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IGN Reviews – Dear Esther – Game Review

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Dear Esther might not be your traditional game. In fact, you might not even consider Dear Esther a game. Without any actual gameplay, your goal for this game is to journey through the island and enjoy the beautiful yet haunting scenery it has to offer. Check out the review for more!

Release Date: February 14, 2012
Exclusively on: PC
Genre: Experimental
Developer: thechineseroom

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  1. Many women play the voice acting role of young male characters in cartoons, it's quite fitting.

  2. Gogoplex74 is right, there's no gameplay mechanics in this "game" ; it's a hiking simulator. If anything, Amnesiac: Machine for Pigs has demonstrated that the dev, the chinese room, has no freaking clue on what constitutes "game design", doesn't help when the dev makes comments like “ [gameplay] Mechanics will probably never be our core focus”.

    The dev is receiving a massive backlash from the community, I guess people have learned their lesson; never overhype games from "the chinese room".

  3. It was indeed dull but of cuz you have the usual folks who believe that this title is some evolved game-form, providing a deep and meaningful spiritual experience. What I am seeing is a shallow title that attempts to mask its' shortcomings with fanciful wordings; I have read news articles with more drama than this pretentious little "game" and its' so-called "sophisticated literature".

  4. a "game" for non-gamers I suppose, like myself…
    I often find myself watching youtube videos of other people playing games I like, rather than me playing them.
    An entertainment genre just for my kind.

  5. This game is absolute stunning.
    I can not enough recommend rhis game
    Don't get fooled by the cod kiddy comments the are to young to understand. The Music, the art everything in the game is unique.

  6. Not sure, but even thoug it is "unique" it is nothing like The Journey, it does not let you join the game.
    To be honest, why not go and watch a movie? This game try to be a movie, nothing else, and by doing so, YOU have to see it as one, even that, or you pretty much didnt criticize the game..
    But it is nothing compared to the great movies, we can both agree on that?
    so in conlusion: A game, who doesnt let you do sht and tries to be a..ok movie….From there you can decide how "fun" that is.

  7. Heard a lot of great things about this game, went into it blind today and… was severely disappointed. Some of the comments are saying that the dialogue changes between playthroughs so I'm going to give it a second run-through before I place any labels on it.

  8. Looks interesting. This game looks like it could offer a nice change of pace from the games I usually play. I'll have to look into this.

  9. Dear Esther is amazing piece of art. Music, story, visuals, everything was masterfully done. I think there should be more projects like this. Narrations do change a little on playthrough but not as much as people expect, it is still same thing. I went through it 4 times in total, 3 times on monitor once on Oculus rift and I loved it. Oculus adaptation is not perfect but acceptable.

  10. WAIT A SECOND! why if judged as a video game does it fail? can a game not be used as a medium for storytelling? does it always have to have some kind of action? i beg to differ and say masterpieces like this and Gone Home are what makes games great, especially via storytelling. This IS a game no matter what anybody says. its just made in a different way.

  11. This game was a nice change. just wandering on and island while a story is been told with some beautiful graphic's make's a better game than expected.
    it really changes the way we see games to the better

  12. The precursor of Gone Home. It's a nice break from your traditional video game. 

  13. what do you want with an a amazing art work when that art is boring ? art work takes more then 1 thing

  14. Ahh I remember this, a very interesting experience this is. Those who were expecting more are clearly not understanding the point of this game. For the sake of simplicity I will call it a game even though it is much more then that. Very similar to "Journey" in several ways, you play as an unidentified character traveling to a specific point you can see far in the distance and as you travel further the story pieces itself together. Not to mention that both games visually look stunning not to mention that they both have moving memorable soundtracks. You don't really play games like this, you experience them. Bottom line, if you have an open mind and a keen artistic sense, you will learn to appreciate this

  15. @2:05 in 720p fullscreen..do you guys see the ghost walking on the path on that left hill??

  16. This is a stupid hipster "false game"… only a story dont make a game.
    Portal 2 have a great story, but a great gameplay too.
    The Walking Dead Game have a great story, the gameplay is not very good… but at least, you can PLAY the game, not like this…

  17. Wait she said no ghost but when i play it i spot ghost figure three times before i get close, the first one was all the way on top of the light tower, it took a peak of you and disappear 

  18. I've played this game. It's pretty cool

  19. I'm really disappointed that discussion around this game is rendered moot because those who disliked it are simply being told they didn't "get it" or are "closed minded."

    The narrative in this game is needlessly and overly metaphorical, to the point where it sounds like rambling at some points (And don't tell me that was the point, you can convey that someone is on painkillers without a flowery, cryptically-written narration). The writing takes the liberty of assuming you are invested in "Esther" or "Donnelly," and doesn't bother to provide any meaningful context to their relation with the narrator. If the visuals compensated for the slow pace there would be no issue, but this game is linear, and the sights are relatively bland when compared to other exploration games.

