Dear Esther

Dear Esther

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Dear Esther > General Discussions > Topic Details
ALT+F4 May 29, 2013 @ 2:42pm
Beautiful game! Ignore the haters.
Why would you buy a game without knowing anything about it? When I downloaded the free version three years ago, I knew exactly what I was getting and I loved every second of it. I thought with pretty COD graphics that more people would appreciate it but I guess not. Anyway, I love what this game has done with narrative and pacing, and there are moments that give me literal goosebumps. The ending never fails to make me tear up. Don't type "dear esther plot explanation" into Google and expect to find a neatly organized analysis by a blogger; it doesn't exist. This game escapes classification and its story escapes meaning and sense. It's a story about death and redemption, and as someone who's experienced the sudden death of a loved one, very few things will ever truly make sense about it. In a way, this game captures the mood and emotions of death perfectly. Dear Esther is a work of art, it is meant to evoke thought and emotion. If you like to read books without pictures, or watch movies with lots of talking, then get this game!
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Showing 1-15 of 26 comments
Mally May 29, 2013 @ 3:35pm 
I'd like to point out, though it may be coincidental, that most of the people hating on Dear Esther have poor grammar.
Vee May 29, 2013 @ 5:01pm 
I completely agree with you DamienPales. This game is definitely in my top ten favorites. I love almost everything about the game, Music, Story, Graphics, Detail, ETC. i also like how they put in ghosts. those spooked me out more then once while playing.
kony May 30, 2013 @ 2:23am 
The game has amazing audio and video, interesting story, but seriously, it's ♥♥♥♥ing one hour long and they asked too step price for it. I don't complain myself, since I got it in a bundle, but if I bought it on steam for 10 or 7 dollars, I would be greatly disappointed. With that price the game should be about 4-5 hours long.

Apart from the price, the game was quite enjoyable for that one hour.
Naoya May 30, 2013 @ 5:00am 
I have to disagree. I love reading books, I love interactive stories. I play Visual Novels a lot, and I loved Journey on the PS3.

But I absolutely hated this game. The island, while beautiful, was mostly empty, lifeless, and boring to explore. There are a few secrets, yes, but the ghosts didn't add much to the experience. The narrator was unreliable, in a very annoying way, and often didn't even make sense.

The story in general really wasn't interesting. And no, I am not some blind, close minded person who just didn't understand the story. I understood the story, I didn't like it, it wasn't interesting. Mind you, I was also getting into this game fully expecting an immersive, interactive story. What I got was neither interactive nor immersive. All I did was hold W and hear some guy ramble on about his dead wife mixed with nonsensical drivel.

I wish fans of this game would stop assuming everyone who didn't like this game was expecting some adrenaline-pumping action game or "didn't get the story".
ALT+F4 May 30, 2013 @ 5:31am 
Of course the narrator didn't make sense. He wasn't supposed to make sense. That was kind of the whole point. His wife died, and he may have been partly responsible for it himself. That would drive anyone crazy.

And yes, the island is empty, lifeless. It represents death, mourning, loss. It's grieving just like the protagonist. To be honest, the ghosts were my least favorite parts of the game. They're fairly non-intrusive, but I feel like the island should've been completely uninhabited except for the protagonist.

Saying that the plot of this game is to "hear some guy ramble on about his dead wife mixed with nonsensical drivel" proves to me that you truly "didn't get the story." It's like saying Hamlet is about some guy taking forever to decide whether he should kill his uncle or not. I mean, on the surface, yes, that's what it's about. But come on. And yes, I just compared Dear Esther to Shakespeare. It's the closest a videogame has got to that, in my opinion.
Naoya May 30, 2013 @ 6:30am 
Was never a fan of Shakespeare. And yes, I understood all that. That doesn't mean it's good, though. I know what the lifeless, empty island is supposed to represent. But it wasn't fun or interesting to get through it regardless. I know why the narrator doesn't make sense, but that doesn't make his nonsensical rambling any more interesting.

