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Pentiment - medieval murder mystery from Obsidian - Xbox, PC, Game Pass


BadgerFarmer
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I've got this pre-loaded ready to play tomorrow. Really like what I've read about it.

 

Personally not a fan of the art style though. I get what it's doing, but basing an art style on when folk hadn't learnt to draw well yet means you end up with something kinda authentic, but not actually that pretty (IMO). I'm sure I'm an outlier here (I felt the same with a lot of what I saw with Cuphead (it looked authentic, but I never liked the source material, so whilst I admired what they did, it didn't appeal to me).

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Grabbed 10 minutes during lunchtime on my PC and played through a couple of tiny scenes.

 

Loving the music and sound effects.

 

The writing has already made me chuckle (as well as question the historical accuracy of "hehe").

 

It looks pretty gorgeous so far. The book and darling aesthetic looks better than any flashy triple A 3D stuff to me in a little glimpse. So charming.

 

Looking forward to digging in later on the sofa.

 

As an aside I love that I'll be able to switch from PC in my office, Series X in the lounge, and Series S in bed seamlessly... What a delightful ecosystem MS have created.

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On 13/11/2022 at 17:11, SaintAnselm said:

The Medieval period ended the moment Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of All-Saints church in Wittenberg.

 

I realise no-one really cares about this but as a holder of an MA in Medieval history who now spends his days doing peoples grocery shopping, it’s just nice to use my ridiculously expensive education once in a while.

 

 

That point also led to a highly entertaining if not grisly story of the town of Munster. Dan Carlens HH Prophets of Doom was a great listen.

 

Not to take it too OT but we went to Normandy the other year and I went to see the Bayeux tapestry and started properly laughing towards the end. It was such a dry topic at school but revisiting it as an adult the story is hilarious.

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14 hours ago, TheShend said:

 

 

That point also led to a highly entertaining if not grisly story of the town of Munster. Dan Carlens HH Prophets of Doom was a great listen.

 

Not to take it too OT but we went to Normandy the other year and I went to see the Bayeux tapestry and started properly laughing towards the end. It was such a dry topic at school but revisiting it as an adult the story is hilarious.

The novel "Q" by Luther Blisset (a nom de plume of various Italian academics) presents a fictionalised account of the siege of Munster which is superbly done. The whole book is excellent if you've an interest in the reformation.

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2 hours ago, David Kenny said:

The novel "Q" by Luther Blisset (a nom de plume of various Italian academics) presents a fictionalised account of the siege of Munster which is superbly done. The whole book is excellent if you've an interest in the reformation.

Second this. 'Q' is a superb book made even better by ignoring the pseudonym and just pretending it was written by a pioneering 1980s footballer :)

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Finished this today and I'm in two minds about it.

 

On the one hand I think it's wonderful that such an evident passion project from a first-party developer could even be made, and its mere existence is something to be celebrated. When Josh Sawyer himself has stated that he wouldn't have even pitched it (let alone made it) had Game Pass not existed, then you'd hope that it would go some way to silencing those who tiresomely trot out the tedious prediction that a subscription service will inevitably lead to endlessly monetised GaaS titles. It's an argument that I've always thought is utter bollocks and Pentiment is perhaps the best example yet of precisely the kind of artistic freedom, free from the commercial considerations that a traditional release would be subject to, can bring.

 

It's a beautifully written and observed game, rich with period detail and an unfaltering dedication to bringing the lives and travails of the denizens of a Late Medieval Bavarian alpine village to life. It's almost scholarly in its descriptions of the most esoteric of sacred and sometimes profane texts and the minutiae of monastic life of that era. 

 

A lot of the characterisation and interplay between the assorted villagers and their relationships with the religious figures who influence their lives for good or ill is wonderfully captured too. Coupled with the central mystery that underpins the whole thing there's a lot to love about it.

 

I just wish that it hadn't leaned quite so heavily into the visual novel style when it comes to the actual mechanics of the game. Large swathes of it are very long and protracted conversations that tip over into self-indulgence just a little too often. It almost feels as if what very limited interactivity there is in the game was only incorporated very reluctantly; as if they'd rather it be something you sit back and watch/read entirely passively, but they had to give the player a small amount of agency as a sop to its status as a video game. I kind of feel that the detective aspects could have been made a lot more of and the game would've been far more satisfying as a result.

 

That's probably a symptom of my struggles to really get on board with overt visual novels more than anything else, and I'm sure big fans of them will vehemently disagree with me, but as magnificent as many aspects of it are I can't help but feel a little short-changed by the experience it ultimately provided.

 

As this post so ably demonstrates though, its often rambling verbosity has most assuredly rubbed off on me, and I'd encourage anyone with even a passing interest in the era it depicts or who is after something more relaxed yet cerebral to give it a shot. There's certainly nothing remotely like it and it'll comfortably get my vote as the best written game I've played all year.  

