At the beginning of Dear Esther, my character arrives at the edge of an island. I was given no knowledge of controls or what the objective of the game was. I tried multiple times to go back to the main menu of the game to try and find more information. Unsuccessful, I navigated my way to the first abandoned house. Surprisingly a flashlight came on. Because of this, I assumed that my character would be able to interact with his surroundings. I was wrong. I continued then to follow the paths ahead of me and explore the island, frustration in hand.
I will say compared to Gone Home, this game had much better graphics. It truly felt like I was walking through an island in the United Kingdom (what it felt most like). The shrubs moved with the wind, the water rushed toward the ocean and the caves were truly magnificent. In some way, the graphics made up for the lack of interaction with the environment. The sound was also very engaging. In fact, just like in Gone Home, all the player gets to know is read through the letters. However the letters that are read in Dear Esther are not in any particular order, which is confusing to the player. Who are these people? What happened in the past? How do I get to know more?
So my opinion of the game: I found it boring and confusing and more boring. I spent my time aimlessly roaming around this island with no purpose. Even towards the end, when the character finally makes it to the radio tower, he turns into a bird! (or some sort of flying animal) All this time spent wandering around to ‘die’. This also seems like the only time the character ‘dies’ as I tried twice to kill myself, only to be brought back to life. Even with the letters read aloud, the story didn’t make sense to me. 10/10 would not recommend.