As I said, you really need to stop assuming I "don't get" the story. I got it. But I didn't like it.

EDIT: Also, don't forget the main complaint I have. Lack of interactivity. Holding W is hardly "interacting".
Last edited by Naoya; May 30, 2013 @ 6:51am
nicoper May 30, 2013 @ 12:00pm 
I got the game in the Humble Inide Bundle 8, I havent played it yet but the trailer looked absolutely amazing!
ALT+F4 May 30, 2013 @ 3:22pm 
Well, if you want a game with more interaction, then yes, Dear Esther is not for you. I had no problem with just walking around. Like I said, I knew from the moment I first downloaded the game that it was less a traditional "game" and more like a short story that you can virtually inhabit. That's the experience the creator was striving for, and I feel like he succeeded in that. There's a whole genre of games like these called "art games" which are all fairly similar, even though I hate that label, because I think all games are artistic to some degree. Sounds like you should just stay away from "art games" in general.

I just really don't see how any of the things you dislike about Dear Esther is the fault of the game. All the things you've disliked about it (except the supposedly boring story, which I strongly disagree) seem to be rather important to the overall experience. It's like me complaining about Resident Evil saying "I don't like this game, it's too scary and dark. There's too much creatures and not enough ammo to kill them all." even though all the things I'm complaining about are pretty much hallmarks of the survival horror genre.
Naoya May 30, 2013 @ 4:31pm 
I am NOT staying far away from "art games", as I like them. I've played many of them and liked them. The majority of them are really great at what they do. Case in point, Journey. Journey was a so called "art game", and was simply amazing at what it did. Not only was it touching and had a great story, but the game itself was very fun, rewarding, and did a great job of making you feel a connection with your character and telling you a great story without uttering a single word.

Dear Esther delivered a story, alright, but it did so by forcing me to walk a straight line and shoving said story down my throat as I walked. I didn't discover anything, I didn't experience anything, and I certainly didn't achieve anything. I was expecting the game to take me on an immersive, touching adventure, but it didn't. I didn't feel any connection to this character. I didn't feel anything. And not only was the story mediocre, but all I could do was listen to it, not discover or live it myself.

Honestly, this "game" would've worked better as a book, or maybe an audio book. Maybe a Visual Novel. But as it was, it failed to convey anything or make the player experience anything. "Art games" are great because they can get rid of the conventional methods of story telling, instead making you go through a great experience. But this game did the opposite. It just tried to tell a story and nothing else, which is why it failed. That's not what games are about.
ALT+F4 May 30, 2013 @ 4:50pm 
I've played Journey and enjoyed it as well, but I don't think it's particularly helpful to compare Dear Esther to Journey, since the two are fairly different games in what they set out to achieve. In many ways, they are exact opposites. Journey prefers exploration/discovery over exposition, while Dear Esther is the inverse.

I still feel that you're missing out somewhat on what Dear Esther was trying to deliver. I understand that not everybody will enjoy it, but I feel like everyone is simplfying it down to something it's not. Imagine instead of reading Harry Potter, someone makes a game where you walk around all the locations in the book while a narrator is reading the novel. You don't do anything else, just check out Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic and the Forbidden Forest, all while the book is being read aloud. You could say that, yeah, you're just wandering aimlessly around while a story is being shoved down your throat, but I for one would be super interested in playing this. It would be a different way of having a story told to me than what I'm used to. And that's closer to what Dear Esther was trying to achieve. According to interviews, the guy who made this did it as a thesis, and Dear Esther actually was originally a story, albeit an unpublished one. If you play the original Dear Esther that came out as a free download with Source (or maybe you have), it's painfully obvious that it was just designed by a single guy to hand in for a class. Then the guy who designed levels for Mirror's Edge played it, and decided to update the graphics and put it on Steam, with all the money going towards financing research for storytelling through games. So yeah, there was never any lofty ambitions or big egos surrounding this game.

