Sons of the Forest has, so far, taught me two things. Firstly, if you’re choppering security forces into a potentially hostile situation, you should make sure the helicopter has bulletproof glass. Secondly, Sons of the Forests character Kelvin is just too pure for this world.
So I feel a little ashamed that it took me a while to figure out just what a blessing he was. But, in my defense, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is partly to blame. Specifically, it’s the fault of Lydia, the housecarl the Jarl of Whiterun generously assigns to you. I swear I could hear the Jarl’s whole entourage chuckling as I walked off with her in tow. Five minutes later she was blundering into traps, getting me caught in her ham-headed wake. So, naturally, I didn’t expect too much from Kelvin.
But after letting him amble around for a while, I finally bothered interacting with him and discovered how ridiculously awesome he is. I started off easy, asking him to harvest logs for the cabin I was building. I half expected him to clip into a tree and end up twitching amongst its branches.
Instead, off he went, merrily hacking away at trees and dumping the logs in a pile. Still, I watched, expecting something to go horribly, horribly wrong. Nothing did. Still reeling from the shock of having an actual, competent NPC companion, I decided to further test his skills.
“Accidentally” knocking down my cabin, I gave him the task of constructing a new one. I’d already glimpsed and dispatched one mutant cannibal, so I figured we had time enough. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate — you can’t just instruct Kelvin to build a cabin in Sons of the Forest. What you can do is make a start and tell him to finish it.
Once again, off he went, and while I pitched in a little, it was mostly his work. I felt a swell of pride and a sense of relief that I wasn’t going to have to do the grunt work myself. Sure, I got a big kick out of The Forest, planning how I was going to defend myself from the cannibals. But chopping down log after log was not all that much fun. Designing a stockade? Yes. Actually putting the work in? No thanks.
By introducing Kelvin, Sons of the Forest’s single-player mode solves that problem. You get all the joy of watching your little settlement grow, without having to put the work in. It’s like hiring a gardener and then lying about who actually did the work. Does that make me a terrible person? Yes. But is Kelvin going to tell anyone about it? No.
In fact, the more I play Sons of the Forest, the more I’m convinced Kelvin is some kind of supernatural entity, sent from heaven because he was too good for them… that or a hallucination.
When I watched Kelvin eating berries that, moments earlier, had me puking my guts out (and remaining unharmed), I knew something was going on. Plus, when I axed him to near death for the purposes of a screenshot, he was remarkably quick to forgive me. I can’t, yet, prove my Kelvin = Jesus theory, but I’m working on it.
Sometimes, though, I wish my Kelvin were less perfect. I’ve heard stories of the chaos that ensues when he does go off the rails. My favorite, so far, has been Kelvin cutting down the treehouse he was instructed to finish. It makes a strange kind of sense — he needed wood, so he just happened to cut down the tree the treehouse was on.
My efforts to lead Kelvin down a more ridiculous path have, so far, failed. I tried asking him to follow me, then stood on the other side of a blazing fire. He negotiated the campfire, however, without bursting into flames. It’s not that I want Kelvin to go full Lydia; I’m just a little jealous of other people’s Kelvin-related shenanigans.
But, hey, there’s still plenty of time — for now, I’m happy to have Kelvin around. And even if he does, at some point, doom my Ewok village with a single axe stroke, Kelvin is still the game changer Sons of the Forest needs.