I finally got to play Dear Esther last week. For those who don’t know, it’s a first-person story, told through the lens of a videogame. Set on a barren, windswept island off the coast of Britain, the storytelling is done through small in-world touches set against occasional narrated pieces.
There’s nothing to pick up, or interact with, nor buttons to solve or weapons to fire. The scenery is beautifully rendered, both above and below ground, and combined with the slow walking pace creates a mellow, meditative atmosphere.
The game is billed at around 2-3 hours, highly dependent on your urge to explore. There’s no replay value, however; the narrator will read different snippets, revealing more or less of the story at hand, but the core of it remains the same. Much like a simple poem, it’s touching, emotional and interesting, but now that I’ve experienced it once, I need not return.