk durch welches man staunend, mit offendem Mund hindurchgeht, der geheimnissvollen Geschichte lauscht und über die Umgebung staunt.

Dear Esther ist eine Erfahrung die ich wirklich jedem dringend ans Herz legen möchte. Es ist einfach einzigartig.
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
1 von 1 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.8 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 14. September
Okay, zuerst mal, "Dear Esther" ist etwas Besonderes. Ein Spiel - Nein. Eine interessante Art eine Geschichte zu erzählen - Ja!

Das Spiel ist definitiv etwas für intelligente und erwachsene Menschen, die ihren Charakter nicht aufbauen wollen oder an jeder Ecke in Multiplayerschlachten in die Deckung springen wollen. Allerdings sollte man auch ein gewisses Eckchen Englisch mitbringen, den der Erzähler erzählt viel und teilweise recht schnell auf Englisch.

Zu empfehlen für Menschen, die auch gerne mal tiefgründige Bücher lesen oder einfach mal ein etwas anderes "Spiel" ausprobieren wollen.
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1 von 1 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.4 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 14. September
Ein schönes, sehr atmosphärisches Spiel, jedoch auch sehr ungewohnt.
Hier gibt es nichts zu Ballern und nur recht wenig Interaktion. Die Handlung wird recht eng an der Story geführt, eigentlich wandert der Spieler durch eine Geschichte, die er während der Wanderung erzählt bekommt.
Alles in Allem ist Dear Esther durchaus Wert, einmal gespielt zu werden, allein der Geschichte wegen.
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
1 von 1 Personen (100%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.1 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 15. August
Es ist nicht genau ein Spiel sondern eine schön gestaltete Welt durch die man durchläuft und bei jedem Neustart eine andere Geschichte erzählt bekommt. Man sollte entweder Englisch sprechen können oder sollte nach einem Modpack für seine jeweilige Sprache suchen. Wenn man eine 3D Brille hat oder die Crosseye Technik beherrscht kann man dieses Spiel auch in 3D spielen (solange man eine entsprechende Grafikkarte besitzt) was das Game nochmal viel toller aussehen lässt. Persöhnlich habe ich dies aber nur per Video gesehen bin aber trzdem manchmal zusammengezuckt als mir die Partikel "ins Gesicht" geflogen sind xD Eindeutige Kaufempfehlung für Leute die gerne eine Geschichte erzählt bekommen und für die Gameplay nicht immer das wichtigste ist!
War dieses Review hilfreich? Ja Nein
3 von 5 Personen (60%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.3 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 23. Oktober
Eigentlich müsste man ja einen Daumen nach unten geben. Doch ich bin mal so gnädig, dem Titel noch eine Empfehlung zu geben, da es ja schon beeindruckend ist, was die Indie-Entwickler mit der völlig veralteten Source-Engine so angestellt haben. Außerdem schlägt Dear Esther bei Sales regelmäßig mit nur zwei Euro zu Buche. So viel kann einem das Gucken und unregelmäßige Lauschen der kurzen Handlung wohl wert sein. Das Spiel hat seine Momente und versteht sich wohl als eine Art Kurzgeschichte in Videospielform. Dear Esther ist The Vanishing of Ethan Carter nicht unähnlich. Letzteres ist aber deutlich länger, interaktiver, dichter und noch ein gutes Stück hübscher.
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1 von 2 Personen (50%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.3 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 19. September
Pflichtkauf für Gamer!
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105 von 136 Personen (77%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
9.4 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 26. August
As always, TL;DR at the bottom. This game deserves more though.

In recent years it has become more common to hear gamers, and even some non-gamers giving credit to games as pieces of art. Truly all games are art in some form as they provide a visual and narrative experience no matter what type of game they are. Some games are simply greater classified as art than others, but even inside of that it seems something such as 'Dear Esther' should be given credit on the art scale much higher than any old "video games are art" scale.

