4 February 2023

Indie Corner Games

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Pentiment review

There are choices that are quite difficult to make, but what if those choices play such an important role in a narrative that goes hand in hand with our character’s personality? Pentiment is much more than a simple click of a mouse button.

Andreas Maler, played by the player who will be in charge of deciphering the mysteries that this title will bring to the table, is a traveling artist and a dreamer, advised by imaginary entities during his sleep. Each of them is interpreted by his opinion. Between Saints, Priests and even the philosopher Socrates, opinions differ among them in an attempt to discuss ideas and shape an opinion about the changes that Andreas will be facing, due to the choices he made at a certain point in history. In fact, the adventure begins inside a dream of Andreas, who after waking up learns that court jesters are intractable.

The narrative begins with little action, in fact, there are no moments of action at all, but even so, it is a title recommended for anyone looking for a captivating story and accurate historical events. Tassing, is the fictional town in the countryside of the Holy Roman Empire, which serves as a backdrop and which at first glance appears peaceful with modest but super friendly people. Andreas’s task until then was to work on his great masterpiece, this being an artist with studies in the field and beyond, but also to enter into the routine of working on the manuscripts of the local abbey. However, he quickly realizes that things are not as peaceful as they appear to be, and suddenly finds himself wrapped in a panoply of mysteries that involve even the death of one of his elements.

The history and background of Andreas are completely outlined by the player as he advances in time, being able to choose the areas of study that most interest him and even the types of language that fascinate him the most. These choices will have a direct impact on the story and the possible lines of text available at certain times. My Andreas dabbles in Italian studies and a little Greek, fascinated by books, occult magic, and astronomy. It is important to approach all moments with the greatest possible attention since these can lead to a positive or negative outcome in the activity between characters and with this the possibility of acquiring more knowledge about the subject addressed.

Not being a Point and Click in its essence, Pentiment’s adventure goes through a narrative divided into 3 acts that involve investigation and the player’s attention to places that may go unnoticed. In trying to solve the murder mysteries, it is important to be convinced of the decisions taken, since time weighs on all small actions. The simple act of having lunch with a character implies wasting time that can be used to explore another part of the story in more depth, which ultimately can impact the number of evidence for the outcome of the case. And yes, it’s easy to get lost in these small actions because without paying much attention, the next moment, you’re already in contact with a character that doesn’t add anything to the main point. Everything is very vivid and there is a lot to discover. The map can also help with these momentary distractions since the possibilities are more than many. This is not a Sherlock Holmes where the story has only one ending, Pentiment kinda forces you to pick a culprit with the information that you gathered and subsequently live with it.

The direct consequences of the player’s choices are what make this experience so impactful. Everything rotates and adapts according to the different branches of choice, and ultimately if you are on the side of the village population or hand in hand with the abbey.

Pentiment’s graphics pull the graphic aspect of the engravings in a book and make everything quite charming. All its characters and surroundings are quite peculiar and specific to the era, or this one is not set in the year 1518. The menu itself is a book that opens between the map, the different characters, the objectives, and clues. That helps the player not to feel lost about what the next step to take. Another super interesting aspect is the possibility of having specific letter fonts for each character, which although some are a little difficult to decipher, manages to convey the personality of the individual approached since there is no voice acting of any kind. Could it be that if there was voice acting this would be a title that could attract more people? Or, on the other hand, would it throw down any kind of depth that can you can drink from all the reading?

Pentiment is a breath of fresh air from the studios of Obsidian Entertainment. Slow at certain points, but pertinent and interesting at just the right points to grab the player even in those moments.