Begin a journey through one of the most original first-person games of recent years.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (4,665 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 14, 2012

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Buy Dear Esther

Buy Dear Esther + Soundtrack

 

Recommended By Curators

"Is this even a game? I dont think so.... Its a very atmospheric experience though."

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
Helpful customer reviews
63 of 81 people (78%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 15
I love this game.
Why? Cause it's unusual. It's not like any other exploration/adventure game i've seen on steam.
You can compare it to book with missing pages and those pages that you have are not in order.
It was so beautiful in term of visual appearance and atmosphere back in 2012.

Dont buy if you are looking for any kind of action and can't spend few hours just walking around this island, slowly unfolding story.
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37 of 43 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 11
I really enjoyed Dear Esther. Whether it be the beautiful visuals, the powerful ambient music or the in-depth analysis into the human mind. Dear Esther has it all.

I was perplexed upon reaching The Caves, it's truly stunning at what can be achieved within the parameters of the Source engine.

I'd consider this as more of an artistic experience than a game. I found myself questioning so much during my playthrough and for that, I'm thankful for such a wonderful journey.
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97 of 144 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 29
This game is a gamble. You'll either have a near-life changing emotional experience and come out a changed person, or... you will be bored witless on an otherwise pretty walk on an island. I fell in the latter group unfortunately, and I cannot recommend this game.
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28 of 40 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 28
Well, I finally got around to playing this after years of languishing in my backlog (3 years I think?). Initially, I didnt play it because my computer couldnt handle it and it kept freezing. However, I realized that since I had upgraded my GCU, there was no reason not to, and on maxed out settings no less.

The game is in a word: BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, this might be one of the best looking games if not THE best looking game ever. It's probably a bit messed up, but I kept thinking that this is how Skyrim should have looked (not that Skyrim looked bad). Anyway, I digress. This is actual a mostly linear exploration game, where the story is revealed as you check out locations.

The story itself is the subject of much speculation and debate. One thing that is not debatable is that this isnt exactly a happy story being told, although possibly it has a hopeful ending depending on how you perceive the entirety of the story. I will give my take on that at the end of this review so it wont spoil the game for anybody who doesnt want to read it. It is told in narrative fashion.

The gameplay itself is simply you walking around, looking at stuff. You can zoom in, and that is exactly all your actual gameplay options.Keeps it pretty simple that way.

I mentioned the graphics before, but seriously, the attention to detail, even the minutia of a scene, is fairly well flawless. I can find zero fault with it whatsoever. You will be truly amazed with this aspect of the game in my opinion. There are some really jaw dropping images in this game. If you are curious, take a peak at the 140 or so screenshots I took, lol (but be wary of spoilers in them).

So, that is pretty much it. This game is perfection as far as walking simulator/exploration games go. I've seen nothing better yet. 10/10

Alright, now to the SPOILERS

It is my opinion that our protagonist is a ghost, revisitng his final days, his final regrets, and finally coming to terms with everything. I am of the opinion that, whether or not s/he was actually dead (the voice is male, but the reality of his gender is ambiguous at best), he was at the very least hallucinating and/or in a hospitalized, drug induced state of disorientation. His mind is clearly fractured and I think the people he references (himself, Jacobson, Esther Donnelly) are all parts of his own consciousness. The cause was obviously an auto wreck, although maybe this was just metaphor as well, and I coulnt help but think that he had lost a daughter, which was the source of his wrecked mind.

I dont know though. This story leaves a lot of your own subjective interpretation, which is actually another appealing aspect of this game

SPOILER/REVIEW END.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
Very boring, a true walking simulator.

You can do nothing but walk and walk; there are no enigmas or riddles (I expected that), and basically you walk on a closed and forced path that eventually leads you to the end. The plot is pretty sad and surely not entertaining, even though the voice acting is as remarkable as the visuals and the music.

I would recommend it to... none. There are games that try to create emotions, as Dear Esther does, without being this dramatic, sad and generally unappealing.

I wish there was more other than the melancholic voice of a hopeless character in this game; I reached the end in an hour, and I didn't enjoy it. The replayability is absent, except of course if you want to go through the game again.

Graphic: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 4/10
Longevity: 2/10

Final Rating: 4/10

Dear Esther fails hard bringing emotions and a fresh breath among the first person adventures. Recommended only to game reviewers and developers. Definitely boring and not entertaining for the gamers.
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