It’s no secret that From Software games are brutal. And their worlds reflect that. Their atmospheres are oppressive and depressing. As you wander through, finding practically nothing but monsters and traps, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the doom and gloom.
But then, like two ships passing by on the sea, you’ll run into a friendly face.
The characters of these games are almost as iconic as the games themselves. Anyone who has played them can list off several of their favorite NPCs and why. From the ever-returning Patches to the onion bros of Siegmeyer and Siegward to the Doll of the Hunter’s Dream, there are tons of these guys.
Each of them fills a typical role for an RPG. Some of them will give you items or spells, some of them will sell you items, others will help you out in boss fights, and more than a few of them will try and kill you. You can ignore them, make friends with them, kill them, whatever you want to do. Ultimately, they’re all a small part of the game.
And if you know anything about clocks, it’s that the small parts are just as important as the big ones.
Like I said at the beginning, these games have extremely oppressive worlds. Wandering through them, constantly being killed over and over again, is exhausting and depressing. Finding a friendly face isn’t just a welcome distraction, it’s a monumental relief! It doesn’t just make the world feel all the more alive, it gives you hope; if these guys are getting by, then you can too. And maybe you’ll run into them again later on.
Just look at Solaire. Before you meet him, the only truly friendly face you had ever met died shortly afterwards. After that, you had to deal with dragons and demons and zombies and a gloomy abandoned city and a small handful of NPCs who are just dickheads. But then, after all that, you meet the friendliest, jolliest dude in the whole game. One who gives you an item specifically designed to bring people together. You can’t help but love him and trust him.
A feeling that the games will fully take advantage of. Because not all of these guys are trustworthy. Patches and several others will betray you at any point. The ones you like could meet a horrific end. They’re just as vulnerable to the horrors of this world as you are.
In a way, that makes their presence even more of a relief. Sort of like how soldiers might bond after a battle. Whether you like them or not, you and the NPCs are in this quest together. It makes any betrayal or loss you might suffer all the more painful, and any aide you receive even more meaningful.