'Dear Esther' is claimed by many as "not a game". This is a debate I am no longer interested in, as I simply don't take a hard stance on what a game is anymore now that I have played so many adventure games, and what are more aptly described as "walking simulators". If you want to call it art instead, which it is, I can accept that, but debating on what a game is has become something I do not find interesting anymore. It's a game to me and great art at the same time.

Now that I have grown up a little and become able to appreciate games as great pieces of art, I look for games with beauty in narrative, visuals, music, and even atmosphere much more often than I once did. Giving games described as "walking simulators" a much greater chance than I once would have as a younger gamer. 'Dear Esther' is a game I never would have played maybe as recent as a year ago. I would ignore games such as this and mockingly call them "walking simulators", or games with a lot of FMVs like MGS4, "movies". It's actually quite embarrassing thinking about discussions I've had in the past about such games. >_>

I'm glad I came to my senses because games like this not only give you a sense of extreme beauty, but challenge you to think about things in abstract and interesting ways. Digging into you deeper than a more traditional game focused solely on the gameplay, which I considered the ONLY thing that mattered for the longest time. Games with these weird worlds, stories, and characters just stick with you longer and allow for us to spend more time with them after finishing by discussing them with other gamers. Isn't that something we all enjoy as a major part of gaming? Discussing games and trying to understand them when they give us something to talk about? (feel free to discuss in the comments of this review! Please be mindful of spoilers, however.) It definitely does for me, and 'Dear Esther' made me think, wonder, and read more about it the second I was done playing.

'Dear Esther' on a technical side is a magnificently wonderful game. While you can see in the store screenshots that the game has haunting and lovely visuals, you can't really know how wonderful the atmosphere is without playing it. The music in this game is so well done (I highly recommend buying this soundtrack and I rarely do that) that I found myself saving when I heard a piece start so that I could reload and listen to it again before moving on. The music is atmospheric, haunting, beautiful, and I can't think of a game where I was so enthralled by the music before.

With the musical score lending to the feel of the game, the island you find yourself on gives a tremendous feeling of isolation, dread, insanity, and fear. You will go into "every nook and cranny, John" to see the strange items and locations from all angles before moving down the correct path to move the narration along. Taking these extra paths may lead you to seeing extra narration, or even ghosts out of the corner of your eye. Making you feel like you might not be alone, and then dissipating into mist to leave you wondering if you had just seen something moving, or it was just your imagination.

The narration voice-over is spectacular. A voice that helps the atmosphere as much as anything else, but what is said is just as unnerving in many instances. Narration comes at you as you walk around and move through the island on your ascent up to the top. It will be strange and probably not make a ton of sense every time you hear it. You will feel the mind of the narrator, which is you, seem to disjoint, and speak about things that don't seem relevant at times, but interesting none the less. Strangely, although I have played through the first couple chapters more than once, the narration seems to change in different playthroughs, making it almost impossible to know what exact pieces you will hear in a certain area. The theme and dialog seems to be standard enough through the entire game that the story you hear is about the same as it would be any other time, but it is quite interesting to hear other blurbs as you reach a section from game to game. I have no idea how many of these different blurbs you can encounter, but I am planning to play through the game again, maybe several times not just because I love the feel and isolation I feel while playing the game, but to tread deeper into the depths of the story and hear various new commentaries.

If you read this far, this game is for you. If you are willing to take this much time to read a review, I think you can appreciate this wonderful game as the artistic piece of work that it deserves. I highly recommend this game to anyone that has accepted games as more than just gameplay, but as a form of true beauty, a place to lose yourself in a world without having to shoot at things and jump around, and challenge yourself to see what the creator is trying to say by making it less than easy for you to interpret their strange thoughts to us gamers.

