Dear Esther Review

WMDogma

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Dear Esther Review

Dear Esther is a haunting, unique game that favors narrative over gameplay.

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Feb 13, 2008
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Dear Esther is both Art and a Game.

Some people ask why the Mona Lisa is famous; this game isn't for them.

Those that can see her smile will love Dear Esther.
 

Firia

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I played the original when it was really visually basic. It sounds like it has been given a fresh coat of paint. :) The original was compelling as all hell, and this sounds to be no different.
 

Chrono212

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What makes this game has, above any other medium, is the story told through the environment.

Unlike any other medium, this game can draw you in and show you a story, as well as telling it to you.

No other game has truly drawn me in so much that I genuinely felt that I was on this lonely island, trying to unravel it's meaning.
 

nayrbarr

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Like Firia, I played the original a while back. I liked the idea, but it was somewhat... sloppy. It's good that this iteration is out and hope that they have, at it appears, improved upon the original's shortfalls.
 

cardinalwiggles

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this reminds me of just a book. put to a game surrounding so you explore what the narrator is saying and im excited at that prospect. like audio book is reading it this seems like a further step. may i just say it looks amazing and those graphics make me want to cry. i'd love to just spend all dday on that island i may pick it up if it gets cheaper as i don't want to pay 6 pounds atm (starving student) but i like all about this
 

blackdwarf

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it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...
 

QtheMuse

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No he was actually refering to Commander Shepard.

"I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite abandoned island on the Citadel."
 

Scrustle

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Dear Esther is amazing, but it's not a game. It's an interactive story. It's completely drowning in atmosphere with it's beautiful scenery, brilliantly delivered poetic narration and unbelievably stirring music. The story also leaves a lot of questions to ponder and has far more to it than meets the eye. It more than warrants more than one run through. But that's no problem, it only takes about an hour to get through. Gamers should experience Dear Esther, along with everyone who is interested in unique forms of storytelling, but do not make the mistake in thinking that this is a game. There are no mechanics given to you to complete any kind of goal. It should not be thought of as a game, but it is something that really should be experienced.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.
A short walk through Disneyland will cost you a lot more than £7.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...


Similar controls, no interaction...if that's a game...



Less controls, no interaction, still a game.

Your interaction in this is also your movement - that's why it fools a lot of people.
 

ritchards

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Will wait for it to be on sale...

Did anyone here play Trauma? Also a narrative story, but with actual puzzles to solve!
 

Keneth

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blackdwarf said:
but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all.
The "Gameplay" here is very subtle in that it takes place outside the game itself. You're not trying to save the princess or kill all the terrorists. You're basically trying to figure out what this place really is. Who are Esther and Donnally? Who painted these symbols all over the place? What do they mean? Is this place even real?

Of all the games I've played it gave me a feeling most similar to Myst. That feeling of wonder at exploring and finding new bits about what this place actually is and trying to fit those bits together into some kind of coherent whole.

The reviewer is right though. This game just won't click for a lot of people. It's much more cerebral then your common game. Anyone going into it expecting action and cheap thrills will be sorely disappointed. With the proper mindset however, this is a beautiful and fascinating experience.
 

WMDogma

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blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...
How can there be no gameplay? What you just said makes no sense.
 

Soviet Heavy

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sshakespeare said:
visually a very good looking game, this is what skyrim should have looked like
Fun fact. That's the Source Engine. Compare the mod release to the commercial release.
Same engine, different years. And Source can still manage to produce fantastic results.
 

RJ Dalton

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I don't know that I'd quite call it a game, honestly. It's more like a an artsy movie but with less pretension. But it's not really a movie, because you actually control the player. I'm not sure what to classify it as.
Except maybe an extremely interesting experience.
 

TheDoctor455

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The_root_of_all_evil said:
Dear Esther is both Art and a Game.

Some people ask why the Mona Lisa is famous; this game isn't for them.

Those that can see her smile will love Dear Esther.
I think you mean... those that can see the genius behind her weary smile
and the deliberate screw-ups in the scenery behind her will love Dear Esther.

Yeah... it is indeed a work of art.

This is exactly the kind of thing I love to rub in people's faces when they tell me either...

A) Games don't or can't tell engaging stories.

B) Games, as a whole, can never be art.

or

C) All of the above.

Dear Esther is one of those wonderful games that so brilliantly proves them wrong.
 

