The Outer Worlds draws Mass Effect comparisons for good reason – it's a fully immersive, space exploration game where you recruit a ragtag band of companions to help you navigate the labyrinth that is interstellar bureaucracy. If we consider Mass Effect 2 the pinnacle of the series, it's even easier to compare the two titles, as the second Mass Effect gives you the option of partaking in loyalty missions for each companion. Those loyalty missions have a dramatic effect on which companions make it out of the game's famed suicide missions alive. The Outer Worlds Spoilers ahead.
Each of the companions in The Outer Worlds has their own specific missions you can take on – called Companion Quests – but these don't affect your companions' skills or loyalty to you and your ship, the Unreliable. However, completing them will open up new quests for you to partake in, and just like Mass Effect 2's Loyalty Missions, they'll deepen your personal connection (and attachment) to your new best buddies. I never thought I could love Parvati more until I completed "Drinking Sapphire Wine".
The more I played The Outer Worlds, the more my dogged loyalty and affection for my companions grew, a feeling I haven't encountered since Mass Effect 2 when my finger hovered over a button hoping I wouldn't make a decision that would kill my darling Tali. But which Halcyon homies are the most like Shepard's space crew? Is anyone as cool as Garrus? Is anyone as boring as Jacob Taylor? Here are the Mass Effect counterparts from the original trilogy for all six of The Outer Worlds' companions.
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy and Parvati Holcomb
Parvati is the first companion to join you, and too pure for this world. Her naivete is solely rooted in her upbringing and shouldn't be confused for stupidity – she's the most observant and empathetic companion you have. When we first meet Tali'Zorah in Mass Effect, she's on the Quarian race's rite-of-passage called the Pilgrimage, and she's brimming with kindness, vulnerability, and brilliance – she too must be protected at all costs. In both games we get a chance to foster sexual discovery: we can help Parvati better understand her identity as a queer, asexual woman, and in Mass Effect we can bring on Tali's sexual awakening (if you romance her). Both characters are unafraid to speak out against your decisions and maintain a fierce loyalty for their people, even in the face of questionable life choices. That Parvati and Tali are both engineers only furthers their connection.
Garrus Vakarian and Vicar Max
I'm not gonna lie, this one was difficult. Garrus is arguably the most beloved Mass Effect character ever written, and Vicar Max can be irritating as hell. But if you spend some time asking the Vicar about his past, you'll discover that he and Garrus have a lot in common (and it's not just that I want to engage in illicit activities with them both). Vicar Max joins the Order of Scientific Inquiry to help find an inner peace that eludes him, yet he very clearly (and regularly) breaks OSI rules. When we first meet Garrus, he's a C-Sec officer tired of rules and regulations who eventually creates his own vigilante group. Both characters dislike bureaucratic red tape and have unshakable moral principles, and I'd argue that the two of them are fairly hot-headed: at one point Vicar Max threatens to bludgeon a man to death, and Garrus is always quick to slam someone into a wall or issue a deft headbutt.
Jack and Ellie Fenhill
Ellie is an abrasive asshole with emotional baggage. Jack is an abrasive asshole with emotional baggage. Jack was subjected to horrible scientific experiments and wants desperately to disappear from all government records. The Outer Worlds' senior narrative designer Carrie Patel told Game Informer that Ellie "has a few things in her past that she's tried to get away from." Both women aren't afraid to get in a fight – in fact, they'll seek one out and relish it. They're no-nonsense characters who will often respond to you with matter-of-fact deadpans: Ellie isn't noble, she just doesn't "like leaving a debt unpaid, that's all" and Jack isn't here to rescue your squad-mates, she just "figures every time someone dies, [her] chances of survival go up." Ellie is definitely more easygoing than Jack, but they're both brash and unlikely to judge you if you make a choice that others might consider the bad guy move. Either way, I'd want them both on my team in a space fight. (Funny bit of trivia: the actress who portrays Jack in Mass Effect, Courtenay Taylor, does the voice of The Outer Worlds' ADA.)
James Vega and Felix Millstone
You first meet Felix after his temper gets the better of him and he cracks a tossball bat over his foreman's head. The first time you visit James Vega on the Normandy, he's doing pull ups and will challenge you to a boxing match because "less talking more fighting." The masculinity is strong with these two. Sure, James is a career soldier and Felix is a stowaway that's always trying to prove his worth, but their personal currency is measured in strength (and punches). If Felix lived in the Mass Effect universe, he'd be James' deadbeat younger brother, and you'd probably have to save him during a Loyalty Mission. Plus, the two of them elicit the most eye rolls out of any other companion in their respective universes – Felix for his occasional bro-ness and James for his "hooah" soldier jargon.
EDI and SAM
So, before anybody says anything, I know that ADA, the AI aboard the Unreliable, is the most like Mass Effect's EDI, the Normandy's AI. But ADA is not a companion, so I can't make that connection as there are strict rules to this piece imposed by (checks notes) myself, and I won't break them. SAM has no proper AI and no say in decision-making, he's basically a slogan-vomiting robot that conflates cleaning the ship with cleaning (read: murdering) people. EDI is Normandy's AI that pulls a full-on Vision in Mass Effect 3 and gets a shiny new, bodacious bod. She's chatty and argumentative, which is nothing like SAM, but she's tremendously helpful, which is a lot like SAM. Plus, EDI and the Normandy's pilot, Joker, have a little dalliance, and you can walk in on SAM and ADA fooling around on the Unreliable, so the two of them clearly share an affinity for spaceship pilots, AI or otherwise.
Urdnot Wrex and Nyoka
There's no outright drunk in the Mass Effect trilogy, so I had to go a bit deeper than an affinity for alcohol to find Nyoka's counterpart in Mass Effect. Nyoka is a big-game hunter that doesn't shy away from a fight, in fact, she encourages one, and will direct you towards a more dangerous area if it means she can show off her skills. A big-game hunter with an aggressive streak? Well, by Law, that reminds me of a certain bounty hunting Krogan who'd just as soon punch your lights out than engage in pithy small talk – Urdnot Wrex has big Nyoka energy (or Nyoka has big Wrex energy, I can't figure out which just yet). Wrex joins your crew in Mass Effect 1 because he knows traveling with you means getting in a ton of fights, and Nyoka is just as tough and trigger-happy. Nyoka's booze and Wrex's krogan adrenaline are equally as powerful in a firefight.
If you haven't found all The Outer Worlds companions yet, you're seriously missing out, but we've got you covered. And if you've got plenty of friends but need more gear, why not check out our Black Friday game deals 2019.