A like-minded gaming friend gifted me this game, and I am truly grateful that someone cared enough to share this experience with me. It was a wonderful journey. Thank you. :)

TL;DR Glorious mix of graphics, music, narration, and atmosphere. Walking simulator that is a true masterwork of art in the gaming universe. Even if you don't respect games such as this, give it a try (Not sure there has been a game in more bundles than this one so there is no way you can't get this for cheap at some point. The forum has 75% off coupons being given away constantly right now as well so there is that too). and see if you can appreciate it for what it is rather than just disregarding this genre entirely without actually making an effort to understand why people DO like them. A challenging, insightful, chilling, isolationist walk through a place that could make you think, feel terror, and maybe, just maybe turn you into a fan of more than just games focused entirely on gameplay.
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51 von 63 Personen (81%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
4.3 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 10. November
Dear Esther: Games as Art

Up till five years ago, discussions about games as a form of art, were largely considered as non-important. There was a more or less clear distinction between the "higher" arts, and the more "commercial" games, although many of those used elements from several arts (in-game music, often symphonic and with a classical feel to it, being just one example). With the rise of the Indie game-scene around 2010, things started to evolve fast. Since indie-developers are not bound by contracts to large (and indeed often very commercial) publishers, they found themselves in a position where experimenting with the medium of games itself turned into something viable.

One of the almost immediate consequences of this huge shift in focus, was the rise of what many have called since then "artistic games": games as the newest form of art, following in the footsteps of literature, music, architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, cinematography and the likes. This idea has generated some debate during the last five years, but it's still an underrated aspect of gaming. The one game that really stands out as maybe thé flagship of the artistic games, would surely be Dear Esther. Released in February 2012 by the small indie-company The Chinese Room, it made a huge impact on the gaming scene by the radical way in which it changes the entire concept of what a computer game is all about.

In this game there are no "goals" the player has to achieve, there is no such thing as "winning or losing", there is not even the possibility of playing well or badly, or of interacting with the environment. Actually, the gameplay is extremely limited: the player can only walk around on an abandoned island in the Scottish Hebrides in first-person view, with no running, jumping, climbing or crouching as in most first-person games. This immediately gives the game a very leisured pace, which may not be to the liking of everyone. Dear Esther has even been called a "walking simulator" - it's the most prominent of its tags on the Steam store at the moment. But it's nothing like that, in my opinion. Thsi game is not about the physical walk around the - extremely impressive and atmospheric - island. Dear Esther tells another kind of story: a story that happens within the main character, and one that is told with such emotional force that I as a player not only identified myself with the character, but also started to actually FEEL like he does. Now that's a rare experience in any game up till now: the feeling that the entire game, with all its components (visuals, story, music in this case) got under my skin in such a way that I got emotionally involved to a very, very large extent. I won't spoil anything from the story, but it's nothing light-weight to be sure and the game has stayed with me since I first played it three weeks ago.

And there is not really much more to say about this amazing, almost genre-defining piece of art. Actually, the debate may not be if it's a piece of art (most will agree to that), but to whether it's a game or not. To my opinion, it's certainly both, and as such stands proud as one of the prime examples of artistic games that give as rich and rewarding an experience as reading a novel by Daphne du Maurier, looking at a painting by Turner or listening to a sonata by Mozart. But be advised: this gem calls for your complete attention, so headphones and a dark environment are recommended. Especially so since the soundscape the game provides, be it from the howling of the wind to the eerie, haunting music by Jessica Curry, deserves every inch of attention.

Overall score: 9/10
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90 von 141 Personen (64%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.9 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 16. August
I did really end up enjoying it even if I can't recommend it. On the surface this has a lot going against it. Dear Esther feels like less of a game, more of an experience. You awaken on an island at one end under a lighthouse and you walk your way to a red beacon on a radio tower in the sky. The whole thing takes an hour or less to complete the experience. The controls are simple, walk and zoom. There is no jump or sprint.

You will experience the morbid and yet gorgeous island in all of its glory. I say experience more than explore. As much as you can walk around and think you're doing your own thing, you're really just on a set path that is highly detailed and winds through coastal beaches, caves and cliff sides. It is a beautiful game and might be one of the most beautiful games ever visually.