Farther than stars

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Dear Esther is utterly beautiful, although I agree that it's not for everyone. That said, I've yet to talk to someone who didn't marvel at the intricketly crafted atmosphere of the caves. Whatever you think of the narrative, the enviroment is enough to make even the likes of games such as Skyrim envious.
 

Farther than stars

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Soviet Heavy said:
sshakespeare said:
visually a very good looking game, this is what skyrim should have looked like
Fun fact. That's the Source Engine. Compare the mod release to the commercial release.
Same engine, different years. And Source can still manage to produce fantastic results.
It's no secret that Valve was well ahead of its time with the Source engine. Portal 2 is a testimony to that.

blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...
Interesting that you should raise a monetary issue. This is actually cheaper than going to a movie in my local theatre. Also, if you buy a cup of coffee and a snack at Starbucks, you'll also pretty quickly come to this price. With that in mind, I think such an emotional journey is a steal at this price.
 

LiquidGrape

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Dear Esther has a greater sense of place than virtually every other piece of interactive media I've ever encountered. It reminds me of the two weeks I spent on Orkney Islands, and the inherent kind of melancholy the place seemed to have.

'Esther' replicates those feelings frighteningly well.
 

Saxnot

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nice review, but could you please not put (what sounds like) a spoiler in the last 10 seconds of your review?

at least mention it before it starts. i'm still going to play this game and now i feel like i already know something i should not
 

Greg Tito

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Saxnot said:
nice review, but could you please not put (what sounds like) a spoiler in the last 10 seconds of your review?

at least mention it before it starts. i'm still going to play this game and now i feel like i already know something i should not
It's not a spoiler, Saxnot. That scene happens in the first few minutes of the game.

Greg
 

Saxnot

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Greg Tito said:
Saxnot said:
nice review, but could you please not put (what sounds like) a spoiler in the last 10 seconds of your review?

at least mention it before it starts. i'm still going to play this game and now i feel like i already know something i should not
It's not a spoiler, Saxnot. That scene happens in the first few minutes of the game.

Greg
oh, ok. in that case, never mind. it just sounded like something of a reveal
 

ascorbius

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I've just played through Dear Esther, I'm amazed. With little to do beyond walking around and taking it all in, I found myself looking in every tiny place, looking at the details, the circuits, the chemicals, the breath-taking scenery - just amazed. I had to keep going - my imagination was in overdrive.

There are many more games which I'd sooner give up on. This has no puzzles, no weapons, no enemies but is really engaging.

At times I was looking for a run button, but now I've been through it once, It still haunts me and I'm glad I didn't rush it.
 

Therumancer

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My opinions are mixed.

I'm a bit of a horror fan and picked this up figured it would be a decent bit of surrealistic, cereberal horror. I wound up not playing it yet because from what I've been reading the devs more or less came out and said shortly after it's release that the game is a giant troll and there is no sense to any of it.

Anyone can just throw a bunch of stuff out there, point some arrows between it to make it seem like pieces of a puzzle, but never actually have any meaning. I've seen that done on a number of occasions, and really I don't find that a way of someone trying to be faux-artistic when they can't do the real thing. See, part of what makes art, art, is that it has meaning even if it's not immediatly obvious, and the artist can explain to you what it means or is trying to say if you can't figure it out. Something that relies on the viewer to insert their own meaning or interpetation without any intended meaning it more of a psychological exercise than a work of art. A lot has been written on the subject.

See, if there was actually a mystery to be solved here, with clear answers, I'd be interested in piecing it together, but just wandering around waiting for sense to be made that will never really come?

Someone referanced The Mona Lisa, but that's a little differant. The Mona Lisa is by all accounts an inside joke by Davinci and some of his friends, it had a meaning, but one that can't be divined by someone outside of his long-passed peer group. It stands as a solid work by a master that makes people wonder simply because it's context is long gone.

