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User Reviews

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Windows 36 3.6
Combined User Score 36 3.6

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
WindowsGaming Nexus (Mar 09, 2012)
Dear Esther is an auditory and visual experience that interweaves a consuming narrative and array of emotions. The game's actual value must not be solely based upon its gameplay length, but rather on the random elements and new secrets discovered through multiple playthroughs. Those that brave the journey into the narrative and world of Dear Esther will discover an experience that few games have been available to accomplish in years. Highly recommended.
WindowsGameZebo (Feb 17, 2012)
I can’t stress enough how you’re not a traditional game and I don’t need you to be that. People will fall in love with you, sing your praises and search for other people to discuss your “meaning”. In my opinion, there aren’t enough experiences out there like you. Most of the time we don’t see games that try to pull off what you do with such a stunning coat of polish on the entire experience. Hopefully, Dear Esther, you’ll help change all that.
WindowsGameOver (Greece) (Feb 13, 2012)
Ενώ δεν θα μπορούσε να είναι πιο εύκολο, το Dear Esther είναι, ταυτόχρονα, απελπιστικά δύσκολο. Δύσκολο, από την άποψη ότι αναγκάζει τον παίκτη να βρει την ουσία και το παιχνίδι, χωρίς να προτίθεται να του τα προσφέρει στο πιάτο. Για τους περισσότερους, θα είναι απλώς μία με μιάμιση ώρα (η συνολική του διάρκεια) στην οποία θα πιέζουν κυρίως το «W» στο πληκτρολόγιο ή το «μπροστά» στο χειριστήριό τους – ένα παιχνίδι στο οποίο «δεν κάνεις τίποτα». Είναι το ίδιο επιχείρημα με το ότι «δεν συμβαίνει τίποτα» στις ταινίες του Θεόδωρου Αγγελόπουλου, του Terrence Malick ή του Andrey Tarkovskiy (δεν είναι τυχαίο ότι από τη δουλειά του τελευταίου εμπνεύστηκε ο Briscoe για να δώσει μορφή στο όραμα του Pinchbeck). Για όσους, όμως, δοθούν στον κόσμο του και παίξουν το παιχνίδι τόσο στον υπολογιστή τους όσο και στο μυαλό τους, στο Dear Esther βρίσκεται ένα νέο είδος videogame, του οποίου τη γλώσσα μόλις αρχίζουμε να συλλαβίζουμε.
WindowsGamegravy (May 21, 2015)
For someone who loves a good story, I would definitely recommend this game. If you are looking for a super interactive game, this is not for you. Also, try to grab Dear Esther while it is on sale. A large amount of people have been upset at the $9.99 price tag for a two hour game that they may or may not have liked. If you compare it to a movie ticket though… Go for it. You don’t want to miss out on this beautiful narrative.
90 (Feb 20, 2012)
Come avrete capito non è facile giudicare Dear Esther. Tutto dipende da come lo si approccia e da cosa si cerca avviandolo. Anche se molto facile, non è un gioco per tutti perché richiede una buona apertura mentale per essere compreso e apprezzato. Sicuramente è un'esperienza unica e per certi versi sconvolgente. Dalla sua parte ha il fatto di non essersi mai offerto per quello che non è, anche se molti hanno deciso comunque di criticarlo per la mancanza di meccaniche di gioco forti. Sicuramente è un titolo controverso, ma ha molto da offrire a chiunque desideri un'esperienza videoludica originale e capace di comunicare di più di quanto normalmente non facciano i videogiochi tradizionali. Se non gradite l'impostazione scelta dall'autore, pensate sempre che nessuno vi impedirà di giocare ad altro e che, in fondo, un medium fluido come quello videoludico ammette esperienze di gioco anche molto diverse tra loro. Non è questa la sua vera forza?
