With the crazy year we’ve just had, gaming has been an amazing escape for so many. Can’t see your friends due to travel restrictions? Then why not jump into a quick multiplayer adventure to connect just a little bit more than just a phone call.
However, today we wanted to look at some of the amazing fictional friends we’ve made along the way. There are thousands of party members out there with rich backstories and amazing abilities, so it can be very hard to pick out which ones are the very cream of the crop. We’ve put together just a few of the stand-out supporting characters that really stuck with us, long after we hit the credits and left the game behind.
Garrus Vakarian – Mass Effect Trilogy
Garrus is one of the clearest stand-out characters of the original Mass Effect trilogy. Cool, calm and collected, this alien policeman-turned-bad-boy knows how to fight and how to have a good time. While you can choose to avoid and not recruit him in the first game, you know the game developers noticed the huge love for him because he’s front and centre in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Along with Tali, having him come back to you in Cerberus and in the Reaper war is so reassuring, and that insanely cool voice means you definitely want him in your party as much as possible just for his jokes. Let’s hope that the legendary edition does him and the crew justice!
Elizabeth – Bioshock Infinite
We’ve recently gone back and given Bioshock Infinite some of the love it deserves, and no one in that game deserves more appreciation than Elizabeth. While an escort mission similar to The Last of Us, Elizabeth is more of a fun-and-free-friend than a daughter figure to be taught the ways of the world. She may be the focus of your game-long escort mission, but she is no pushover. She possesses a strange and unique power, allowing her to rip open holes in reality. This is amazing in a pinch, allowing you to get cover, new weapons and even modern pop music, what more could you ask for in a companion? With a fun and chirpy personality and a killer design ripped straight out of a Disney movie, Elizabeth is super memorable all these years later. Through the newer content we are even treated to hardened alternate-universe interpretations of her down in the depths of Rapture, thank goodness the franchise will be making a return soon!
Kim Kitsuragi – Disco Elysium
Kim Kitsuragi is one of the most likable party members in any game, with the perfect blend of dry-wit and warm support at the most valuable of times. Disco Elysium is a beautiful nightmare world full of the worst dregs of humanity, but there to hold the hand of your awful amnesiac character is the understated badass, Kim. While a loyal partner to the end, a wise man and a great policeman, Kim is no arse kisser, being more than happy to call out the character on their awful actions. He’s surprisingly deep, showing a very deep love for little things like his car, even being willing to bend the law in order to get shiny new wheels. Kim will stand the test of time as one of the most well-rounded supporting partners in any game around.
Argo – Shadow of The Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus wouldn’t be the same without your beloved horse Argo. While Epona from the Legend of Zelda is an amazing steed, there are plenty of wild and wacky characters to fill the rich world of Hyrule. The world of Colossus is quiet and haunting, where you alone go on your quest to save your lost love, facing towering titans. Alone that is, apart from Argo! Aside from your sword this amazing horse is the only way you can overcome the crushing odds against you. He goes above and beyond a mere mount though, taking do-or-die risks to save you, and the ending implies he’s far from done protecting what you hold dear.
Riku – Kingdom Hearts Series
While the rival and antagonist in the original Kingdom Hearts, Riku commits hard when he turns back to the side of good. He may be the single-handed biggest-driving force of the narrative, being one of the only characters to be fully in the loop on most of the secrets the player does. While working behind the scenes for the greater good in the early games, from Dream Drop Distance onward he steps into the light as a playable character in his own right. He spends a year guarding Sora’s body, destroys his sense of self to get enough power to help you, and delves into the deepest parts of Sora’s mind to save him in Dream Drop Distance. Riku has done so much to protect and support Sora it’s no surprise why there is quite so much fanbase shipping between the two. With the dramatic ending of Kingdom Hearts 3 leaving us on a major cliffhanger, it looks like Riku will be stepping up as the playable character once again, breaking the laws of even reality to be with Sora again. Now that’s a good rival redemption story.
Cortana – Halo Franchise
Cortana is the polar opposite of Navi, making what could have been an annoying navigator voice into one of the most important characters in the entire series. A relationship so close it borders on something more than friendship, the bond Master Chief and Cortana forge is very real and very deep. Going from the little guiding voice in your head at the start of the first game, she quickly grows into a beloved cast member, and by the end of the series you are going through hell to make sure she’s okay. Even the prequel Reach shines a light into her interesting origin and has your grand mission being to get her off planet so she can arrive in the original game. Cortana really showed what the next generation of gaming had in store, combining striking designs with incredible rich character development.
Ignis Scientia – Final Fantasy 15
Ignis Scientia gives Batman’s Alfred a run for his money in the competition for best butler and friend. Final Fantasy 15 may have been a divisive title, but something almost everybody agreed upon was that your trio of best friends were an amazing addition to the series. While all your boyband wannabe bromances could have taken this slot, the amazing content in his DLC, Episode Ignis, showed that Ignis would go above and beyond the rest when given the opportunity. Aside from the heart-wrenching sacrifice of his sight, alternate endings really show something special here, partnered with the countless hours of on-the-road banter and his lovely cooking segments. While the game might have been inconsistent, this friendship surely wasn’t.
Makoto Niijima – Persona 5
While all the Phantom Thieves have your back (and you will all have your own personal favorite), Makoto really steps to be your right-hand woman when she finally joins your side. Makoto acts as almost a pseudo leader for the group, stepping in for you when indisposed and lending a hand. You might imagine Ryuji or Morgana would be your number one in a time of crisis, being your first party members, however they are sadly too stupid to help Joker outside of sheer muscle. Makoto brings some much-needed brains to the group, helping Joker formulate their strategies. With her sister being intricately tied to the plot, along with having a tragic backstory of her own, she blends well into the group and you can form a fast bond, she’s like the older sister to the entire group.
Miles Tails Prower – Sonic The Hedgehog Franchise
Tails brought something magical to the Sonic series when he made his grand debut. While we had already fallen in love with the super-speedy hedgehog during the first game, the inclusion of his twin-tailed buddy in the sequel meant that little siblings around the world could be involved and help out, even if they didn’t have that much control of the game flow. While he stands out with his amazingly fun flying powers, he’s also a genius to boot. From planes and tools to fully controllable combat mechs, this fox packs a punch. Tails is still a staple part of the supporting roster of Sonic characters. Even when they decided to remove the majority of his best friends during Colours and Lost World, they knew to keep Sonic’s best friend Tails close at hand to support and encourage him. We’re so glad that Mania managed to give you a taste of his classic gameplay style once more.
Joker – Mass Effect Trilogy
While it may be cheeky to include two characters from the Mass Effect series, we couldn’t cap off a list of best friends without Joker. Voiced by the hilarious Seth Green, Joker is there for you from minute one, and the journey wouldn’t have been the same without him. While Garrus has your back out in the field, it’s Joker that gets you from A to B. He joins Cerberus with you when so many others never would, has to deal with the collector horde and if you die at the end of 2, it’s Joker that seems to be rallying the troops in your memory. My commitment to this man knows no bounds, I chose the synthesis ending, not for myself, not for the greater good but just so Joker and EDI didn’t have to be apart.
Featured Image Credit: ZA/UM/Square Enix/EA/ATLUS/343 Industries