We finally got a good look at Resident Evil 4 Remake this week, overloading us with good ‘ol 2000s nostalgia. That also means we were reunited with one of Resi’s most iconic companions, Ashley, getting us thinking about all the other player-character buddies out there.
This week, The Big Question is: who is the best companion of all time?
Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077
Rhiannon Bevan, News Editor
If there’s one reason to give Cyberpunk 2077 another go, it’s V’s relationship with Johnny. Because despite all of the hype, the fact that he’s played by Keanu Reeves is probably the least interesting thing about him.
V and Johnny were never meant to have met, with the rockerboy “dying” several years before V was even born. They only meet because they both fell victim to Arasaka, while also only getting a second chance at life because of them. Subtly, you see the pair’s relationship go from outright antagonistic, to begrudging acceptance, to possibly the strongest friendship in Night City. And the whole time, your new buddy is killing you, and the fact that you’re both getting along might just be a sign that you’re dying. As a companion, Johnny forces you into the action, and even makes your character do things they never thought they were capable of before. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Haruka Sawamura, Yakuza
Axel Nicolás Bosso, Guides Trainer
I had no choice. Not many companions in video games are as lovely as Haruka. She’s one of the main characters that drive the plot in the first title, and since being adopted by Kiryu, she has become a key part of the Yakuza series.
Sure, she might not be able to help Kiryu with the ass-kicking, but she doesn’t have to. Haruka’s best moments come in the shape of touching cutscenes and her relationship with her foster dad. Not to mention that she has her own playable arc in Yakuza 5, which is ridiculously good.
As long as she lets you take her hand and just hang around Kamurocho, everything will be fine.
Jackie Welles, Cyberpunk 2077
Harry Alston, Senior Writer
Jackie Welles was an influential part of Cyberpunk 2077, both in the hype of the game during its original 48-minute preview, but also during the first few important missions of the campaign. You might also remember that he was probably one of the buggiest NPCs ever known. That made me love him even more. Cyberpunk 2077 got a lotta hate, but after returning to the game, seeing Jackie again was a reminder of the game’s best bits. The whole thing is pretty tragic: Jackie and V’s relationship is one of the most underutilized parts of the story. If only that montage was actually playable.
Malroth, Dragon Quest Builders 2
Branden Lizardi, Evergreen Editor
While Builders 1 and 2 were a different approach for the Dragon Quest series, it didn’t shy away from the series is best at: their characters. Throughout the game, the series antagonist Malroth accompanies you as your buddy, taking on a small humanoid form and a heaping helping of amnesia. The only thing he likes more than beating up monsters is being your friend. He is 100 percent ride-or-die for you. But throughout the game, he deals with a fair bit of internal struggle as he copes with his nature conflicting with his desire to be your friend. How can the reincarnated Master of Destruction cooperate with the builder hero of legend? It plays deeply into his feelings in a way that feels real. The experiences you share with him will tug at your heart more than you thought a chibi little Minecraft clone could.
My Horse(s), Red Dead Redemption 2
Amanda Hurych, Evergreen Content Lead
So, I don’t know if this counts as an example of a game companion, but if we’re talking about the best non-playable “character” that accompanies me on my adventures while I’m sinking hours into a video game, then my collection of horses from RDR2 have to take the cake. I loved them all. And if you played RDR2, you have to know how vital it is to have a horse with you at all times. They are your main method of transportation; you’re not going anywhere fast without a horse. And whether you’re doing story missions or just exploring the vast and wonderful world, your horse is often your sole companion. Those quiet moments when you just looked at the sun rising over the mountaintops or watched it glisten against the fog surrounding the bayou, it was just you and your horse. They were so vital to the RDR2 experience, but I often took their presence for granted. When I said that final good-bye as Arthur Morgan, it just gutted me.
Solas, Dragon Age: Inquisition
Quinton O’Connor, Specialist Writer
There are companions whom we treasure for being steadfast allies who wear their hearts and motivations on their sleeves. Solas, Dragon Age: Inquisition’s enigmatic elven pal, is not one of them. He’ll fight alongside the rest of the Inquisition with all the vigor that other prominent members display, but unraveling the truths behind this strange, often withdrawn, periodically passionate peer is a journey all its own. Hints, both subtle and strong, are strewn throughout Solas’ interactions not just with the player character, but his intriguing banter with other party members..Certain (very) late-game revelations surrounding Solas’ actions prompt even utterly disinterested players to step back and re-analyze their estimation of him. Solas is BioWare’s ultimate love-or-hate companion, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.
Pikachu/Your Partner Pokemon, Pokemon
Jerel Levy, Evergreen Editor
I bet none of the other "companions" on this list will fight for you in exchange for love and cuddles. Your partner Pokemon will be there for your journey from day one and will stick it out until the end. While Pikachu is the primary example (he literally stuck with Ash through his death multiple times, helping to bring him back to life), none can argue that the bond that a trainer shares with their partner Pokemon isn't worth a mention here. Without them, we'd be knocked out and broke on the side of the road in the Pokemon world. With them, we can take on the world and become a champion. Perks include cuddle buddies whose upkeep costs less than the amount of money they bring in, forever friendship and protection against the harsh world. I can't say that about too many other video game companions.
Lurrus Of The Dream-Den, Magic: The Gathering
Joe Parlock, Tabletop Editor
Companion was a universally beloved mechanic in Magic. It brought some of the spice of Commander to other formats – something everybody wanted – in a way that was flavourful while also being a well-considered gameplay element. While there are lots of them that were perfectly fine, like Lutri, the Spellchaser and Yorion, Sky Nomad, I think the most reasonable of all the companions was Lurrus of the Dream-Den.
Despite Lurrus being incredibly powerful with the right deck, it’s also so reasonably balanced that it’s had absolutely no negative impact on any of the formats it’s touched. It’s truly incredible to see something be so interesting to play with yet fit so seamlessly into the existing game. It’ll go down as one of the best cards Wizards of the Coast ever made, and we can only hope we’ll be seeing more of companion in the future.
Atreus, God Of War
George Foster, Lead News Editor
God of War is one of my favourite PlayStation games of all time in large part that comes down to the relationship between Kratos and Atreus. Having an AI companion grow alongside you isn’t something that God of War invented (Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite jumps to mind), but it does play around with the formula a lot more, like having Atreus refuse to help you out later on in the game. It melds with the narrative perfectly and is something I’m very excited to see evolve in God of War Ragnarok.
Agro, Shadow Of The Colossus
Matt Arnold, Specialist
That’s right, I’m hyping up Shadow Of The Colossus two weeks in a row. Wander’s steed Agro is the best video game companion ever. Not only is she always at your side, but she’s also an essential component of gameplay. Several of the game’s titanic bosses can’t be beaten without her speed; either you need to gallop full-tilt to avoid being crushed, or race alongside a Colossus and leap onto it from horseback.
Agro’s unflinching loyalty throughout the game is part of what makes Wander’s story so tragic. What’s more, her role in the game’s finale cements Shadow Of The Colossus as one of the most impactful games of all time.
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