90 (Feb 16, 2012)
Dear Esther non è un titolo per tutti. Forse proprio perchè, come le migliori opere letterarie e cinematografiche, lascia a chi ne usufruisce la libera interpretazione dei contenuti che offre, trasportandoci lungo un'eterea linea temporale, spezzettata in mille pensieri che faticheremo a mettere insieme. Gli elementi casuali appaiono piccoli e insignificanti, ma sono cruciali per comprendere quanto vogliono comunicarci i thechineseroom. Sarebbe stato forse più opportuno aggiungere alcuni scenari, aumentare la ridicola longevità con altri contenuti che forse però avrebbero snaturato l'opera così come è stata concepita. Non lo sappiamo con certezza. Quel che ci sentiamo di dire è che per soli 7 euro -il prezzo di un buon film- vi porterete a casa una delle opere più raffinate nella storia del videogioco, mentre penserete alle molteplici citazioni letterarie, religiose e di cronaca contemporanea che definiscono la vita di un uomo.
90 (Feb 14, 2012)
Dear Esther verheft een eenvoudige wandeltocht tot een emotionele reis die zich niet laat vangen in heersende gametradities. Het resultaat is kort maar prachtig.
90 (Feb 15, 2012)
Rätselhaft, stimmungsvoll, poetisch - Dear Esther ist so magisch wie eine Kurzgeschichte von Ray Bradbury. Ich kann mich nicht erinnern, dass mich ein Spiel der letzten Jahre schon nach wenigen Minuten so neugierig gemacht hat. Dear Esther ist wie Urlaub: Wer auf die ewig gleiche Action, das ewig gleiche Geballer und Gelevel keine Lust hat, der findet hier nicht weniger als eine digitale Novelle, die ein Fenster in die Spielezukunft öffnet. Kaum Interaktion? Oh doch, hier passiert mehr zwischen virtueller Welt und Großhirn als in den meisten aktuellen Titeln, die nichts weiter als schnell durchschautes Fastfood für digitale Wiederkäuer sind. Vor allem, wenn man mit dem Spielen auch die Sehnsucht nach reiferen Geschichten und denkwürdigeren Erlebnissen verbindet. Hier wird ohne Inventar, Waffen und Geklicke ein dramaturgisches Potenzial spürbar, das viel zu selten von diesem Medium genutzt wird. Hoffentlich wird es davon mehr geben.
WindowsBit-Tech (Feb 14, 2012)
While it's easy to complain about missed opportunities and possible expansions, it's much harder to complain about what is there. Dear Esther definitely isn't a product which everyone will appreciate - the walking-talking pace tends to polarise audiences quickly - but those who are tempted to try it out would be much advised to do so. You won't be disappointed.
90 (Feb 13, 2012)
The beauty of Dear Esther is that it raises questions about content rather than mechanics. It strips out anything that can get between you and what it wants to say, and every problem relates to how the game presents its story, and how effective that story is. We don't have to worry about production values, or whether the whole thing will fall apart in a buggy mess. It's what The Chinese Room wants to show you, and how you take what is shown. No barriers of entry. No obstacles. No guff. Whether you like what Dear Esther has to say, though, is entirely up to you.
WindowsSplitkick (Feb 24, 2011)
Is Dear Esther a work of art? Is it even a game? I don’t really care. What I do care about is the fact that I have enjoyed an extremely well told interactive story, one that is impeccably presented and one which captures the essence of a real-world place like I have never seen any other game manage.
WindowsGame Watcher (Feb, 2012)
Frankly, for my money, I couldn’t care less. There was more emotional resonance captured in that lonely wander through hills and caves than the majority of releases I’ve played in this or any other year, and it was pitched to a nigh-on perfect length to never outstay its welcome. Do we need shooting, puzzles or interaction to classify something as a videogame? Maybe, but whatever Dear Esther is, don’t get bogged down by the semantics. You’ll be missing out on one of the most haunting and well-executed titles of this or any other generation if you do.
WindowsPC Gamer (Feb 13, 2012)
Dear Esther provokes thought and feeling in a way few other games do. Stripped down to its constituent parts, there’s very little game here at all. But at the same time, it’s a story that only games give us the freedom to hear.
