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Dear Esther

On 06/09/2019 at 08:47 PM by KnightDriver

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This was on my short game list, and it was on sale for $3, so I bought and played it. . . three times. I enjoyed it, especially going for achievements, which is why I played it three times. 

My first playthrough was interesting. This is the original walking simulator and it really is just walking. I found myself wanting a run button almost immediately, but you are stuck with a leisurly walking pace or nothing. 

You find yourself on an island of the Hebridies. These are small islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. It is very desolate with just a few houses, strange stone markers, and a lighthouse. You walk paths and listen to the character talk to himself as you go. You can stray from the path to some extent but not a lot. There are some hidden areas to find, so straying is advised.  

The story is fairly vague at first playthrough, but after I'd played through it a second and third time, it started to make sense and became a very sad story. There's plenty of room for speculation about what exactly happened to this character, but it's ultimately not that important. The game is  more about the feelings you get playing it. 

My second playthrough was to listen to the director's commentary. The whole game is only four chapters and only a couple hours at most, so it wasn't too much of a chore. The directors talked about the music, which is great, and the history of the game, which began as a Half-Life 2 mod some years ago. It was interesting. I also had to look for four hidden urns. I found two of the four. There is one in each chapter. 

My third playthrough was to find those last urns and unlock one piece of narration I missed. I found the third urn on my own but the last one on chapter two eluded me. I, unfortunately, had to look it up. It was in plain sight but very small and hard to see. As for the narration, apparently, if you continue to walk while the narration is playing, you might miss a second one nearby. So not only did I walk slowly this time, but I stopped and listened to the narration every time it played. Talk about a slow paced video game. This one tops the charts. Not that it was a bad thing. For this game, it enhanced the experience. 

So upon climbing the last hill for the third time, I got a little teary eyed. The story had started coming together for me, and I began to understand what was going on. 

All in all, a great experience, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. 

(oh yeah, I forgot. The game also randomizes some items you can find, so each playthrough yeilds some slightly different debris and objects, but not the urns. Those are fixed.)



Super Step Contributing Writer

06/10/2019 at 12:20 PM

Dear Esther, 


Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/10/2019 at 04:20 PM

Damn, you played the fuck out of this one. I think I might have this on Steam. 


06/15/2019 at 09:18 PM

It's so short, you can really replay and finish it fast. Even faster if you could run. 


06/11/2019 at 02:48 PM

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was bored to tears and wish I had that $2 back.


06/15/2019 at 09:09 PM

Ha ha. Yeah, it was very slow paced and not a whole lot to do but listen to the narration. I found it a fun diversion from my usual frag fest FPS gaming. It's still funny to me there wasn't a run button. 

Maybe it should've veen called Dear Ether. Ha

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