“Dear Esther” is a First-Person Story
Dear Esther was a literal game-changer. Although it’s a brief game–a single play-through lasts about 90 minutes–it was one of the first that reduced gameplay mechanics to the bare minimum and put the focus on exploration and narrative.
It takes place on an island in the Hebrides, which you explore in first-person as an unnamed man. As you move along, he narrates a letter to Esther, giving clues about the island and their tragic past. Because monologue sequences are triggered by walking in certain locations, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear everything there is to hear your first time playing. And if not for that reason, it’s worth it to play again just to listen to Jessica Curry’s score, which somberly accompanies your walk at times, leaving you to silently reflect at others.