    This was a game that could've been really good, it has a solid world and a powerful ending. However, the developer clearly preferred meaningless imagery (The bible passages on the walls and Fibonacci spiral that allude to nothing relevant) to make the game seem deep, rather than have the game actually have depth.

  20. any game is better than call of duty but this cant really be called a game 

  21. There are lots of people who say "this is boring, walking simulator, not a game". And I think it's quite sad. It means that most of the gamers have assumed a videogame must have some sort of shootings, puzzles or whatever… And I think that's not true.

    They have forgotten that videgames can be a form of art, like theatre plays or films when they were invented. And as artwork (great artwork), it does not need to accomplish anything but the purpouse the creators thought it was intended for. And I think that it does, it's the perfect mixture of ambience, music and script. The ending left me thoughtful and melancholic.

    I will end this comment thanking The Chinese Room for bringing us this masterpiece, making something like this without having their minds changed by a bunch of people who want just more of the same. Thank you.

  22. I most certainly agree this is not a game. More of a marketing ploy "look we can do great visuals and tell a story why won't you hire us" … but what a great visuals and story they tell. Still in my book to be game you actually have to do something (other than pressing WASD and moving mouse) thus Dear Esther is closer to a movie where you have to manually press the play button. Meanwhile I'll stick to Penumbra and Amnesia and hopefully SOMA in near future!

  23. this game is weird,if you can call it that ofc:)

  24. Hey! Even pretentious people need 'games' too.

  25. is this game made in Source? I seen a briefcase from HL2…

  26. I loved this title… but I would define it as an 'experience' rather than a game. But people are free to disagree on that as the definition for what is a game is pretty fluid.

    I just wish people would stop bitching that it is pretentious. It really isn't, people can be pretentious about all visual art platforms and get in peoples grill if they don't agree that its good. But no one is pretentious for simply liking it. Different things appeal to different people.

    I don't understand why so many people who like the game are intent on making others like it in the same way I don't understand why people who dislike it are intent on trying to convince people its trash. Just appreciate everyones views, and the fact everyone will have a different take and opinion… no need to rage at someone.

  27. If you look around good enough you can see ghost things watching you.

  28. i just bought this. i love this scenery. with the ghosts warching u its really creepy its eerie

  29. I honestly think it would've been better if the game's narration was edited together as a radio show or written in a book. In game form, it's kinda boring.

  30. This game would have made a fortune if released as an arcade cabinet,never mind House of the dead. I think the experience would be best enjoyed in an airport or bowling place.

  31. Adrian Chmierlarz, the guy who made Bulletstorm, , was turned upside down by Dear Esther, going on to make freakin' The Vanishing Ethan Carter – what an U-turn. He mentioned it as "the Citizen Kane of gaming", in a rather cynical way. Look it up, it's really worth it.

  32. After watching Dear Esther, I've realised how social human beings are. Throughout this game, I wondered why this island was abandoned. But, the eerieness of the empty buildings and collapsing ship wrecks cracked down on me; the isolation from other human beings crushed me inside, but the voice of the narrator unclenched my heart. This feeling of someone saying something; talking, storytelling calmed me, because I knew there was someone else. Isolation is terrible; you could see that throughout the game. The writing of the chemical formulas and electronic components on the cliffs and caves signify how the inhabitant tried to remember what he knew, keep himself sane. But then the drawings repeated themselves, and in the last building you could see how the chemical formula now had variable resistors and conductors and other chemical formuli incorporated into it. The knowledge that meant to keep the inhabitant sane has taken over his trust and logical thinking. He put his trust into this knowledge that it will help him remember who he was, what he did. But unfortunately, it failed; the isolation has taken over. It's sad, really.

  33. quite interesting, regardless of the engine I think that this game looks stunning, the music is beautiful , the narration is well done, too bad I don't understand metaphors and riddles on a level that others must. Overall an okay game.

  34. This game-interaction was more like a moody visual novel.

  35. Dear Esther was my personal exploration of a world beautiful yet exciting. A world in which you, as the player, experience most of the story in your own imagination. I remember every astonishing view on the coast, every memoreble cave at the end of the game. It is less a game than an experiment aimed at your very own imagination. I highly recommend playing this to everyone who calls himself a gamer.

  36. such an intrestinng game/film and it only cost £6 hehe bargain oo v y

  37. This game was very well made. But it was kinda depressing… A game should be more positive, perhaps.. This was like abstract… It's fiction. But yeah. I did not know the story before i bought and played it. I will read up next time!

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