Recently I finished God of War (check out the review here) and during my playthrough, I met a courageous, resourceful young man. This character was Atreus the child of Kratos and through the course of the story, I grew quite fond of the progeny of the Ghost of Sparta. His journey was colossal and I enjoyed travelling across Midgard with him. After finishing God of War I started thinking about other great partners in crime and I wanted to share my thoughts on some of the great partners I’ve teamed up with in previous other adventures. So here we are with a GamEir discussion about the greatest partner in gaming.
With this GamEir discussion, I thought I’d start with Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. She is in my opinion where the dynamic duos in gaming began. Before her, these characters were ineffectual followers that offered nothing in the way of meaningful companionship outside of the cutscenes. For example, Sparx and Aku Aku were great shields but there was no sense of companionship. I suppose this was due to the era of gaming we were at back in the 90’s but even when the games got their sequels the unimpressive relationships remained. Then along came Elizabeth and she swept us away with her whimsy and her charming vulnerability. Not only that she had some incredible reality warping abilities and she would assist the player in getting health, ammo, and collectibles. She was amazing and as she travelled with you her experiences in the world of Bioshock Infinite further enriched yours.
As well as her impressive abilities there was the wonderful rapport between Booker and Elizabeth which further solidified Elizabeth as a one of a kind character. The player (Booker Dewitt) and Elizabeth were a hell of a double act and like the other members of this GamEir discussion their story came to something of a bittersweet ending but in the words of River Song, spoilers.
Another heroine of note and one of my favourites is Ellie from The Last of Us. Born into a post-apocalyptic where humanity has been ravaged to the point of extinction by a horrifying disease Ellie is a shining light in the darkness and not just because she’s humanities last hope. This is where Joel (who the player controls) comes in, tasked with helping Ellie get to a specific place their relationship starts off quite rocky but through the course of the game they build an incredible relationship that will bring gamers to tears. Though not as super powerful as my other choices Ellie has an unbelievable rapport with Joel. This all comes down to the on-point acting from Troy Baker (not his first time in this article) as Joel and Ashley Johnson as Ellie. Travelling the barren country facing off against Clickers and the broken human beings that inhabit the scorched Earth players learn much about Ellie and her past. She starts off as quite the spitfire and grows to be an even more fierce individual when push comes to shove.
Gameplay wise Ellie is special in the sense that she is immune to the disease that has ravaged the world. So when Joel needs to access somewhere that he can’t access otherwise he’d become infected her nifty trick comes into play. She also always does it with a wry sense of humour that always got a smile from me. As players of The Last of Us know Ellie’s story is not over yet and when E3 comes around again this year we may learn something more with the next trailer for The Last of Us 2.
I thought it would be suitable to end the GamEir discussion with the person that started it, Atreus. He’s a hell of a kid, watching his relationship with his father Kratos grow throughout the course of their story is magnificent. Not only that but Atreus is maybe the most combat savvy of the three characters I’ve chosen. As God of War progresses his competency with his weaponry grows and grows in tandem with his relationship with his father. It’s a subtle visual choice by game director Cory Barlog but an effective one that helps the player understand what is going on with him. It’s also great to see him grow more confident as a person as he learns more about himself through talking to his father. Like all the characters in this discussion, there is a central theme of parent and child and it is why all these characters are so compelling because it is a universal theme everyone can appreciate.
Ultimately I can’t decide who is the MVP in this GamEir discussion and the simple reason is because all of these characters are wonderfully engaging, brought innovation to the sidekick mechanic in gaming and became as pivotal to their games as the leads. If you have your own favourite gaming partners in gaming and they aren’t here let us know in the comments below and let’s get this GamEir discussion started.