By Sam Coles:
There are some games that are more of an experience rather than a game, a game which doesn’t require much attention where you can zone out and relax to. I for one don’t mind these games, but to call them games would be a stretch due to the lack of interactivity and you tend to look and walk around and nothing else.
Dear Esther takes place on a mysterious island and you must piece together what happened on said island, now and again you’ll get a voiceover giving you a hint of the exploits of the area which are voiced well. The further you journey through the game the voice seems to get more tired and angry showing his frustrations of the mystery. The story is interesting although it can be a bit confusing and loses focus sometimes as the voiceover has a habit of describing scenery that you’re looking at for a while which I like to call the “Tolkien” effect. What I mean by the “Tolkien” effect is that he had a habit of describing a mountain or a tree for about 4 pages.
What can I say about gameplay? Not a lot. You walk around look at things and then move on to walk around and look at other things it’s not deep or interesting the gameplay. The one thing I cannot stand with this game is that you walk at a snail’s pace and don’t give the week sauce argument of “It’s for immersion” because you can still be immersed when you have full control. It feels very restrictive making you walk everywhere and I find myself pushing my PS4 analogue stick harder than usual giving me the perception of the character walking faster.
The game is up and down went it comes to its visual presentation I love the effects with the grass blowing in the wind the animation is impressive in that department, but most of the outdoor areas are blurry and unappealing. However when you get to the cave section it’s absolutely beautiful with some fantastic lighting with the superb yet haunting musical score.
The big question is can I recommend Dear Esther? Honestly it’s a good experience but I managed to finish it in under an hour and I was starting to get into it and it ended. I can’t see myself recommending this game even though I enjoyed parts of it, the problem is that it’s too short and isn’t really game, as a piece art it’s beautiful however at the end of the day it is a video game.