About yesterday night I was watching a video on youtube of a channel I have subscribed and they were reviewing Dear Esther. The funny thing was that the person didn’t know how to begin or even describe Dear Esther. Ironically I don’t know where to star either.
Dear Esther is somewhat of a game but I would say it is much closer to an interactive experience. Sure, it controls like a game but besides the first person view and movement most are familiar with, I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it.
For starters, you have no enemies to kill or run from, no puzzles to solve, none of the conventional gameplay standards one may be familiar with.
If anything I would say Dear Esther is an adventure game but the focus is purely the immersion.
Immersion is no doubt the focus here and it succeeds exceptionally well.
First the graphics. If I didn’t know before hand I would not have believed it and I was playing it I questioned myself if the game was truly running on Valve’s Source-Engine. For those that don’t know Source-Engine is the one made by Valve for the game Half-Life 2 which even though is an amazingly crafted engine and highly optimized to run well on any system, these days it was showing its age in comparison to another popular engine, like the Unreal 3 engine.
However, The Chinese Room, the developers of Dear Esther made every scenery look absolutely stunning! As you start the game, you are in a beach, and I can’t stand how much immersed I was, it really was as if I was there, not to mention the other settings which I won’t spoil here.
Second, the music. The music is done by Jessica Curry, which I didn’t know who she was to this day but I became an instant fan. Every moment of the game has a tune to it and each moment feels so lifelike and the music brings much more feeling as each step you give.
Not only the music but the sound effects are a beauty to listen to. The sound of the wind, the water running, among others.
I was recommended to play this experience with headphones for a better immersion and I recommend anyone who gives this a chance to do the same!
Also, besides wondering around in amazing graphics and excellent music there is also a story to be told. As you move along you character will talk about certain things, some related to the place others to make more meaning a little further. I won’t say much about it as it is the meat of the experience, I’ll just say that it’s good, interesting, well acted and well worth your time!
The only warning I think I should give one before experiencing Dear Esther is that the game is short, really short but considering the the amount of detail and care put into it I can’t see it as a bad thing. Taken a ticket to a movie costs about the same as this game, and last about the same but very few recently made me this fulfilled I’d say Dear Esther is well worth the price!
So, if you want to try something new, different, relaxing, be sure to give this one a chance and you will not regret it, I certainly didn’t!
If anything, check a sample of the soundtrack: