7 Best Companions in Video Games
Great game companions come in all shapes and sizes. They could be your off-site operator feeding you instructions through the radio, your loyal partner in crime ready to ride into battle at your command, your moral compass in a world of greys, or a fluffy doggy. Whatever the case, the very best game companions have one thing in common: they make the game they’re in better.
Here are our picks for the best companions in video games. Each one of these characters adds colour to the game they’re in and gives depth and nuance to these digital worlds. Some are so popular that they have games of their own!
Dogmeat (Fallout series)
There are lots of memorable dogs in video games, but Fallout’s Dogmeat is undoubtedly the goodest of good boys. Fierce, adorable, and loyal to a fault, Dogmeat’s always the first to jump into the fray when things go sour.
Dogmeat is one of the few recurring Fallout companions that dates back to the first game. In fact, Dogmeat is such a hit with fans that he’s in every game but two: New Vegas and Fallout 76.
Modders quickly rectified that issue in New Vegas, creating a mod that adds Dogmeat into the game. As for Fallout 76, the community has been asking for the tenacious little furball since the game’s launch. If Dogmeat isn’t in Fallout 5; we riot.
Here’s a fun piece of trivia: Dogmeat is older than the Fallout series. He debuted in the 1997 Fallout demo, which, according to a quick Google search, makes him at least 128 dog years old.
Clementine (The Walking Dead: Season One)
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series is set after the fall of human civilization to an unrelenting zombie virus. It’s a bleak and cruel place where radical evil reigns supreme: without social institutions to enforce law and order, man will naturally tend towards evil. We see this time and again throughout our journey, occasionally committing acts of moral evil ourselves for the sake of survival.
Clementine is different, though. The first time we meet her, she puts herself in danger to protect the player. Shivering and afraid, Clementine leaves the safety of her tree fort and gives away her only weapon to save a complete stranger. She is young and indomitable, even as her knees are knocking and her voice trembles. When her spirit wavers and her fears take over, Clementine knows to make the right decision.
In The Walking Dead: Season One, we may play as the capable and resourceful Lee Everett, but it’s Clementine who we really aspire to be.
Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite)
Fans often say that the player in Bioshock Infinite actually plays the sidekick of Elizabeth’s protagonist. After all, Elizabeth is the key to Bioshock Infinite’s twisting tale of time travel and interweaving dimensions, and, in a clever subversion of the escort mission trope, she’s often the one who takes the lead and protects you in battle.
Elizabeth may not have the destructive powers to crush groups of enemies into dust, but she always has exactly what you need to stay in a fight. Out of ammo? Watch her pop open a portal and steal bullets from another dimension. Low on health? She’ll pull out some first aid from a parallel world.
When you just want to shoot things dead, what more could you ask for from your partner in time?
Kim Kitsuragi (Disco Elysium)
In the excellent Disco Elysium, you play an unstable detective assigned to investigate the circumstances around a mysterious hanged corpse in the grimy industrial city of Revachol.
The core of Disco Elysium revolves around the cacophony of squabbling voices in your head. When and where you bend to the wills of these voices is what shapes your character’s personality, ultimately influencing how you will solve this mystery.
Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi is your character’s partner, a stiff-collared officer appointed to keep you on task. Those who explore their relationship with Kim will find a man with personal tragedies that mirror those of the city he serves. And beneath that cold exterior is a warmth fueled by an extreme empathy, both for Revachol and for you.
It’s easy to get lost in the din of inner voices and become consumed by their whims; Kim serves as your moral compass and tether to the people and places of Revachol, a reminder that your actions have consequences beyond satisfying the hungry fragments of your psyche.
Alyx Vance (Half-Life series)
It would be downright irresponsible of us to make a list of the best companions in video games and not include Alyx Vance. Back in 2004, when NPC companions were at best a nuisance that players were forced to tolerate, Alyx arrived to show the world the storytelling and gameplay potential of the escort mission.
First and foremost, Alyx is a valuable ally in combat. She doesn’t need your protection—her 8-foot-tall robot, Dog, has that handled—and instead provides backup and support to Gordan Freeman throughout the game.
Alyx is also cleverly scripted. You’re never put in a situation where Alyx can hinder your progress in the game. She’s there to make sure you get to where you’re going in one piece; not the other way around.
But even as her goals revolve around you succeeding, the excellent story gives Alyx room to grow as a character. We’re given time to explore her motivations and backstory, allowing us to become as invested in her journey as she is in ours.
Potato GLaDOS (Portal 2)
The first portal introduced us to a version of GLaDOS in a position of power. Her clever quips, often dripping with sarcasm, made no attempts to hide her disdain and disgust at the player. In Portal 2, GLaDOS finally gets the comeuppance she deserves, and a legendary meme was born.
Following a wild and wacky sequence of circumstances, GLaDOS finds herself imprisoned in the body of a potato by Wheatley, the idiot robot she’s spent much of Portal 2 harassing. Wheatley, it turns out, is just as dumb as GLaDOS has been telling us, and the facility begins to fall apart under his rule. Together, Potato GLaDOS (or PotatOS, as fans lovingly call her) and the player must work together to take down Wheatley before the entire place comes crashing down.
As you might imagine, GLaDOS is not happy being cooped up in an earthy spud, and she spends most of your time together insulting you and ruminating about her unfortunate situation, with hilarious results.
BT-7274 (Titanfall 2)
You either think BT-7274 is the best companion character in video games, or you’ve never played Titanfall 2. In this criminally underrated action shooter, BT-7274, or “BT,” is more than just your mech’s AI; he’s your friend and partner.
It’s impossible not to develop an emotional connection with the advanced AI. As you make your way through the game’s action-packed (but all too short) campaign, you learn about BT and protagonist Jack Cooper’s history, in the process forming your own bond with the robot.
BT is honourable and loyal, with an unwavering sense of duty and responsibility for Jack. He delivers information with a sterile matter-of-factness and a non-threatening voice that belies his immense destructive power.
Yet, through smart writing, BT remains empathetic and relatable despite being outstandingly non-human in every way. As great as the run-and-gun gameplay and mech combat is in Titanfall 2, it wouldn’t be half the game it is without BT.
That does it for our list of the best companions in video games. Picking the list wasn’t easy, at all! There are countless great video game companions from throughout video game history, and you could make an argument for any of them. Still, we hope we’ve convinced you to at least give the games here a try if only to meet these memorable characters for yourself!