Pentiment Previews

A couple weeks back, we had a chance to read some previews for Obsidian Entertainment’s upcoming narrative RPG Pentiment. And with the game slated for a November 15, 2022 release, you might be interested in some additional previews. Especially since even though they’re based on the same press demo, these ones happen to be more specialized in nature.

There’s Eurogamer’s article focusing on Pentiment’s writing:

“Good writing” is a phrase that gets used quite often, and it can mean a lot of different things. Is good writing a good story? An unguessable twist? Fancy prose or deliberate themes? I’m sure I’ve used it at some point when what I meant to say is really: “lots of long words I don’t completely understand.”

Still, Pentiment has good writing – wonderful writing, actually – and in this case I do know what it means. This game’s writing is witty, it has tempo and timing, it is genuinely, wickedly funny. It is also, above all, natural – something that so often seems impossible in games, things where you’re so often controlling a character impulsively, pulling their puppet strings on a whim. How do you write around that? Pentiment, Obsidian’s surprise new thing that I am judging from an admittedly quite brief hands-on at Gamescom, seems to manage it remarkably well.

And there’s one from PCGamesN that’s all about the game’s UI:

These dialogues are conveyed via speech bubbles in which the text appears immediately in outlined characters, which are then filled in by painterly brushstrokes; you get an immediate image of the whole comment, and can then follow along as it’s filled in. It helps it all settle, cognitively speaking, and strengthens the conceit of a human narrator of the tale. There’s even the odd misprint, which the writer will cross out and correct.

Such delightful attention to detail in the user experience is no surprise. Pentiment’s game director is Josh Sawyer, who has a side hustle reviewing the UX of showers on twitter. But I’m a little amazed at the difference it makes. It’s easy to get excited by what Obsidian’s Microsoft stablemate, Bethesda, is promising in the scale of Starfield, but I’m honestly nervous for the bugs, broken quests, and general jank that long experience with Bethesda’s games has taught us to expect. By delightful contrast, playing Pentiment – so far – is smoother than ice skating on a greased-up Sinatra.

Share this article:
Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

Articles: 9834
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments