Excellent new entries in the open-world genre of games like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West have audiences seeking out other titles to explore. Anticipation is building for the Breath of the Wild sequel, Skull and Bones, and God of War Ragnarok, but there are existing RPGs with dense maps and thrilling adventures to explore in the interim.
Journeying through the apocalyptic wastelands of Fallout 4 can be a lonely and frightening experience, even in a game with plenty of comedy and joy. One of the best features of this game is the companion system. Robot, human, or otherwise, these buddies make fun assistants, each with their own personalities and accompanying perks.
Having a rough young life that required a lot of self-reliance, Danse enlisted in the Brotherhood of Steele with his friend Cutler to escape their life of scavenging. His time in the Brotherhood leads him to foster a deep hatred for any non-humans, as the quasi-fascist military group aims to kill anyone who isn’t human.
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Danse is a mostly stoic soldier, and though he has strong armor that makes him handy in combat situations, Sole Survivor does have to join the Brotherhood to acquire him as a companion. When Danse discovers that he is a synth, he goes through a deep emotional crisis. This harrowing revelation does add nuance to his character, but ultimately he’s not worth aligning with such an evil organization unless the player wants to do a villainous run.
As a synth designed for high-risk situations, X6-88 comes in handy for both ranged and close combats situations. Because of his design, he doesn’t make for the best conversationalist, and he has a rather stiff demeanor. He will stand up for himself in the face of anti-synth characters or actions, even from Sole Survivor.
In the balance of entertainment vs. usefulness, X6 certainly can be a major asset for the player, but there’s not much depth to him and his interactions tend to be very one-note. For that reason, he’s unlikely to make any players “favorite companion” lists.
Strong is the only possible super mutant companion for the Sole Survivor. Under the tutelage of Rex Goodman, Strong has latched on to a Shakespearean quote about the “milk of human kindness”, which he misinterprets to be literal milk he can find and use to make super mutants better.
Strong and Rex were imprisoned by other super mutants, and Sole Survivor can save them in order to get Strong as a heavy weapon-wielding companion. There are some lightly amusing moments with Strong, but at the end of the day he’s a very simple muscular mutant, neither the worst nor the best in terms of companions.
“Another settlement needs our help” has become a meme, and for good reason. Preston Garvey can be somewhat irritating in how frequently he has relatively similar quests for the player to accomplish. However, as a companion, he has a fascinating and tragic history to share in his own stoic way.
If the player decides to become the new general of the Minutemen, Preston becomes a possible companion to the Sole Survivor. Preston is first encountered at the beginning of the game when he needs help to save the few people left he’s trying to protect. Along with his story, his passion and commitment to the cause he was raised in is inspiring in many ways.
As an intelligence agent with a largely mysterious background, Deacon makes for a fascinating companion, not in the least bit thanks to unraveling his history. He’s a funny, charming associate to help players fight through another Fallout with surprisingly scary moments for a non-horror title.
Familiar players who’ve gone through the game more than once may notice him first as he follows Sole Survivor around in various disguises. What players are able to discover about him paints a portrait of a conflicted soul trying to find his path to absolution.
Piper runs her own newspaper in Diamond City. She’s a sassy reporter on a mission to expose the corruption there. Naturally, she’s angered many people in her line of work and even survived an assassination attempt. An unpopular Reddit opinion on Fallout 4 is that the story element isn’t as strong, but thorough backstories like Piper’s show there’s still plenty to uncover.
Her devotion to her younger sister is deeply endearing, especially after learning of the murder of their father. Intrepid reporters always make for exciting company, as one can rest assured they will go to any length to get their story. Piper has the best of intentions, even if she could be more careful in her methods.
What’s more entertaining than a ghoul dressed as a revolutionary hero John Hancock? Serving as the mayor of Goodneighbor, John Hancock’s one and only desire is to keep the people of the safe haven he’s created out of danger.
His zombie-like countenance coupled with his love of substance abuse makes for some unforgettable dialogues between him and Sole Survivor. As with the rest of the cast, he has faced many tragedies but at the end of the day, Hancock is good company to keep.
It’s always good to see an old friend, and MacCready is a welcome sight. Franchise fans will remember him as the foul-mouthed punk mayor in Little Lamplight from Fallout 3, another entry with likable companions. He’s been on quite a journey since then, and in Fallout 4 his main goal is to get rid of the Gunners who are out to get him, and find a cure for his son’s ailment.
He’s the abrasive type, but lovable in his own way. Still a smart-mouthed trouble-maker, MacCready’s quests are tense with his sons life on the line and he’s got a sniper rifle that comes in handy during battles as a bonus.
After her parents sold her in to slavery on her eighteenth birthday and she had to work as an entertainment slave for years, she managed to save up caps (one of the best game currencies, found throughout the Fallout universe) to buy her freedom and sought revenge on them. When Sole Survivor meets her she’s cagefighting under raider control and addicted to booze and chems.
In spite of her trauma and self-medication, she puts on an impressive bravado. Her despair at the courses she’s walked before comes through, and ultimately she’s a wounded soul who’s trying to enjoy whatever aspects of life she can now, which makes her a fun Irish friend.
Something about the dedication of waiting hundreds of for your friend to return is undeniably bittersweet. Codsworth is the robot butler used by Sole Survivor’s family before the bombs fall, yet even after being in stasis for 200 years when Soul Survivor comes out of the shelter, Codsworth is there.
He’s a sweet little robot who is obsessive about keeping things cleanly, and as a reminder of life before the end of the world, he makes for a sweet assistant. He was also developed with the exciting feature of being able to speak over 900 variations of player names in in-game dialogue.
One of the rarest things to find in the Commonwealth is anyone who will help another purely out of the kindness of their heart, human or otherwise. That’s what makes Nick Valentine so special. In his trench coat, with his private detective skills he is a major asset in finding Sole Survivor’s son.
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His noir-inspired persona is a fun play on the genre. Though he’s an older generation synth, he’s no less lively. Nick Valentine was a human who was killed by a gangster, but the one Sole Survivor encounters is a copy on the hunt for that same gangster.
Curie, like a true scientist, yearns to do research and perform experiments, but in her Miss Nanny body those goals are difficult ones. She wasn’t programmed for things like that. As a companion, Sole Survivor can assist her in her quest by putting her into a synth body.
Generally a pleasant and bubbly character, Curie is excitable about all things science. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the company of a more cheerful character given all the bloodshed and anguish throughout the Commonwealth.
There is no greater companion than a dog, regardless of what the adventure is. It’s no surprise that Dogmeat has appeared in some form in every Fallout game. First appearing in the original game as an optional companion, subsequent games featured different dogs by the same name.