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Forums > Submission Feedback > Lewis's Dear Esther review

This thread is in response to a review for Dear Esther on the Miscellaneous. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: February 08, 2009 (06:35 AM)
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Cool review. Too bad for the glitches and slow movement, otherwise this sounds like something I would enjoy for its unique-sounding offerings.


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: February 08, 2009 (08:31 AM)
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Thanks for reading.

They're not things that really affected my enjoyment that much - especially the second and third times I played it through. The first time I was 'playing it wrong', I think, looking for something overtly obvious to do and breaking the game in the process. If you follow its linear path (which is rather nicely guided by some subtle visual aids) and let it do its thing, it becomes very lovely indeed.

I'd really urge anyone that has HL2 installed to play this. I'd almost encourage anyone who doesn't to buy a copy of said game anyway...


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: February 08, 2009 (10:49 PM)
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Sounds worth a look, at least.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: Lewis
Posted: February 09, 2009 (01:26 AM)
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If anyone's curious as to what the game's actually like to play... the video on the, um, videos page should give you an idea.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 09, 2009 (01:09 PM)
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Dammit, Lewis, stop writing reviews of insanely interesting games I'll never get to play.

Anyways, I was particularly drawn by one segment of your review, in which you mentioned the UNhappiness. It's true, isn't it? We really do need more BLEAKNESS in our video games. I, for one, would appreciate more darkness.

Games always seem to start there. I can name dozens that start off bleak (Grand Theft Auto 4, Deus Ex, Indigo Prophecy, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Fallout series, Half Life 2, Silent Hill), but I don't know if I can name a single one that ends with the same sense of bleakness.

Not that all games have happy endings (Dead Space, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame), it's just that few carry the sense of isolation and loneliness through to the end. I can't think of one that does.

You're also right in that if a game DID do that, it probably couldn't be much longer than an hour, especially if it was pure narrative and little gameplay.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: February 09, 2009 (02:13 PM)
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Alundra. PSX.

Most awesomely depressing game ever made.

Now you know.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: February 09, 2009 (02:41 PM)
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Dear Esther isn't just bleak. It is, but that's not all that new. It's utterly tragic. It's a story about someone who knows he is going to die, and his coming to terms with this in any way he can. And the ending, which I won't spoil for anyone who might play this, is one of the most profoundly moving experiences I've had in ages.

If anyone's REALLY not going to play this, consider reading the script, which can be found HERE. The italicised text is monologue that everyone will hear. The rest of it is organised into chunks of three - ie. for every three 'bits' of script under the sub-headings, the player will just hear one of them, which is completely randomised. Obviously, reading them all together helps piece the story into something far more complete than a single play would, though the visual symbolism is noticeably lacking. Imagine this, combined with actually seeing the stuff the narrator's talking about, and hearing such beautiful music as you explore.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 09, 2009 (03:52 PM)
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Alright, EMP, I ordered it off of Amazon for 14.99.

I'm curious to see this "arunda."


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: February 09, 2009 (04:50 PM)
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No, Zip! You'll only encourage him!


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: February 09, 2009 (05:11 PM)
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EmP is correct.

Alundra is awesomely depressive. It might go down as my favorite PSX game.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: February 12, 2009 (09:11 PM)
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This was an interesting review. It definitely sounds like a deeply profound game, even if it's a bit flawed. I might try it sometime if I can get HL2 on a better computer. I don't feel like downloading mods onto this thing, anyway.

Also, you should hyperlink that video you linked... it messes up the site display.

I will say, though, that that video really shows what you're trying to explain in the game. It really does seem like a moving creation. If they could refine it o that it's flawless, then, well, this could potentialy become smething revolutionary. Or at least as far as freeware internet downloads go, since I agree that something like this could probably never be marketed.

It's neat, though... almost like playing a novel. That's how I see it anyway from the review and the video.

Also, I don't have a prolem with the Half Life source engine(s). I think they're quite functional and convenient and easy to use. Graphics shouldn't make or break a game, really, if that's the only issue with it.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: Lewis
Posted: February 13, 2009 (05:37 AM)
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"Also, I don't have a prolem with the Half Life source engine(s). I think they're quite functional and convenient and easy to use. Graphics shouldn't make or break a game, really, if that's the only issue with it."

Absolutely. I love Source. It's a fantastic engine, and the only one I would even consider using for a project of my own (largely 'cause the only other one I know how to use is Quake, and because it's free, but... y'know). I also think it still looks staggeringly good, considering its age. My only slight issue with the graphics is that there are some visual nasties that, as someone who know easy it would have been to fix them in this engine, starts to grate a little bit. Jagged edges on the hills etc is a big one. Select the geometry and click 'smooth'. Simple as.


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