Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (93 reviews) - 60% of the 93 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,352 reviews) - 76% of the 5,352 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! Learn more
Recent:
Mixed (93 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,352 reviews)
Recently Posted
[Dupl3xxx] rawr!
( 7.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
A nice game with perhaps some of the best graphics ever seen in a sourc-game, but it is a walking simulator. If that's not your thing, look elsewhere.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SupahMarioX
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
Please note, my review may change as I finish the game. As of writing this, I have finished about two chapters and would like to give my first impression of the game. This review should not disavow my ignorance for experiencing the entirety of the game and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. I do recommend the game for its impressive level design, but its gripes keep me hesitant.

While certainly intriguing is the story being told while witnissing the fascinating landscapes captured in the Source engine, the lack of depth in the story is bothersome to a degree. It is weary of me to connect the pieces together of loosely strung information being spewed by the narrator, and, in fact, making sense of the purpose it serves seems a daunting task. The game being a walking simulator displaying collections of captivating scenery and narration shouldn't be ignored, but, in opinion, it's hard pressing for the narrative to be irrelevent to the moment.

Often times too slow would the flowery words come and miss its purpose; the narration is rather complacent of itself and is hardly accessible to an audience, mainly the gaming community.

It's not that I discourage its opportunity to actually be successful, but rather how it's executed in the first place.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SoUnDoLe
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
A beautifully crafted world and a captivating story that is guaranteed to make you think. One of those amazing experiences where the world itself acts as a narrator, and you're rewarded for all the attention you pay to your surroundings. One of my favourite gaming experiences of all time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
Racist, sexist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic piece of walking simulator trash. This gaem triggers my gentle soul with its existence.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
rharris389
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
I am a big fan of the "walking simulator" type of game so please keep that in mind when you read this.

Dear Esther is a short, but powerful experience. The game looks great, has a good story, and has good sound. The game is a great break from the endless cycle of action games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Isaacunderhill1
( 3.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Well, this game has a good journey and so peacefull i fell asleep twice while playing it so unlike others who it took 1 hour to beat it took me two days. so slow paced that time feels to move slower, so even though its only an hour long the experiance feels longer. biblical references in the game not sure how to peice it together tho, but aluding to the bible is a thumbs up in my book. this game just is slow and diff experiance with cool visuals, worth it if you are tiered and looking for a way to go to sleep.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jester7707
( 2.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
The game is an ok linear fps that tells a story as you explore the environment. You are not missing anything special. I am not giving anymore money to this company especially, after the remarks this developer made by accusing other developers of being racist or sexist with no evidence.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ne0ne
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Not a game and over rated. Avoid.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
#kyssrubberpåkinnet
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
I like pizza, going to the cinema and long walks on the beach at the night
Helpful? Yes No Funny
#16
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
Terrible game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
comrade_778
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
Dear Chinese room: Next time better think twice, before making any "antisexist" moves on awesome developers. You got nothing that let you survive biting of CD Project.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
G45P4R
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
Don't talk smack about CDPR
Helpful? Yes No Funny
chris_wing
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
Walking simulator that may or may not be sexist, if that is anything to go by.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tedge734
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 28
I love walk through story games...but I got lost...somehow...I think my guy was drunk...and I rage quit and forgot about it...so yeah...lamepants.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DeinonychusCowboy
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 27
This game serves only as my ruler of classic Chinese Room style, for measuring against Machine for Pigs and determining how great that game could have been if Frictional had developed it.

A novel game, a beautiful game, a thoughtful game. A pretentious, pointless, overdone game with all the foolish, blind hype of a modern art installation.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ElGringoBandito
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 26
Like any "walking simulator", Dear Esther isn't for everyone. Personally, I would reccomend getting this game while it's on sale, unless you really REALLY love story driven walks. That being said, Dear Esther is a gorgeous experience, telling an engrossing story with grandiose visuals without ever leaving the trappings of a smaller, more intimate tale. Sure, it's short, clocking in at a little over an hour, but you can take your time and just mosey through the wilderness, losing yourself in the surroundings in between every little morsel of plot. That's where the real meat of the game is.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ranger Frederico ¡Hala Madrid!
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 26
I already completed this game, but why do I have more than an hour? Well for starters this game isn't just something you delete and forget about it. If you are depressed, frustrated, or sad this game helps. The graphics and story just come together beautifully. Some parts still get me, but overall it's a dramatic journey through a person who is trying to hold on to hope and memories.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
NotMyEmail!
( 0.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
This game is great with its creepy yet relaxing environment. I highly suggest it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jack
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
A nice little game, although 'game' is not the right word. A sweet little story with a bit of a puzzle element within. See if you can spot the ghost!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sarrecen
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
Dear Esther is a beautiful short story. Haunting in it's way,
which will linger long after you have experienced it.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
Please note, my review may change as I finish the game. As of writing this, I have finished about two chapters and would like to give my first impression of the game. This review should not disavow my ignorance for experiencing the entirety of the game and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. I do recommend the game for its impressive level design, but its gripes keep me hesitant.

