While exploring the many fantasy worlds that comprise the gaming universe, you may occasionally stumble across a tree that is unlike other trees. This tree is intelligent, and possesses the power of speech. This tree may even command powerful magic. You are flabbergasted at first, but when it addresses you, or perhaps even bids you come forward, your confusion turns to amazement, your disbelief into wonder, and your apprehension into inquisitiveness.
With that in mind, I have taken it upon myself to list for you the top ten talking trees in gamedom. Now, if you don’t happen to see your favorite tree here, keep two things in mind:
- I’m only including trees from games I’ve played.
- I’m only including trees that talk, as in actual dialogue. Trees that only growl or bite or whip you are excluded.
I’ve seen several lists on the internet that discuss video game trees, but none that deal exclusively with talking trees. So, if you love the haunted trees from the living forest in Mortal Kombat II, or the climbable trees from Super Mario 64, this isn’t your list. Now, please read on, and enjoy.
***This list will contain spoilers***
10. Whispy Woods – Kirby’s Avalanche
Ah, Kirby’s old nemesis, Whispy. You’re probably wondering why I chose the Kirby’s Avalanche version of Whispy. Well, it’s the only Kirby game I’ve played… I’ll give you a moment to gasp… There, feel better? Whispy does not like it when Kirby stomps on his roots, so they engage in blob-dropping combat. You beat him down by getting as many matches and combos as possible to drop large payloads of rocks on Whispy’s blobs. This makes it much harder to create matches. You shut Whispy down and move on to face Kabu. As the only baddie on this list, he was fated to fall into the number 10 slot from the very beginning. If you think that’s unfair and you believe I’m giving Whispy a raw deal, by all means tell me why.
9. Tree of Wisdom – Plants vs. Zombies
You can acquire this plant from Crazy Dave for $10,000 after beating Dr. Zomboss once. As it becomes taller and taller, it gives you gameplay tips. However, many of the “secrets” it divulges you probably figured out on your own by playing through all 50 levels of adventure mode. Additionally, each bag of tree food costs $2,500, and grows the tree one whopping foot each time you feed it. For your efforts, you can gain access to some “cheats.” Unfortunately, these cheats have purely cosmetic effects, and have no real impact on gameplay. I find this to be an excellent example of a negative disparity between effort vs. reward. If you want my opinion, this is best done by completionists only. I recommend you save your money for the other plant upgrades that are available. The only thing keeping the Tree of Wisdom out of the bottom spot is the fact that it’s not a bad guy, like Whispy.
8. Harold (Bob) – Fallout 3
Harold has been a recurring character in the Fallout series, know for having a tree growing out of his head. Well, by the year 2277, a more accurate description would be that he is a tree. This is why he qualifies for this list. While he personally draws a distinction between himself and Bob (the tree), there really is no separating the two by this point. He comes in at number 8 because the first thing he asks you to do is help him die. None of his “disciples” will do it, and he doesn’t really offer you anything for your trouble. If you do elect to destroy his heart, you gain the Barkskin perk, which gives you +5 damage resistance, but this is an accident caused by your exposure to the mutative properties of Harold’s F.E.V.-afflicted heart, rather than Harold’s desire to be helpful or to provide recompense for carrying out an assisted suicide.
7. Grand Oak (Elder Tree) – Dragon Age: Origins
You come across this rhyming tree while exploring the western Brecilian Forest. He tells you (in rhyme) about his stolen acorn, and implores you to get it back for him, as he values it above all other things. In order to get it, you have to either slay or barter with the crazy old mage that lives on the other side of the forest. When you return the golden acorn to him, he gives you an enchanted oak branch. This branch can clear the fog that is blocking entry into the portion of the forest where the werewolves live. He comes in at number seven because while he’s friendly, you have to jump through a hoop in either fighting or suffering through the ranting of that deranged old mage, and the item you receive for your efforts has only storyline importance.
6. Father Yggdra – White Knight Chronicles II
Father Yggdra is gigantic tree situated in the middle of the Kingdom of Faria. He was once a man, and an ally to Queen Mureas, alongside whom he fought in the Dogma Wars, 10,000 years ago. He now acts as a spiritual guide and counselor for the denizens of Faria. Father Yggdra’s branches also shelter the Moon Maiden (not pictured here), one of the five knights of ancient Yshrenia. You first encounter him while he’s under attack by Ban Nanazel and his soldiers. After being liberated by Leonard and company, Father Yggdra bestows upon them the Retrospecticon, and magical book that allows you to step into past events. This allows you to obtain the three magical insignias, which are fragments of Queen Mureas’ power. Father Yggdra is number 6 because he doesn’t give you anything that directly affects you party’s overall power. The Retrospecticon has only storyline significance, and he’s in no way involved in the unleashing of the Moon Maiden. She simply disappears out of Father Yggdra’s branches when Yulie takes hold of her Ark. And while he’s described has having ancient and powerful magic, he doesn’t share any of it with you.
