It’s quite difficult to actually call Dear Esther a video game. It possess the very core mechanics that make up a video game but lacks one thing entirely. In this case, it would be gameplay.
With this being such a story-centric affair, I’ll keep the plot synopsis to a minimum. Taking on the role of unnamed character, the player must explore an abandoned island whilst a narrator tells you the story of man whose wife died tragically in a car accident. Little by little you learn more about the characters and the events that transpired that night and each day since. Your end-goal is to reach a lighthouse on the far-side of the island and you must traverse through four stages to get there, unraveling the story as you go.
There isn’t a whole lot to say for the game mechanically. You use the analogue sticks to walk and control the camera, as per industry standard. Then every other button on the Dualshock 4 zooms the camera in for closer inspection of items and scenery. There’s no objects to pick up or enemies to fight, you simply walk around the island whilst the narrative unfolds. It is essentially a walking simulator, a genre that’s clearly moved on a lot since Dear Esther’s initial release.