Of course then again, I think the mystery was solved a while back, but wasn't as exciting as the speculation. I was reading a while back that someone was able to prove by the notes of one of Davinci's associates that the "secret" of the Mona Lisa was that it was a self portrait of Davinci when he was in drag. I believe this was mentioned in "The Davinci Code" but hasn't really ever been popularized. I've never cared enough to check it out in more detail. Apparently the joke was Davinci looked differant enough and carried off looking like a girl well enough that even when he was right there nobody that didn't know him could figure out it was a self portrait, so he'd flash it around and have people going "huh, who is she, and why is she smiling".
 

peruvianskys

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I enjoyed it as an experience but I wouldn't call it a game. Still a nice artistic statement though.
 

blackdwarf

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Keneth said:
blackdwarf said:
but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all.
The "Gameplay" here is very subtle in that it takes place outside the game itself. You're not trying to save the princess or kill all the terrorists. You're basically trying to figure out what this place really is. Who are Esther and Donnally? Who painted these symbols all over the place? What do they mean? Is this place even real?

Of all the games I've played it gave me a feeling most similar to Myst. That feeling of wonder at exploring and finding new bits about what this place actually is and trying to fit those bits together into some kind of coherent whole.

The reviewer is right though. This game just won't click for a lot of people. It's much more cerebral then your common game. Anyone going into it expecting action and cheap thrills will be sorely disappointed. With the proper mindset however, this is a beautiful and fascinating experience.
this is maybe a matter of opinion but figuring out a story in your mind i do not call gameplay. for me gameplay is the mechanic you interact with to go trough the story. shooting people of solving puzzles are example of those. in dear esther however you are only walking. that is the only interaction you do. but you aren't interacting with the world itself. you are just following a path and you are getting a story told.
Farther than stars said:
Soviet Heavy said:
sshakespeare said:
visually a very good looking game, this is what skyrim should have looked like
Fun fact. That's the Source Engine. Compare the mod release to the commercial release.
Same engine, different years. And Source can still manage to produce fantastic results.
It's no secret that Valve was well ahead of its time with the Source engine. Portal 2 is a testimony to that.

blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...
Interesting that you should raise a monetary issue. This is actually cheaper than going to a movie in my local theatre. Also, if you buy a cup of coffee and a snack at Starbucks, you'll also pretty quickly come to this price. With that in mind, I think such an emotional journey is a steal at this price.
hmm, i guess you have a point, but maybe this happened because i was comparing to other games, and maybe that is the same as comparing apples and bananas.

The_root_of_all_evil said:
blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.
A short walk through Disneyland will cost you a lot more than £7.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...


Similar controls, no interaction...if that's a game...



Less controls, no interaction, still a game.

Your interaction in this is also your movement - that's why it fools a lot of people.
i cant say anything about the first picture because i don't know it. the second one i guess is a dodge game or something? in that case, dodging is gameplay. you are trying to dodge so you can survive longer to get higher points or to get to a ending.

and i want to make clear that i really liked dear Esther for what it trying to do. my reason to bought it was to support such risky thing. ok, i found it a bit expensive, but some people already made comparisons with stuff besides games, in which they have a point. it is really something interesting, but the moment i finished it, i was asking myself if i could call it a game.
 

Metalrocks

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really a beautiful game. finished it in 2 hours after i downloaded it. i have to admit, that i expected to solve some puzzles by interacting with objects and the environment but well, i still had a good time.
the cave is really the most breath taking chapter of the whole game. at times i was just standing there admiring the surroundings.

its for sure this game is not for everyone. but its something different instead of shooting things down all the time.
havent played it second time though, so i would not know if the environment has changed.
 

Sonicron

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Breathtaking little game, especially the bit in the caves. Definitely something in favour of the position of 'games can be art', too. Hard to believe a game that restricts its gameplay to the most basic of movement controls can be a more satisfying experience than the majority of AAA titles with multi-million dollar budgets behind them.
Also, I'm in love with the soundtrack... I can't stop listening to it.

For people saying 8 Euros is too expensive for a game that'll last you 90-120 minutes on a single playthrough... consider what you have to pay nowadays when you go to the movies.
 

Metalrocks

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Sonicron said:
For people saying 8 Euros is too expensive for a game that'll last you 90-120 minutes on a single playthrough... consider what you have to pay nowadays when you go to the movies.
point taken about the movie part, but you actually know that a movie mostly is between 90 min to over 120 min long. do you like to sit there for over 3 hours watching a movie? i sure dont like that, and i love watching movies.
hell, i nearly wanted to walk out of the cinema (and others too) when i saw the last lord of the rings movie. now this was really too long.

with games you expect more then 6 hours at least. even when you pay 10$ for it. im not saying im regretting spending this money, but i did expect a longer playing time.
 

