Pentiment isn't just a game about history in medieval Europe, it's also a game about the lives of common folk in rural Tassings. It's a game about how the actions of a powerful few can cascade upon those who have less in life. Despite the many funny scenes and exchanges from various characters, Pentiment isn't exactly the sunniest of games around, especially when your decisions have lasting and irreversible consequences.
From partings to injustices, here are the most heartbreaking scenes from Pentiment.
This article contains spoilers about Pentiment.
10/10 Paul Being Discouraged For His Art
Paul loved scribbling around, like many other kids his age. He comes from a rather wealthy family, since he's Lenhardt's son, the town's miller. That being said, everybody knows that his father isn't the kindest man in town. He looks down upon the peasants, and is implied to be unfaithful to his wife. Lenhardt's less than pleasant attitude extends to his son, who from a young age, expressed his love for art. He told Paul that art isn't a worthy pursuit and that he should abandon it, which left Paul practicing art in secret from his father.
9/10 Andreas Losing His Love For Life
Seven years later, when Andreas reached wordly success and has found an apprentice to guide, he's become obviously subdued compared to when we first see him. His view in life has become somber, and he's been dishing out advice to people that makes them avoid as much regret as they can. It's just unfortunate to see that the court in his mind has depreciated: he's lost reason, humor, and muse.
He's become the husk of the man he used to be after seven years. We see how the Beatrice in his mind has become Melencolia, and how much of his dialogue contains disappointment at this stage in his life.
8/10 Why Sister Zdena Became A Nun
We can sympathize with Andreas for losing his love for art and life in general, but Sister Zdena's tale is reflective of society then and how limited women's roles were. Sister Zdena was a woman of noble birth, who loved her life at Kiersau. But because her family couldn't marry her to another noble of a higher rank, they decided to donate to the abbey and shove her into sisterhood.
She tells Andreas that he's lucky to live the life he wants, while she has to live a life that is chosen for her. It's too bad that she was born in the wrong generation.
7/10 The Parting of Father Piero and Andreas
After spending the first half of the game solving the murder of Baron Lorenz so that Father Piero could be spared, Andreas had to bid farewell to Tassing. Andreas was just a guest at the scriptorium, and Father Piero was a good mentor and friend who inspired Andreas to "put himself" in his art. They had to part ways eventually, with Father Piero blessing Andreas graciously. Seven years later, we find out that their goodbyes would be their last meeting, because Andreas would visit the abbey only to be greeted by Father Piero's grave.
It's unfortunate that the man we tried to save in the first act didn't live longer than we'd hoped.
6/10 Finding Out That Peasants Can No Longer Use The Forest
It's more than just losing rights to the forest, the peasants have also lost access to fishing, which cuts down a substantial source of their diet. It's been the talk of the town, particularly among the peasant-folk, that the abbey has been raising taxes and banning their access to the forest. In a haunting fashion, it looks as if the problem that Father Piero spoke of regarding peasants not being able to forage acorns, has grown larger. It's no longer limited to acorns, it's just not allowed for peasants to take anything from the forest. Going against that command from the duke and the abbey meant expulsion from the Church.
5/10 Dining With The Gertners Seven Years Later
The Gertners were our hosts when we started out as Andreas, the artist in training. Seven years ago, they had bread and meat on the table. Seven years later, only Andreas and Caspar's bowls had bread, and there was no meat to be found. To make matters worse, almost everybody in the family is sick and Clara lost a child a year ago all because they aren't getting proper nutrition. This is all because their access to the forest has been stripped, making medicine and other food items inaccessible.
This scene is heartbreaking, but also enraging especially when you dine at the abbey later on and find that Father Gernot is eating very well in comparison to most meals you share with the other peasants.
4/10 Learning About The Life Of Sister Amalie
Sister Amalie's life is also not hers to choose, and it's gloomier than Sister Zdena's in comparison. It's implied that she's locked in her little room and is living with what little furniture she has. She also believes that the outside world would pollute her thoughts, which is why she stays in her small house, suffering from visions she couldn't even comprehend. To add a macabre twist, it was revealed that the hole she's dug in her room is to be her grave.
She was prepared for death to come for her at any moment, and she's lived her life seeing visions she couldn't even understand.
3/10 The Death of Otto Zimmerman
Andreas was different from Andreas in many ways, but he became friends with him and was key to helping him gather evidence in the murder of Baron Lorenz. When we come back to Tassing, we've found that Otto finally got married to Eva and has a son with her. He's also become persuasive, and was leading the charge against the abbey for the rising taxes and the inability to access the forest. It seems that life was just starting for Otto, but he became the subject of the second act's brutal murder.
He was crushed under the weight of heavy bricks, and Eva came rushing to his lifeless body in apparent distress. It was a bloody and tragic scene for somebody so young, with so much left behind.
2/10 The Death of August Maler
We found out that the reason for Andreas' discontent with life is largely related to the loss of his son, August, who was implied to have been taken by the plague. This loss also caused strain between Andreas and Sabine, his wife. She mourns the loss of her son while longing for her husband who wouldn't come home. Andreas dreads coming home, as shown in his dialogues.
August wasn't really an active character in the story, but he haunts Andreas in his dreams. Andreas dreams of the last time he said good night to his son, to which his son never replied, because he was taken by illness.
1/10 The Cause For Sister Matilda's Hermitage
The first time we accompanied Baron Lorenz to the abbey, Mother Cecilia whisked the other sisters away from the sight of the Baron in a hurry. We dug through this story through various means, and found out that Sister Matilda was a victim of the Baron's sleazy advances. Although she refused and was able to defend herself, she was still badly beaten by the Baron and was left to die in the woods. If she wasn't found by anybody, her fate would've been sealed. Justice wasn't served for her at the time, and she had to leave the abbey to recover from her severe injuries. Although she's physically healed, her dialogue explicitly says that her mind has not.
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