9 Of Gaming’s Best Companions

(c) Bethesda
Dogmeat, your best bud in Fallout 4.

Being saddled with a companion in-game can be a chore sometimes, especially when you’re tasked with dragging some helpless, useless character from place to place (usually while gunning down hordes of enemies). But other times, having a companion with you to explore the fantastic worlds in which you find yourself is an unexpected treat. Here are 6 of the best companions in gaming.

9. Starter Pokemon, Pokémon Series

(c) Nintendo, The Pokemon Company
Litten from Pokemon Sun and Moon.

We all love Pikachu in the show, but let’s face it: in the games, there’s just not that immediate connection to the adorable yellow rodent. Instead, you choose from a fire, water or grass-type starter, with each set of starters changing depending on which gen of Pokémon you’re playing.

But that’s your boo. Your starter gets you through those first grassy areas and helps you battle all those Normal and Bug types you usually have to combat in the beginning of the games. Your starter usually has a permanent spot on your team as your most powerful Pokémon, recipient of many a TM or HM, doted upon and adored all the way to the endgame.

And you love the little fella. Just admit it.

8. Dogmeat, Fallout 4

(c) Bethesda
Dogmeat, your best bud in Fallout 4.

Roaming the post-apocalyptic wastes of Boston just isn’t the same without your loyal German Shepherd by your side. Your faithful doggo can be outfitted in a variety of cool gear, from welding goggles to spiked collars to special canine armor, and like all companions, he helps you in battle.

You can even build a little house for him in any of your settlements, so if you decide to leave him behind (although why would you do that?!) he’ll wait for you adorably in his comfy miniature dwelling.  

A Sole Survivor, a radio playing jaunty old-timey tunes, a loyal pupper and a ruined wasteland to explore: what else could a former Vault Dweller ask for?

7. Midna, Twilight Princess

(c) Nintendo
Midna from Twilight Princess.

Midna’s a sarcastic little thing, and that’s why we love her. Sassy and mysterious, Midna and Link team up in Twilight Princess in order to battle an enigmatic “greater evil.” She serves as something of a guide to Link, and her presence is key to many useful abilities.

Eventually, Midna’s true form is revealed. She is a powerful mage and ruler of the Twili realm, and her story involves all the best of Legend of Zelda canon from tragedy to triumph. Our mouthy little Midna is a lot more than meets the eye, and her presence is one of many things that makes Twilight Princess truly unique.

6. Yusuke Kitagawa, Persona 5

(c) Atlus
Yusuke Kitagawa, Persona 5’s best boy (aside from Joker).

This elegant, long-limbed pretty boy is one of the first companions Joker meets in Persona 5. Yusuke is an art aficionado whose sheltered upbringing and sense of the dramatic collide for some of the game’s low-key funniest moments. Not only is he a smart and talented artist, he’s a deep thinker and a sensitive soul who wrestles with some big questions.

He might not be one of the most popular companions (Ann and Makoto might need to arm wrestle for that title) but he has one of the game’s most striking character designs with that kitsune mask, a standout in a game whose graphical design is already exceptional. And he’s my favorite. So there!

5. Zevran, Dragon Age

(c) Bioware
Zevran of Dragon Age Origins.

This jocular elven assassin from the faraway land of Rivain is such a fan favorite that even though he isn’t available as a companion in Dragon Age 2 or Dragon Age Inquisition, he has a token presence in both games. With his light accent, dual-wielding roguish swagger and flirtatious demeanor, Zevran is one of Origin’s most appealing companions.

However, it’s in romancing him that Zevran truly shines. The former assassin’s backstory could move a glass eye to tears. Jaded and emotionally isolated, it is the Warden’s tenderness and persistence that reveals a side of Zevran he thought was long dead. 

Zevran remains loyal to the Warden he romances, a fact which is punctuated several times throughout the trilogy with references to their adventures together (or to Zevran’s undying loyalty if the Warden has passed away). Along with Leiliana and Morrigan, Zevran’s storyline continues in all three games, a special feat for a character who only really appears in the first one. 

4. Elizabeth, Bioshock Infinite

(c) Irrational Games
Elizabeth of Bioshock Infinite.

Bioshock Infinite is a game riddled with many problems, but those problems do not include your charming, resourceful companion, a young girl named Elizabeth with mysterious powers. With an intro like that, you might expect that shepherding Elizabeth throughout the game is like any much-dreaded escort mission: a tedious exercise in replaying the same section over and over as the subject of your protection whines and you juggle their health bar, your own, and a million enemies.

But you would be mistaken. Elizabeth is an engaging and fully-developed character with her own personality, dreams and wishes, and she does not present interference to your gameplay. In fact, she enhances it, periodically scavenging health packs or coins at just the right moment and assisting you in combat with her special abilities.

When her huge blue eyes look up at you in a scene, you feel a sense of her intelligence and power. Her heart-wrenching story eventually collides with your own in a twisty, unexpected way that makes you appreciate her strength and courage all the more.

3. Ignis, Final Fantasy XV

(c) Square Enix
Ignis of Final Fantasy XV.

Ignis is the best member of Team Chocobro for so many reasons: he has the best DLC, he’s the most proven and loyal to Noctis, he cooks for you even though you don’t like your veggies, he has the best Limit Breaks, he looks rugged and rough when his hair gets all messed up, his accent is super neat, he drives you around whenever you don’t want to drive, he gives the best advice, and he is overall the best butler to have ever butlered.

More stalwart than Gladio, more useful than Prompto and more competent than anyone in the entire world, Ignis has put in a lot of hard work to reach this rank on the list.

2. Garrus, Mass Effect

(c) Bioware
Garrus Vakarian, King Of My Heart.

The dinosaur bird-man is king of Mass Effect companions. You see him go from a Citadel cop in Mass Effect 1 to a vigilante dispensing frontier justice in Mass Effect 2 to a more steady, balanced person in Mass Effect 3. Garrus’s emotional arc is one of the best in modern gaming.

Everything about him is cool: he’s a turian, he has a witty, dry, sardonic sense of humor that makes him a pleasure to have in your party, and he’s a sniper, a fact that’s played up in his incredibly cool Mass Effect 2 intro.

If you romanced Garrus, his love story is also one of the game’s most satisfying. #TeamShepkarian

1. Vivi, Final Fantasy IX

(c) Square Enix
Vivi, Best Boy Of All Time.

Vivi is one of the best characters in all of Final Fantasy. Yeah, I said it. His existential storyline, his heartbreakingly sweet personality, adorable design and powerful black magic combine to make for a character you just can’t keep out of your party. His theme evokes all the whimsy of Final Fantasy IX itself, possibly even more so than the game’s main theme:

On top of that, Vivi’s emotional arc ticks all the boxes for a truly satisfying Final Fantasy character adventure: tragedy, trauma, betrayal, heartbreak, struggle, acceptance, triumph, legacy, and love. Vivi is best boy.

Who do you think are some of gaming’s best companions? How would you rank them? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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