For time immemorial, dogs have been considered the tried-and-true companions of man – justly earning the moniker, “man’s best friend”. Never has this been more evident than in video gaming. Oftentimes, canines make better player companions than actual human beings with their ferocious nature and unwavering loyalty. Being relatively simple creatures doesn’t seem to hold them back and most gamers would agree that these fine furry friends are easy to understand, fun to have around, and great company for the long road ahead.
We sometimes find dogs inserted into games for purely sentimental reasons such as providing the player character a bit of company or a story plot device but other times they’re a bit more functional; fighting enemies, finding and picking up loot, and even saving the player’s life. Whether you play turn-based role playing games, first person shooters, or survival-horror games, there isn’t a situation you can find yourself in that could not be vastly improved by adding a dog. Video gaming has brought us many doggie companions over the years so here’s my brief list of some of the best K9 companions in games:
What greater asset can a lone wanderer of a post-apocalyptic landscape have than a loyal dog? Throughout the Fallout series the hero’s canine companion, affectionately referred to as “Dogmeat”, has been a welcome sidekick and has progressed from a mere pet to follow the player around in his first appearance in the original game to being able to follow commands and attack enemies that posed a threat to his master in the sequel. Dogmeat would live up to his true potential, however, in Fallout 3. He is first encountered avenging the loss of his master and once adopted by the player character, Dogmeat will not only assist in combat but also follow commands and find much needed supplies.
Dog from Fable II
I can’t list his name here because each player chooses his canine companions name, personality, and breed but the dog in Fable II is always a faithful companion. Whether it’s fighting bandits or hunting for treasure, your personalized dog is there to help out when the chips are down. A faithful friend of the player since childhood, it manages to save the protagonist multiple times throughout their life and as the player changes alignment to good or evil, so too does the dog – emulating their master’s moral choices. Thoroughly personal and completely selfless, the dog in Fable II easily earns their spot on the list.
Introduced during Microsoft’s Xbox One conference in 2013, Riley from Call of Duty: Ghosts is a fearsome player companion to be sure but can also be viewed as a kind of vanguard to the next-generation of video game consoles being drummed in at the time. Riley was a fan-favorite during the conference and instilled a sense of confidence among the attendees in the upcoming next-gen hardware. Modeled and motion-captured from a real-life SEALS K9, Riley is perhaps the most graphically spectacular dog character in the history of video gaming. In the game, Riley is like any other A.I. squad member, but is generally considered to be better than most.
To help the player, Riley can flank the enemy, take cover, and attack nearby enemies automatically as well as attack on command. In addition, he can be controlled directly via a camera mounted to the top of his collar, and his sleek, low to the ground frame allows players to stealth kill enemies. Most importantly, however, Riley is capable of taking out helicopters by himself and is the major reason he’s here on the list.
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Blade Wolf (Metal Gear)
LQ-84i, later referred to as Blade Wolf or simply Wolf, is the first boss of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and later, the robotic sidekick of Raiden. Aside from being a talking robot, part of what makes Wolf uber-cool is his vast array of weaponry, including hot knives and a chainsaw – yes, he’s a robotic dog with a chainsaw. If THAT isn’t cool then I don’t know what is! Besides the normal scouting ahead for Raiden, Blade Wolf is also playable in his own self-named DLC campaign, where his true potential as a fun to play weapon of mass destruction is realized. In the Blade Wolf DLC campaign, he fights through hordes of cyborgs, cutting them in half with his cool chainsaw as he happily goes about his business of fighting for freedom. That sentence alone earns Blade Wolf his spot on this list!