Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mostly Positive (29 reviews) - 79% of the 29 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,360 reviews) - 76% of the 5,360 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 14, 2012

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Dear Esther

Buy Dear Esther + Soundtrack

 

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

Windows
Mac OS X
    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
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Recent:
Mostly Positive (29 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,360 reviews)
Review Type


Purchase Type


Language


Display As:
4,071 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Recently Posted
Resonant Drifter
1.2 hrs
Posted: September 24
Explore the serene island around you to discover clues that will help you unlock pieces of a multi-headed storyline, recalling memories in the beautiful moonlight and the warm sun. Sometimes frightening, sometimes sullen, sometimes heartwarming, the experience is memorable.

PROS:
  • Peaceful. So peaceful.
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Good exploration experience
  • Amazing soundtrack

CONS:
  • Not for everyone (no action/puzzles/etc.)

It really can only be described as an experience. You explore the island and, upon finding certain areas or items, will "unlock" part of the narrative ultimately giving you final say at what the story really is. It's not for everyone (if you're looking for action, item collection, etc.), but if you enjoy serene walks through nature to somewhat meloncholy music while talking to yourself with an Edgar Allan Poe voiceover, this is right up your alley!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cody
1.2 hrs
Posted: September 23
Peace and quiet at last with no zombies or enemies leaping out to kill you! It is awesomely beautiful with the sound of waves crashing against the shore, wind blowing mist off the ocean, streams and waterfalls, and birds chirping. Wondrous caves to explore. We all need quiet time in a safe place frequently. This is one of the places we can go. The music is beautiful, along with the scenery. The water is exceptionally well done. It isn't healty for us to only play "kill, kill, kill" games. We need to rest our minds and merely explore the lovely island to refresh ourselves.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ran Yakumo
1.8 hrs
Posted: September 23
I don't recommond, nor do I not recommend this game.
It's too tricky to do so.
For the sake of being able to post this at all, I'll select 'recommend'.

First and foremost: this is not a game.
It's literally just walking around with no purpose other than walking and following a path. There is a story.. Now the part that people who love this game will hate me for.. The story wasn't really great. I love stories in games, it's why I bought this game in the first place, but this story just seemed to be pretty irrelevant, and try hard and end up being bland.
Now, if I feel like this, why do I not simply not recommend it?
The scenery is goreous, really really beautiful. Not only that, but the soundwork, both the music and sound effects, are really good too.
I personally love islands, and the sea, and seeing weathered stuff. If you're into that sort of thing, like I, then this game might be (just barely) worth the money.
Maybe you even make more sense of the story than I did.
All in all, my opinion on this is sorta split.
Buy it if the screenshots intregue you, and don't otherwise.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Yddo
2.8 hrs
Posted: September 23
Less of a "game" and more of a journey through character and emotion, a partaking in the unfolding of story and memory, told through flawlessly acted (and written) vocal lines and a stark yet strangely familiar landscape. The allegorical story is deeply moving (I, a grown man, weep tears of raw emotion and catharsis at the game's conclusion), and the accompanying music is equally so: very consciously Ralph Vaughan Williams-esque, a perfectly pastoral, haunting soundscape to complement the barren, windswept island on which the story unfolds.

Don't buy this if you expect it to be interactive, like Myst; there are no puzzles to solve per se. But if you want an experience, a deeply enriching experience that poses deep questions about life and love and loss, that opens your eyes just a little more with its sheer poignancy, then Dear Esther is for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
EAT GOOD, SHIT GOOD
0.8 hrs
Posted: September 19
Prepare to boredly hold the W key like you never boredly held the W key before.

You get to very slowly walk around a pretty island in this game until you get to finally end the pain of playing this and listening to this onslaught of pseudo-intellectual metaphors by leaping off of a radio tower in an act of suicide.

The good news is, since the game takes less than an hour to complete, you can buy it, complete it, and refund it right afterward.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
bandwidthoracle
1.0 hrs
Posted: September 18
This is clearly not for me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Brambachacer
3.8 hrs
Posted: September 18
I wish I could somehow find an inbetween option, something better than LIKE or DISLIKE, but in lieu of that, I will err on the side of LIKE. It is a strange game. The music and graphics are beautiful. But the story lacks for something. Rather than feeling any emotional connection to the narrator or his plight, I felt like I was swimming through a pool of verbal nonsense. It is as if they took the Oxford dictionary and threw it into a blender.

