So let’s just acknowledge up front that I’m going to be changing from describing this as a game, to describing as a story in the blink of a punctuation mark. That way you can start confused and not have to worry about the confusion creeping up on you unawares.
I’ve played Dear Esther about three more times now. It’s not a game where you can try different things. You can work out fairly quickly where the paths are, and that you really can’t get to others you’d like to explore. Not that that limits the explorable area too much.
But you might ask why I’d bother again? The first time through was just to experience it again. The graphics, the sound, the music and the story – beautifully narrated – just really work for me, and the way it’s presented just lets me immerse myself in it.
I guess you might also ask why someone would reread the same book. To me, this is similar. However, this has a bit more than a book. It’s interesting to ‘explore’ the story. Then, when I found that things subtly changed each time, it became even more interesting to go through it again.
Given the ambiguity of the story in the first place, I’m still not sure if the different bits you see, and hear, change the story, clarify it, or merely add to the whole mix. Funnily enough, that’s actually a bit of a joy for me as these new discoveries increased the enjoyment of the whole, regardless of what they did for the story itself.
I’m really not sure how many other people would enjoy a second “playthrough”, but be aware that there are a few changes if you do, and that if you’re like me, give it a go.