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Dear Esther Review

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xxxsonic1971 14th February 2012, 09:31 Quote
errrrrrrrrrrrr looks great................but WTF??
mi1ez 14th February 2012, 10:33 Quote
I loved the original mod and TBH am tempted to get this one at such a low price!
Hovis 14th February 2012, 10:49 Quote
All games are art. Stabbing somebody in the face in MW3 is art. It's crap art. But it's still art.
Spreadie 14th February 2012, 11:17 Quote
I hadn't even heard of this until now, but I've spent a lot of time complaining about the lack of originality in games, especially FPS games, so this has piqued my interest.

For a mere seven quid, it has to be worth a look.
feathers 14th February 2012, 11:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hovis
All games are art. Stabbing somebody in the face in MW3 is art. It's crap art. But it's still art.

I leg to biffer. Someone recently posted some screenshots from a photorealistic racing game saying it was amazing and "art". He was mistaking visual realism for art. The screenshots had nothing artistic about them. There was no photographic artistry, no attempt made to compose a visually pleasing frame. It was just someone taking a screenshot.

Now you could argue that a game is rendered and that everything comes together as one overall piece of art, I would even challenge that. That is the equivalent of a con-artist putting a stack of bricks in an art gallery and convincing the wealthy but vacuous that it represents art.
K404 14th February 2012, 11:27 Quote
It sounds like a CG movie short? One of those "deep" underground arty things that have more substance than 98% of Hollywood, but only 15 people ever see it? You know the kinda thing I mean?
Gareth Halfacree 14th February 2012, 11:33 Quote
Reminds me a bit of The Path. Never did finish that...
mute1 14th February 2012, 11:37 Quote
Yeah, I get a 'Path' vibe... in which case, I'll sit through a tedious half-hour before uninstalling it and thinking it was pretentious crap. :/
Bauul 14th February 2012, 12:33 Quote
Wait, an indie-developed suedo-arty game with an over emphasis on a slightly obscure plot and a lack of repetitive twitch-reaction gameplay, reviewed by Joe?

I don't even need to read the review to know it scored highly!

Not that I doubt it's a good game, but it almost seems the developers sat down in a room together and said: "Now, I think we should make a game specifically targeted at Joe Martin." :)
Hovis 14th February 2012, 13:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by feathers
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hovis
All games are art. Stabbing somebody in the face in MW3 is art. It's crap art. But it's still art.

I leg to biffer. Someone recently posted some screenshots from a photorealistic racing game saying it was amazing and "art". He was mistaking visual realism for art. The screenshots had nothing artistic about them. There was no photographic artistry, no attempt made to compose a visually pleasing frame. It was just someone taking a screenshot.

Now you could argue that a game is rendered and that everything comes together as one overall piece of art, I would even challenge that. That is the equivalent of a con-artist putting a stack of bricks in an art gallery and convincing the wealthy but vacuous that it represents art.

Any sort of fabricated reality is by it's very nature art. Art is stuff people make for purposes of entertainment. It's a very broad definition, but it is what it is. Even the most rudimentary shooter is art, because it has involved a creative process. A screenshot of a game might not be art, but a the game itself is.
Hovis 14th February 2012, 13:10 Quote
By the way I think this game missed a trick. It should have been called Dear Escher, and have you running around through impossible buildings.

Also, just a general thought, what is it with games today and the gratuitous lack of violence? Call me old fashioned, but if I want to -not- kill somebody, I'll interact with the real world. I mean this game seems fine and dandy, but would it really have been that difficult for them to add some weapons and people to kill? A guy rambling around an isolated island going a bit mad seems to me the ideal set up for some Manhunt style murder rampages. Give the main character a butcher knife, sprinkle the hills with hikers, farmers and other assorted rural cannon fodder and you've got the makings of a classic.
K404 14th February 2012, 13:54 Quote
Psyche evaluation for Mr. Hovis please :p
greypilgers 14th February 2012, 18:33 Quote
Hmmm... Very high-brow and intellectually stimulating, I'm sure. But is it actually *fun*?

I don't really play games to be enlightened. That's what I tend to ask other media and methods to achieve. I play *games* to have *fun*.

I'm glad that this type of product is out there, and that it was reviewed - different strokes, and all that. But it only serves to highlight to me that just because Bit-Tech rate something as 90% or whatever, doesn't mean that it is a great game for even half the audience.

:o)
digitaldunc 14th February 2012, 19:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greypilgers
Hmmm... Very high-brow and intellectually stimulating, I'm sure. But is it actually *fun*?

I don't really play games to be enlightened. That's what I tend to ask other media and methods to achieve. I play *games* to have *fun*.

I'm glad that this type of product is out there, and that it was reviewed - different strokes, and all that. But it only serves to highlight to me that just because Bit-Tech rate something as 90% or whatever, doesn't mean that it is a great game for even half the audience.

Granted the game may not be *fun* in a bombastic, instantly gratifying sense but I think it depends on what you want out of the experience -- I'd liken a game like this to reading a novel, in a sense -- a piece of interactive meta-fiction.

I'd like to believe that bit-tech (and Joe) are fairly impartial when it comes to reviewing games and obviously have the target demographic in mind when doing a review; that's one of the reasons why I'd expect a game like this to get a decent score -- because it's judged upon its own merits.