And frankly, I think everything would work better as a book, because I'm one of those people who think that books are the greatest form of storytelling that exists. However, I appreciate the dimension that video gaming and virtual worlds can offer. I look forward to future games like this, of which hopefully Dear Esther is just the beginning of. With the Oculus Rift on the horizon, hopefully an entire genre of "interactive stories" is dawning.
Naoya May 30, 2013 @ 5:30pm 
All I hope if that they'll improve and put more to do if they do make more like this. Things to interract with, people to interract with, puzzles maybe, etc. I won't play another game if it's just like Dear Esther. And maybe I AM simplifying it, but that's because it's how it felt to me as I played. While I like the idea of telling a story through games, I want it to be done in a more... Game-like fashion, if you will. I can't be immersed into a game if I'm not actively doing something in it, regardless of what it is I'm doing. Even it's just solving puzzles.

Dear Esther was just too... Empty for me to get into it. Just walking around was a painful reminder that I was just holding one button.
Lord Tirion May 30, 2013 @ 7:56pm 
Well, I will give my two cents about Dear Esther, please consider I just beat the game, and probably I missed something... also, if someone doesn’t want to read some amount of spoilers please skip this, I’m not planning to write them but I promise nothing

You can say is an experience, I can't deny that. It is a good or bad experience? that is personal opinion. (but if you're interested in mine, I didn't enjoyed... it felt dull for me).

You can talk good things about the plot (I don’t, but probably I didn’t get it, maybe I need to play it again, but I won’t, because I didn't enjoyed it), the atmosphere (it felt depressing but I suppose that was the idea), the visuals (the first two areas felt dull to me, but I liked the rest).

You can call it art (I agree here since I believe art is supposed to express ideas, opinions and/or emotions, with some effort in the artist work) but again, that’s personal opinion.

But honestly the only thing I can’t accept is to call this a game, I’m not saying this because is bad, it is not, but because it doesn’t fit the main condition to be a game, interactivity and control from the viewer. That it is the thing that differentiates games from the other art forms (if you believe games can be art as I do) or entertainment methods (if you don’t).

In this “game” you barely have control of anything, you can only walk (and I think zoom a little camera), you only have control of nothing more than the pacing of the story, which is little if you don’t count what is told to us by a character (which honestly I can’t remember his name) who talks about himself and maybe two to four other persons (I’m think he refers them in different ways depending of what he’s talking about), but nothing really happens aside of the main character walking from one part of the island to the other and what he does in the end of the game...

This story and the way it was presented would have worked better in a written story, in a visual media it doesn’t, I mean, we really are just watching a guy walking through an island talking to himself, and it works even less in a videogame when one expect some influence from the player.
C21 H23 NO5 May 31, 2013 @ 5:15pm 
uhh he bet the game...great....but for real ...its ages of mystery and the foreseeing of bale and then no zombie jump off the corner and destroy my fancy little journey...<.< i waited the whole "game" for this time do your job properly u darn programmers u......I WANT TO DIE BY SEMI-UNDEAD MADMEN ..........ty
Bedbugs Jun 18, 2013 @ 4:35pm 
This game is NOT interactive in nearly any ways. You look around at the imagery, and you hold W to progress, occassionally sidestepping a rock or fencepost with A & D keys.

There are not Zombies, Shoot-outs, knife-fights or explosions. An empty island could not be expected to have those.

Your character (if analyzed correctly) can give you the feeling you're being watched, and even raise the hair on your neck without the skinless-goons horror gaming is becoming known for having tonnes of.

I would have KILLED for this game to be more interactive, (Maybe with features like slipping, stumbling, falling or hero-tests where you need to 'shake it loose' or 'Stand up quickly') but even as it's not, it's still gorgeous to look at, and still a great game overall.


It kept us on the egde of my seat (Quite literally) through the entire 1st playthrough, and apparently changes per playthrough. So now I'mma go play it again!
Zicado Jun 18, 2013 @ 8:04pm 
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Dear Esther > General Discussions > Topic Details
Date Posted: May 29, 2013 @ 2:42pm
Posts: 26