Imbechile

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Sonicron said:
For people saying 8 Euros is too expensive for a game that'll last you 90-120 minutes on a single playthrough... consider what you have to pay nowadays when you go to the movies.
So you're saying if you need to pay 8 euros for apples, oranges should also be 8 euros?
 

teh_gunslinger

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Greg Tito said:
Saxnot said:
nice review, but could you please not put (what sounds like) a spoiler in the last 10 seconds of your review?

at least mention it before it starts. i'm still going to play this game and now i feel like i already know something i should not
It's not a spoiler, Saxnot. That scene happens in the first few minutes of the game.

Greg
But one could argue that saying the the voice over is random is. And the bit about the car crash, though not as much. It's just that it's a game that's best experienced with a blank slate.
 

Doom972

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When I think about games as art, the games that come to mind are games like Deus Ex, Bioware's RPGs or the Legacy of Kain series - Games which are not just games. but experiences - not games that try to be out of the box by not letting you do much.

With that said, this game looks like it might be interesting to experience but I have to ask the following question: Is there much of a difference between watching a playthrough on youtube and playing it yourself?
The review leads me to believe that this is a linear game with few chances of extra exploration where all you get to do is walk around.
While I am a fan of story driven gameplay, this looks like it might be better to experience as a film, rather than a game.
 

Sonicron

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Metalrocks said:
Sonicron said:
For people saying 8 Euros is too expensive for a game that'll last you 90-120 minutes on a single playthrough... consider what you have to pay nowadays when you go to the movies.
point taken about the movie part, but you actually know that a movie mostly is between 90 min to over 120 min long. do you like to sit there for over 3 hours watching a movie? i sure dont like that, and i love watching movies.
hell, i nearly wanted to walk out of the cinema (and others too) when i saw the last lord of the rings movie. now this was really too long.

with games you expect more then 6 hours at least. even when you pay 10$ for it. im not saying im regretting spending this money, but i did expect a longer playing time.
Under normal circumstances I'd completely agree with you, but seeing how this game feels (at least to me) like walking through a slightly randomised film I thought the analogy held up. Who knows, maybe the fact that I went to the movies to nights ago and felt gipped for paying 13 Euros for a bad flick factors into my point of view here.

Imbechile said:
Sonicron said:
For people saying 8 Euros is too expensive for a game that'll last you 90-120 minutes on a single playthrough... consider what you have to pay nowadays when you go to the movies.
So you're saying if you need to pay 8 euros for apples, oranges should also be 8 euros?
How would I know, I'm not a fruit farmer. :p
As for the reasoning behind my original statement, I refer you to the answer I provided directly above. Sitting through Dear Esther, which felt like a sort of interactive movie to me, cost me 8 Euros and was immensely satisfying, while just recently I felt ripped off for paying 13 Euros for seeing Ghost Rider 2 (which kinda sucked).
 

Metalrocks

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Sonicron said:
Under normal circumstances I'd completely agree with you, but seeing how this game feels (at least to me) like walking through a slightly randomised film I thought the analogy held up. Who knows, maybe the fact that I went to the movies to nights ago and felt gipped for paying 13 Euros for a bad flick factors into my point of view here.
lol,from this point, you are right. it is cheaper plus you are in control of the movie. but still, a game is a game, you do expect a longer playing time.
havent seen ghost rider 2 yet. i rather wait till its out on dvd. still thinking of watching underworld 4. not that i expect much of it but well, lets just see.
 

Mike Richards

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Doom972 said:
With that said, this game looks like it might be interesting to experience but I have to ask the following question: Is there much of a difference between watching a playthrough on youtube and playing it yourself?
The review leads me to believe that this is a linear game with few chances of extra exploration where all you get to do is walk around.
While I am a fan of story driven gameplay, this looks like it might be better to experience as a film, rather than a game.
A great deal of the game is an exercise in atmosphere, the kind best experienced by sitting behind the controls yourself. You could watch a walkthrough at get almost the same end result, but it wouldn't have the same fun of feeling like you're really exploring the island. Even though you don't actually physically interact with anything, just being there walking and listening somehow gives you a much better sense of contribution and ownership to the story that films can't really provide.

Plus the randomized dialogue is pretty cool if you want to replay it, since it can actually change quite a lot.
 

