Pentiment is a whodunnit that stands with the best of them. Set in 16th-century Bavaria, you take control of Andreas Maler, an artist working on his masterpiece in the town of Tassing. Every day, you travel to the local monastery to further your craft, and on the way, you see the same people, walk the same pathways, and strengthen your bond with the community – just vibing. It’s peaceful, as simple as peasant life could be.
Until it isn’t. After all, Pentiment is a murder mystery, and the inciting incident throws the entire village into disarray. Who could have committed such a crime? Who has the motive or, crucially, the stomach for such violence? You take it upon yourself to answer these questions, and as you unravel the mystery, you will take certain actions.
9/9 Good Pets!
Can you pet the dog? Thankfully, yes. In Pentiment, you can find the pets of some of the villagers of Tassing happily lounging their days away in front of their homes. It’s pure instinct to want to pet any and all animals in video games (even though they, like real animals, may not take kindly to the affection…we gotta try, you know?), so as soon as you see the fluffy little guys hanging out, you immediately rush toward them.
Being able to pet the furry little companions feels like a blessing, a tiny treat. It eats into your time somewhat – the animation takes a few seconds to complete, but it is worth it. Obsidian knew what we wanted and graciously delivered.
8/9 Hello, Tassing!
How can you play an adventure game, let alone a story-oriented Obsidian game, without talking to every soul you come across? If there’s anything we’ve learned over our long, full years of lore hunting, we just have to converse politely with whoever is unfortunate enough to stand before us.
That means seeking everyone out and asking every single question possible. Hopefully, we’re not exhausting our conversation partners – if we are, hey, at least they’re doing it for a good cause.
7/9 Who Am I, Really?
Andreas can be whoever you want him to be, within limits. This makes us all stress over the mini character-creation. There are a few set options for Andreas’ background, but you can mix and match them however you’d like. This includes where he’s from (which impacts what cultural touchstones he is familiar with), what he studied at university, and how he approaches his employment. All these things influence how he acts and communicates with those around him.
Your Andreas, who may have studied law, for example, is knowledgeable about inheritance and property but is likely a little out of his element when dissecting a body. The languages he can speak can also vary, depending on where he’s from. All of these elements together make for a stressful, mini-character creation.
6/9 Wait, What Does That Mean?
Bless Pentiment for allowing us to easily access historical contexts and facts. Often, you will see words highlighted in red, meaning they have specific definitions that you can take a quick peek at.
This can be super helpful when it comes to customs or mythologies you’re unfamiliar with, but after a while, you’ll find yourself opening the encyclopedia for every highlighted word. Some don’t even give you actual definitions – the highlight for any variation of “God” brings you to a page full of strange drawings, fitting into the idea that God is unknowable. You’ll look, anyway, because it’s impossible not to.
5/9 Who’s Coming To Dinner?
Unlike us, in the real world, Andreas does not have to stress about the mundane terrible truths of living – having to decide what to eat for dinner every day. He does have to contend with a different stressor, though. That is, he seems to be a very popular guy in Tassing, and everyone wants to eat their meals with him.
Sure, it seems cool to be so popular, but when it comes to what we’re trying to accomplish out here, it quickly becomes stressful. For example, going to dinner with one family means barring yourself from another for the day, which means you may miss out on crucial information. For completionists like us, this can feel almost unthinkable. So we sit there, fretting over which characters to eat with, as if it’s actually life-and-death and not, you know, just another chance to hear some sweet town gossip.
4/9 Sorry To Bother You
The road forks before you, but there’s just one problem: someone is standing there. Also, the controls can be a little finicky when cycling through the buttons, especially when you’re using a controller, so you may talk to someone countless times when you’re just trying to leave.
You have places to go, and yet, there you are, stuck in a cycle. It’s not unlike a real conversation you’re trying to escape – you’re stuck in place, and it feels like you hear the same thing repeatedly. But you’ll get the hang of it, have no fear.
3/9 Go Everywhere, Every Day
People move around, as dictated by their daily schedules, so you’ll likely find yourself wandering around every location, seeing what you can see. Sometimes, there’s someone else about to give you a tiny bit of backstory to a place or what they’re up to. But, sometimes, you’re there alone, wandering the muddy trails in the forest or creeping around decayed Roman architecture.
But you do it every day, maybe more than once because there is always the chance that there’s a new clue hiding around every corner. What kind of citizen detective would you be if you weren’t thorough?
2/9 Ooooh, Scandalous!
This is a tight-knit, very Christian community, and they try to keep scandals, of all kinds, to a minimum. Andreas is an artist and a well-travelled wanderer, and he may be well-versed in unholy, occult teachings. Or he can just be a weird dude who says weird stuff. Either way, imbuing him with some modern edge is fun, making him into a walking scandal.
He’s not inappropriate, of course, just cheeky. None of the townsfolk, the Brothers and Sisters and Fathers of the Church, expect your glib tongue. Or your strange actions. Lean into it! Or, make a second playthrough that is pure, utter chaos, and see just how odd you can be. We all give it a try at some point.
1/9 Audience Of One
On the very first day of your strange journey, you can find one of the monks, Brother Rudeger, singing. His voice echoes through the vaulted ceilings, reverberating across the empty chamber, almost otherworldly in its beauty.
A moment, or two, to watch him sing is natural, frankly. Even without sound, the animations accompanying Rudeger make it clear that he’s in his element. So enjoy this sliver of peace for as long as possible because tomorrow is a darker day.