I've long made the criticism that Dark Souls's story is bad because the protagonist has no content: I don't know anything about who "I" am, what his past is or what he knows about the story, which would be fine if he didn't know anything but me not knowing what he knows is different and worse than him knowing nothing. And that's a very valid and huge criticism. But Dark Souls's problem goes depeer than that.

The cardinal problem with Dark Souls's storytelling model (including Sekiro and Hollow Knight) is that they use the player character not being able to speak to anyone as an excuse to not tell you the story.

So many people are on about how Dark Souls's lore is so deep and beautiful, but they miss the fact that the story is fundamentally broken because it depends on you never asking what it is.

You can't enjoy a story when you're controlling a character surrounded by characters who demonstrably know things you don't, but the game won't let you ask them. It's not that you're mute, because all of these games give you a couple of dialog choices - not that that would help anyway because if you were mute it'd still be easy to get around that - it's that the writers won't let you ask them what the story is because they don't have an answer. There's no character at the center of this story and so he doesn't need to know anything or have any motivation or even have the capacity to project motivation onto him (because if you project your own motivations onto him you'd undoubtedly want to ask other characters questions).

None of the NPCs are believable for a second either. If any part of this story were to be bought the NPCs would have a lot more dialog. They'd want to talk to you because in most of their cases you're the only friendly face they've seen in a while. They'd want to get to know you because if anything we see is to be believed, life in Lordran is pretty lonely at the moment. None of them ever follow you when it would make sense; if you and Siegmeyer have the same goal of getting through Sen's Fortress, why don't you go through together and cover each others' backs? Because From Software doesn't want any characters in their story. That's why. They only want BoSs FiGhTs.

They want to tell a story about SoULs and KiNgS and dRaGoNs and LoRDs... But they haven't learned the single most important lesson of storytelling, nay, of life; human feelings are all that matter. If there's no character there's no story. End of story.

End of rant.

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