By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on September 20th, 2016 for Xbox One (Also Available on PS4 & PC)
Developer: The Chinese Room Publisher: Curve Digital
The mechanics in this title are extremely simplistic as the controller only uses a few buttons. The left stick is for the movement of the character, the right stick changes the direction of vision, and every other button zooms in. Dear Esther: LE is exploration at its best. There are no way points, no sprinting, no action button, and the goal of each level is to reach the end and start the next one.
The achievements with Dear Esther: LE pair better with the game than any other title I have ever played, except maybe the TellTale Series. The achievements are story related, with a few miscellaneous ones. The miscellaneous achievements require the player to do things, such as walking 5000 steps, find all the urns, listen to all the dialogue, and two death related ones. These achievements are so great for a title of this magnitude as you can just go on your way enjoying the game without worrying if you are going to miss any achievements or not. The urns are right off the beaten path, you are going to walk a lot, and if you are up for exploring the dialogue will not be hard. The death related ones are the only ones that will take you out of the experience. However, there are multiple locations to achieve these.
The replayability of this title is decent. Due to the Director’s Commentary that is included the player can experience the game differently two times. The first playthrough can be with the actually story, while the second one is played with the voices of the directors explaining what they feel about each section of the game. The game is also rather short (around 1 hour 30 minutes) thus allowing you to go back and quickly get to sections you may have missed over.
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is priced at $10 USD which is a great price point for this experience. The only aspect of this title that I feel people might have an issue with would be the length of the game. Being a roughly two-hour experience, some people might think that is too short to get their money’s worth. However, I equate it to watching a movie. This title is like a movie with interaction and people pay $10+ to watch movies all the time. So get ready for an amazing title and remember to explore!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 9/10
-Too Short for some