Really, I could find no better example of "saying something and yet nothing at all." If these are the reflections of a man driven mad from fever and infection then I get that. But the words were all very empty, like pretty lace dressings without the dress.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mr. Nice Hat
1.5 hrs
Posted: September 17
It's not art, it's not a game. It's three-dimensional white noise.


At least the beaches look nice.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
Really nice in VR.

Really nice otherwise.

Depressing, existential, and incredibly drab.

You walk an island under grey skies, all the while listening to the narration of this island's history, and lore.

Nothing particularly exciting happens. You're alone the whole time. If you're into this sort of thing, it's a nice, meditative experience.

8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 27
Honestly an amazing experience, not a traditional game and led to my love of walking simulators
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 27
This is the most gorgeous game I could possibly run on my cruddy laptop. Even though the frame rate occasionally slips on broader viewpoints, I am stunned by the beauty of the environment alone.

This took me a couple playthroughs to assess; about a year apart. I was unsure what to make of it at first. It is not a puzzle game, but it still made me think. The intermittent poetry highights the purpose of the protagonists pilgrimage in a very elegant manner. Musical composition is also very, very well done. It's hard to explain the depth of emotion which is not apparent at first look. Even though it is one of the most casual games I've ever played, I found the subject matter of life, death, passion and ambition to be more palpable than most stories told through video games. Then again, somebody I know just died, so perhaps facing that reality has made my second experience with this game more relative and compelling.

I am content to explore the metaphores, meanings and landscapes simultaneously. I hope to see more like this soon.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 6
I came into this not knowing what to expect with all the purist 'gamers' bashing this title. I'd heard many things but what I found was a wonderfully crafted story, with great pacing and a suprisngly beautiful art style.

If you enjoy thought envoking story with heaps of emotion then this is for you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 20
walking simulator and I like walking simulators that are done right. And this is one of those
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 15
A walking simulator with gorgeous graphics that literally took my breath away and an ending that made me cry.
And I love the tiny little hints throughout the story as to what the game symbolizes. I still haven't found all of them.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
A lovely, literate, boundary-pushing tone-poem. For those weary of the endless parade of military combat simulators and barely distinguishable tactical shoot-em-ups, this will make you feel better about the gaming world. Thank god there are a few people out there making things like this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 19
Dear Esther

This review was last edited when I had completed one play through of the game.

Short Review
A short, atmospheric walking simulator style game with excellent graphics and an interesting story line.

Long Review

The download was around 1Gb. Gameplay was about 1.5 hours for me to complete a single play through.

The options are pretty basic, no key binding available but such is the simplicity of the controls this is no issue. The only one I changed was display mode where I could choose between full screen, Run In A Window & Windowed (No Border) and I chose the latter.

When you start a new game you can choose from which of the four chapters to start from.

You are thrown straight into the action (such that it is) with no tutorial but none is required as the only controls I used were WASD keys for movement & the mouse to look around

The game is played in first person and the game play is simply to wander about the location you find yourself in. Periodically text appears on the screen which is also played out in audio. I guess the idea is to piece together what happened to your character whilst taking in the terrific terrain and listening to the incidental music.

You interact with nothing, you have no weapons to kill anything. The game is all about atmosphere and exploration, albeit in a linear fashion - this is not an open world game. You are inevitably drawn across the game world to a final conclusion.

I can certainly understand why some people don't like this game but I loved it and will definitely play it through again as I'm sure I missed some bits out. It's a game to sit back and enjoy without any pressures or too much thought required.

Pros
  • Short game play
  • Simple controls
  • Pleasant, unobtrusive soundtrack
  • Beautiful graphics
Cons
  • No save game functionality
Marks Out Of 5

5) Must have - stop whatever you're playing now and play this
4) Worth the asking price and considering as your next purchase
3) Maybe purchase if you're stuck for choosing your next game or mildly discounted
2) Only purchase if it is heavily discounted
1) Not worth getting even if given away free

Where I got the game from

Won at Steam Gifts

Platform Played On

Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition, 8Gb RAM, Palit GTX 750, Windows 10, EasyAcc Mouse & Steelseries MERC keyboard. Played at 1440x900 resolution

My best guess for a PEGI Rating

3: I can't see any reason to raise it above this. PEGI Ratings
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
223 of 264 people (84%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
10.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 17, 2015
It isn’t a game, it’s an experience.

