Every video game needs a strong protagonist, but something that is easy to overlook is the power of a Good partner. A well written or interesting sidekick can make or break a game. Having others join you on your adventure has always been a prominent feature in video games, but it has become a staple of modern story-driven RPGs.
From hyper-intelligent aliens to near-omnipotent AIs, there’s a wide variety of sidekicks in video game history. Some are so loved that they eventually headline their own games. Which ones really have the biggest impact on their respective games?
Add-On Cube 10/10 – Portal 2
It’s hard to talk about the best sidekicks in video games and not mention the Companion Cube from the Portal franchise. His name is Co-worker Cube. Portal can be a lonely game, and while there aren’t many lines of dialogue for this seemingly self-aware Cube, having a helpful friend to take with you through some of the game’s more difficult levels can bring a sense of calm.
Portal 2, specifically, introduces some potentially disturbing lore about the contents of the Companion Cubes, suggesting that they may be filled with real people. Overlooking this fact, you can develop a real bond, if need be, with the Companion Cubes throughout the Portal games.
9/10 Sully – Uncharted
Calling Sully a partner might be a bit off. Perhaps “mentor” would be more appropriate? Either way, Sully has been by Nathan Drake’s side for years and is a beloved member of the cast of characters in the Uncharted franchise. Sharing Nathan’s love of treasure hunting and his ability to get into trouble, the two make a perfect match.
Sully has his own interests at the forefront of his mind, but he he really cares about nathan. Playing through the Uncharted franchise, you really come to love Sully for who she is and appreciate what she brings to the table.
8/10 Daxter-Jak & Daxter
Daxter has an interesting, if not tragic, backstory. He doesn’t let that stop him from being an invaluable member of the duo that is Jak and Daxter. A human turned into OttselDaxter is one of the catalysts for Jak’s journey in the original game and continues to drive the story throughout the franchise.
Daxter serves as great comic relief in the Jak and Daxter series, a role that is especially needed with the darker themes of Jak II and Jak III. While Daxter has spearheaded his own spin-off game, his role remains primarily to aid Jak’s journey. There are big changes to Jak’s personality and role in the Jak and Daxter series, but Daxter remains a constant source of laughter and sass throughout.
7/10 Elizabeth – BioShock: Infinite
The BioShock franchise is known for its narrative twists and surprises, and BioShock: Infinite doesn’t stray from that path. Elizabeth Comstock plays a central role in the game’s story and becomes the playable character in the game’s DLC, burial at sea.
She is a great companion to Booker DeWitt, the main character of the game. Elizabeth can be a headache for Booker throughout the game, but her growth and camaraderie ultimately making the game what it is. You learn about the character from her, and in turn, she helps unravel the complicated past that Booker has also experienced.
6/10 Garrus Vakarian – Mass Effect
Mass Effect games are full of sidekicks and sidekicks, and it can be hard to determine which is the best, but Garrus makes the strongest case. Garrus makes appearances in all three main Mass Effect games and leaves a lasting impression both in the player and in the protagonist.
Very few of the franchise’s minor characters are as staunch supporters of Shepard and his actions as Garrus. A skilled fighter and an intelligent member of the turian species, Garrus is not only one of the best companions, but also one of the More cool.
5/10 Yoshi – Super Mario
There are several sidekicks from the Mario series that could have made the “Best Video Game Sidekicks” list, but none are as important to Mario’s journey as Yoshi. From Mario Party to Mario Kart, along with his own featured games, Yoshi has become a lead actor in the Mario franchise.
Others have played the role of Mario’s sidekick, but Yoshi is the one that has stood the test of time, appearing in many mainline Mario games. What other character is willing to sacrifice regularly to continue Mario’s journey?
4/10 Clank – Ratchet and Clank
Ratchet and Clank are among the original PlayStation mascots and are still around and going strong to this day. The latest entry in the Ratchet and Clank series, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, received critical acclaim as one of the first games to really show off the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5.
Clank has appeared alongside Ratchet in nearly every major Ratchet and Clank game and is so recognizable as the main character himself. by clank intelligence and skill they often save the day and make him the fiercest ally of the famous Lombax.
3/10 Tails – Sonic
Sonic has a real sidekick, and that’s Tails. Named for his helpful streamlined tail, Tails can hold his own when needed, but he really shines when he supports Sonic. There are plenty of allies in Sonic’s long presence in gaming history, but Tails is pretty much synonymous with Blue Hedgehog.
The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Tails has appeared in video games, movies, and television shows, always rooting for his friend Sonic. As trustworthy as he seems, and interesting in his own right, Tails is the base for a good video game partner.
2/10 Atreus – God of War
Atreus is a relatively new addition to the long-running God of War series, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in narrative impact. The events of the 2018 God of War soft reboot revolve around Kratos fulfilling his new fatherly role and learning to be a more understanding and caring figure.
Atreus deserves his spot on the list of best sidekicks because his presence is the strongest catalyst for Kratos’ personality change, taking him from a tough, tough fighter and turning him into a complex and emotional character.
There aren’t many sidekicks that are as synonymous with a video game franchise as Cortana is with Halo. Cortana has served as Master Chief navigator, strategist and friend. Cortana was even the driving force behind Master Chief’s defiance of direct orders, leading to the event of Halo 5’s controversial storyline.
Cortana has been both friend and foe to humanity, and with a long and complicated history in Halo lore, Cortana has become a mysterious figure in the future of the series. It is unknown if we have seen the last of the AI, but time will tell.