I make no secret of my love of the deep and complex game that is Dark Souls. But there is only one thing I would change in the games entirety; Sif, The Great Grey Wolf. A source of awe and sadness as a necessary boss fight. Come on FROM Software. Save Sif! I’ll do anything… (Spoilers herein!)
I adore Sif.
It isn’t that I was moved to tears by his limping when close to death, or burst out crying when after sparing him in Oolacile, my encounter with him next led to him remembering me, reluctant to pick up his giant sword. It’s more than that. Sif is a tale told in no words, but is all the more powerful and moving because of it.
This gigantic wolf came from the humble beginnings; in the recent Artorias of the Abyss content, you can rescue Sif as no more than a pup, spared from the Abyssal energies as he was contained inside a shield by his master. Over time, Sif grew and grew and kept a vigil over the ‘grave’ of Sir Artorias the Abysswalker in the Darkroot Garden. This clearly affects Alvina, the Watcher of the Woods, as well; not only has Sif grown beyond all recognition, but he still laments the loss of his companions – his master and, latterly, the player. Sif has suffered much, and suffers more at our hands. Not only let down by his master, but then let down by his saviour as well.
I, for one, find this too much to bear.
Yes, there is the possibility that people may think I am a bit of a wuss extolling the virtues of one boss/NPC/character in a game, but I suppose it’s telling that it is Sif in particular that I feel most compelled by as a boss fight I wish and would hope in future is not necessary. It’s a reflection on just how simple and moving his tale is that I am compelled to want to come to his defence, to want spare him, to free him and be freed by him. I don’t WANT to fight Sif. The tragedy is already palpable, already played out. More tragedy on top starts to topple the tower and makes me revile that whole segment, makes me hate it all the more. In a game like Dark Souls with so much to love, that whole chunk in Darkroot Garden just makes me angry now.
If FROM Software ever take suggestions, here’s mine; give us, the players, a chance to save Sif.
I don’t care how hard it would be, or what my character would have to go through. I couldn’t care less if I had to do everything BUT the Sif fight before it became available, or that there was a hidden puzzle or item that was extremely hard to come by. I would do it. I would invest the hours, go through hell and back again. I would take on a thousand drakes, kill legions of undead and watch the world burn to the ground. I don’t care if the challenge required me to be Level 1 and have a number of rare and exotic pieces of equipment, I wouldn’t bat an eye if they charged me $30 for the pleasure. I’d do it, I’d do anything just for the opportunity to save this beast, this giant wolf which has touched every Dark Souls player in some capacity.
Sif is the sort of thing that FROM Software simply did too well. He is too evocative and has too much impact. I don’t want Sif to die. I want Sif to live. And every time I have to kill him now, a little piece of my Dark Souls love dies too. Every time I remember there is no way to spare him, I am angry at the game, at FROM, for not realising that this may be an option we wanted, a choice that is needed in the context of the game. Every time, I flinch. I loathe it. I hate delivering those final blows. It puts me in a sour mood. No other boss has managed to do that for me. I doubt many ever will again. But whilst it is brilliant to make it so powerful, the danger – and reality – is you can go too far. That’s the Sif fight. They simply got it so right, that the lack of a choice to spare him actually starts to ruin everything else. It’s the most foremost thing in your head, it’s the zit on a supermodels face, the fly in your soup, the massive turd on a wedding cake. It… it spoils everything because you can’t NOT notice it! It’s there, like seeing an elephant with a massive erection (trust me, I wish I could get that image out of my head!). Once you’ve seen it, there’s no going back. You can’t forget. You can’t forgive. You can’t carry on. You just turn away in revulsion, sickened and saddened.
I mean, FROM Software, this can’t be above your remit, surely? It’s the most glaring and deeply annoying part of an otherwise great, great game – a game so close to perfection, critics and bloggers across the world are hailing it as one of the finest, strongest games to come to the fore this whole generation. And I want to call it that. I really do. I am so close to the video-gaming equivalent of eloping with the game and having a seedy Vegas chapel wedding. I am deeply in love with Dark Souls. But it’s just that one little detail. That one issue that keeps getting in the way, and I can’t get past it. I have tried, so many times, to forgive the game for this. Every single time, I can’t. I get to that segment and it… these days, I simply can’t do it. I refuse to do it. Seeing as you can’t finish the game without doing it… I have reached the point now after a few completions where I simply have no possible means to finish the game, because I flat out won’t kill Sif any more.
So come on FROM Software. I have money. I will pay for more content, sure. But this content has to contain just one proviso; Please… spare Sif. It doesn’t have to be an easy quest chain. Just an option. Let us save him…
… then Dark Souls really will be perfect, and win this generation for me hands-down.
- Please note that the original title was “Save Sif!”, but then it occurred to me that such a statement might be Googled and end up with me getting nasty e-mails and comments about it. So I changed it. It’s still not exactly perfect, but it’s slightly less of an actual statement and more of a request. Sorry if anyone is misled. Not my intention, honest! – Kami