That said, I think this game sounds interesting -- I'm playing through Amnesia at the moment and it sounds in a similar vein, minus the interactivity.
Bakes 14th February 2012, 21:54 Quote
I just played through the piece and found it an immensely gratifying experience. I'm not entirely sure why, but there were definitely tears in my eyes at two or three places during my playthrough. Maybe that's just going on my life, though.

The downside is that the 3-4 hours Joe quoted is simply not true. I played through it in about 55 minutes (including fiddling with the graphics), Even allowing for waiting, that Joe might have allowed for, there's still a massive time gap. I'm not too unhappy though.
Spreadie 14th February 2012, 22:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakes
The downside is that the 3-4 hours Joe quoted is simply not true. I played through it in about 55 minutes (including fiddling with the graphics), Even allowing for waiting, that Joe might have allowed for, there's still a massive time gap. I'm not too unhappy though.
I'm sure I read something along the lines of if you blast through it, you'll miss the best of it. :D ;)
Bakes 14th February 2012, 22:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakes
The downside is that the 3-4 hours Joe quoted is simply not true. I played through it in about 55 minutes (including fiddling with the graphics), Even allowing for waiting, that Joe might have allowed for, there's still a massive time gap. I'm not too unhappy though.
I'm sure I read something along the lines of if you blast through it, you'll miss the best of it. :D ;)

Thing is, I'm pretty sure I didn't. I saw lots of the weird things, like the flashing lights that stopped flashing as you got closer, the dude who just disappeared by the time you got there, G-man style, etc. I even noticed the graphical oddity of the mushrooms in the ground that were clearly just 2d images that were being re-oriented as you moved.
digitaldunc 15th February 2012, 01:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakes
I just played through the piece and found it an immensely gratifying experience. I'm not entirely sure why, but there were definitely tears in my eyes at two or three places during my playthrough. Maybe that's just going on my life, though.

The downside is that the 3-4 hours Joe quoted is simply not true. I played through it in about 55 minutes (including fiddling with the graphics), Even allowing for waiting, that Joe might have allowed for, there's still a massive time gap. I'm not too unhappy though.

Played through it as well, 57 minutes for me (Explored fairly thoroughly, maybe missed a bit at the start though) -- since the game events are semi randomly generated its probably worth another playthrough to uncover a bit more of the story -- I'm still struggling to work out exactly what was going on.

If you play, google some of the scrawlings -- what exactly is that about? I think it maybe gives things a bit more context.

The environments are stunning (and pretty authentic to the Hebrides), the underground caves are especially stunning -- the pictures really don't do it justice.

A very immersive, poignant and sad experience -- I'd really recommend it.
PingCrosby 15th February 2012, 10:36 Quote
Just up my cave, think I'll buy it.
feathers 15th February 2012, 10:46 Quote
I bought it last night. Played it in stereoscopic 3d which makes it look amazing. Really draws you in. The scenery is so good I was stopping to take photos as I would do in real life. Composing the scene etc.

Even if there isn't much game there it's still impressive just for the scenic wandering.
Nexxo 15th February 2012, 16:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greypilgers
Hmmm... Very high-brow and intellectually stimulating, I'm sure. But is it actually *fun*?

I don't really play games to be enlightened. That's what I tend to ask other media and methods to achieve. I play *games* to have *fun*.

I'm glad that this type of product is out there, and that it was reviewed - different strokes, and all that. But it only serves to highlight to me that just because Bit-Tech rate something as 90% or whatever, doesn't mean that it is a great game for even half the audience.

:o)

Do you go to the cinema for fun? Do you watch only comedies? Do you read for fun? Read only comedy novels? Listen only to funny songs? When are on a rollercoaster, are you screaming or laughing? Or perhaps both? What's fun about skydiving?

We seek these experiences --whether film, books, music, rollercoasters, skydiving-- because they move us. It doesn't always have to be laugh-out-loud fun, or exciting action fun. It can be scary or saddening or contemplative. Schindler's List or Mission Impossible; both good movies in their own right. Armageddon played the balance between tension, sadness and triumph masterfully. We came out of the cinema feeling moved.

Games, too, can be 'fun' in many different ways. They can provide excitement, riddle, fear, sadness, triumph. You get involved because you are moved, and thus you experience the catharsis you sought. A game that does not move you is not fun; it's boring.
Hovis 15th February 2012, 17:15 Quote
Fun is a spectacular over-simplification of the gaming experience. There is self evidently so much more to gaming than fun that I'm surprised the subject of 'fun' versus 'serious' games ever still comes up.
Pookeyhead 15th February 2012, 20:12 Quote
I think I'll buy this. :)
XXAOSICXX 15th February 2012, 21:06 Quote
Just bought it :)
CardJoe 15th February 2012, 22:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakes
Thing is, I'm pretty sure I didn't. I saw lots of the weird things, like the flashing lights that stopped flashing as you got closer, the dude who just disappeared by the time you got there, G-man style, etc. I even noticed the graphical oddity of the mushrooms in the ground that were clearly just 2d images that were being re-oriented as you moved.

It took me just over an hour the first time I played it, but I think it's deceptive to say that first playthrough constitutes the entire playtime. What about the lifetime of the product? Remember that Dear Esther splices in subtly different audio, mixes things around each time you play. You need to play it twice, maybe thrice to hear all of the combinations - though most of the differences are subtle.

I've had the game since Christmas and I've enjoyed replaying it three or four times since then, whether simply replaying or fiddling with the FOV and Noclip to get new screenshots. Just over three hours of play.
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