Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Dear Esther (4/5)

Dear Esther is a very controversial game. I heard about it when it was on sale during the Steam Summer Sale (you may have noticed I bought quite a few games at this point. The deals are just too good). It was up for $2.50 and now is still only $10 so it's quite cheap. I'm not going to go into the same likes/dislikes format I've been doing lately because I don't want to get too specific about the game. It is an adventure for you to explore.

It is a very unique indie game. There's no shooting or sprinting or interacting or anything really. You just move, look, and listen. It sounds boring, but the game tells a deep and compelling story. I felt as if I was investigating something, but I wasn't sure what it was. Even after finishing the game I'm not sure what I've discovered. It sounds corny, but the game really makes you think. The game is technically an open world of an island for you to explore and listen to narration, so you can sort of go wherever you want. Actually though the game ends up being mostly linear, but I always felt as if I wanted to go the same way the game wanted me to go to continue. It wasn't like in most games where I felt forced to go to the next "checkpoint." There is no map with waypoints telling me where to go. I was just drawn in by the environment and moved where I needed to. I'm still not even sure if the game is linear though. Perhaps if I play it again I could take another route and get to the same place. Or a different place? The game really makes me feel in control. Also, the environment is beautiful. Even if there were no story just walking around the island would be exciting and interesting.

Overall this game is fascinating. I would definitely pay more than $10 for it, but it really is only $10! I highly recommend it as it is a unique take on video games with a compelling story and beautiful environment. I warn you though: you must be prepared to play a game like this. It is almost like a movie. It only ends up taking about an hour and the replay value is likely minimal (I have not played through again but I've heard the game rearranges stories and you can walk different routes). In the end though, I felt it was a deep and meaningful experience that was well worth my time and money. You just have to decide if that is the type of game you'd want to try.

Final Score: 4/5

3 comments:

Paul Rice said...

sounds like MYST minus all the frustrating puzzling. plus satisfying elements. myst didnt have those.

Chris Johnson said...

Haha i never saw this before paul. My dad really liked the myst series when I was younger but I always thought it was boring.

Chris Johnson said...

Haha i never saw this before paul. My dad really liked the myst series when I was younger but I always thought it was boring.