Non-playable character companions are an overlooked entity when it comes to building an immersive gaming experience. An NPC can often mean the difference between a poorly executed game or an enthralling experience. Many times we've seen buggy A.I completely ruin the experience of having an NPC follow you around in game.
With Bioshock Infinite's release we've gracefully been reminded just how important NPC characters can be to a gaming experience. However Bioshock Infinite is not the only game that's been able to get it right. So thanks to some help from our associate Rameez Quadri I was able to compile this list of 5 of the best NPC companions.
5. Elika - Prince of Persia
The Prince and Elika grow a very touching bond throughout the 2008 Prince of Persia game. One of the cool aspects of Elika is that you are able to utilize her in the many acrobatic maneuvers at your disposal. All this is achievable at the press of a single button, which ensures she never becomes too much of a chore to manage. She is also very important for your survival and quickly becomes your greatest asset.
4. Tripitaka - Enslaved
Tripitaka (Trip) from Enslaved binds the main character Monkey to her own fate in hopes that he will help her. As the game progresses their relationship builds into an interesting non-cliched fate that is interesting to watch. The two characters are linked via a device attached to Monkey's head, meaning if Trip dies then so does Monkey. It's an unique dynamic, and the fact that Trip is so easy on the eyes makes you even more motivated to protect her.
3. Claptrap - Borderlands 2
Ok so Claptrap can't shoot, he's often completely useless when it comes to simple tasks like opening doors, and he plays pranks on you that endangers your life. But come on..It's Claptrap! Claptrap is the funniest NPC companion ever in a game, hands down. One of my most memorable moments in Borderlands 2 was attending Claptrap's birthday party. It's a party you'll never forget.
Interestingly though, Claptrap would call us his 'minions', thus perhaps he shouldn't be on this list because we are his companion?
2. Alyx Vance - Half Life 2
Not only does Alyx have a very impressive skill-set that can be used to the players advantage when gaining access to new areas, but she also makes for some nice eye candy in her attractive attire. One of the biggest annoyances with NPC characters is how needy they become in combat. Some of us just want to focus on protecting our own necks, but are often forced to look out for our incredibly stupid counter-parts. Alyx however is handled really well and as long as you don't completely neglect her, she'll be able to handle herself. She is truly one of the most memorable NPC companions.
1. Elizabeth - Bioshock Infinite
Surprise Surprise! From here on no NPC companion can exist without being compared to our beloved Elizabeth. Her appearance in Bioshock Infinite single handedly altered the way we view NPC companions. Not only was she the heart and soul of Bioshock Infinite, but she made you the gamer have an emotional attachment to her, whether you realized it or not. When Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth separated, her absence was felt. When she was in your presence you felt ready to take on anything Comstock had to throw at you in an attempt to protect her. She never once got in the way during combat, she looked after herself by hiding from gun fire, and she throws you items that can often save your life. She also had a personality that you couldn't help but adore.
Of course I'm sure you the readers will have your very own favorite NPC companions that differ from ours, so be sure to have your say in the comments below.
Special thanks again to Rameez Quadri for his contributions to this article.