While certainly intriguing is the story being told while witnissing the fascinating landscapes captured in the Source engine, the lack of depth in the story is bothersome to a degree. It is weary of me to connect the pieces together of loosely strung information being spewed by the narrator, and, in fact, making sense of the purpose it serves seems a daunting task. The game being a walking simulator displaying collections of captivating scenery and narration shouldn't be ignored, but, in opinion, it's hard pressing for the narrative to be irrelevent to the moment.

Often times too slow would the flowery words come and miss its purpose; the narration is rather complacent of itself and is hardly accessible to an audience, mainly the gaming community.

It's not that I discourage its opportunity to actually be successful, but rather how it's executed in the first place.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
A nice game with perhaps some of the best graphics ever seen in a sourc-game, but it is a walking simulator. If that's not your thing, look elsewhere.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 27
This game serves only as my ruler of classic Chinese Room style, for measuring against Machine for Pigs and determining how great that game could have been if Frictional had developed it.

A novel game, a beautiful game, a thoughtful game. A pretentious, pointless, overdone game with all the foolish, blind hype of a modern art installation.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 29
Dear Chinese room: Next time better think twice, before making any "antisexist" moves on awesome developers. You got nothing that let you survive biting of CD Project.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 24 people (50%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
Racist, sexist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic piece of walking simulator trash. This gaem triggers my gentle soul with its existence.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 30
Not a game and over rated. Avoid.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 29
Walking simulator that may or may not be sexist, if that is anything to go by.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
48 of 61 people (79%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 19
"...but your fascination with the empty, and its cure, remained."

I've been getting endless recommendations about this game for a year now, from people who know me and my taste in games. Dear Esther was originally a free-to-play modification for the Source engine, developed and released in 2008 by The Chinese Room. The game is later redeveloped for commercial purposes in 2012, including the Steam version we have here.

Our unknown and unreliable narrator opens his eyes on one shoreline of Hebridean Islands, and starts to walk. For the remainder of our experience, we will walk upon the surface of this forlorn island to discover its many wonders, abandoned mysteries and eerie beauties enhanced with a fantastic ambient music. We walk and bear witness to fragments of a tale concerning a loss, a death, a shepherd, a boat without a bottom, a love story and endless aphorisms of a broken mind, tested through a journey to embrace a final conclusion. We are there to complete an unfinished tale, accompanied only by eerie shadows of past tales that we feel and sometimes see with the corner of our eyes. "Dear Esther" says the narrator in one of his letters; "I sometimes feel as if I’ve given birth to this island."

In its totality, many would categorize Dear Esther as a story exploration or walking simulation game. Yes, it is a walking simulation that will present you the most beautiful of environment designs harbored with genuine melancholy. But in my opinion Dear Esther is neither only a walking simulation, nor a consistent story revelation. It is, with all its grandeur and beauty in display, interactive literature. The script of the game arranged through aphorisms of the narrator is weaved out of allegories, metaphors, fleeting yet crushing narrative descriptions to accomplish a literary experience no lesser than James Joyce in feat. It may possibly take a literary career to completely appreciate the full context of this narrative beauty with tremendous subtext and symbolism.

A full playthrough consists of 4 distinct chapters - monumental areas of the protagonist's journey. One singular chapter takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, depending on your tendency to explore. It takes 3-4 playthroughs to reveal the whole script, which will accordingly reveal a new part in this symbolic feast every time. There is nothing to do in the traditional sense: only an experience to behold.

If you are one to appreciate symbolic narrative and have an hour or two to spare, this is a short journey you shouldn't miss. Wear your headphones, kick back and start your exploration. Esther, The Hermit, Donnelly, Paul and Jacobson... they all wait for you in this island, forgotten in Hebrides.

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 29
You walk around while the narrator reads you an irrelevant story. And pretty scenery?

I could get behind this game if the story being read at least felt relevant to the stuff I was seeing or doing, but otherwise it just all feels lazy and boring. The story itself isn't even very interesting, and uses annoyingly flowery prose. The graphics aren't quite pretty enough for me to get by enjoying sightseeing, and the setting/environment doesn't get my curiousity going.

If you want to see a game that takes a similar idea but does it better, look at Gone Home, where the story being read to you is related and relevant to the things you are seeing and interacting with (and said story is actually *interesting*).

I guess I would give Dear Esther points for originality at the time, but I would rather just go for a walk in my local park while listening to an audiobook; same base experience, only better.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
Honestly, I am lacking the motivation to say much about Dear Esther. The fact that it is not a "game" does not bother me. The fact that it is literally a "walking simulator" does not bother me.

There are many games (yes, I still say game) of that style that I have enjoyed over time. What bothered me is simply the writing itself and the choice to make narration pieces random. I tried my best to be absorbed by the narration, but the writing overall was lacking to me. You just walk these long distances to just get some little chunk of odd, unimpressive text read to you in a pretty unimpressive voice - why would I be excited about this?

I did not feel much emotion from Dear Esther. The game is amazingly beautiful in how the island looks. But the narrator felt lackluster in comparison. I understand why some people got into it, but to me, it wasn't enough.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 14 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 7
This game make me feel like just purchased a ticket to visit Hebridean island. This ticket last forever :)

After 1 hour experince:
*Beat the game with half exploration!

