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 (5,359 reviews) - 76% of the 5,359 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 Sept. 2016! Learn more
Recent:
Mostly Positive (29 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (5,359 reviews)
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4,070 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Recently Posted
RabidKode
2.3 hrs
Posted: September 25
Short and atmospheric, a bit creepy at times. Good as a walking simulator, but not much else. Sound design is really good. I got the "game" on discount and I would recommend you do the same.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sony
0.5 hrs
Posted: September 25
The buildings and areas I explored felt empty and without any real substance.

The dialogue in this game, though incredibly well voiced, felt as if without any real merit. It left me more confused than informed. It served as flowery filler to bridge the time voids created by way of the laboriously slow world navigation.

The game's biggest flaw is it's most obvious one. After moving around at the most sluggish speed I've ever felt in a title, I decided to discontinue my attempt at progressing through this experience.

Allowing for more freedom of movement speed, and making the discoveries and dialogue a contiguous whole would have made this "game" slightly more redeemable.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
allendechris22
3.2 hrs
Posted: September 24
The music, visuals, voice acting, and pace of the game all work together to make a really unique and beautiful piece of art. There are some moments that give me chills. I did not want this game to end, i wish it were longer...
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.
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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
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
8 of 10 people (80%) 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
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9 of 12 people (75%) 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
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7 of 9 people (78%) 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.
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5 of 7 people (71%) 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
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4 of 6 people (67%) 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.
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3 of 5 people (60%) 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.
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4 of 7 people (57%) 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.
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4 of 7 people (57%) 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
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
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!
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
First off I want to explain I have no qualms about an experience/story like this. My do not recommend stems from the content.

The time you spend will vary depending on how much you gawk at the island, however any way you slice it there is only a bit over an hour of actual content. There is no sprint, interact, or secrets(outside of side paths). I'll accept the last two, experienced plenty of visual novels and books not to judge Dear Esther on the lack of gameplay. My complaint is with the lack of a sprint or faster movement. My time could have been half what I invested and still would have had the same takeaway. All I ask it that you respect my time devs, avoid pointless grinds, backtracking, and slow movement if it is only there to force more time in the game.

Anyways my conclusion. Don't bother buying, but if you want to hold W and look at a island for slightly more than an hour be my guest. The story is engaging enough, if not stretched and the world is nice enough to look at.
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