The day turning into night was a nice touch, even if at night you can end up completely blind by the dark. It seemed like the day and night wasn't random as the game claims, but if I died, it did become darker until I was unable to see.

The whole thing is very immerse with only 3 loading 'screens' once the game begins. The game is short and sweet, it doesn't overstay its welcome for what is basically a glorified tech demo of the Source engine. Supposedly no play through is the same with different audio for each run, but when I played a second time everything felt the same even if I didn't hear the audio at the exact same spot. I explored a lot more, but everything was the same.

You can also find it in a few bundles for less than $10 which then the price is worth it, but for 1 hour of an experience, I can't recommend it.
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24 von 30 Personen (80%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
2.5 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 4. November
"How many dead shepherds could fill this hole?"

Dear Esther is the kind of video game which is doomed to be criticized. The reason is gameplay for you only do three things: walk, listen and watch. Formula like this can encouraged a decent number of people to confer a title of Walking Simulator - 2012 on this adventure game from the young British developer The Chinese Room , who previously worked on the atmospheric Half-Life 2 mod Korsakovia. But at this point gamers of all ages should ask themselves a question: do they need another rank-and-file FPS on already flooded modern VG market or are they open for innovative ideas and blending of various kinds of art?

Dear Esther originated from a Source engine mod of the same name made by The Chinese Room in 2008. In this completely reworked standalone only WASD and a mouse are required to play (get your left-hand middle finger ready). Taking into consideration this fact, if Dear Esther was the first video game ever made by man, the industry would have been slightly different... However, alternate history theories aside, DE is to be considered as an unusual experiment, which strays from traditional principles of electronic entertainment. Gameplay is stripped of some now widespread features: interactive objects, logs, and puzzles. It takes away the fun in a traditional sense of the word though it may be all this have been sacrificed for the sake of storytelling and getting more engaging and emotion-focused experience.

The storyline is one of the strongest points of the title. Presented in a form of an audio messages, it tells about the man who lives (lived?) as a hermit on an island in the Hebrides - an archipelago just off the coast of Scotland. He wrote a letter to Esther, supposedly his wife, and messages you hear exploring as an unnamed silent protagonist are clippings from this writing. They appear when you reach certain spots of four different locations. This feature adds some replay value to a mature, if rather short journey as one can discover new pieces of the story should he visit places he missed in the next play-through. Writing is top-notch, the narrator is brilliant and reminds of the great Richard Burton, who lent his voice for Jeff Wayne's 1978 epic rock opera War of the Worlds. The story raises some major existential questions, leaves room for interpretation, and overall feels like it has been inspired by H.P. Lovecraft works.

Dear Esther looks and sounds gorgeous. It is not about photo-realistic visuals but about crafty game of light and dark, sounds, colors, and shapes. The island feels alive: grass sways, water flows, caves breathe and glimmer. The result: the most impressive landscapes which are competing in one league with Dead Space franchise and Skyrim. Sound design is faithfully backing it all up as everything - from chilly wind to distant ship horns - sounds naturally yet somehow unusual, out of this world. Combined with serene, at times dreadful music by Jessica Curry, it makes a huge impact, immersing one into the atmosphere.

Giving the game credit where credit's due, it is more than just a bold experiment. Dear Esther is an indie title which shows that gaming has grown up and is not just about mashing buttons and shooting galleries anymore. It offers no challenge but challenges your mind. It doesn't pull of any tricks but occupies it's own niche and broadens the boundaries of PC gaming, thereby bringing rage upon itself. For $10 you get 2 hours of sheer aesthetic joy on your PC. Only if your slogan is "No gameplay, no game", there is nothing for you here and there will never be.
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22 von 27 Personen (81%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
9.5 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 15. November
This is an excellent way to share some time with yourself, in a very intimate way. Only for loners.
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28 von 41 Personen (68%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
1.9 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 12. Oktober
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.
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50 von 83 Personen (60%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
4.1 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 30. Juni
A game that is not afraid to change up the formula by reducing gameplay and adding an amazing atmosphere. Instead of gameplay Dear Esther focuses on conveying a meaningful, interpretative story with a soundtrack to match it. If you are looking for action you have come to the wrong place, if you are looking for a game that has will leave you with something more then your typical game I recommend this.
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12 von 15 Personen (80%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
2.5 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 10. Oktober
This is a work of art.