A lot of the criticism and confusion of Dear Esther is brought about because it is not exactly 'a game'. There are no enemies, no objectives, no inventory, nothing we've come to expect in video games. It is where art, storytelling and games intersect, to create a masterpiece.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=553155472

Dear Esther is visually astounding. Journey deep into the island's caves and you will be utterly in awe of the beauty therein.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=498467039

The music is beautifully haunting, always appropriate in intensity for the situation, and never overwhelming it.
The narration contributes significantly to the player's emotional state while traversing the island. His rantings and musings, his rage and his despair, all help lend color to the landscape, and keep the player firmly rooted in the world before them.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=532172608

Whether you would define Dear Esther as a game or not, if you have any interest in narrative driven adventure games, you’re sure to find a new favorite here and it is without a doubt an experience you will not regret.


Verdict: 8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
325 of 408 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Well there's something you don't see everyday - Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters

THE GOOD
Dear Esther is not your ordinary game. In some respects, it is not a game at all. Focusing on environments and atmosphere rather than gameplay and action is a nice way to change the pace, but it will definitely put some people off. If you're a person who prefers Serious Sam and Doom over Amnesia and Proteus, I do not think this game is for you. The sound in the game is, well, not very exciting overall. The intro plops you into the island with explanation of why you are there, if you pay attention. The story is told by a nameless narrator, who talks about the island, his hobbies, and the mysterious Esther. Digging deeper into the story explains more about the characters and the settings, but only if you are willing to look.

THE GREAT
The game can be frightening and intense if you let it. Beautiful environments are accompanied by the haunting yet calming voice of the narrator, who tells his life to you. While not the best decision for gameplay, Dear Esther provides with an amazing narrative and an atmosphere that is so thick you could wrap yourself up in it. The first chapter is the make or break point in this game.While not looking very stunning, the first part does do its job to set up the second half of the game. Not giving away too much, but not boring you to the point of no return. The end of the second chapter is where it is its best. The aesthetic changes completely, music greets you immediately, and the haunting feeling kicks in. The third chapter is my personal favourite, with the climax of the game leaving you able to interpret it however you please.

THE UGLY
There is no gameplay whatsoever. If the developers wanted gameplay, they could've at least given you the choice to turn off and on your flashlight, or maybe do some simple puzzle. Face the facts: You walk extremely slow. Perhaps for pacing, but it can be frustrating whil you spend the whole damn game going 10mph (That's metres, not miles). Also, for a game about discovery, there is very little to discover, not that you'd feel inclined to due the the speed of your walking. It can be quite boring if you're playing it after watching a walkthrough of it on Youtube, TwitchTV, or whatever place you use to watch gameplay videos, so I'd recommend not watching gameplay of Dear Esther before playing it. Also the visuals of Dear Esther deteriorates when it is put into videos, no matter how you set the graphical quality (1080p does NOT do this game justice via video).

THE VERDICT
There are two types of people in the world. Type one is the type who prefer Proteus over Dear Esther, and the other type of people prefer Dear Esther over Proteus. I fall into the latter category, for many reasons. If in doubt, get it on a sale. If you like it, great news! If you don't, you spent $5 and 1.4GB 'playing' a game that you didn't like. Personally, I think that the third chapter is the best chapter in this game. For the first two chapters, you explore the island, and at the end of the second chapter, a forced plot point happens which sends you to the most beautiful part of this game. The final chapter wraps it up nicely, and some people will like the final chapter more, so suffice to say the second half f the game is generally liked more. Also, this is NOT a game for children. It can be difficult to understand and there are so many plot elements that are metaphors or relatively unusual.

SIMILAR GAMES
-Proteus, in many ways, but also differs greatly
-Amnesia: The Dark Descent, although without being as scary

For more reviews check out http://steamcommunity.com/groups/truereview
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny