Top 5: Video Game Sidekicks

After my bitching and complaining about having a sidekick in Resident Evil 6, it seems like a good time as any to praise those who excel in this role. These are the often unsung heroes who make searching for treasure or saving the galaxy a lot less lonely. They may be a love interest, best friend, or programmed to be loyal, it doesn’t matter. These characters got your back.

In order to make this list, each character has to be:

  • in a video game
  • physically there with you (disembodied voices need not apply)
  • someone who can hold their own (no damsels in distress or escort mission fodder)

5. HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series)

“Assassination is my primary function. I also possess excellent hearing and can bend spoons.”

Loyalty doesn’t get much greater than when it’s hardwired in your circuits. HK-47, the homicidal droid with a knack for killing “meatbags”, kicks off this list for a few reasons. One of these is that he was made by your character as an obedient killing machine. Although he prefers the more violent route, HK-47 will fall in line no matter how you wish to tackle a situation. You also have to appreciate a robot with a sick sense of humor.

4. Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Uncharted series)

“Real greatness is what you do with the hand you’re dealt.”

As Nathan Drake’s treasure hunting partner and mentor, Victor Sullivan has been through thick and thin. He is a womanizer who loves to smoke, drink, and gamble. On top of all that though, he is a father figure to Drake who will help him in any way even while openly doubting his reasoning. The man affectionately nicknamed “Sully” puts his naval training to good use with the ability to handle firearms as well as commandeer a rescue plane in the nick of time. He is a pal you can count on to pick you (and a pretty lady) up no matter how hairy a situation may get.

3. Alyx Vance (Half-Life series)

“Good thing you’ve got your hazard suit on. This stuff’s nasty. Got room for two in there?”

Alyx Vance, one of the most beloved females in gaming history, was a shoe-in for this list. Her cute appearance masks an incredibly smart girl with a “take no shit” attitude. Her interaction with you in Half-Life 2 is one of the first moments I remember where you truly build a relationship with a character that goes beyond the story. A skilled hacker and very capable with a pistol in hand, Alyx is an invaluable ally in the fight against the Combine organization. She’s also full of personality and seems to grow a potential relationship with the protagonist Gordon Freeman during their time together. It’s not too far off to say that Alyx is a primary reason why many gamers hope Half-Life 3 sees the light of day.

2. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect series)

“You know me, always like to savor that last shot before popping the heatsink.”

Who thought you could care for a turian more than most any human encountered in the world of Mass Effect? If that was the objective for Garrus Vakarian, then mission accomplished. Garrus was a C-Sec officer before joining Commander Shepard’s crew to stop fellow turian Saren and his geth army. Since then, we have seen a relationship grow from mutual respect and admiration to friendship and (if playing as a female Shepard) potentially romance. Garrus is secretly insecure despite his cool demeanor and humorous quips. This effectively makes him very relatable and a mainstay for almost any team in need of a proficient sniper (“SCOPED AND DROPPED!”) or ship calibrations.

1. Trip (Enslaved: Odyssey to the West)

“Save me, save yourself.”

Some may think this choice breaks the rule of no “damsels in distress”. While it is true she relies on the protagonist Monkey in combat, Trip can still hold her own with an expert knowledge in reprogramming old technology she comes across. The relationship between her and Monkey is a symbiotic one at first that develops slowly into something more. A lack of combat skills is more than made up by her intelligence and ability to think fast. Trip earns the top spot on this list mainly because the voice acting and characterization in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is just that good. We’re on an adventure with this girl who was clever enough to drag us along against our will only to earn it without question as her motivations are revealed. By the end of the game, you really feel for her as she’s questioning herself after making a difficult decision.

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6 thoughts on “Top 5: Video Game Sidekicks

  1. This is an awesome list! Alyx and Garrus would top my list, too. And really, it’s pretty incredible when an in-game character is as universally loved as Garrus. I have yet to meet anyone who’s played Mass Effect and disliked that guy.

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