Sif, the Great Grey Wolf
|Sif, the Great Grey Wolf|
|'Dark Souls' character|
Sif wielding Artorias's sword during the boss fight
|First game||Dark Souls (2011)|
|Created by||Hidetaka Miyazaki|
Sif, the Great Grey Wolf (灰色の大狼シフ Hai'iro no Dairô Shifu) is a character and boss in the action role-playing game Dark Souls. A wolf that has grown to a massive size, it protects the grave of its deceased master, Knight Artorias the Abysswalker, and the Covenant of Artorias, a ring that allows its wearer to traverse a dark void known as the Abyss. The fight with Sif has been cited by critics as one of the most emotional and memorable in the game, due to the role reversal of the player as a transgressor. Sif also functions as an optional ally in the game's DLC.
Sif is a large, silver-colored wolf that is several times the height of the player. Its gender is unspecified in the game itself. In the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, during which the player character is taken back in time hundreds of years earlier, Sif is shown to have been slightly larger than a normal wolf during its time as the companion of Knight Artorias, when it accompanied the knight to slay a primeval human known as Manus, Father of the Abyss, who had been resurrected and driven mad by the sorcerers of Oolacile. When Artorias is overwhelmed by the power of Manus, he uses his Cleansing Greatshield to form a magical barrier around the wolf and save it. If the player rescues it, it can be summoned to fight Manus. In the ensuing years, it continued to survive and grow to tremendous size to protect Artorias' grave.
Sif fights by grabbing Artorias's sword from in front of the grave and holding it in its mouth. It has a strong memory, as it remembers the player if they saved it during the DLC beforehand, but still engages the player in battle. If Sif is reduced to low health, it begins limping in pain and struggles to perform its attacks. When Sif is killed, the player obtains the Covenant of Artorias and Sif's soul, which can forge several weapons.
First4Figures created a collectable 25 inch (63,5cm) tall statue of Sif including different swords and an art print. Sif was also included in the Darkroot Basin expansion set of Dark Souls – The Board Game.
Nate Hohl of GameCrate called the fight with Sif "tear-jerking", saying that it elicited "genuine sorrow" in the player. Calling it a "cruel twist" that the game's developers did not allow Sif to be spared, he said that the fact that Sif is capable of recognizing the player if they saved it in the past made the fight even more "tragic". Game Informer awarded the fight against Sif the award for best boss fight of 2011, calling it "heartbreaking" in addition to its ingame difficulty. Jeffrey Matulef of Eurogamer called Sif "the series's most adorable boss" due to the fact that it holds a sword in its mouth. Rich Stanton, also of Eurogamer, called the fight against Sif "one that saddens me" and remarked that he never summoned other players for the fight, also stating that in the early days of the game's release, an email chain of reviewers looked for ways to save Sif, even though that rumor was later debunked.
GamesRadar+ called the fight an example of when games make the player feel guilty for doing as they are told, saying that the game hits the player with feelings when the player realizes Sif's story in the game's DLC, especially if they encounter the alternate Sif battle where its reluctance to fight "makes [its] despair clear". They also called Sif the second greatest Dark Souls boss, saying that it "plays out like an honorable duel between two beings that don't want to fight". Katelyn Gadd, programmer of Grim Fandango Remastered and Escape Goat 2, called the fight the most powerful experience she ever had in a video game, due to the realization that she was the intruder and she wanted to let the boss live, even though the game mechanics did not allow it.
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