Kyle Nazario

All From Software games are comedies

All From Software games are comedies

Via Fextralife

Note: This post includes spoilers for Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, Bloodborne and Sekiro.

Games made by From Software have a certain “hardcore” aura. These are tough, serious games for tough, serious gamers, or so their reputation would have it. The PC port of the first Dark Souls was literally subtitled “Prepare to Die.”

This grimdark reputation is not unearned. Dark Souls and Elden Ring are dark fantasy. Bloodborne is gothic horror. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an ostensibly straightfaced samurai epic (emphasis on ostensibly).

But this reputation doesn’t do the games justice. FromSoft’s creations are so much more than grim - they’re funny.

In fact, I would argue they are fully comedies, and not just because from the jokes From intentionally puts in them. The FromSoft Experience™️ is inherently funny. Games journalist Jordan Forward’s story about getting stomped in Elden Ring captures what I mean:

Around 20 hours into Elden Ring, I stumble across a crumbling old church near a lake. Inside, a giant tortoise wearing a papal mitre greets me and teaches me some powerful new sorceries. Just a short ride from the church I see a gigantic lobster. It seems friendly enough, but it’s facing away from me, so I get off my horse and approach it on foot. Just as I expect the ‘talk’ prompt to flash up, it spins around, snatches me up with one pincer, and then repeatedly snips at my face with the other before casting my lifeless body into the murky swamp waters. As everything fades to black and ‘You Died’ appears on-screen, I let out a chortle that lasts for nearly a minute.

Perfect example. Playing a FromSoft game is like walking into a house covered in mousetraps, banana peels and loose skateboards. They turn you into a virtual Buster Keaton, frantically running and rolling to stay alive.

One of my funniest experiences with their 2015 game Bloodborne was in the Forbidden Woods. I walked up to the edge of a cliff and looked down to see a pit full of giant, lethal snake monsters. Then a man with a nest of snakes for a head hit me in the back with an ax and knocked me into said pit. The big snakes killed me immediately. Those clever jerks at From knew I’d want to look into the pit, and they punished me for it.

As Kirk Hamilton put it for Kotaku Australia:

The developers at From Software are a very specific type of smart — careful, calculated, and deliberately punishing, if never quite cruel. But all of their game’s taut toughness is packaged with some delightfully twisted, subtle humour.

Anyway, this post was inspired by the Guardian Ape boss fight in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. You fight like hell to decapitate this giant poop-flinging ape, and then this happens: