A deserted island... a lost man... memories of a fatal crash... a book written by a dying explorer.
Dear Esther is a ghost story told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional gameplay, the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly triggered by moving around the environments, making every telling unique. Features a stunning, specially commissioned soundtrack. 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 and the tunnels under the island. Or then again, they may just not be, after all...
I really wanted to like this "game", but it has quite a few big issues.
The walking speed is atrocious. Throughout the experience, I was continually jumping because the jump speed is faster than the walking speed. In something that is atmospheric, I am most definitely not drawn in if I am having to constantly jump around like a circus act because I am bored just trying to reach my definition.
There are no subtitles, at least what I could find. Apparently, in the $10 remake, there are subtitles, but not for the original mod, which is disheartening. In such a story-driven experience, I would think you would want the player to have the best chances of understanding the story, and subtitles would definitely help when the music gets too loud over a certain passage or when the line simply tries to use too many big words and rereading the sentence helps a lot.
The vocabulary is definitely a problem. The whole time through, I felt like there were two different sentences for each line: one the writer actually wrote, and one where he looked up every word in a thesaurus and chose the prettiest words he could find.
Random dialog choices is a bad choice. This isn't a choose your own adventure book. This isn't a real video game where replayability is considered a good thing. This is a story that has a message it wants to get across, so don't go around giving different players different messages. It makes this story even harder to follow.
Overall, I just don't feel like this mod does what it wants to do very well. It has potential and shows innovative ideas, but in the end, it's just pretentious with its word usage and doesn't try to facilitate it at all with anything helpful like subtitles. And even though I do like the story, I wouldn't play it again to make more sense of it, because the character simply walks too slow. I was much more fascinated reading the plot theories in the game's Steam forums than I was actually playing the mod.
A pretentious pool of word porn that sets itself on the shelf of "art-house" games. Only one problem. A game requires gameplay. The written dialogue is very good, but this is a plot with no obstacles, no antagonist; There's just nothing to it.
Just because a game is art doesn't mean it's not allowed to be fun as well.
One of the most ambient mods I've ever played, in every sense of the word. There is a dreamy atmosphere prevalent throughout, providing the perfect backdrop for the complex tale that is told and carefully paced. This is definitely one of those stories where you must go through it twice to fully understand what is going on, and there is a lot appropriately left to speculation. There is no combat, but it works in favor of it's unique style. You'll find yourself exploring vast, quiet landscapes. After playing games like Fragile Dreams and Ico, I wanted to play something of similar caliber. I found it here.
I see so many people talking about a great story and I just think... What great story? You walk around on a dank island following chalk drawings while listening to what can only be assumed is random sentences chosen from 10 pages ripped out at random from some bland book.
This mod sucked when I played it, and I can't expect the new version to be any better, unless in fact they give you more than a bunch of irrelevant sentences about stupid **** you have no idea about.