WMDogma

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Saxnot said:
Greg Tito said:
Saxnot said:
nice review, but could you please not put (what sounds like) a spoiler in the last 10 seconds of your review?

at least mention it before it starts. i'm still going to play this game and now i feel like i already know something i should not
It's not a spoiler, Saxnot. That scene happens in the first few minutes of the game.

Greg
oh, ok. in that case, never mind. it just sounded like something of a reveal
That line was actually from a little later on in the game, but I wouldn't say it's particularly spoilery. One of the trickier parts of putting together this review has been figuring out what constitutes as a spoiler considering the random nature of the narration.
 

Shjade

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The_root_of_all_evil said:
Dear Esther is both Art and a Game.

Some people ask why the Mona Lisa is famous; this game isn't for them.

Those that can see her smile will love Dear Esther.
As a person who can see her smile, I feel fine saying I still don't know why it's as famous as it is. But then, the art world (marketing, pricing, popularity, etc., as opposed to the art itself) often perplexes me.
 

ckam

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This game actually sounds interesting. So where is it distributed at?
 

ToastiestZombie

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CkretAznMan said:
This game actually sounds interesting. So where is it distributed at?
Steam only I think.

OT: I bought this game as soon as it came out, played it in one night and LOVED it! Now if only The Stanley Parable could have a change as big as this one I would be able to die happy!
 
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blackdwarf said:
i cant say anything about the first picture because i don't know it.
There's this thing called Google...
the second one i guess is a dodge game or something? in that case, dodging is gameplay. you are trying to dodge so you can survive longer to get higher points or to get to a ending.
Night Driver. You have to drive through the landscape to get to the end...

Here's another game:


Here's a simpler one:


Dear Esther is a more complicated version of this; with better view, a randomised monologue, a storyline and a haunting soundtrack.

Why does that make it so difficult to call it a game?
 

blackdwarf

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The_root_of_all_evil said:
blackdwarf said:
i cant say anything about the first picture because i don't know it.
There's this thing called Google...
the second one i guess is a dodge game or something? in that case, dodging is gameplay. you are trying to dodge so you can survive longer to get higher points or to get to a ending.
Night Driver. You have to drive through the landscape to get to the end...

Here's another game:


Here's a simpler one:


Dear Esther is a more complicated version of this; with better view, a randomised monologue, a storyline and a haunting soundtrack.

Why does that make it so difficult to call it a game?
Ok, you have a point here. The examples have given are indeed the same in idea. and when are saw those last two pictures i instantly thought they were games. So yeah, maybe dear Esther is a game, but i for me it didn't feel like one, because i was more focused on the story and environment. I wasn't thinking at all about finding the correct way. So maybe that was the reason why i hadn't the feeling i was playing a video game.
 

Proverbial Jon

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Dear Esther is quite simply amazing. Not just for the beautiful, poetic, metaphor heavy dialogue nor for the haunting soundtrack or the stunning graphics. No, Dear Esther is amazing because it attempts something bold, something new and something frankly quite risky... and yet it works, it works so well.

As said in the review, Dear Esther is NOT going to appeal to everyone, in fact its target audience is probably quite small. But anyone can find enjoyment in this game if they keep an open mind. If you play games mostly for the story, as I often prefer to do, this will be a real treat.

blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...
Let's see...

- It's made in the Source engine, used for making video games.
- It's distributed through Steam, a platform for the distribution of games.
- The player must use keyboard controls to control a digital avatar within the game.
- It has a start point and a goal, which means there is an objective.
- The player has an effect on the world, dialogue will play depending on where you go and no single playthrough will be entirely similar.

I would say that those points more than make it worthy of the title of game. There is still interaction required from the player, however small. Dear Esther requires an enquiring mind to physically interact with it before it's content can entertain. You cannot simply sit and watch Dear Esther, you must interact, explore, discover and experience.

As for the price, regardless of the amount of coin in anyone's pocket, I believe the developers deserve every penny of it.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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blackdwarf said:
So yeah, maybe dear Esther is a game,
Maybe; I'd say it is.
but i for me it didn't feel like one, because i was more focused on the story and environment.
I think this is the thing with some of these more nebulous concepts. If a five year old splashes paint on a canvas, is it art?
I wasn't thinking at all about finding the correct way. So maybe that was the reason why i hadn't the feeling i was playing a video game.
That's also another great pitfall, how much can you take away from a game while still leaving it as "a game"?

Is Audiosurf a game? If so, why isn't Winamp? Could you make Winamp into a game?...huge nest of questions.
 

