Pentiment, how is the new video game from Obsidian

Pentiment, com'è il nuovo videogioco di Obsidian thumbnail

Repentance has been out for a very short time, yet the new video game by Obsidian – and developed in collaboration with the Xbox Game Studios – has conquered a good portion of players, coming to be considered a small masterpiece of the Xbox world. Let’s find out everything there is to know about Pentiment in this review.

Our review of Pentiment: more than a graphic adventure, more than a video game

Not just a graphic adventure. In Pentiment there is all the mastery of Obsidian Entertainment combined with a cross-section of history that enriches not only the plot, but the gamer himself.

A little plot, divided into acts: ACT I

The story begins in 1518 in the small town of Tessingplaced at the foot of theKiersau Abbeyguardian place of the hand of San Maurizio, a saint venerated not only in Tessing, but also in the rest of Bavaria and beyond, so much so that he attracted numerous pilgrims to the Abbey.

The protagonist is the miniaturist Andreas Maler, an apprentice at the Abbey under the guidance of brother Piero, one of the last scribes left in circulation. Pentiment wastes no time and immediately brings the player into the heart of the plot: divided into three acts, all connected by a common thread. In the first Andreas is called to solve the murder of the baron Lorenz Rothvogelassassinated right within the walls of the Abbey and of whose death brother Piero will be accused.

Andreas therefore stops playing the artist’s role to wear that of an investigator, convinced of the innocence of the old prelate and intent on discovering the real murderer. The video game, of course, is not without twists and choices that will influence the whole story. Andreas himself, in the first act, has a personality that comes built by the gamer himself. Apart from a small base given by the game on his origins, the user is given full freedom of choice on Andreas, from his personal characteristics to the studies carried out before embarking on an artistic career.

Each of these choices will present pros and cons over the course of the game. For example, if you choose a certain background that does not include knowledge of French, Andreas will not be able to read texts written in that language.

This does nothing but involve the player even more in a plot full of mystery. And the choices don’t only refer to Andreas’ personality and his life, but also to who killed the baron. Thanks to an investigative activity made up of interrogations, chats with the villagers and the most meticulous observation, the player is finally called to make his choice to do justice not only to the victim, but also to his brother Piero.

Act II and Act III


The second act is directly related to the consequences of the first and takes place seven years later the murder of the baron. Andreas has aged, made a career as an artist and toured Europe far and wide. He also has an apprentice with him, Caspar, and his return to Tessing is greeted with a certain coldness. But he is called once again to solve a new murder, to save not only the Abbey but also the town itself from the fury of the local Lord’s guards.

In the third act, set eighteen years after the events of the second, the player takes on the role of Magdalene, daughter of Andreas’s best friend. Impersonating the girl, the player is called to discover the latest mysteries related to Tessing and the common thread that has always united the murders of the first and second acts and the attempted murder of the third. Even as Magdalene, we will have to make choices whose consequences will only be visible at the end of the game.

The graphics are one of the strengths of the entire video game, capable of recalling an era far from ours, with a style that mixes the medieval and the dawn of the Renaissance. Evidence of this transition is palpable by observing the lines of the prints and woodcuts, which highlight a clear transition between late medieval designs and a more modern style.

The characters themselves and the surrounding setting perfectly reflect this mix of styles, with impressive 2D graphics. These sensations are enhanced by the movements of the characters: when the protagonist moves within the Pentiment map, it almost seems that he does it gracefully.

Wanting to make a more visual comparison, think of the elegance of Botticelli’s Primavera and how the characters would move if we found them in a video game.

The gameplay

Repentance 3

Pentiment is a single player playable on Xbox and PC. All you need, then, is the controller or mouse and keyboard. In addition to the purely technical aspect, Pentiment also requires substantial intuition and an investigative eye, as the entire plot is based on choices that the player must necessarily make.

To enhance the whole there are also the music composed and performed by theAlkemie Early Music Ensemblea group of musicians specializing in medieval folk music who have been able to create an immersive and impactful soundtrack.

The sour note

The only discordant note, on which one can in any case defer, is the failure to answer the player’s questions. As mentioned, Pentiment is based on a series of choices: when the player is called to indicate the culprits of the first and second acts he does so only on the basis of some clues collected and, let’s face it, also on the basis of his own likes and dislikes.

However, the game never reveals, not even at the end, whether those choices made are correct or not, if innocent people have been convicted or if Andreas’ investigative eye was right. Despite everything, however, doubt also proves to be stimulating: it allows you to focus better on the investigation and to let as little slip away as possible.

Pentiment review in a nutshell: why consider it a masterpiece?

At this point in the review, the question we want to answer is “Why is Pentiment considered a masterpiece?”. The truth is that Pentiment is a title that not only confronts the player with choices that will build and develop the story, but enriches everything with graphics that in its simplicity manage to transport the player into the atmosphere of the 16th century and to answer any curiosities relating to that period. Whether it’s a work of art, a real-life character or a book, the player will find all the answers in the video game itself. Even the psychology of the protagonists is well defined, so as to automatically give rise to sympathies for some of them.

These ingredients, combined with an engaging storyline and the perennial doubt about the choices made, could make Pentiment one of the best video games to play (and why not, replay) in this 2023.

Pentiment is available for Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X.