If there’s one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to Pentiment, it’s that it has a fantastic aesthetic. Even if you don’t particularly like the look, the amount of work and thought that went into translating late Medieval art into a living, breathing world must be appreciated. When you enter the town of Tassing, you are greeted by villagers of all shapes and sizes, all distinct and bursting with personality.
Sometimes, Pentiment doesn’t even feel like a game. Instead, it feels like stepping into a mural, into history. That is by design, of course, but it still leaves quite the impression. Every character is a marvel, but some stand out more than others.
9/9 Every Single Child
This might be cheating, but look at those little tykes! They’re absolutely adorable. Most of the kids in Pentiment share similar features – mainly round, curious eyes and a slightly mischievous smile. They’re always running around, doing who knows what to who knows who, and they adore you.
While they all share similarities, how their differences are expressed helps build their characters and social standings. Ursula seems unkempt because she is running around everywhere, all the time. Anna is dressed nicely but plainly, befitting her place as the baker’s daughter. Paul has fine clothes yet looks unenthused – his father is wealthy but casually cruel, and it reflects in Paul’s design.
The town’s stonemason looks the part, that much is clear. Lucky is middle-aged, with a bald head and goatee. Lucky seems like he’s built from the rock itself – like he was carved from it before being placed into Tassing. He moves like it, too – sturdy, strong, constant.
Lucky also seems the most realistic-looking character – less like a mural, more like a person. During the first act, if you suspect Lucky of the murder, this can almost be unsettling. Whether you believe he did it or not, the fact remains – Lucky is a unique presence in Tassing.
Another persistent, and welcome, presence during your numerous stays in Tassing, Claus is a printer and your close friend. There is a quiet confidence in Claus, one that you have to look for to truly see. He almost seems sturdier, more like a print than a painting, as befitting his profession.
Claus never seems to change that much throughout your time in Tassing – he grows older, his hair greys. But the constant of him is still there, written into his squared shoulders and observant eyes. You only need a glance to realize Claus will be a central character in your life.
The herbalist of the convent, Sister Gertrude, is immediately recognizable for her almost circular shape. With a slight smile constantly etched on her face, she feels like warmth and kindness in the form of a woman. She will be near you throughout your entire journey in Tassing, which is a comfort if there ever was one.
After every time skip, it’s nice to find a familiar face, an ever-constant in your playthrough. But, of course, Gertrude is always there, and she’s always willing to help.
5/9 Brother Matthieu
Does Matthieu do much that affects the plot? Not really. Is he incredibly unique in the world of Pentiment? Absolutely. Matthieu is a monk at the Abbey, tasked with guarding the Sacristy. You don’t get too much from talking to him. Mainly, he exists in the background, a constant presence during your investigations.
His more diminutive stature betrays his stern personality – though he does have a lighter side to him, mainly shown through his relationship with Rudeger. You can never miss Matthieu when he’s on screen – for a character with so little to do, he sure does have a magnetic presence.
4/9 Mother Cecilia
Mother Cecilia runs the convent, though she will not appear after the first act. While her clothes are normal nun-garb, she manages to make even the greys and whites of the Sisterhood look regal. Nevertheless, her presence is unmistakable, and even at a glance, you can tell that the woman commands respect wherever she may go.
Cool-headed, calm, and considerate, Mother Cecilia is a crucial source of information for your investigation in the first act. It’s not difficult to see why the other sisters look up to her so much, her very image commands respect.
3/9 Sister Illuminata
Sister Illuminata loves books and, befittingly, appears as if she walked off the pages of one into your story. She is made of curls, of soft brushstrokes, with a steady hand. The librarian of the Abbey, Illuminata, is a severe woman whose sad expression betrays her inner strength. She is the character who will challenge Andreas’ preconceived notions the most, who makes him think of the realities of the world.
Yet, as down-to-earth Illuminata is, her appearance seems the most unbelievable. Like wisps drawn together to form a woman. She feels like a story taken shape – less sturdy than anyone else in the Abbey or Tassing itself.
Our protagonist goes through several changes over his decades-long journey, yet, like real people, he always stays the same. Even when he changes his hair, grows a beard, or grows old, we can always tell it’s him. That’s sound design, especially for a character with fewer distinguishing features. It’s his eyes. You can tell it’s him by his eyes.
Andreas is an everyman and looks it. He lacks the large, muscular bodies of characters like Lucky or Endris. He’s not small in stature like Matthieu, tall like Peter, or full like Sister Gertrude. He just is, though that is enough to leave an impression.
1/9 Brother Sebhat
Brother Sebhat is visiting from Rome, an emissary of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Sadly, he only plays a part in the first act, and you may learn very little about him if you do not join him for a meal. This is too bad because Sebhat is both a delight and the best-designed character in the game.
It may take you a moment, or two, to realize that Sebhat looks slightly different from the other monks. Rendered in Ethiopian Orthodox iconography, Sebhat is vibrant, whereas the Benedictine monks are dull. It is so wonderful that Obsidian gave us a character that broadens the scope of the world and is accurate to his own homeland’s artistic traditions. It makes you wish there had been other characters from other parts of the world, shown in their respective art styles… we know what would have been very difficult, but we can dream.
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