WindowsGameplay (Benelux) (Mar 31, 2012)
Dear Esther is kort en niet voor iedereen. Maar dit gegeven lijkt zo'n essentieel deel te zijn van de aanpak dat we het onmogelijk als negatieve punten kunnen beschouwen.
WindowsThe Telegraph (Mar 05, 2012)
The odd minor hiccup won't spoil your time with Dear Esther. But it's certainly not a title for those who prefer more traditional video games. Instead it's more an interactive exhibit, rewarding you for attentive observation and approaching its unique make-up with an open mind. Do so and you will find a haunting, thought-provoking piece of work.
WindowsNew Game Network (Mar 02, 2012)
Most players probably won’t ‘get’ Dear Esther. If you’re looking for quick entertainment to soak up your time, or like playing games mostly for their clearly-defined challenges and explicit score systems, then you should look elsewhere. Having said that, this title is an important step in experimental gaming, and anybody involved in the creation of virtual worlds should not only play it, but study it. Dear Esther would be worth recommending strictly as an object lesson in what it means to have good writing and environment design in a game (the former of which is especially lacking in the today’s game market). But it’s also more than that; it’s a successful experience which is built to take advantage of its medium, and which joins the best of the genre in raising gaming from mere button-mashing entertainment to legitimate, inspirational art.
80 (Feb 20, 2012)
Samengevat is Dear Esther een unieke ervaring waar iedereen met ook maar een grijntje interesse in alternatieve games vrijwel zeker iets moois uit zal kunnen puren voor zichzelf. Staar je daarom zeker niet blind op het cijfer hieronder, want net als kunst is het spelen van Dear Esther een persoonlijke aangelegenheid die niet in een getal samengevat kan worden. Zegt het inruilen van traditionele gameplay voor een minimalistisch klank- en beeldspel je wel wat, dan zal je je het niet beklagen hiervoor in de buidel getast te hebben. Ik kan alleen maar hopen dat de unieke aanpak van Dear Esther gevolgd en verder verfijnd zal worden door anderen, want het zou zonde zijn mocht dit stukje van het gamespectrum onontgonnen blijven.
80 (Feb 23, 2012)
Sebbene quindi qui il risultato sia solo poco più che abbozzato, ci sentiamo in dovere di premiare gli sforzi fatti per alzare l'asticella, grazie ad un coinvolgimento emozionale che troppo spesso in passato è risultato troppo artefatto per essere considerato.
80 (UK) (Feb 14, 2012)
Is it a game? I can't say I know the answer, but I do know that unless you're an IGF judge or a prissy dogmatist who sets out to pedantically define the boundaries of an extremely fluid medium, then you shouldn't really care. All that matters is that Dear Esther is worth your time - and that its two-hour long chill will remain in your bones for a long while after.
WindowsThe Escapist (Feb 25, 2012)
When it all comes down to it, Dear Esther is a game that puts story over gameplay, and in many ways successfully creates a unique experience. That being said, Dear Esther isn't for everyone. If you're the type of gamer who feels most comfortable with a laser assault rifle at your side, then you might not enjoy what makes Dear Esther unique. If you're the type who believes that games can be art or tell an interesting story, then Dear Esther may be more your style.
WindowsMeristation (Feb 24, 2012)
Al igual que la abuela de The Graveyard que simplemente pasea por un cementerio, o las niñas de The Path, Querida Ester busca adentrarse en un componente de videojuego realmente poco explotado en su vertiente más profunda: el de los sentimientos. No se trata de llegar antes o de matar más monstruos, ni de que nos asustemos al entrar en esa habitación, se trata tan solo de ser partícipes de lo que vemos, oímos y experimentamos. De que, días después de haberlo terminado, aún recordemos un momento, o sigamos pensando en la historia, en los personajes o en ese dibujo de la pared o la arena. Esa es la recompensa de Dear Esther, una experiencia sin igual. Breve, corta, guiada y apenas jugable, sí, pero intensa y sentimental como pocas. Aunque para ello hay que sumergirse totalmente en ella. Solamente así podremos oir a Ester, y volar libres por el juego sin las taras de exigirle a este que sea como el resto.
