Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.I haven’t been so captivated by a straightforward adventure game like Pentiment in a very long time. The storybook art style, which was inspired by the colorful manuscripts of the time, is downright captivating in this riveting, steadily paced detective thriller set in the late medieval Bavarian countryside. While the ongoing interaction essentially comprises searching for pieces of information, addressing townsfolk, and attempting to reach your determinations about the proof you find, that moderate methodology turns out incredibly for the rich and complex story Pentiment tells.


Andeas Maler, our inquisitive lead, was once an idealistic aspirant artist who moves to the picturesque, rural town of Tassing to advance his career in the scriptorium of the nearby abbey. He quickly gets involved in a sinister plot that delved into the town’s shadowy past and enticed you to learn about secrets that many would rather keep hidden. I really enjoyed the fact that you get to define a lot of Andreas’s backstory, like where and what he studied, which adds replayability. When annoying monks and nuns tried to get their way by quoting the Bible at me, having a theology degree from a university helped a lot. However, my background choices did not open up as many new paths as I would have liked, and their impact on a conversation typically came down to a few different flavor text options.

Fortunately, there aren’t many puzzles that are hard to figure out. These puzzles are typical of adventure games in that you have to find things around the world and combine them to make a key. Talking to the right people, persuading them to share what you know, comparing their story to others you’ve heard, and, perhaps most importantly, making good use of your time are the challenges that come with solving a mystery. Time moves forward when you commit to pursuing a particular lead, and you never have enough time to pursue all of them. I was forced to make a lot of interesting choices and this added some much-needed tension. I can’t wait to go back and see what I missed in subsequent playthroughs.

A cohesive, beautiful, and somewhat minimalist art style that draws inspiration from the same period-accurate illustrations Andreas himself is working on brings Tassing and its surroundings to life. Color, life, and personality abound in sprawling fields, magnificent churches, and even secret crypts. Indeed, even the text boxes highlight various wonderful contents that fluctuate in light of an individual’s social class, with streaming penmanship for workers and hypocritical black letter script for individuals from the congregation.

Additionally, the sound design is top-notch. The quiet of a monastery during prayer or the quiet of a village square can convey a sense of place in a very subtle way. Also, I don’t usually like the whole ASMR thing, but when characters are talking, the sound of a pen scratching on vellum gives me Goosebumps. I believe I could listen to it for the entire day. Similarly, the soundtrack’s traditional melodies and period-appropriate instruments transported me to the Middle Ages.

The production as a whole feels like a love letter from serious fans of medieval history to all the players who share my interests. Pondering Christine de Pizan’s writings, learning about a character’s connections to the Fugger Bank, or even asking, “What would Socrates do? “Some dialogues’ use of options may not be obvious to many, but I was delighted by them. It is abundantly clear that the developer Obsidian Entertainment conducted extensive research into the daily lives, theology, and sociology of the Holy Roman Empire in the 1500s. This is far from a pop culture parody. When I realized that a folk tale told by some of the townspeople was a distorted account of a Roman battle that took place nearby, I nearly gasped. I had the impression that I was geeking out with the writers and artists about one of my special interests at every turn.

The writing of the characters and dialogue is also exceptional and effective. Andreas is a complex character who undergoes significant transformations throughout the snapshots of his life in which we are invited to join him. The world of Pentiment is one of heartbreaking personal tragedy, complex moral dilemmas, harrowing secrets, and the search for a purpose. There is a large cast of memorable characters whose development along with the town is partly influenced by your choices. Furthermore, none of those choices are simple. I never reached a point where I was completely aware of what had occurred, who was to blame, or whether or not they deserved to be punished by the appropriate authorities. Most of the time, the best thing you can do is choose the least harmful option.

Additionally, I enjoyed the snappy and rapid-fire dialogue. It is very easy for this kind of game to be long and complicated. You only need to look at Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity games to see how a swashbuckling adventure can suffer when too much text is thrown at players at once. With flavorful back-and-forths in which each character only speaks a few sentences at a time, Pentiment wisely avoids this tendency. The entries in the journal about significant people and ideas about the world are also tactfully brief. It is never expected of you to read for several minutes to comprehend what is happening.

The Verdict

Pentiment is a clear winner because it is an engaging adventure game that lasts 15 to 20 hours, tells the story of a small town and its people during turbulent times, reverently celebrates the finer details of Late Medieval history, and is a clever detective story where straight answers are hard to come by. I’m looking forward to playing it at least once or twice more to discover new paths that I haven’t taken before, and my complaints about it are all relatively minor. Because of how effectively it entangled me in the complexities of its gorgeously realized world and made me want to learn everything I could about its people and its past, it never suffers from its simplicity, which lacks combat or traditional puzzles. Other than the fact that I cannot recommend Pentiment highly enough, there is not much else I can say about it.


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