BioWare is known for developing massive, sprawling RPGs with numerous worlds to explore and companions to accompany you. With the release of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, those companions once again find themselves in the spotlight. Each Mass Effect game features some intriguing examples, from a range of fascinating species (we haven't even had the pleasure of meeting some species from Mass Effect lore).
BioWare's great companions don't stop with the Mass Effect, series, however. Series like Dragon Age, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Jade Empire all feature memorable traveling buddies, each pushing the stories and development of the games' protagonists. While nearly every companion is notable, a few stand out as the very best.
10 Shale (Dragon Age: Origins - The Stone Prisoner DLC)
Shale is a stone war golem the player stumbles across during The Stone Prisoner DLC. Specializing in strength and constitution, Shale is a powerful companion. Shale's approval (this being a system to keep careful track of in Dragon Age: Origins) grants a large increase in strength, and with a proper setup, she can be an excellent tank or ranged character.
Shale is unique in that she doesn't equip armor or weapons, but large and small crystals. Using crystals as equipment means you won't need to worry about lots of armor pieces or weapons, making gear management significantly easier. While she doesn't have the narrative depth of most other BioWare companions, Shale offers unique abilities and options for any playstyle.
9 Tali'Zoarah Nar Rayyah (Mass Effect 2)
Tali'Zoarah nar Rayyah is a companion and potential love interest in Mass Effect 2, popular among fans due to her characterization and utilization. As a tech specialist, Tali will help you with her hacking and decryption skills - extremely valuable if Shepherd is a soldier.
Tali's surprise at how Shepherd treats her shows her struggle understanding her place in the galaxy. She slowly learns that she is not deserving of the scorn that Quarians receive for having created the murderous Geth. Her loyalty mission is among the most compelling in any BioWare offering, as you defend Tali while her own people accuse her of treason.
8 Urdnot Wrex (Mass Effect)
The last of the Krogan Battle Masters is a tragic figure cloaked in a tough, angry exterior. He's a unique companion who combines biotics and advanced weaponry (typically companions only master one or the other). As such, Wrex is among the most powerful allies available. Wrex is consumed by his desire to save the Krogans from dying out completely, and his goal is to unite the Krogan clans.
His loyalty to both Shepherd and his race leads to a pivotal moment in Mass Effect: a stand-off with Shepherd over what he perceives to be the fate of his people. The conclusion of this stand-off has far-reaching effects in Mass Effect 2 and 3. If Wrex dies, the Krogans are led by his bloodthirsty brother Wreav. Curing the genophage is less popular with Wreav in charge.
7 Canderous Ordo / Mandalore (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic / Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords)
Canderous is a Mandalorian mercenary who joins you early in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He specializes in heavy ranged weapons and heavy armor, which is extremely valuable for melee-centric players. He can deal massive damage from afar, allowing your Jedi to get in close and finish the job.
Ordo is memorable for appearing in two games: KOTOR and its sequel. Between the two games, Revan helps Ordo find the Helmet of Mandalore and unite the clans as their leader, Mandalore. In KOTOR II, he dons the helmet as a stronger and wiser companion. Through Ordo and Mandalore, the player learns a lot about fighting with honor and Mandalorian culture.
6 Ya Zhen (Jade Empire)
Ya Zhen is one of two demons inhabiting the body of a young girl named Wild Flower. Through chapters 2 and 3 of Jade Empire, you can choose which demon inhabits the little girl. At the beginning of chapter 4, you must choose who takes over.
Ya Zhen is perhaps more appealing, since he appears as a toad-like creature and openly admits his reason for loyalty is not altruistic. Lesser-known that the popular companions of other BioWare series, perhaps, but Ya Zhen is a truly unique ally and one of the company's most creative companion concepts.
5 Dog (Dragon Age: Origins)
Dog is a war hound in Dragon Age: Origins, given to you as a gift. He has unique equipment in the form of collars and kaddis (warpaint), which boost his offensive or defensive statistics. He finds unique items, mostly bones, and can be equipped with a Protective Cone (veterinarian style).
Dog is fiercely loyal. In fact, there is no way to lower his approval rating - it's maxed out upon meeting Dog and literally cannot be lowered. Canine companions are commonplace in video games, of course, but the beautiful simplicity, the unwavering loyalty and utility of Dog makes him a staunch ally.
4 Jolee Bindo (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
Jolee Bindo is a Gray Jedi, living in exile on the planet Kashyyk. Angry and disillusioned, Jolee is among the best-known Gray Jedi (neither light- nor dark-aligned) to exist in Star Wars media. Jolee's story is one of heartbreak, tragedy, and pain.
Eventually the player learns that Jolee's wife succumbed to the dark side and he was unable to kill her, leading to the deaths of many Jedi. His strength is necessary for your quest: he guides you through the Shadowlands in Kashyyk and provides valuable offensive skills in battle. However, Jolee's tragedy is what makes him so memorable.
3 Visas Marr (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords)
One of many potential Jedi companions, Visas Marr is a Miraluka: a race of Force-sensitive beings that "see" using the Force. She is sent to the Ebon Hawk to kill the Exile by Darth Nihilus, the evil Sith Lord that destroyed her homeworld and turned her to the dark side. The Exile defeats her and saves her life, eventually turning her back to the light.
Visas boasts a unique combination of dark side powers and light side alignment. Jedi companions in KOTOR games are typically limited to using powers corresponding to their original alignment. Visas isn't a one-note character that switches from evil to good: she slowly comes back to the light through the hope the Exile gives her. Her redemption arc is just one example of the series' fantastic storytelling.
2 Mordin Solus (Mass Effect 2)
Mordin Solus is a fast-talking Salarian tech specialist full of great lines, but he typically isn't a very popular companion. He is one of the weakest in terms of combat prowess, but he is likable, selfless, and is deeply invested in curing the genophage that's preventing the Krogan from reproducing.
Mordin's likeability comes from his empathy. Upon seeing the horrors of the experiments his former assistant was running to cure the genophage, Mordin is furious and nearly kills him. With Mordin's help, Shepherd can cure the genophage, allowing Mordin to be a hero at the cost of his own life.
1 HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
The player finds this Hunter-Killer assassin droid on Tattooine, purchasing the droid to complete objectives with the Tusken Raiders. This is ironic, since the droid is a bloodthirsty killer. HK-47 brings the best of both Canderous Ordo and T3-M4 to the table, specializing in ranged heavy weapons and technical skills while providing excellent dialogue.
HK-47 refuses to call organic beings anything other than "meatbags." He's openly antagonistic, gleefully violent, and is the complete opposite of what fans expect from a BioWare companion. This is the key to his appeal, for those looking to adventure with a very different kind of ally. There is no redemption, no morality, only a loyal machine full of violence and jokes.
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