WMDogma

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The_root_of_all_evil said:
blackdwarf said:
it is really interesting, only downside, it is to expensive for such short walk.
A short walk through Disneyland will cost you a lot more than £7.

but can we even call this game? there is no gameplay at all. you are experiencing a story in a virtual world, but you aren't interacting with anything. it is what you can call a virtual experience, but for some reason we are still calling it a game...


Similar controls, no interaction...if that's a game...



Less controls, no interaction, still a game.

Your interaction in this is also your movement - that's why it fools a lot of people.
I still wouldnt call it a video game in the traditional sense. Im not sure I would call it a game at all. As for posting pictures of other "games" - well, maybe those arent really games too?

Not that theres anything wrong with Dear Esther. I havent got my hands on it yet so I cant say. It looks very intriguing though, and its definitely something I will be buying in the near future.
 

Elate

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I don't know.. it looks interesting, but it doesn't look FUN or overly enjoyable. From what I've heard of the narrator he just seems to spew mostly nonsensical monologue about, albeit in a pleasant tone, but that just gets on my nerves.

And I've never really been huge on the whole exploring for the sake of exploring thing.. Seen it once in a game, seen it all.

I don't know, I want to like it, but for that price tag, it seems unreasonable to pay for a game I may not even enjoy.
 

DeeJayTee

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I'd like to sing the game's praises, too.

And I'll tell you what I enjoyed most. In the words of the review: "You might be startled by a bird roosting in an empty, dilapidated house, or see an ominous light emanating from a distant cave, only for those moments to be absent your second time around." I won't go into further detail about other examples beyond those two given, but, in essence, the small events that randomly transpire really wake you up, mostly due to the fact that you aren't expecting them.

The first one I came across literally made me shiver, and for a minute I thought I was seeing things. Even knowing that there are no enemies (besides the narrator's seemingly shattered psyche) and that you simply cannot die, I began to feel unnerved.

It's always the little things that do it for me.
 

kordo

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Still can't believe I paid $10 for this piece of shit. Ripped!!! Great atmosphere but that's all its got going for it. Under an hour I was done and no payoff - how this thing gets plaudits (such as this 4-star review) is beyond me. A neat idea that could've been so much better. Didn't know this originated as a mod. If I did I would've just got that instead or watched a Youtube Let's Play.
 

Shiftygiant

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Yeah, an artistic experience that'll cost me £7. Also I didn't know that the escapist reviewed mods now.

Hold up a sec, this game was made off the source engine and released initially as a mod and developed into a full game, but still a mod. Wait another minute. The university of Portsmouth? Hampshire? The one that I'm going to in the autumn? When you look at it we discover that Britain is full of pretentious game designers.
 

Metalrocks

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DeeJayTee said:
I'd like to sing the game's praises, too.

And I'll tell you what I enjoyed most. In the words of the review: "You might be startled by a bird roosting in an empty, dilapidated house, or see an ominous light emanating from a distant cave, only for those moments to be absent your second time around." I won't go into further detail about other examples beyond those two given, but, in essence, the small events that randomly transpire really wake you up, mostly due to the fact that you aren't expecting them.

The first one I came across literally made me shiver, and for a minute I thought I was seeing things. Even knowing that there are no enemies (besides the narrator's seemingly shattered psyche) and that you simply cannot die, I began to feel unnerved.

It's always the little things that do it for me.
lol, true, at ship cemetery, i was sure i saw someone in the far distance. when i walked there, nothing. it was just a little path leading to a dead end.
 

Metalrocks

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kordo said:
Still can't believe I paid $10 for this piece of shit. Ripped!!! Great atmosphere but that's all its got going for it. Under an hour I was done and no payoff - how this thing gets plaudits (such as this 4-star review) is beyond me. A neat idea that could've been so much better. Didn't know this originated as a mod. If I did I would've just got that instead or watched a Youtube Let's Play.
you dint get the meaning of the game from the looks of it. did you expect a happy ending, or getting XP or what?
so the game isnt for you, but doesnt mean its shit. the ratings the game gets are true. i can name several other games out there were the rating is way to high.
 

kordo

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Metalrocks said:
kordo said:
Still can't believe I paid $10 for this piece of shit. Ripped!!! Great atmosphere but that's all its got going for it. Under an hour I was done and no payoff - how this thing gets plaudits (such as this 4-star review) is beyond me. A neat idea that could've been so much better. Didn't know this originated as a mod. If I did I would've just got that instead or watched a Youtube Let's Play.
you dint get the meaning of the game from the looks of it. did you expect a happy ending, or getting XP or what?
so the game isnt for you, but doesnt mean its shit. the ratings the game gets are true. i can name several other games out there were the rating is way to high.
What is there to get? Paper thin storyline anyway. Have my own thoughts on what it all means to me, just expected more out of my tenner. I liked The Path and bought this expecting something like it but this is just not as engaging to me. Ah well, at least it's better than Dinner Date ay?

