Best Follower/Companion AI in games?

aozgolo

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While I'm thinking more along the lines of action RPGs, this could really be about any game. I'm curious to hear which games you feel have great Artificial Intelligence for the NPCs that accompany you. Where you actually feel like they are an extreme asset to have and almost never a nuisance or a burden? A game where you'd almost never dream of going it solo and can't imagine not having that companion around to help you?

What are your top picks Escapist?
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Lydia! She's a real packmule that one. And she's not too bad on the eyes either.
Cass from Fallout New Vegas was great because if you gave her a shitload of whiskey and dynamite she'd just fucking kill everything! Too bad they cut the quest where you and her can get piss drunk and have The King marry the two of you. Would have been so Vegas.

Does Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite count? 'cause she was great!
And do the squadmates from Mass Effect count, because if so might as well call the thread now. No one beats Tali'Zora and Jack.
 

RJ 17

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Silentpony said:
Does Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite count? 'cause she was great!
Eh, I'd say no. She's basically nothing but a hallucinated (how else do you explain the fact that none of the bad guys try to re-capture the single most important person - other than Comstock - in the city? Seems only Booker can actually see her :p) mobile vending machine.
 

happyninja42

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Silentpony said:
Does Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite count? 'cause she was great!
And do the squadmates from Mass Effect count, because if so might as well call the thread now. No one beats Tali'Zora and Jack.
Yes Elizabeth counts, in the fact that she isn't the character you control, but she does follow you around during gameplay.

And yes she was indeed great. They gave her, what I consider the #1 feature for making her not be a hassle in a game...she provided you with supplies. There was seriously nothing more satisfying than being in a tense combat situation in that game, being stressed out because "omg omg omg my health is almost gone, I'm gonna di..." "Here! Health Pack!" *click button, Liz tosses you a kit* "Why THANK YOU Elizabeth! Thank you very much!" *feel much better about the situation and go back to fighting.* They made her useful. She didn't just orbit you and make quirky comments. She provided direct, tangible, and significant assistance to your gameplay, and it was great. The fact that on top of all that, she was an interesting character with a good story was extra nice.

As to Tali and Jack, for pure utility of companions I would say Liara and Jack, well, basically whoever was the pure Biotic of your choice. I always played with a full biotic crew, with some electronics to hack doors, but otherwise, yeah we were Force wielding Jedi, tossing bastards left and right. xD Banter-wise, Tali was great, I didn't find her that great in combat though. The AI for the ME companions in general was pretty damn good though. They were responsive to commands for deployment, weren't stupid about finding cover (most of the time), and were fairly adaptive tactically to what you were doing.
 

Casual Shinji

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Ashley from Resident Evil 4.

I've explained in detail numerous times why she's the best, so I'll just keep it short and say that she adds to the tension of the action without ever (mechanically) becoming annoying. She's still the perfect A.I. companion.
 

Ihateregistering1

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Have to give it up for my girl Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2. She's funny, easy on the eyes, can take care of herself but can still die, has a great personality, and talks just enough to be interesting without being annoying.
 
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RJ 17 said:
Eh, I'd say no. She's basically nothing but a hallucinated (how else do you explain the fact that none of the bad guys try to re-capture the single most important person - other than Comstock - in the city? Seems only Booker can actually see her :p) mobile vending machine.
Got to agree with you here, this was one of my biggest issues with Bioshock Infinite, it felt like such a cop out. It may have been better than struggling against a crappy AI partner throughout the whole game, but you should fix that by making her a good AI partner, not by making her invisible to everyone else in the world. It could have made for some interesting combat dynamics.

It reminds me of The Last of Us where my party would literally be running into clickers which would inexplicably not notice them.

OT: I honestly can't think of a good example though. I'll come back to this post if I think of one.
 

Clive Howlitzer

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This might be cheating but how about Dragon Age: Origins/Dragon Age 2, given you can program the AI tactics rather specifically, especially with mods. Carefully constructed, they'll mostly do exactly as you want them to.

As opposed to say, Dragon Age: Inquisition, where they have the IQ of a rock.
 

Sable Gear

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Happyninja42 said:
Silentpony said:
Does Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite count? 'cause she was great!
Yes Elizabeth counts, in the fact that she isn't the character you control, but she does follow you around during gameplay.

And yes she was indeed great. They gave her, what I consider the #1 feature for making her not be a hassle in a game...she provided you with supplies. There was seriously nothing more satisfying than being in a tense combat situation in that game, being stressed out because "omg omg omg my health is almost gone, I'm gonna di..." "Here! Health Pack!" *click button, Liz tosses you a kit* "Why THANK YOU Elizabeth! Thank you very much!" *feel much better about the situation and go back to fighting.* They made her useful. She didn't just orbit you and make quirky comments. She provided direct, tangible, and significant assistance to your gameplay, and it was great. The fact that on top of all that, she was an interesting character with a good story was extra nice.
Ihateregistering1 said:
Have to give it up for my girl Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2. She's funny, easy on the eyes, can take care of herself but can still die, has a great personality, and talks just enough to be interesting without being annoying.
Thank you folks for summing things up so nicely for me!

As for a little more non-standard companion characters...

Midna from Twilight Princess. Probably one of the more unique companion characters in a Zelda game. Both she and Link only use one another as means to an end at first, creating this interesting uneasy alliance that you don't see too often, especially in a place like a Nintendo game.

Sword-friend from Transistor (or "The Boxer" if you prefer) also comes to mind. He's the main narrative force of the game in a charming, well-written and unobtrusive way.
 

Guffe

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Hmmmm...
I think the team in Xenoblade Chronicles does well in battles, everyone does their role and don't do stupid fickups.

Another team is in StarWars: Republic Commando, I played the game on normal, but all the commandos I gave to the three NPCs were usually excecuted well, as far as I remember. I really enjoyed the game so can be my memory just doesn't want to remember the bad AI :p
 

woodlandkammo

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There's a Skyrim mod called Vilja. She can spar with you, find quests, has a huge range of situational dialogue and actually had a moral personality where she will dynamically agree or disagree with your actions, among other things.
 

Chaos Isaac

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As far as A.I. goes, I'd kinda lend myself towards Dragon's Dogma. They learned and got better, and could eventually wreck shop just as well as you could.

The Locust: Local Multiplayer.
I've seen one of these dudes go through an entire enemy team, destroying them, and revive me, and go on to be the MVP. It was awesome.

Halo 2: The Covenant allies go from hilariously dumb to obnoxiously awesome. In the first Arbiter level, I had witnessed a single grunt kill three Elites by himself. On Legendary. Playing Co-op. It was so bad, that going down the elevator in that level with the flood, my friend literally couldn't get a kill because the A.I. allies were wiping the floor with them.

Army of Two: I found the friendly AI in this game pretty nice. It was fairly competent in reviving and dragging, and typically could hold it's own pretty well. (Even if it was because it has hilarious amounts of HP.) It was nice, having a ally I could rely on.

Tales Of: This series has had some really good ally AI. Even if you suck, or are getting wrecked, a friendly can easily revive/heal you with the right item at the perfect moment, then go continue their buff/heal routine, or get back to hacking and slashing up a fool. There has been a few times i've been impressed by a friendly AI perfectly dodging, blocking, countering and activating specials on an opponent boss, and near crippling it relatively solo.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Hewey from Haunting Ground. He's the best friend you have in a sad, sad world.
 

Erttheking

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Boone from Fallout New Vegas.

He's so good you are only aware that there were enemies in the area when you get a slowmo of their heads exploding.
 

Nailzzz

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For ARPG's i would have to go with Katarina from the The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing series. She was very competent and her banter with Van Helsing, was endearing. Highly recommend the series. Looking forward to the final cut version coming out next month since it will be an enhanced version of the entire trilogy all in one.

I would also be remiss to not give credit to the hero's AI in the original Guild Wars. The fact that you can give them hundreds of different skill combinations and they would generally use them competently was an impressive feat. Especially considering that the enemy AI was rather intelligent compared to pretty much any other mmo. The Enemy would use formations(along with collision detection) to keep you off their more vulnerable members, while making it a point to target your weakest link(whoever had low health/armor). They would also make dynamic judgement calls such as choosing to run out of your AOE's unless they were in a position to take your party members down by enduring the AOE and keep attacking. They would often utilize teamwork with skill combo set up's against you, rather than simply fight you as separate individual monsters(especially in the expansions). To counter that, the Hero AI had to be very competent.
 

CrazyCapnMorgan

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Lucia from LUNAR 2: Eternal Blue. Sure, she starts off dopey, but man she becomes a really good addition to the team! Not to mention she's an absolute goddess. (wink wink)

Then, the end of the game before the epilogue happens...
 

Foolery

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Dogmeat! No, wait...he died, so many goddamned times. Luckily I had the Puppies! perk. Anyway, I thought Witcher 3 was pretty great with NPCs that matched your pace and walked when you walked.
 

aozgolo

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woodlandkammo said:
There's a Skyrim mod called Vilja. She can spar with you, find quests, has a huge range of situational dialogue and actually had a moral personality where she will dynamically agree or disagree with your actions, among other things.
I'm actually playing Skyrim now with this mod, have had her for awhile, I like her a lot, at least up to a point then I leave her at home because I just need a break from her nattering (yeah I know I can tell her to hush up)

Chaos Isaac said:
As far as A.I. goes, I'd kinda lend myself towards Dragon's Dogma. They learned and got better, and could eventually wreck shop just as well as you could.
Glad someone mentioned this, I really like Dragon's Dogma's Pawns, they really do feel like an asset to the game, and I'll admit I've not encountered another third-persion action RPG that did party-based combat so well as that, it's a shame we won't see another Single Player entry in this series...

Foolery said:
Dogmeat! No, wait...he died, so many goddamned times. Luckily I had the Puppies! perk. Anyway, I thought Witcher 3 was pretty great with NPCs that matched your pace and walked when you walked.
For a game that puts you as mostly a lone wolf the companion AI was quite good, I never once recall yelling at any of the side characters to hurry up or get out of my way. Though I did wish that damned goat would hurry up, though so did Geralt and that whole mission I feel was in-universe playing with the idea of terrible companion AI.



I also kind of enjoy the AI from Final Fantasy XII, it wasn't perfect but it gave you a lot of control to program it to your liking, though it used the most basic style IF commands (IF this happens THEN do this) but I loved how you could set your party up well enough that fighting non-Boss enemies was just a matter of "walk into them, put controller down, watch" It really made grinding in that game a lot more tolerable, just don't get too complacent, relying on AI in boss fights it a great way to get wrecked horribly.

Another mention has to go to Grand Theft Auto V, you don't really think about the follower AI much in this game and that's how it should be, it actually works pretty well I felt with your companions being able to hold their own without horribly upstaging you, they would seek cover, yell if they needed help, and actually do what they were supposed to do if you left them alone, not to mention if it was one of the three main protagonists switching between them made life a lot easier, though you never had to worry about leaving a character in a sticky spot when you switched, they always seemed to work out well.