There is little story, and even less gameplay. You're mostly railroaded along a path, where you will hear and see things. The world is visually appealing, and the voice work is wonderful, but the overall mood may or may not appeal to you.

Like any purely artistic work, it either speaks to you or it falls flat. Personally, it's not my cup of tea, but it might be yours.
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19 von 31 Personen (61%) fanden dieses Review hilfreich
2.2 Std. insgesamt
Verfasst: 28. Oktober
My recommendation to anyone thinking about playing this game is to go into it with the proper mindset. It is not so much a game in the traditionally understood sense of the word. Rather, Dear Esther is an almost entirely cerebral experience. It works on the player in much the same way a good painting will effect an observer who sees in the art not merely a window looking out on our own world, but that same world slightly altered by the surreal, and thus bringing to light things about ourselves we might not otherwise see. That said, Dear Esther, by it's very poetic nature, is one of the most immediately captivating games I have encountered; I do not believe it should be overlooked simply because it does not conform to the usual way in which people have come to view video games.

Overwhelming is the sense of solitude on this gloomy, desolate Hebridean island. Heavier still is the desperately sorrowful soundtrack, by Jessica Curry. In style, it is similar to film composer Christopher Young's most sparsely written music, and plays as a more effective voice in this introspective journey than does the admittedly potent narrator. I often find game music lacking in its ability to plunge beneath the fabric of a game and tug to light its individual and vibrantly beating heart, but this is a rare instance where such a feat is accomplished. Haunting as any chamber music has ever been, the score to Dear Esther will probe the emptiness within each of us, and get us contemplating questions most prefer to ignore.

This is a relatively short journey, requiring the gamer to simply progress across the island until they have reached a lone radio mast. There are no decisions to be made, no objects to interact with, and the fragmented narration of the main character plays out as you progress. The epistolary narrative renders the intent of the story in a vague light, like a sequence of events seen through shimmering tears. It is debatable what Dear Esther is actually trying to say (and I believe it to have been done that way intentionally), but anyone willing to open themselves to the voices haunting this Scottish island are certain to draw some very strong conclusions.

To me, the story deals primarily with unspeakable loss, and how we set ourselves up for even greater heartache (potentially leading even to madness) if God is not our anchor in all things. I, for one, see the issue of personal transcendence (as it is articulated at the end of the game by the main character's leap from the radio tower, who then begins a ghostly flight across the moon-dappled sea, followed by a black fade) to be illustrative not of our ability to achieve such a spiritual shift on our own, but exactly the opposite: There exists within fallen humanity a perpetual, aching cry to be delivered, redeemed--to transcend the shattering effects of our sinful natures.... But humanism cannot accomplish this miracle, nor any form of man-centered religion focusing on personal moral performance or upon the sincerity of their emotions as they are connected to a certain belief system. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only atonement by which we can be saved from all this death. He is the only peace, the only Truth. The end result of all other efforts at redemption lead only to chilly shadows and vacuous spaces brimming with regret.

Hopefully sharing my personal interpretation of Dear Esther does not come across as a clumsy effort to proselytize (if that were the case, I would certainly have given the Gospel in its fullness), but rather illustrates the power and versatility the player can expect to experience by such an unconventional game as this.

For anyone looking to plunge beneath the surface within themselves as they embark upon the solitary journey to the radio tower, Dear Esther offers surprising treasures that periodically flash their brilliance even years after the experience has ended.
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