Windows3D Juegos (Feb 17, 2012)
Es difícil definirlo como un buen videojuego y sin embargo Dear Esther consigue que quieras jugarlo más y más. Una nueva muestra de que a veces, cuando se arriesga, se pueden crear experiencias de ocio genuinamente únicas y muy especiales. En definitiva, estamos ante un magnífico relato audiovisual que no deberíais perderos.
WindowsDigital Spy (Feb 15, 2012)
Dear Esther offers many strengths; a non-conventional premise - at least compared to traditional games - a genuinely interesting tale, and a lavishly crafted world to tell it in. It's overall linearity is disappointing, especially in such a captivating place, but it otherwise delivers a refreshing experience that will stay with you long after it's over.
WindowsAtomic Gamer (Feb 18, 2012)
If you're into the idea of experimental "games" pushing the boundaries of the medium, you might like Dear Esther, but if you're looking for a detailed story of Event A causing Event B which then naturally led to Event C, then this is not for you. Likewise, if you need even the simplest of game mechanics (like puzzles or mazes) to be able to enjoy something like this (despite Steam calling Dear Esther an "Adventure Game", which I don't agree with), then again I have to suggest you stay away. But if you don't mind a bit of mystery or a few gaps in a very ethereal story - where the hazy memories of the epilogue are more important than a picture-perfect history of the full journey - then Dear Esther is right up your alley.
WindowsHonestGamers (Feb 14, 2012)
In many ways, a review is nothing more than a judgment of whether or not a game achieves its goals. By that measure, I think Dear Esther succeeds. It frames a gripping story in new and unusual ways, and in a more meta sense it provides a brief, early glimpse at some of the things that might be possible for the medium of videogames, beyond mere games. It's not for everyone - something this determinedly niche is hardly for anyone - and as a game, it offers almost nothing. But as a vicarious fever dream that inspires thought and stirs emotion, it's a unique and wonderful thing.
WindowsGame Informer Magazine (Feb 13, 2012)
Dear Esther isn’t suited for every gamer. In fact, suggesting the game to someone based off other titles they’ve enjoyed would be a mistake. Rather, the game is recommended for anyone who likes taking a close look at a piece of art that goes against the grain of the medium. You should consider checking out Dear Esther the same way you’d appraise a film. If you’re interested in absorbing an intellectual story and gorgeous visuals without having to exert a drop of effort, take a chance on this curious experiment.
80 (Feb 23, 2012)
On essaye bien de trouver un puzzle ou une énigme au début, par habitude, mais on finit par avancer doucement sur le chemin tout tracé qui nous fera traverser quatre chapitres sur une île assez sinistre. Dear Esther utilise le Source Engine et on peut tiquer sur certaines textures, mais impossible de ne pas être envoûté par le travail sur les couleurs, les lumières, les effets d'eau ou de vent, ainsi que par les musiques, et l'ambiance générale. On se pose des tas de questions sur l'histoire d'Esther, de Paul, du Narrateur... Des réponses ? Peut-être. À vous de vous faire votre propre idée. Dear Esther coûte 8 euros environ sur Steam et dure 1h30. Une expérience à vivre si vous prenez plaisir à être empreint de mélancolie.
WindowsEdge (Feb 13, 2012)
So, what is Dear Esther? It might not be game enough for some, and while labelling it as interactive fiction would bring the debate to a happy close, text adventures seem to have claimed a monopoly on the term. There’s also the unsatisfactory ‘experimental mod’ category, which would place it alongside Robert Yang’s Radiator, and The Stanley Parable. Yet some commentators might argue that Dear Esther belongs in this pigeonhole, that its reduction of the firstperson shooter to a walking tour makes for a mechanical dumbing down of a richer and more mind-taxing medium. But one thing’s for sure: thanks to this astonishing overhaul, it’s now quite impossible to ignore.
WindowsGameSpot (Feb 13, 2012)
Dear Esther's somber tale is a fine companion to a stormy evening and a hot beverage. In the right setting, with the right mindset, it can be engrossing in a way that few games can. Going in, you may question if Dear Esther should even be classified as a game. But that question slowly fades the more hours you sink into this adventure. Instead, you question the existence of your character and the fate of the island, showing that semantic inquiries aren't nearly as interesting as a well-told tale.
