I've picked out four games from my Steam Library to finally play a bit. I'll play them--though not all the way through--just to get an idea of this game I purchased, and to try something new.
I've read lots of reviews of Dear Esther. It sounded intriguing, good story, interesting gameplay.
I tried it first on my gaming laptop. No sound, not even ambient.
Not wanting to spoil the game for myself, as I hadn't read about it in any detail... I also thought something must be wrong because I couldn't find any keyboard key that let me interact with objects. Why are you putting in books and pamphlets I can't read for clues, I thought?
My brief perusal of a game review let me know there should be sound. A narrator speaking! I moved to playing on my main gaming pc and it was fine, sound, music, and the narrative voice.
It turns out there is no way to interact or jump or do anything to really explore the environment. You have to go along the path set out for you, even though, early on here to be sure, there appear at times to be more than one path.
This led me to scrawl a note to myself: Is exploration actually exploration when you can't choose a path? Or is visiting an all new place enough?
The diary entries pop up at intervals. I'm not certain if these are meant to show you you're going the right way, or if they just appear every so often to draw you along in the story.
I took a path that I thought would get me to the intriguing working lighthouse with it's blinking red light. All it did was take me away from the lighthouse, so it seems. There's a small cave that has a circular path through it.
Speaking of Clues. This has a Myst like feel to it for me, so I'm noting anything that might be a clue in my ever handy notebook old school style, as I did back in the heyday of Adventure games. I drew out this formula which appears in a shack and again in a cave. Must be a clue, right? Is there a Island of Dr. Moreau aspect to all this?
There's also a picture in the cave. Random cave scrawling or does it have deep deep meaning?
Coming out of the cave, I start heading up a new path towards the Lighthouse. The narrator makes me think maybe I should turn around and try to get to the half sunken trawler behind me. I had tried moving along the shoreline on the old lighthouse side of the river (?) but the screen went black and there were these drowning noises so I backed up. Maybe things would be better on the side of the shoreline.
Ha! glug glug. Black screen. Then bounced back to just outside the cave looking just in this direction. Worse yet, I'm stuck. Cannot move in any direction. That is a thing that can happen in old adventure games. You do what you shouldn't, go where you shouldn't. Stuck.
It appears that you have four chapters in the game and it only saves when you've finished one. If I didn't make it past their save point, no harm no foul, I haven't gone far at all and can start again, much the wiser. Stay out of the water!