Video game companions are a hit-and-miss sort of thing, with the majority of them usually teetering more towards being extra baggage than a genuinely solid asset to recruit into your roster. And while some RPGs are fine with you practically abandoning your leftover luggage at the apex of a cliff face (sorry, Lydia), most prefer for you to stick with them like glue, hoping that a genuine bond will come to blossom for when the final curtain calls.
Discarding Atreus from God of War, Elizabeth from BioShock: Infinite, as well as Luigi from Super Mario Bros., purely down to the fact that everyone who’s ever touched a console will have already exhausted all three names — to the point of them being overwhelming baggage themselves — we’re instead looking at the hidden gems. You know, the travel companions that stick to the shadows, but somehow always come up trumps whenever you’re in need of assistance? Yeah, those guys. That’s who we’re paying our respects to today. So, scoot aside all you video game A-Listers. This one’s for the little guys.
5. Chumbucket (Mad Max)
Avalanche’s lesser-known Mad Max video game port was a welcome addition to the open-world sphere, despite crawling under the radar for months following its launch. Not only was it an ideal tribute to the action-packed movie franchise, but also a pretty exhilarating playable experience, with a mixture of violence and vehicular combat playing key roles in its post-apocalyptic narrative.
Running alongside protagonist Max is Chumbucket, a disfigured Blackfinger with a keen eye for gears, scrap, and all things relating to the world of vehicles, or more specifically — the Magnum Opus, your pride and joy over the entire journey. And although he doesn’t get involved with combat as such, he does play a crucial role in your conquest over the barren wastelands, from tinkering with your vehicle upgrades to playing the loyal tour guide. All in all, Chumbucket makes for a worthy ally — an ally that may lack in combat skills, but most definitely makes up for in everything else. Like humour, for example. Now that’s something you don’t tend to find very often out on the open road. And yet, with Chumbucket riding shotgun — every journey is memorable in one way or another.
4. Assassins (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood)
Although nested deep within the shadows for the length of the game, the Brotherhood is never really that far from the spotlight — especially in times of peril. And, if levelled and evolved properly, that collective can actually wind up a whole lot more powerful than the Master Assassin himself. Of course, in order to reach such a prominent status, one must first embark on a few dozen missions around the globe. But after that, you’ve basically got yourself an unstoppable force tucked away in your back pocket.
Assuming you recruit the full band and build their power up to the maximum level, then Brotherhood can actually be breezed through without even having to lift a finger or wield a blade. All you need to do is tap a bumper button and watch your elite soldiers fall from the sky and reap havoc on the armies before you, leaving you to sit back, relax, and hold a front row seat with a bloodless sword. Now that’s a flex.
3. Dogmeat (Fallout)
Dogmeat is a perfect example of how the relationship between a man, or in this case a sole survivor, and a dog can withstand even an apocolypse in the making. Even with the world in ruins and the human population resorting to blood, sweat and betrayal in order to live another day — the bond between man and dog still somehow prevails.
Like Fable’s beloved little pup, Fallout’s Dogmeat not only acts a travel companion, but also uses a lucky spool of senses in order to locate hidden treasure and lore. And, even under fighting circumstances — both can hold their own, even delivering the final fatal blow every once in awhile. So, while the conversation may be limited out on the road — the combined skills are definitely well stocked and a quality asset to the journey as a whole.
2. Aiden (Beyond: Two Souls)
One of the lesser-known companions on the map, although playing a pretty lofty role in the game itself, is Aiden, the entity that latches on to the antsy teen protagonist, also known as, well, Jodie. And while the bulk of Beyond: Two Souls revolves around Jodie’s upbringing in a research facility and life with the unpredictable spirit, most, if not all in-game action does tend to gravitate more towards the latter, with Aiden playing a key role in the events that unravel through the years.
While most obstacles for Jodie involve having to mash buttons and walk aimlessly through dimly lit environments, Aiden’s world, on the other hand, tends to be a whole lot more inviting with far more interaction with the player. And with the power to turn a room upside down, possess city folk and recreate scenes from most modern-day horror movies — it’s fair to say that most of the fun entwines with the sidekick more so than the actual hero. Sorry, Jodie. Aiden takes this one.
1. Sheva (Resident Evil 5)
Capcom truly has exhausted its use of companions over the years, with the vast majority of them being more expendable than somewhat useful in a gunfight. But don’t even get me started on Ashley “HEEELP” Graham. If that useless so-and-so hadn’t have entered the mix way back, then chances are, we’d still be holding the faith for Capcom, half expecting each entry to roll out a half-decent companion. But, of course — Ashley screwed that up with the endless whining and whatnot.
Luckily for us, Resident Evil 5’s Sheva managed to redeem all the slippery qualities of her predecessor. Unlike Ashley, Sheva brought the heat to the fight, and definitely proved to be a powerful ally on the field. Plus, when trouble came knocking — she wouldn’t go diving for cover or rest her face on the edge of a chainsaw blade. Turned out, she did quite a lot to help us glide through Africa. But that’s just one of the many companions Capcom has shoveled into the series. Still, probably the best one to date. Probably.
So, what did we miss? What video game companions have managed to connect with you over the years? Let us know over on our socials here.
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