We all have precious people in our lives, but what about the virtual friends with whom we share great adventures, cheeky banter or, occasionally, painful deaths? Whether it's a complicated alien we've romanced in Mass Effect or a faithful hound that's somehow survived monster wars with very limited veterinary care, we'll think of them when our lives flash before our eyes at the bitter end. So to celebrate them, we asked team GamesRadar about their favorite gaming companions.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
Potato GLaDOS from Portal 2
Potato GLaDOS is the best video game companion out there. She's almost permanently attached to your portal gun so she can't lag behind or bug out getting stuck in objects unlike other companions that are entirely separate NPCs, she's the frickin' big bad guy from the previous game, plus you get to find out way more about her backstory and Caroline while you're wandering through the ruined Aperture Labs. GLaDOS goes from behind a witty mortal enemy to a companion with an astonishing amount of depth, with the ultimate reversal coming when she actually defends you when Wheatley tries to insult you. Heck, she even grudgingly respects you by the end of Portal 2. Ellen McLain did a phenomenal job depicting GLaDOS' complicated blend of dry wit and unfathomable intelligence, and Valve were smart enough to make sure she didn't endlessly witter in your ears, meaning that when she did talk, you paid attention. Potato GLaDOS is the best, and anyone who says otherwise deserves a taste of her neurotoxin. Zoe Delahunty-Light
Every Pawn in Dragon's Dogma
Dragon's Dogma's Pawn system is basically Build-A-Bear but for RPG companions - choose their looks, their class, their play style, and so on. You can have your main Pawn and up to two Pawns made by other players in your party at once, and they're all chock-full of useful, relevant, timeless tips. How else would I know that the wolves currently attacking us en masse hunt in packs, or that the beast I've literally just engulfed in Conflagration fears fire, or that we could get a good view from the top of the tower we were just on? I can't imagine how lost I would be if my Pawn didn't tell me that "this path leads left" every single bloody time we encounter a fork in the road, or how out of touch I'd be with rural traditions if they didn't inform me that "dried fish are a local staple" each time we enter a coastal village. And let's not forget such witticisms as "This looks interesting," as my Pawn once said of a tuft of grass indistinguishable from the 10,000 healing grass in my inventory. Or my personal favorite: "They're armed, Master!" See, this one is especially helpful, because without my Pawn's input I'd never discern the intentions of the 27 bandits rushing towards us waving swords and shouting death threats. Truly, Pawns are a well of knowledge. Austin Wood
Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins
Much like the rest of Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair takes a well-worn trope and flips it on its head, probably while fumbling the damn thing. Disavowed royal heirs are all too common in fantasy, but most are broodingly handsome types who’ve got being miserable down to a fine art (we’ll pause for a moment to admire Aragorn’s strong jaw and legendary smoulder). Meanwhile, Alistair was something else entirely. Despite being a good-looking chap and prince in disguise, he’s also unflappably cheerful. When he’s not cracking jokes or discussing the pillow fights he used to have as a child, he’s the butt of someone else’s sarcastic comment. This makes him a breath of fresh air on your journey, and I wouldn’t be without the goofiest of Grey Wardens on my quest to save Thedas. Benjamin Abbott
Kass is your best (living) friend in Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a game about solitary exploration, making Kass the closest thing Link has to an adventuring companion. Hearing Kass' accordion in the distance is an exciting moment whether it's your first time meeting the Rito bard or the tenth; it often means a new spot to search for treasure, sure, but it also means a chance to pause a while and chat with a charming feathery fellow. In one of the brilliantly economical ways Breath of the Wild approaches storytelling, Kass's songs fill in several big blanks in your understanding of Hyrule and the relationship between Link and Zelda if you care to listen. The fact that he's a devoted husband and father of five vibrant daughters just makes Kass an even cooler dude to hang out with. Connor Sheridan
Roach from The Witcher 3
A reliable four-legged friend, Roach is an understated yet essential travelling companion. While he might be lacking in banter and fireside storytelling, he makes up for it in carrying capacity and load bearing. And while he comes up a bit short on combat ability, he does make up for it in comedy value (yes, you knew it was coming). Without so much as a guiding wink, nod or command, he’ll clip his way through walls (leaving his exposed ass), climb buildings all the way to the roof, and charge his way through crowds of people. Blinding work, Roach, great stuff. The comedy of kings, and enough to make even grizzled Geralt curl a smile. And all the while he’s a quietly critical factor to the whole plot - can you imagine how anticlimactic it would be if Geralt couldn’t quite finish his quests, or battle against the Wild Hunt due to being Tired from walking everywhere? What a good horse Roach is. A lovely horse. Who I want to shower in sugar lumps. Rob Dwiar