If Ashley Graham of Resident Evil 4 is the living embodiment of a near-perfect sidekick, then we'll be the first to admit that the bar was never really set that high, to begin with. Needless to say that there are countless alternatives that exceed such low expectations, and more importantly, sidekicks that truly came into their own during the whirlwind adventure that was 2022.
The year may be over, but the remarkable impressions some of last year's sidekicks left on us is still alive and kicking. Question is, which sidekicks made our time with the pad far more memorable with them, rather than alone and bound to a silent protagonist? Well, here's how we'd slate 2022's all-time best video game accomplices.
5. B-12 (Stray)
When all's said and done, a backpack-sporting feline just isn't going to be as nimble and as intellectual as, well, a drone with infinite knowledge and inventory space stored away in its core. That's why the guys over at BlueTwelve Studio thought it best to just give said feline that very companion—a tiny robot named B-12. Without it, things would've been made a whole lot more complex throughout the relatively short stint in the dystopian underworld. And when I say complex, I mean borderline impossible, given the cats inability to extract codes from digital locks.
B-12 is many things—a fighter, being just one them. As well as this, the cutesy android also has the intellect of a scientist, the wisdom of a monk, and the heart of a grandfather. In short, it's the perfect companion to have in an otherwise dark and depressing setting, and one that makes even an adorable little kitten look somewhat inadequate and expendable. But that's just our opinion.
4. Hugo (A Plague Tale: Requiem)
A Plague Tale: Requiem isn't the combat-obsessed IP you'd expect it to be. If anything at all, it's more of a survival-horror experience, and one that relies mainly on stealth and strategy over all else. And honestly, with millions of rats being the enemy, sticking to the shadows doesn't quite cut it like it would with other games of its kind. But in spite of the disadvantages in battle, there is a flicker of hope that serves as your guide from the beginning of your journey, to the bitter end. And yes, his name is Hugo.
Hugo de Rune, unofficial King of the Rats, may be your younger brother, and also the pride and joy who you must protect at all costs, but in reality, when laden with powers that let him control the plague and all its fleshy vessels, Hugo is the last person in need of a sibling with a grudge against humanity, let alone a sling-wielding saviour.
3. Atreus (God of War Ragnarök)
There's no doubt about it — Atreus (also known as Loki, or you know, “Boy”) is one of the best sidekicks in video game history, and an accomplice that ticks just as many, if not twice as many boxes as Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth. As well as being able to lend a hand in any situation that involves deciphering code, ancient languages, or even puzzles, the bow-wielding son of the notorious Ghost of Sparta also packs an incredibly hefty punch in any combat scenario. And honestly, Ragnarök brought out Atreus' true form, to the point that even we began to question his strength as a god compared to Kratos.
Atreus' combat skills rarely faltered during the lofty campaign; instead, they flourished, and wound up becoming highlights in a predominantly action-oriented drama. At no point did they become overshadowed by the multitude of side characters that graced the screen, nor did they get bogged out by having you chalk up repetitive and mundane combos. In short, Atreus was a real credit to Kratos, and in no way, shape, or form, incapable of taking on Ragnarök as a lone wolf. Pun intended.
2. Erend (Horizon Forbidden West)
It goes without saying that Erend is cut from the same cloth as some of the loyalist soldiers on the planet. Even in the darkest of times, wedged between a rock and a hard place, the faithful Captain of the Vanguard always stands his ground and serves Aloy not only as a sidekick, but as a close friend with a long arm of perks, gifts, and answers. And, not to mention the fact that he's an old dab hand at taking down some of the heftier machines and enemy types.
Of course, Horizon Forbidden West persuades you into thinking companions are for the weak, and that Aloy has more than enough raw power to whittle down an army while blindfolded. And while this may be true in some respects, Erend is definitely a boon to your party—even in short bursts. Plus, his nod to the all-fathers of comedy certainly make up for Aloy's noticeable lack in personality.
1. Ellie (The Last of Us Part I)
It's becoming increasingly difficult to picture Ellie as the naive teen that she once was, no thanks to Naughty Dog making the abrupt decision to transform her into a shiv-wielding heroine with an uncontrollable thirst for revenge. And yet, in spite of her change of image, that very girl just so happened to be the exact reason why our journey across the States was so darn memorable. And although her involvement in any combat situation was kept to a bare minimum throughout, there were indeed countless other qualities she brought to the table.
As far as character development goes, Naughty Dog pretty much write the book—Ellie, of course, being a prime example. Personality-wise, she's witty, charismatic, and an all-round beacon of light reflecting on an otherwise troublesome time. To put it plainly, The Last of Us isn't anything without Ellie, nor is it in any position to abandon the progress that it has made with her since day one.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five sidekicks? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.