Oh just found out the same team are doing the next Amnesia. Quite liked the atmosphere in Dear Esther so I'll be very interested in this.
 

Xannidel

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This game may not have interaction but this would constitute as a game, maybe not one that everyone is familiar with but this is a game. It has a goal, you have control over someone, you have a story given to you as you progress.
Myst had puzzles which this game does not have so is some senses it is like Myst but in other senses it is not like Myst.

Or at least that is what I think.
 
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Just finished playing it.

Was a nice experience, nothing amazing, but different enough for me to feel satisfied.
 

Caligulove

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I played a few minutes of this on an old desktop a few days before it went kaput.

Never re-installed it on a computer, though, just never came to mind. This looks even more compelling and interesting than that first mod I played all that time ago. I can't help but think this is the kind of game I wish the CryEngine was being used for. Shooters are nice, but too hectic to really appreciate the detail involved, imo. Not enough downtime.

Probably gonna pick this one up.

(side note- I'd really like to see Yahtzee review this game)
 

MrBaskerville

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To me this game felt like a very bad book being read aloud while i explored some uninteresting enviroments where nothing ever happens. I fail to see why this game is getting such positive reviews, everything is overly convoluted and filled to the brim with purple prose. I have a probem with this game/story on so many levels. Everything is so bleak, empty and overly serious. There doesn´t seem to be any room for anything resembling humanity. I just really hated every second of this game, it´s basically everything that´s wrong with games trying to be taken seriously outside of gaming circles.
 

dennyaaa

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I really like this game, it reminds me of a simple time, before every game on the market had to feature some kind of action for players to enjoy. If you like this title, check out "The Stanley Parable" which also is a HL2 mod that will require plenty of playthroughs... Just like this brilliant piece of gaming art.
 

DTH1337

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This looks like a very interesting first person experience. Might buy it and see if it is really amazing as many people have already said.
 

Imbechile

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10 euros is too much for a short game. And Dear Esther isn't even that good a game. It's average. The Stanley parable, for instance is better.
 

nazgull2k1

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The "Game" isnt a "Game" at all. There is zero challenge, zero depth, zero risk. You walk .. WALK from 1 side of a DESERTED ISLAND to another. I dont care how "pretty" the visuals are.. I can see better anytime I want by simply walking out my front door.

Bottom line is this "game" isnt worth paying for. Ever.
 

mjcabooseblu

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nazgull2k1 said:
The "Game" isnt a "Game" at all. There is zero challenge, zero depth, zero risk. You walk .. WALK from 1 side of a DESERTED ISLAND to another. I dont care how "pretty" the visuals are.. I can see better anytime I want by simply walking out my front door.

Bottom line is this "game" isnt worth paying for. Ever.
Clearly you and I have been presented different games, because the focus of Dear Esther isn't the graphics. Or maybe you just completely missed the point.
 

xdiesp

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Actual art bores kids. That's why games which are art are so convenient, kids don't have to feel ignorant anymore - their toys cover that! But unfortunately, those are still toys.
 

IvoryTowerGamer

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While I enjoyed the experience of playing Dear Esther, I can't help but feel a little twinge of disappointment when people tout this as a shining example of how games can be art. Nearly all of the artistic aspects of Dear Esther can be replicated in other mediums. Meanwhile, the one great strength of video games (interaction) is arbitrarily limited.

The_root_of_all_evil said:
Here's a simpler one:


Dear Esther is a more complicated version of this; with better view, a randomised monologue, a storyline and a haunting soundtrack.

Why does that make it so difficult to call it a game?
Actually I don't see why the above is a game at all. There's a goal, I suppose, but where are the choices (IE the opportunities for interaction)? By the above logic couldn't the "virtual tours" you sometimes see on museum websites also be considered games?