IT'S NOT AN ESCORT MISSION
games that have gotten Sidekicks right
the last of us (2013)
Leaving aside the section where you actually play as Ellie for a short while, your primary goal through The Last Of Us is to protect her and help her navigate the world. With only a few exceptions, the game does a fantastic job of keeping Ellie out of sight during stealth section, keeps her movements accurate during water sections (where she can’t swim) and gives her some helpful abilities for combat assists too.
The Companion Cube is such an important figure in the Portal story that we couldn’t write a list like this without acknowledging it. Sure, it doesn’t say a lot (unless you really listen carefully), and it doesn’t do a lot (if you don’t consider its immense emotional support important), but it is a great example of an escort mission that never feels like a burden. The
Cube protects, it drives you and nobly sacrifices itself for you in the end.
half-life 2 (2004)
Thanks to speedy health recovery and some sharp aiming, Vance is a hugely helpful assist character to have around. In the continuing episodes of Halflife 2, Alyx Vance became an even more rounded companion, as her AI programming was designed to complement Freeman’s abilities and offer strategic options that would otherwise not be available.
enslaved: odyssey to the west (2010)
Trip is a great AI companion who is nominally in control of Monkey thanks to a slave headband. What this ultimately means is that Monkey has to keep Trip alive or he dies too. Thankfully, Trip’s abilities as a hacker and tech expert means she is vital in traversing the game world, and she largely keeps herself out of trouble quite nicely. She also ably acts as a co-op partner for some puzzle and navigation sections.
Bioshock infinite (2013)
Elizabeth is a rare example of an AI companion who is exceedingly more powerful in many respects than the player character. Booker doesn’t have control over Elizabeth’s actions, but can ask for assistance, and Elizabeth is more than happy to rummage around for useful items like money, food and ammunition as and when you need it. When you’re really in trouble, she can open a tear and change the game for you.