Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (51 reviews) - 62% of the 51 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,431 reviews) - 75% of the 5,431 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 14, 2012

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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 (51 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,431 reviews)
Recently Posted
The All Mighty Gaben
( 5.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
Really interesting story, amazing design and chilling.

10/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
loughlin
( 2.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
Amazing. If you like Call of Duty steer clear. If you like to engage your brain a little bit when playing and let the story take over you will like this. For fans of Brothers, Ethan Carter and Amnesia.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Puri-Puri Prisoner
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
Boy, I sure do love walking





I'm disabled
Helpful? Yes No Funny
dot.darkness
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
Not a style of game I typically go for, but I was hopeful. I don't mind the lack of gameplay, but I didn't find the unfolding narrative to be intriguing enough to pay off in the end. Some environments were nice, but most of the time it just looked like Half-Life 2.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Meghapixel
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
oh my gosh! i must review this game. this game is so amazing! i don't understand why the brats here have to negatively rate this game.. they obviously didn't read a damn thing about the game before buying it... then getting ♥♥♥♥♥♥ when it wasn't what they wanted. RESEARCH your games before you dumbly buy something and think you're going to have a fallout 4 experience.. ffs people.

NOW LISTEN

this isn't your typical game, it is more of a physical audio book.. i think i'll have to play this a few times because i was so freaking blown away by the graphics and landscapes and places that i didn't taken in the entire story.... THIS GAME HAS SOME OF THE BEST GRAPHICS I HAVE EVER SEEN.
ever seen a 4k skyrim texture mod? this is it... this is it. ( besides the flowers and mushrooms being completely flat and "turn" when you walk around/past them ) but come on, THIS GAME HAS AN EPIC AMOUNT OF SCENERY

don't buy this game expecting a game, you don't interact with the world, you don't do anything but walk places and look and have your mind blown over and over.. enjoy the story. the end.

not necessarily worth $10 ... about like 1/4th that, but it was worth it in my eyes.. i can replay this many many many times and the photographer in me will work hours to get some photos of this place ( which is my goal )
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PrincessAlmighty
( 42.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
Literally makes me cry. From the ♥♥♥♥♥♥. with love! :D
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Proysen
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
Proof that the source engine can still be used for art. Source SDK, give it a try, learn to model, it will change your life.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jocko
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
First of all, understand why a lot of (if not most) negative reviews exist: People don't comprehend the game.

This is one of those games that you don't play, you live it.
It requires emotional sensitivity to grasp its content, and specially its intent.
Yes, it is only walking through beautiful places, but that's not the point.
This game is a journey, not only on your computer screen, but also a personal one. Open yourself to this game and you'll understand it, but most important, you may understand yourself.

I strongly recommend this game for all those who face depression and understand its nature.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
not_imposter_lynx
( 2.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
¯\_(^u^)_/¯ Can't complain!
I liked it, nice narration, slightly spooky or atmospheric as they say. For 3 hours and a price of under 10,- definetely worth the buy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
GoneWithLaw
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
This game was an enjoyable experience, but it's length left *much* to be desired - my 1.3 hours of gameplay was completing the game in it's entirety AND exploring off the intended path only to find nothing of value. While the story and environments were positively beautiful, it felt completely linear and narrative driven with little no action that can be considered "gameplay" and virtually no replay value. I got this game via a bundle online, and if you can as well I would say it would be worthwhile to play through it for the short but captivating story. Otherwise, I cannot recommend purchasing this game at it's current value of $10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
30 of 32 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 14
As an English major, maybe I am biased. Maybe also I am biased by the facts that my fiance died 12 months ago, that my mother died several months after that, and that my father soon died after her. It has been a rough year. Maybe that's why I love this game, and why I already own about ~3-4 copies of it so far, due to Humble Bundles and whatnot...

But perhaps not.

I loved Dear Esther long before any of that stared, after all. I certainly played it at least more than 21 times, trying to figure out where its lines were, though I could never exactly locate them on my maps. I would try to explain it to my fiance, to my dad, to my mom, back when they were still alive, why a 'video game' meant so much to me. How stupid was that? Trying to explain why a 'video game' actually meant something? Instanity, right? Like a barnacle, clinging stupidly to a rock, just trying to not slide into the ocean.

