Pentiment is a unique text-heavy, choose-your-own-adventure that sets you into 16th century Europe. As Andreas Maler, you are caught up in a series of murders that span over 25 years. You are responsible for conducting your own investigation and decide the fate of the communities you encounter, but beware, every decision you make brings you closer and closer to the center of a devious underlying conspiracy.
As a quick aside, I want to say I love this game's aesthetics. It is gorgeous and fits the game perfectly. This was definitely a major draw I had to buy the game, but the story is quite fantastic too. Takes a little bit to get into if you aren't a fan of the Medieval speech patterns and wording, but if you can get into it, there's a fantastic game here.
As a text-centric game, it doesn't take much to run, which is true on the Steam Deck as well! Running with no forced compatibility, you can easily hit 60 FPS with no issues at all! Without any changes, you will be getting around 6 - 7 hours of battery and temps below 60c. This game fits perfectly on the Steam Deck and easily fits into our Best on Deck category.
Part of the aesthetic for the game has you "reading" Andreas's story from a 3D book. Since the book is rendered in 3D, the game tends to draw more battery during these scenes. In the opening, this spiked to 12W, but when using the glossary when playing the game, I never saw it go over 10W. I would comfortably say leaving TDP off is still okay though as the actual gameplay rarely goes over 7W drain.
I did also look into lowering the framerate to save on battery since this is a visual novel. While 30 or 40 FPS does work well in-game, going into the feels horrible at lower framerates, so keeping at 60 is perfect. The savings were about 1W, so not very significant.
The game has a wealth of accessibility options along with it. This includes easier to read fonts, how fast dialog will appear, and the essential text size! For the Deck, the larger size is perfect and while the regular size is readable, the larger is just so much easier on the eyes. With the accessibility features it offers, Pentiment will be a game anyone can enjoy.
At Pentiment's main menu, you are prompted to log into Xbox. Since this is an Obsidian game, a developer owned by Microsoft, there is Xbox integration. Unfortunately, trying to log in locked my controls after a couple seconds and I had to restart to bring them back. I attempted to launch with Proton GE and Experimental, but nothing fixed this. Not being able to log in didn't impact gameplay at all though, so I don't see this as a huge let down.
Pentiment is a very narrative-driven game where the choices you make matter and can greatly influence the outcome of the game. On top of that, the artstyle is such a wonderful addition to the game that I can't rave about it enough. On the Steam Deck, it runs flawlessly and feels like it was made just for this device. Pentiment is a game well-deserving to be part of our Best on Deck category!
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Pentiment is a gorgeous text-heavy adventure that fits so well on Steam Deck, it feels like it was made for it.