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31 minutes ago, pinholestar said:

I just wish that it hadn't leaned quite so heavily into the visual novel style when it comes to the actual mechanics of the game. Large swathes of it are very long and protracted conversations that tip over into self-indulgence just a little too often. It almost feels as if what very limited interactivity there is in the game was only incorporated very reluctantly; as if they'd rather it be something you sit back and watch/read entirely passively, but they had to give the player a small amount of agency as a sop to its status as a video game. I kind of feel that the detective aspects could have been made a lot more of and the game would've been far more satisfying as a result.

 

This is one of those things that highlights just how different people's expectations and preferences can be; by contrast, I'm most of the way through Act II, and I've been astonished by how much variation the game allows and accounts for; in terms of what you choose to investigate, how you approach different conversations, how you "build" your background.

 

As someone who loves interactive fiction, yet is often frustrated by overly linear adventures (particularly those that mask their lack of meaningful branching with superficially important decisions — see the Walking Dead games for the ultimate expression of that), I'm in love with the way Pentiment handles a massive range of options and routes for the player. It's packed with scenes and information you'll only see if you make very specific choices, and having a little ideal of just how much work even basic branching involves, I'm in awe of what they've done. For me it really shows off one of the forms of storytelling that can only be achieved through video games, in a way that more restrictive visual novels do not. I'm already looking forward to replaying the game, and I've not even finished it yet!

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15 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

This is one of those things that highlights just how different people's expectations and preferences can be; by contrast, I'm most of the way through Act II, and I've been astonished by how much variation the game allows and accounts for; in terms of what you choose to investigate, how you approach different conversations, how you "build" your background.

 

As someone who loves interactive fiction, yet is often frustrated by overly linear adventures (particularly those that mask their lack of meaningful branching with superficially important decisions — see the Walking Dead games for the ultimate expression of that), I'm in love with the way Pentiment handles a massive range of options and routes for the player. It's packed with scenes and information you'll only see if you make very specific choices, and having a little ideal of just how much work even basic branching involves, I'm in awe of what they've done. For me it really shows off one of the forms of storytelling that can only be achieved through video games, in a way that more restrictive visual novels do not. I'm already looking forward to replaying the game, and I've not even finished it yet!


While you’ll still probably eventually disagree, I’d say reserve full judgement in that regard until you’ve completed Act III. While there’s certainly choices to be made (and very consequential ones too) earlier in the game, having played the entirety of Act III in one sitting this afternoon, that final section of the game felt far more funnelled to me and as a result it soured my overall impressions a little. There’s still places in that final stretch where you can influence conversational approaches and outcomes for sure, and I don’t want to spoil it in any way, but I still would have liked there to be a little more meat on the bones of what interactivity and player agency is offered.

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having got to the start of act 3, I’m not surprised that there may be more funnelling, or that it would be necessary in order to keep the narrative under control.

 

though it is noticeable (act one and two spoilers) that

Spoiler

Of your three main murderer candidates from act one, one would have been dead from old age by act two; another (lucky) doesn’t appear at all in act two - leaving the prior and the kitchen monk who’d both spend the whole time locked in the library: avoiding having any real impact on the narrative.

 

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Spoilers for end of act 1, maybe act 2 (I’m a bit confused)

 

Spoiler

So who did others end up with being executed?

 

For me, it was the Prior (Ferenc?). I was quite surprised as the judge guy didn’t seem convinced about the letters I found  

 

Was Act 2 after the execution? For me it looked like it skipped Act 2 and went straight to Act 3 or maybe 4 (when you return 7 years later). 
 

I’m enjoying this and intrigued by it, but also keen to know how many branches there are and where I’ve ended up. I’ve triggered lots of rare achievements so maybe I’ve gone down an unusual route?

 

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On 19/11/2022 at 18:38, pinholestar said:


While you’ll still probably eventually disagree, I’d say reserve full judgement in that regard until you’ve completed Act III. While there’s certainly choices to be made (and very consequential ones too) earlier in the game, having played the entirety of Act III in one sitting this afternoon, that final section of the game felt far more funnelled to me and as a result it soured my overall impressions a little. There’s still places in that final stretch where you can influence conversational approaches and outcomes for sure, and I don’t want to spoil it in any way, but I still would have liked there to be a little more meat on the bones of what interactivity and player agency is offered.

 

So completion spoilers.

 

Spoiler

I do get where you're coming from here. What I did like about Act 3 is that it does tie everything together (even if I had pieced together who the bad person was, if not entirely their motive). And, importantly, with the themes of art, stories, the choices that artists make, Pentiment.

 

And, hey, who hasn't wanted to see a bibliography at the end of a videogame.

 

Far far better writing and narrative than *cough* 5 out of 6 games up for the VGAs.

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Completed this last night and it's one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've had all year. In a funny way I feel similarly about it as I did Immortality - in some ways it's frustrating or not entirely successful on pure gaming grounds but as an experience, as a really unique and thoughtful piece of storytelling it's absolutely outstanding. I cared about such a wide range of characters compared to pretty much any other game I've played and the sheer detail and love for the subject matter actually taught me something. It's wonderful.

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