Or, perhaps, it is just that Dear Esther is really not a game, but rather a brilliant piece of existential human literature? Is that a real option? Really?

Maybe this 'game' is as good as the hype, or at least maybe it is for those who are listening for its quiet themes and narratives. Maybe it captured something its 'haters' are deaf to.

Ah, who cares...

This is my all-time favourite video 'game', and I don't care if it's not really a game or not, or if scores of others don't understand/appreciate it and instead choose to pile heaps of scorn/mockery/ridicule on it for not fitting within the mold they've decided it needs to fit.

This is, uquestionably, IMHO, the greatest video 'game' I've ever played, full-stop, even if there is no actual game to play. Dear Esther is a rare, precious gem of a 'game', and it makes me feel good just to have had the priveledge of experiencing it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
23.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 17
Do not get this if you are expecting a game.
You do not shoot anything, in fact there are no other characters or any other living things with the exception of a random bird or two.

I wouldn't even recommend getting this at the full price of $10, but I am not hating on this.

This little piece of software is in a strange little categoy that is hard to explain, but it is rather fun to walk around on this island and check things out, look at the beauty, and listen to the story unfold. This is not a game it is dark poetry and I would highly recommend it if there is a steam sale on. Be warned, you can complete the whole thing in about an hour...but since it is so short it is fun to walk through several times because you have a tendancy to find things you missed the first time.

P.S. It has some pretty caves.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
oh my gosh! i must review this game. this game is so amazing! i don't understand why the brats here have to negatively rate this game.. they obviously didn't read a damn thing about the game before buying it... then getting ♥♥♥♥♥♥ when it wasn't what they wanted. RESEARCH your games before you dumbly buy something and think you're going to have a fallout 4 experience.. ffs people.

NOW LISTEN

this isn't your typical game, it is more of a physical audio book.. i think i'll have to play this a few times because i was so freaking blown away by the graphics and landscapes and places that i didn't taken in the entire story.... THIS GAME HAS SOME OF THE BEST GRAPHICS I HAVE EVER SEEN.
ever seen a 4k skyrim texture mod? this is it... this is it. ( besides the flowers and mushrooms being completely flat and "turn" when you walk around/past them ) but come on, THIS GAME HAS AN EPIC AMOUNT OF SCENERY

don't buy this game expecting a game, you don't interact with the world, you don't do anything but walk places and look and have your mind blown over and over.. enjoy the story. the end.

not necessarily worth $10 ... about like 1/4th that, but it was worth it in my eyes.. i can replay this many many many times and the photographer in me will work hours to get some photos of this place ( which is my goal )
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
there are lots of rocks and it gave me the tinglies
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
I played this when it first came out on Steam. And it stays with me to this day, unlike almost everything else I have played. The music is superb - bravo, Jessica Curry! - and the journey I took meant so much more to me than any other PC game.
No, you cannot hop and jump etc. That takes some getting used to. But you don't need to. From the vistas to the haunting speeches, from the shock of a half-seen spectral figure to the jarringly unnatural elements of some of the scenery, such as car parts and glowing paintings, playing this game changed me. I genuinely experienced a great deal, and the ending left me speechless with joy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
First of all, understand why a lot of (if not most) negative reviews exist: People don't comprehend the game.

This is one of those games that you don't play, you live it.
It requires emotional sensitivity to grasp its content, and specially its intent.
Yes, it is only walking through beautiful places, but that's not the point.
This game is a journey, not only on your computer screen, but also a personal one. Open yourself to this game and you'll understand it, but most important, you may understand yourself.

I strongly recommend this game for all those who face depression and understand its nature.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
42.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
Literally makes me cry. From the ♥♥♥♥♥♥. with love! :D
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
Very awe-inspiring and emotional. The graphics in this game have really been improved.

I remember when I first tried this game out when it was a mod for Source (2007 I think?). It always struck me as a unique mod at the time that sort of strayed away from action in favor of narration, suspense, and a bit of exploration.

Runtime is only about an hour and half if you take your time, but I feel its worth it. Great job.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
217 of 255 people (85%) 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
324 of 405 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
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