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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
28 of 33 people (85%) found this review helpful
741 products in account
113 reviews
1.9 hrs on record
I did really end up enjoying it even if I can't recommend it. On the surface this has a lot going against it. Dear Esther feels like less of a game, more of an experience. You awaken on an island at one end under a lighthouse and you walk your way to a red beacon on a radio tower in the sky. The whole thing takes an hour or less to complete the experience. The controls are simple, walk and zoom. There is no jump or sprint.

You will experience the morbid and yet gorgeous island in all of its glory. I say experience more than explore. As much as you can walk around and think you're doing your own thing, you're really just on a set path that is highly detailed and winds through coastal beaches, caves and cliff sides. It is a beautiful game and might be one of the most beautiful games ever visually.

The day turning into night was a nice touch, even if at night you can end up completely blind by the dark. It seemed like the day and night wasn't random as the game claims, but if I died, it did become darker until I was unable to see.

The whole thing is very immerse with only 3 loading 'screens' once the game begins. The game is short and sweet, it doesn't overstay its welcome for what is basically a glorified tech demo of the Source engine. Supposedly no play through is the same with different audio for each run, but when I played a second time everything felt the same even if I didn't hear the audio at the exact same spot. I explored a lot more, but everything was the same.

You can also find it in a few bundles for less than $10 which then the price is worth it, but for 1 hour of an experience, I can't recommend it.
Posted: August 16th, 2014
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16 of 16 people (100%) found this review helpful
385 products in account
40 reviews
9.4 hrs on record
As always, TL;DR at the bottom. This game deserves more though.

In recent years it has become more common to hear gamers, and even some non-gamers giving credit to games as pieces of art. Truly all games are art in some form as they provide a visual and narrative experience no matter what type of game they are. Some games are simply greater classified as art than others, but even inside of that it seems something such as 'Dear Esther' should be given credit on the art scale much higher than any old "video games are art" scale.

'Dear Esther' is claimed by many as "not a game". This is a debate I am no longer interested in, as I simply don't take a hard stance on what a game is anymore now that I have played so many adventure games, and what are more aptly described as "walking simulators". If you want to call it art instead, which it is, I can accept that, but debating on what a game is has become something I do not find interesting anymore. It's a game to me and great art at the same time.

Now that I have grown up a little and become able to appreciate games as great pieces of art, I look for games with beauty in narrative, visuals, music, and even atmosphere much more often than I once did. Giving games described as "walking simulators" a much greater chance than I once would have as a younger gamer. 'Dear Esther' is a game I never would have played maybe as recent as a year ago. I would ignore games such as this and mockingly call them "walking simulators", or games with a lot of FMVs like MGS4, "movies". It's actually quite embarrassing thinking about discussions I've had in the past about such games. >_>

I'm glad I came to my senses because games like this not only give you a sense of extreme beauty, but challenge you to think about things in abstract and interesting ways. Digging into you deeper than a more traditional game focused solely on the gameplay, which I considered the ONLY thing that mattered for the longest time. Games with these weird worlds, stories, and characters just stick with you longer and allow for us to spend more time with them after finishing by discussing them with other gamers. Isn't that something we all enjoy as a major part of gaming? Discussing games and trying to understand them when they give us something to talk about? (feel free to discuss in the comments of this review! Please be mindful of spoilers, however.) It definitely does for me, and 'Dear Esther' made me think, wonder, and read more about it the second I was done playing.

'Dear Esther' on a technical side is a magnificently wonderful game. While you can see in the store screenshots that the game has haunting and lovely visuals, you can't really know how wonderful the atmosphere is without playing it. The music in this game is so well done (I highly recommend buying this soundtrack and I rarely do that) that I found myself saving when I heard a piece start so that I could reload and listen to it again before moving on. The music is atmospheric, haunting, beautiful, and I can't think of a game where I was so enthralled by the music before.

With the musical score lending to the feel of the game, the island you find yourself on gives a tremendous feeling of isolation, dread, insanity, and fear. You will go into "every nook and cranny, John" to see the strange items and locations from all angles before moving down the correct path to move the narration along. Taking these extra paths may lead you to seeing extra narration, or even ghosts out of the corner of your eye. Making you feel like you might not be alone, and then dissipating into mist to leave you wondering if you had just seen something moving, or it was just your imagination.

The narration voice-over is spectacular. A voice that helps the atmosphere as much as anything else, but what is said is just as unnerving in many instances. Narration comes at you as you walk around and move through the island on your ascent up to the top. It will be strange and probably not make a ton of sense every time you hear it. You will feel the mind of the narrator, which is you, seem to disjoint, and speak about things that don't seem relevant at times, but interesting none the less. Strangely, although I have played through the first couple chapters more than once, the narration seems to change in different playthroughs, making it almost impossible to know what exact pieces you will hear in a certain area. The theme and dialog seems to be standard enough through the entire game that the story you hear is about the same as it would be any other time, but it is quite interesting to hear other blurbs as you reach a section from game to game. I have no idea how many of these different blurbs you can encounter, but I am planning to play through the game again, maybe several times not just because I love the feel and isolation I feel while playing the game, but to tread deeper into the depths of the story and hear various new commentaries.

If you read this far, this game is for you. If you are willing to take this much time to read a review, I think you can appreciate this wonderful game as the artistic piece of work that it deserves. I highly recommend this game to anyone that has accepted games as more than just gameplay, but as a form of true beauty, a place to lose yourself in a world without having to shoot at things and jump around, and challenge yourself to see what the creator is trying to say by making it less than easy for you to interpret their strange thoughts to us gamers.

A like-minded gaming friend gifted me this game, and I am truly grateful that someone cared enough to share this experience with me. It was a wonderful journey. Thank you. :)

TL;DR Glorious mix of graphics, music, narration, and atmosphere. Walking simulator that is a true masterwork of art in the gaming universe. Even if you don't respect games such as this, give it a try (Not sure there has been a game in more bundles than this one so there is no way you can't get this for cheap at some point. The forum has 75% off coupons being given away constantly right now as well so there is that too). and see if you can appreciate it for what it is rather than just disregarding this genre entirely without actually making an effort to understand why people DO like them. A challenging, insightful, chilling, isolationist walk through a place that could make you think, feel terror, and maybe, just maybe turn you into a fan of more than just games focused entirely on gameplay.
Posted: August 26th, 2014
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80 of 132 people (61%) found this review helpful
301 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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24 of 38 people (63%) found this review helpful
485 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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72 of 137 people (53%) found this review helpful
111 products in account
12 reviews
0.8 hrs on record
a game where you walk around
Posted: June 21st, 2014
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290 of 362 people (80%) found this review helpful
195 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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