Archive for February 15th, 2012
A deserted island…a lost man…memories of a fatal crash…a book written by a dying explorer.”
Two years in the making, the highly anticipated Indie remake of the cult mod of Half Life 2, Dear Esther arrives.
Dear Esther immerses you in a stunningly realised world, a remote and desolate, isolated, island somewhere in the outer Hebrides.
Dark & emotionally unsettling, but devoid of some of the elements associated with some computer games, such as aggression, or interactive combat, we are left to explore.
There are no overt objectives, enemies, puzzles, and, apart from a fleeting glimpse of someone in the distance, and the back story, and intrigue, created by the narrative, there are no characters.
We are alone… or are we?
Much in the same vein as Epic Citadel, but in a far more developed and mature setting, there is more to observe than interact with. In the words of Mathias Poulsen, “Limited interactivity sharpens focus on the beautiful, dark environment”.
Dear Esther could be seen to change the language of normal game play. We explore the island accompanied only by seagulls, the narrative and a superb, haunting sound track. By combining observations, we may work out what has happened.
The boundaries of exploration are very cleverly set, much as with the Myst series, where a rock, river or drop into an abyss, set natural limitations that don’t leave you frustrated. In fact, the journey is a linear one, without you realising you are being led in a certain direction.
This game, whilst not free, does allow a lot of freedom. You will need to investigate to decide the best audience but the potential for real development of plot, narrative and a huge amount beyond that, means you will hear of this island, & its virtual inhabitants, a lot more.
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