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Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
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Buy Dear Esther

$9.99

Buy Dear Esther + Soundtrack

$14.99

About the 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

PC System Requirements

    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

Mac System Requirements

    • 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
113 of 147 people (77%) found this review helpful
152 products in account
25 reviews
1.6 hrs on record
During the first 10 minutes or so of this game, while I was wandering (slowly) through the game's initial area, I was bored. Very, very bored. While I was bored there was a pretentious British guy babbling to me in an overwrought poetic manner about something that had happened and for which I had no background information to help me understand what the hell he was talking about. That changed (thankfully): the backstory filled in, the environment and audio changed, and things improved dramatically.

This game has very impressive visual and audio aesthetics. The background sounds and ambient music enhance the experience significantly (you should play with headphones on). The voice acting is also compelling--you can really feel the narrator's internal turmoil as he struggles with what has happened. The world the developers built here has a sense of mystery, purpose and beauty, but also sadness, introspection, and the portent of dread. As I progressed through the "game" I felt more and more anxious about the revelations to come from the narrator. The suspense was palpable, and was reflected in the narrator's increasingly impassioned and upset dialogue. It's quite well done. I would say this is a game targeted toward mature gamers, in the sense that it is pretty sophisticated overall.

There are a few weak points: for a 1-hour experience it's quite a bit pricey at $10 (I got it on sale); the poetic tone was good but I thought it was forced in a few places, and at times obscured the backstory; the guy walks pretty slowly (you can go into console and change that, but that kinda breaks immersion).

In retrospect, I was impatient at the beginning of the game and am very glad I pressed on. This is a very worthwhile experience. I do think $10 is a bit steep, so I'd recommend waiting til it's on sale. If you are really into artistic and experiential games, then this is definitely for you. on sale or not.

I recommend it.
Posted: February 3rd, 2014
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37 of 54 people (69%) found this review helpful
47 products in account
12 reviews
2.0 hrs on record
A glorious piece of art telling a story through a progressive narrative. Dear Esther is an extremely moving journey of self discovery and acceptance, a truly moving narrative of a mans journey to seek peace. A game that I personally found beautiful. Dear Esther is in the top tier of essential games to play in anyones life.

10\10
Posted: February 21st, 2014
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
488 products in account
4 reviews
4.1 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 30th, 2014
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34 of 55 people (62%) found this review helpful
297 products in account
8 reviews
1.2 hrs on record
I'm a proponent for expanding our limited and stagnant definition of what constitutes a "video game;" that games like Dear Esther exist is a good thing for the medium. The more we challenge the status quo through the creation and the experience of such games, the more we do to progress video games as a medium of artistic worth. I'm glad that Dear Esther has been as well-received as it has been; it's a modest landmark for the real success that such experimental titles can find today.

However, I am nothing if not a harsh critic, and Dear Esther has its problems, small piece of history that it is. It is possibly unfair to judge an experimental video game by the standards of more established media, but if video games expect to play in the big leagues, they shouldn't be exempt from playing by the same rules.

But first, there are things which Dear Esther does right. Easiest to praise are the visuals, which depict the island on which you wander as lonely but yearning to be explored. Each point of visual interest has been crafted with great care – from the vistas to the smallest details, like a lone buoy, far offshore and barely visible.

The size of the island itself is something to appreciate. Regardless of your feelings with regards to the game's very casual walking speed, the island's stretches of nothing have their own desolate beauty.

But while the setting of Dear Esther can easily hold interest, its story has a much harder time attempting to do the same. From what you are allowed to piece together, the narrator is attempting a sort of redemption by exile. His disembodied voice pops in occasionally at certain checkpoints to provide you with vague details about what basically amounts to "stuff." A small collection of first names, a meandering history of the island, and unclear, melodramatic recollections of ailments and car crashes are some of what you can expect from these telling monologues that are anything but. I very quickly came to realize that the game's visuals were better than its writing deserved. It is frustrating.

For a game like Dear Esther, the story's the thing. The plot here lacks so much specificity and context as to void its stabs at emotional poignancy. To be vague is one thing, but that artful reluctance to provide specifics is a better trait for a rational character than the opposite. When reasonable people are weighed down by guilt, the poetic musings they conjure surprise you by contrasting with the voice you expect; but the narrator of Dear Esther is too unhinged to make a clear point among all the overthinking. What we get is a voice that constantly oversells things and scurries back and forth much too often between too many incomplete themes. It is unsatisfying to follow and even more unsatisfying still to piece together. There are bits and pieces of good phrasing scattered within all the overwrought prose, but the story would have benefitted from the writers falling out of love with this character.

Dear Esther was made in a time when video games needed a reinvention. It tried for some big things and for that is has my respect. Visually, it is a full experience; I just wish that same amount of polish and editing was present in its other, crucial half.
Posted: March 4th, 2014
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19 of 28 people (68%) found this review helpful
542 products in account
20 reviews
2.5 hrs on record
This is an absolutely beautiful game. While the pace is slow, every step you take leads to another beautiful sight or gripping inner monologue. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels that games are able to be artistic. :D
Posted: February 13th, 2014
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271 of 333 people (81%) found this review helpful
193 products in account
8 reviews
3.1 hrs on record
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
Posted: November 27th, 2013
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