WindowsGameSpy (Feb 16, 2012)
It's easy to become cynical when half of the market's playing follow-the-leader behind Call of Duty and its ilk. Dear Esther, however, presents something truly different. It's an experiment to be sure -- and one that's not entirely successful -- but it hits far more often than it misses. It's a strong start to a new breed of adventure that asks players to think instead of clicking on items until something arbitrarily happens.
WindowsIGN (Feb 13, 2012)
Dear Esther is that rarest of things: a truly interesting game. It left me feeling pensive, mildly saddened, and confident that games have plenty of directions left to explore. If you’re interested in what can be achieved when you abandon the conventions of games and explore the fringes of the form instead, it’s a must-play.
WindowsActionTrip (Feb 29, 2012)
In spite of a lukewarm reception from critics, Dear Esther was a financial success (In your face Bobby Kotick! - Ed. Vader) and that should be proof enough that gamers are interested in exploring non-threatening virtual worlds as well. Worlds where they can experience mature stories and feel a broader range of emotions than what they feel in typical 'kill or be killed' games. The simple truth is that Dear Esther is only a moderately successful experiment, which might leave the player disappointed. Still, we all know how important experimenting is to all forms of art. Games are that way too. However, play this just for yourself and try to see where things might go from here. The possibilities are endless and almost completely unexplored.
WindowsAbsolute Games ( (Mar 01, 2012)
Dear Esther бороздит те же водные просторы, что и прошлогодняя Trauma, только у этой лодки дно без дырок. Двухчасовой мультимедийный эксперимент не успевает надоесть, однако понять все с одного захода нереально, а по возвращении первоначальный восторг спадает. В поисках крупиц смысла надо вновь и вновь ковылять по исхоженным тропам, заучивая местность и слова рассказчика наизусть. Плохо, что thechineseroom отказалась от любых намеков на непосредственно геймплей, на взаимодействие зрителя и создателя, лежащее в основе взрослеющего вида искусства под названием «компьютерные игры». С другой стороны, трогательная, прочувствованная история берёт за душу. Dear Esther зацепит не каждого, но попробовать стоит.
WindowsGameTrailers (Feb 24, 2012)
Dear Esther is an absorbing experience while it lasts, but it's short-lived and lacks any truly direct, interactive moments. However, its approach to story is thought-provoking and open to interpretation, traits that are generally lacking in the medium as a whole. Dear Esther may only be a first step toward something greater, but it's an interesting study for those intrigued by the prospect of game design as an artistic work rather than commercial entertainment.
WindowsMana Pool (Aug 08, 2012)
Whatever frustration the gameplay might cause to the average gamer, Dear Esther makes it all worthwhile in its moving, gorgeous final act. As I ascended the final hill of the game, I found myself weaving all of the different speeches given by various narrators into a cohesive narrative. This gave me a deep sense of satisfaction that made all of the confusion and frustration worth it. Even on my second play through I found more subtleties and nuance in both the story and world of Dear Esther. If you’re in the market for a game with a thought provoking narrative that doesn’t hand-hold you through it’s story, and, this is especially important, you have the patience to take a slow stroll through lonely shores, Dear Esther is definitely worth checking out.
70 (May 16, 2012)
Dear Esther est un mauvais jeu vidéo. En fait, Dear Esther n'est même pas un jeu vidéo. Le noter en tant que tel n'aurait donc aucun sens : son absence totale de mécanismes ludiques le condamnerait au zéro absolu. Il faudrait le juger pour son histoire, mais c'est un critère éminemment subjectif. Au final, il reste l'ambiance visuelle et sonore, dont la réussite est incontestable. Dommage que cette courte nouvelle soit facturée au prix d'un roman.
