#2- Elizabeth (BioShock Infinite)
The debates between the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite could go on, well, infinitely. Whether one prefers the dark and desolate empty corridors of Rapture or the lively, creepily unsettling city of Columbia, there is one clear aspect of Infinite that sets it above the original BioShock: the addition of Elizabeth. The original BioShock was revolutionary in making the player feel the loneliness of Rapture; the solitary confinement supplied the claustrophobic feeling of the game. While that is perhaps what propelled BioShock to its status of masterpiece, it is the comforting addition of Elizabeth that allowed me to form a connection with BioShock Infinite. Not only did she provide unique and interesting new game mechanics in the form of tears, but she also made me feel a kinship with her that is unparalleled in any game (save for perhaps #1 on this list!). There has never been a side character so intimately entwined with the story of a video game; and that twist though. No spoilers, but seriously; the story of BioShock Infinite is a mind bender for sure, and Elizabeth was an integral part to the brilliant narrative that Ken Levine presented to us. Sidenote: I am a sucker for orchestral scores, and Elizabeth’s theme is one of the finest themes in gaming. It really captures her essence better than any video or article could do.
#1- Ellie (The Last of Us)
There is a reason that Ellie is topping off this list. She is, in essence, the greatest companion video games have ever seen. She completes every requirement for a great sidekick: she is mechanically helpful, she hold her own in a fight, and she establishes an emotional bond with the player that is unrivaled among both other video games and outside of the medium. Developer Naughty Dog created something special in The Last of Us, and Ellie is an integral piece in the masterpiece puzzle. The thing that resonates so powerfully with me is the growth that Ellie and Joel’s relationship experiences. At the beginning, the two can’t stand each other. However, as the game progresses, so does their connection, and it is an absolute joy to watch it unfold. Ellie holds a soft spot in my heart, and it is difficult to express just how real of a character she is. She doesn’t feel like your average video game character, she feels like an actual product of the situation she is thrust in. Plus, her constant swearing can’t help but become an endearing trait. It is for these reasons and many more that I cannot recommend playing The Last of Us enough; Ellie is most assuredly one of the greatest companions of all time.