Graphic Quality on this game:
*Score of 8/10 (2012)

Enjoyment: 7/10
*Reasons below:

+Beautiful maps!
+Deep story
+Quick save & quick load
+No killing (No violence)
+No item (No puzzle)

-No sprint (Oops, wrong way)
-No jumping (I want to climb)
-No map (i lost sometime)
-Zoom level is not enough (Is that a ghost?!)
-Lack of object to examine (I want to touch something)

GAME MODE:
= Story mode (4 Chapters)
= No mulitplayer

REPLAY VALUE?
*Yes, if you enjoy beautiful landscape & enjoy haunting story
*No, if you cannot stand for a long walk

WORTH BUYING?
*Yes, for normal price; Or wait for sale, there will be 75% off
*No, don't buy this if you have not enough money
*It is a good collection for casual gamer
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 13 people (69%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 30
This game is like playing a book. Except instead of turning pages you hold down the 'W' key and instead of engrossing yourself in the story you problem solve how to maneuver around 10cm high rocks on the shore.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 12
A lighthouse. Caves burning with stars. A moonlit bay. Altars of candles. A red beacon in the distance.

Dear Esther evokes a sense of morose solitude, of persistent questions and scattered answers that require stitching together, like a gaping wound. It is not difficult to understand, but I found that wandering the island was in and of itself the reward. The reason. The question and the answer.

The entire experience is breathtakingly beautiful, punctured by an exquisite score, a soft, dulcet narration, and the insatiable, earnest desire to simply explore. Thanks to the superb atmosphere, you are encouraged to stoke your curiosity. To savour the windswept cliffs, the shifting waters, the fragile moments of peace amidst ambiguity and doom. You will never lose your sense of direction, but you will lose yourself in the wonders of the island. You will want to come back.

Dear Esther is, in a word, stunning.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
I replay this every year to remind myself what emotions are. This is therapy more than anything. Love it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 21
A must have for any gamer that loves games with a story so good that is going to develop you as a gamer and a person.
Full of metaphors and stuning visuals. This game brings to life the famous quote "Every man is an island"
10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 3
Its just one of those games you have to play. Pay attention, take notes, play through it again until you get the story. (or good old google explains it for you)
Its beautiful, creepy, and almost puts you in an hour long trance as you play it. Music is amazing!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 7
The island presented in Dear Esther is simultaneously beautiful and bleakly desolate. It sets the tone for rest of the game instantly, weaving a spell that hides the flatness of foliage and uniformity of every rock. The mystery inherent in the sporadic narration can't take the full blame for this witchcraft any more than the oddly stunning visuals or the sweetly melancholic instrumentation can as - over plucked heartstrings aside - very little can be pulled out of its impenetrable vagueness. The player is as hopelessly unable to effect change as the protagonist himself. There's no jumping, no crouching, no pressing of this or pulling of that; only endless walking. That's the height of input the player can provide; explore freely and listen as one random landmark or the other conjures a stray thought from the nameless protagonist. But as odd as it may sound, games with hundreds of pages of instructions leave behind less of a feeling of control than a game that won't even allow the player to turn on his or her own flashlight.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 1
A very linear, short, but immersive walking simulator heavy on literary illusion and subtle clues as to who you are and what has occurred. For fans of the genre I highly recommend it. Everyone else get it on the cheap, as it only takes an hour and a half at most to play through.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 14
Dear Esther is the kind of game you play entirely in one sitting, that feels short and that makes you question what you just experienced, but that leaves a giant mark on your appreciation of passive narratives and video games as an art form.

In a way, each playthrough is different, as some parts of the story are chosen at random between a pool of possible happenings, but the core of the story stays the same in all playthroughs, which kind of make you want to play again and again to see what the other elements of the story end up adding to your understanding of what happened. The entire time the way you're supposed to go is fairly obvious, but at some points you have to explore a bit to know where to go. "hile I'm not really a fan of linear paths, this one felt like it was deserved, as if the character you're playing know this path, has walked it thousands of times.

The story in itself is something that's hard to describe and understand. If you look online, you'll find countless blog posts, forum discussions, professional and amateur analyses and theories about what really happened. Things like this make the game feel more like people describing and discussing themselves having walked through a book rather than be discussing a video game, and I mean this in the best of ways.

If you're the kind of person who likes easter eggs as well, this game will fulfill that craving for you. There are things that if you aren't careful enough you'll miss, which add to the stories and the theories, and seems to be just as much a part of your experience and the narrative as the narrating.

PROS:
  • Great story
  • Amazing atmosphere
  • To this day the community is trying to understand the deeper meaning, you can be part of that community too!
  • Beautiful scenery, you can tell the creators took their time
  • A sense of wonder I've yet to experience again

CONS:
  • Lots of downtime where nothing happens
  • The atmosphere can be very creepy at times, putting you on edge even though this is one of the calmest games ever.
  • At some points it was difficult for me to know which way to go to advance the game

Would I recommend this?
Absolutely. This game is one of the games that I will never forget in my life and that I will continue to mention time and time again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
This game is stunningly beautiful, it is like walking through an interactive book.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny