USgamer's Best Games of 2016: Best Sidekick

From bird-dogs to field chefs, we examine the best in 2016's sidekicks.

Article by USgamer Team, .

NPC sidekicks can be the bane of an otherwise great game. Even classics like Ocarina of Time are dogged by the persistent cry of, "Hey! Listen! Hey! Listen!" But what about when they're great?

We will continue publishing a different category each day through the end of the year, leading up to our final vote for best game of 2016. Join us as we count down to our Game of the Year! And remember, you can follow the rest of our 2016 coverage in our handy hub.

Best Sidekick: The Nominees

NPC sidekicks are more common than ever, and 2016 had some pretty interesting ones on offer. Here are our favorites.

Kat: Ignis (Final Fantasy XV)

I vacillated a bit between Final Fantasy XV's cast of sidekicks before finally settling on Ignis-the bespectacled companion who can cook a mean Prime Garula Rib. Though less forceful than Gladio, and less of a pest than Prompto, Ignis still makes his mark in the latter part of the story. In fact, the turn his character takes and the effect that it has on the party is ultimately why I think he's the most significant of Final Fantasy XV's secondary characters. It's a pity we don't get to know him better outside of the upcoming DLC, but his personality still shines through whether he's driving, fighting, or writing down another recipe.

Mike: John Donovan (Mafia III)

John Donovan is the definition of a bro. "What? People tried to kill you and you want revenge on their operations across an entire city? I'm onboard!" Donovan is joyful in his mission to help Lincoln Clay get revenge and yes, there's a bit more going on underneath the surface, but I'm a big fan of joyful bad guys. I note "bad guy" here because Lincoln and his crew aren't really the good guys, they're just the protagonists. In the midst of sad people doing angry things, John Donovan is happy to be doing what he feels is right. That's the kind of bro you need alongside you.

Jaz: Trico (The Last Guardian)

Is the cat-dog-eagle-griffon-what-the-hell-is-he Trico really a sidekick? I'd like to think so, despite the fact that he often seems reticent to actually help you out. But then, that's partly what makes this unique character so incredibly charming. Sometimes I just sit there and look at the screen and wonder what it's thinking. Then I remember that Trico is an AI character, and that I've been completely fooled into believing it's a living, breathing animal that has a mind of its own. That's a remarkable achievement.

Nadia: Chocobos (Final Fantasy XV)

Man, I love riding me some Chocobos in Final Fantasy XV. I really love dyeing my Chocobo a gorgeous royal blue, then forcing Prompto to ride a pukey green abomination (Ignis gets red, of course). Riding Chocobos is slower than taking the car, but even the Regalia can't offer the unbridled sense of freedom that comes with calling your Chocobo, mounting it, and zipping off towards the horizon in search of the next fishing spot, the next treasure, or whatever. Like I said on Axe of the Blood God, if there was a way to shove the game's oldschool Final Fantasy music CDs up your Chocobo's butt and pipe Final Fantasy IV tunes out its mouth, I'd let the Regalia collect dust in a garage somewhere. (Editor's Note: Buy the MP3 player, Nadia!)

Jeremy: Trico (The Last Guardian)

Who's a good bird-dog-dragon-thing? Yes, that's right. It's you! Yes you are!

The Winner: Trico (The Last Guardian)

Trico may ultimately go down as an incredibly annoying sidekick—there are times when it just refuses to go where you tell it—but there's no denying its charm. As in Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, The Last Guardian steadily builds up your bond with Trico over the course of the adventure through the canny use of game mechanics. You will find yourself completely reliant on Trico, and totally grateful when it swoops in to save your sorry human butt. Irritating as it can be, Trico is easily the most memorable sidekick of 2016.

Runner-up (Weighted Average): Ignis (Final Fantasy XV) (3.0)

Previous categories

  1. Best Single-Player Campaign
  2. Best Multiplayer
  3. Best Visual Style
  4. Loveliest Soundtrack
  5. The Game Universe We'd Like to Live In
  6. Biggest Disappointment
  7. Best Surprise

Tomorrow: 2016's Game of the Year

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Comments 9

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  • Avatar for kingaelfric #1 kingaelfric A year ago
    You forgot Superfly Johnson from Daikatana, which (arguably) still exists in the year 2016. Just sayin'.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #2 brionfoulke91 A year ago
    It's really hard to argue against Trico, he's basically a given. But Ignis gets a strong mention for runner up! Great character!
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #3 UnskippableCutscene A year ago

    "Nice work, Gladio!"
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  • Avatar for InsertTokenz #4 InsertTokenz A year ago
    My pick would likely be the Robobot from Kirby: Planet Robobot. That copy-ability powered mech was great company to have during most of those stages. :)
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #5 NotCarolKaye A year ago
    Prompto: Cindy or Aranea? I'd have to take some time to think about that.

    Ignis: I'm sure neither of them will have any trouble waiting.

    IGNIS SHOULDA WON!!!Edited December 2016 by NotCarolKaye
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #6 jeffcorry A year ago
    "Duh-nuh-nuh Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh!"
    "Oh. Hi there opening!"
    Prompto is my favorite. Ignus coming in right after, he's so cool. I think that because he reminds of one of my brothers. He's also so cool.
    Final Fantasy XV nailed the side-kick thing. It's funny for all the griping about only being able to control one character, I never feel alone.
    ...and then there's that last campfire scene.
    So awesome. Yes, there were some characters that were completely discarded and had zero narrative arc...something that NEEDS to be fixed, but the banter between the bros. is something special.
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #7 NotCarolKaye A year ago
    @jeffcorry Your brother sounds like a cool guy. :)
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #8 jeffcorry A year ago
  • Avatar for CipherStone #9 CipherStone A year ago
    Prompto is a beautiful little cinnamon roll. Too good for this world, too pure.
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