Most games have players take on hordes of enemies solo, while a few allow for some human companions. This is done either by design or by undertaking a quest where the NPC joins users, and everything but their quest is completed (yes, that's the best way to finish Skyrim).
Every once in a while, though, titles bless gamers with a quadruped companion who doesn't talk or judge their actions and never leaves their side no matter how hairy the situation gets.
Five amazing animal companions for your gaming adventure
1) Dogmeat - Fallout series
No one else but the tameable German Shepherd from the Fallout series deserves to be first on this list. Often referred to as 'one of gaming's greatest dogs,' Dogmeat was originally just meant to be an NPC dog who would meet a heroic end defending the user's life.
However, this furball soon became the one character that most gamers went through great lengths to keep alive. Dogmeat is featured in multiple Fallout titles, and with his growing popularity, grew the option to outfit him with goggles and hats scavenged from the wasteland.
Individuals were even scared to use him as an attack dog and often kept him around as a companion. Dogmeat could track, detect and attack enemies, retrieve items, and even search for containers to find loot.
In a dystopian post-apocalyptic world where everyone only looks out for themselves, it's impossible not to form a bond with such a valuable, loving canine!
2) Epona - The Legend of Zelda
The silver bay horse who becomes Link's trusted steed has to be one of the most popular horses in video game culture. Though skeptical about the protagonist at first, Epona quickly forms a bond with Link once he learns her song.
Yes, that's right, this horse only responds to a musical call.
Featured across countless storylines and multiple titles in the Zelda universe, Epona became an Iconic character of the series. She helps Link traverse the land very conveniently and was later upgraded to allow horseback combat, making her not just a lovable sidekick but also extremely useful.
She is also virtually indestructible, and the only time she can die is if she falls off a cliff in Breath of Wild.
3) Boomer - Far Cry 5
With the option to pet a lion and a bear, Far Cry 5 gave gamers interesting options. The companion who captured the hearts of players, though, was the furry, lovable canine Boomer.
He can be rescued pretty early in the game and is surprisingly deadly. Boomer can down most common enemies with just a lunge, but his low health often makes it risky to send him headlong into battle.
A better use of the incredibly fast mutt is to scout and tag enemies. Users can then track them while out of sight to get those sneaky kills.
However, what takes the cake is that Boomer also fetches guns and drops them at the gamer's feet. This is helpful if they run out of bullets or need to quickly swap out an unwieldy weapon for something more attuned to close combat.
Where Boomer made a place in the player's heart, though, was at the end of each fight. After ripping through multiple enemies, he bounds joyfully back like a puppy for a good scratch behind the ear.
4) Pikachu - Pokemon
It would be impossible to forget to mention the lovable squishy yellow furball who captured minds and hearts with his fierce loyalty and vibrant personality. Pikachu was one of the first sidekick's players came across during their childhood, who set the bar for all future companions and has been featured in every Pokemon game ever made.
With childlike innocence and electrifying abilities, Pikachu was a lovable companion who refused to be in a Pokeball just so that it could be close to its master. Anyone who contends that Pokemon were not a reference to animals obviously needs to watch the series again.
5) Roach - Witcher franchise
The trusted four-legged stallion, always just a whistle away, is one of the most dependable animal companions in video game history. Shrouded in magic and blessed with immortality like its owner, Roach is an idea, a concept.
Different mares have served Geralt of Rivia across his long lifespan and have all answered to the name Roach. This horse is rideable into battle, usable as a packhorse for trophies, and as punctual as an Uber driver with hundreds of 5-star reviews.
The Witcher's protagonist couldn't have asked for a better companion to stick by his side through his harrowing adventures.
Not only that, but gamers can get matching outfits for the rider and steed. Honestly, which user doesn't want to color coordinate with their charger in a video game?
In the blood and wine DLC of Witcher 3, Roach can even speak! Though he does sound nothing like what we'd expected.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer's opinions.