During this summers Steam sale, Dear Esther dropped down to a couple of quid so I decided to pick it up, however only just got around to playing it.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect however was intrigued after reading the following description
“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…
The game starts with a simplistic menu, allowing you to change the settings, or play one of the four chapters ,The Lighthouse, The Buoy, The Cave or The Beacon. Each chapter will take no more that around 15-20 minutes each to play through.
Each of the four levels are really quite stunning, and walk you around different parts of an island. As you walk, you are accompanied by a very tranquil musical score which feels really rather relaxing. At specific points throughout the game a narrator reads out various parts of a letter entitles Dear Esther. Wanting to be spoiler free, I won’t discuss what the letter contains.
The game is a viewed from the first person perspective and uses the normal FPS control system, however the ability to jump and sprint are non existent. Although I understand why these controls aren’t used, there were times while exploring when they would have come in quite useful.
This game felt to me, more of a walkthrough story book than a game as there wasn’t anything to interact with, or even the control option to do so. Knowing what I do now, I think watching a entire walk through on YouTube would give you a very similar experience
Upon completing the game, I found myself thinking back over the hour and trying to work out exactly what I’d just experienced. It had a similar feeling to watching Donnie Darko for the first time, as I remember scratching my head, and firing up google to find out what other people thought had taken place.
Dear Esther is currently on steam for under £2, and for that price, it’s worth experiencing for yourself, if for nothing more than the stunning visuals.
Approx Time taken to beat – 1 hour
Difficulty setting – normal
Score – [Rating:3/5]
Games TrailerTags: Cult, Darkness, Dear Esther, Delusion, Deserted Island, Desolate Island, Driven Experience, Environments, Fatal Crash, First Person Games, Fragments, Fuses, Gameplay, Guilt, Lighthouse, Linear Path, Motorway, Music Score, Musical Score, Narrator, Nbsp, Outer Hebrides, Play One, Redemption, Spoiler, Steam, Stunning Visuals, Tranquil Music, Tunnels