70 (Feb 20, 2012)
Dear Esther is certainly worth looking into, especially for those curious about its more experimental concepts. No doubt it succeeds in delivering a powerful narrative through its intricate visual and sound design, but as it stands, Dear Esther isn't really a game – probably deliberately so – and sadly that's something that will turn many people away, especially for a price tag of $9.99. Would it have been a narrative better told through a different medium? Probably. Regardless, there is a perplexing story here to be told and if you let it, it'll be an experience you won't easily forget.
70 (Feb 22, 2012)
Dear Esther est un mauvais jeu vidéo. En fait, Dear Esther n'est même pas un jeu vidéo. Le noter en tant que tel n'aurait donc aucun sens : son absence totale de mécanismes ludiques le condamnerait au zéro absolu. Il faudrait le juger pour son histoire, mais c'est un critère éminemment subjectif. Au final, il reste l'ambiance visuelle et sonore, dont la réussite est incontestable. Dommage que cette courte nouvelle soit facturée au prix d'un roman.
WindowsMMGN (Feb 28, 2012)
Dear Esther is an interesting experiment of interactive storytelling, presenting the player with a mysterious island and an even more mysterious narrative. The game oozes with shady atmosphere, and the moody soundtrack really transforms the experience into a work of art. Having said that, it can come off a little pretentious at times, and the entire game can be completed by holding down the W key and moving the mouse. As a game, Dear Esther is hard to recommend, but if you are interested to see an interesting story that takes just over an hour to complete, it is well worth the $10.
WindowsDarkZero (Feb 25, 2012)
There is certainly a place for more interactive titles such as Dear Esther when cleverly executed; one great example was the Super 8 interactive teaser included with Portal 2, offering a short but intriguing teaser that promoted the movie in a way that had previously never been attempted. As a standalone title that sells for the same price as other games that provide ambiance without skimping on gameplay, it’s a much tougher sell. Still, it’s a sell that anyone looking for a potentially soul-lifting experience should consider making.
WindowsHooked Gamers (Feb 20, 2012)
My reaction to Dear Esther is something even I find quite surprising. I usually adore this pretentious stuff, the ‘arty farty’, the take it or leave it garble. For once, I find myself to be the outsider who didn’t connect with the material and didn’t find a greater meaning in myself or the game. Whether to attribute this to my state of mind or the game’s shortcomings is uncertain, but I can say that Dear Esther is certainly not the greatest thing since sliced bread and it is by no means for everyone. Personally, I think it’s great to have its alternate, lavish experience in the market and if you can connect with it then great. I fear some people may be clutching at straws though – I don’t find it subtle so much as lacking. It really depends on how you perceive a blank piece of paper – is it the canvas on which a great piece of art can be contained, or just a thin shaving of a tree?
WindowsDestructoid (Feb 13, 2012)
Dear Esther is an experiment but it is a flawed one. I have to wonder, even if it were a short film, if its vague plot and predictable conclusion would be effective. The ironic thing is that the most pedestrian of stories can be convincing when coupled with intelligently applied interaction -- something Dear Esther stubbornly stands against. It’s as if it wants to be a part of this wonderful medium of ours without asking itself why, which is exactly why you should seek it out and learn from its failures as a game enthusiast, critic, or developer.
WindowsAdventure Classic Gaming (May 24, 2012)
Dear Esther is meant to be an intellectual, emotional, and possibly even religious experience. Whether it succeeds depends in large part on the player's receptivity to its goals and storytelling mode. Gamers who prefer a clearly defined objective are likely to be disappointed. Like a work of modern art, the meaning which the player will take away from Dear Esther will likely be whatever meaning the player attributes to it. Some will be moved by its majesty, and others will mock it as meaningless—the island is wide enough for both perspectives.
WindowsDarkstation (Mar 09, 2012)
At a ten dollar price range I feel like I may have over paid a little and would have felt more comfortable with a price half that. If I was grading this game purely on aspiration and presentation it stands out amongst its peers, but Dear Esther is unquestionably not for everyone but may find a warm place in the hearts of people who love a mind twisting story and can find an emotional relation. If you are looking for anything other than a relaxing way to spend an hour of your time you may want to look somewhere else.