5. Yggdrasil – Breath of Fire III
An ancient tree of wisdom, Yggdrasil becomes available to the party once Peco joins up. Yggdrasil can also take apprentices, however, taking Yggdrasil as a master will cause you to become weak against fire. You may consider equipping a Ring of Fire to whomever apprentices under him. While technically appearing in three places, he can only be accepted as a master in the location east of the Plant. Additionally, he only speaks through Peco. Furthermore, you must provide Yggdrasil with a Wisdom Fruit in order to communicate. These fruits are not sold anywhere, so you have to either find them, steal them, or win them as loot. Yggdrasil comes in at fifth position due to Breath of Fire III being an awesome game, but otherwise being of no major benefit to the party outside of being a potential master.
4. Nyralim – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Nyralim is a massive, indestructible world tree that lives in his own secluded area of the Faelands, Caer Nyralim. It’s located in the southern portion of Dalentarth, near the border to Detyre. His existence predates even that of the Fae, and his wisdom and counsel are highly sought after by the Court of Summer. He also controls access to Ysa, the capital city of the Summer Fae. Upon meeting him, he asks the Fateless One to dispatch Gnarsh, a rock troll matriarch that has been corrupted by prismere through the meddling of the Tuatha. When this is done, it is possible to receive a charm called Nyralim’s Grace, which provides +10% elemental resistance. You also get access to the Gardens of Ysa, allowing you to continue your quest. Nyralim is number 4 because the accessory you can get from him is actually fairly useful until you’re much higher level. While you have to persuade Nyralim to get it, you can simply save right before you talk to him and reload if you fail the check.
3. Trent – Legend of Mana
Trent actually lives in your backyard. Unfortunately, you can’t talk to him until you slay the four Lullabuds that are living back there. Once you do this, Trent will power his way out of the ground and introduce himself. From then on, you can feed him seeds that will grow fruits and vegetables on his branches. You can then use this produce to strengthen and temper your pets. Trent is number 4 because he offers you this service at absolutely no charge, and as far as I can remember, you never lose access to your backyard. All you need to do is feed him seeds, and then wait a little while, and BOOM! You have fresh produce for your pets.
2. The Great Deku Tree – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Great Deku Tree stood proudly in the middle of Kokiri Forest until he was cursed by the dark wizard, Ganondorf. With not long to live, he calls upon his faithful fairy attendant, Navi, to fetch Link. He charges Link with the task of removing the cause of his blight. Link succeeds, but The Great Deku Tree’s fate had long been sealed. Before he dies, he gives Link the Kokiri Emerald, a gem necessary to open the Gate of Time. He also sends Navi with Link as a guide and companion. Regardless of how annoying you may have found Navi to be, you cannot argue with the fact that exploration and combat would have been much harder without her. These things, taken together with the selection of useful items you find inside The Great Deku Tree, put him at number 2. Prior to 2011, the Great Deku Tree probably would have been at the top of everyone’s list. Well, all good things must come to an end.
1. Old Father Oak – Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Old Father Oak is an ancient tree that sits fairly close to the entrance of the Deep Dark Wood. Oliver meets him very early in his quest, and he gives his many things to help him in his journey. First, he teaches Oliver three spells: Fireball, Form Familiar, and Healing Touch. He also gives you a guided tutorial on how to control and train familiars. Second, he sends the Telling Stone along with you, which keeps track of everything you encounter in your travels, and even provides tutorials in case you forget something. This is most useful in seeing if you’ve tracked down every treasure chest in a given area. Finally, he occasionally gives you a reward for coming back to talk to him after you’ve completed another leg of the main quest. It’s for these reasons that I find Old Father Oak to be the greatest of the sentient video game trees.
Talking Timbers – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
These guys are scattered around the Dark World landscape. If you run into their “snout,” many of them will spit a bomb out and chastise you. A few however will be more than happy to talk to you, as they are likely pleased to see a friendly face in an otherwise unforgiving land. They do not rank on the list for the simple fact that there is no one talking timber that stands above the rest, or any one that aids Link in a meaningful way.
Flute Boy – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
You first encounter him in the Light World, entrancing the forest animals with the sounds of his flute (ocarina). When you travel to the Dark World, he’s still basically in the same place, but he has been cursed by the corrupted golden power, and is beginning to turn into a tree. He asks you to find his flute, and gives you a shovel. When you find it and bring it back to him, he simply asks you to play it for him one last time. When your song is finished, the Flute Boy turns completely into a tree. He is not included in the list because he can talk, and he is a tree… but not at the same time!
So there you have it. If your favorite tree is not on this list, chances are I haven’t played that game, or I have simply forgotten it. There’s also a slight chance that it doesn’t qualify, for one reason or another. By all means, tell me about your favorite talking tree, whether or not it is on this list, in the comments below. Happy gaming, and God bless.