Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a job just requires two people.
Whether you’re moving a sofa, fixing a car or killing the demi-god, Módi, son of Thor, having an accomplice makes the job easier. It’s all the better if your partner is full of witty banter and/or carries a plentiful supply of health or other useful items. Even better still if they can be left unsupervised without ruining your whole mission altogether.
We’ve lost count of the amount of video games that throw a helpful companion at you. But PlayStation exclusives have had some of the best sidekick characters of all time. From the early PS1 days until now, those friendly NPCs have been making our experiences all the better by simply just existing. And we’re here to celebrate them.
Here and in no particular order, we look at six of the best PlayStation sidekick characters from across the generations. Enjoy.
1. Bentley Wiseturtle (The Sly Cooper series)
Having met series’ hero Sly Raccoon when they were mere cookie-thieving kids, Bentley and Sly formed a firm and unbreakable friendship. So unbreakable, in fact, that it’s seen them through four mainline games, spin-off Bentley’s Hackpack and appearances in PlayStation Move Heroes and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale.
Bentley easily beats out hippo Murray for his place as fan-favourite accomplice to Sly. While his tendency to over-analyse and spell out everything can be a bit of a drag, he more than makes up for it with his big ol’ brain and his dedication to the team. Dedication which, ultimately, caused him to become wheelchair-bound back in Sly 2.
It shouldn’t be missed that his representation of wheelchair users as equals – and, in many cases the most important person on the team thanks to his intellect – was and remains incredibly important to this day. We love you, Bentley. Let’s hope we see this PlayStation sidekick make a comeback one day.
2. Ellie (The Last of Us)
Boil it down to its basics, and The Last of Us Part 1 is essentially one long escort mission. You know, getting Ellie to the place she’s supposed to be. Nobody likes escort missions though, and thankfully, developer Naughty Dog was well aware of this fact.
Not only is Ellie invisible to enemies when not in combat (admittedly a little unrealistic, but we’ll let it slide) but she’s also very handy in a brawl. Keep half an eye on her in the background and you’ll see she’s a dead-eye with a brick. She’ll occasionally put her butterfly knife to exceptionally good use against both human and infected enemies, too.
Couple her combat-readiness with her innocent sense of wonder and you’ll find yourself ready to take a metal pole through the chest for her. Undoubtedly one of the best PlayStation sidekick characters of all time. And, of course, in The Last of Us Part II she goes on to take the leading role.
3. Clank (The Ratchet & Clank series)
Charming, intelligent and wonderfully polite for a War Bot, Clank – or XJ-0461, serial number B5429671 – is the perfect sidekick for his more rash, less considered friend, Ratchet.
Having been rescued from his crashed spaceship by Ratchet, the pair quickly form an attachment to each other, both figuratively and literally, with Ratchet making the most of Clank’s various abilities as both jetpack and backpack.
Throughout their adventures, Clank provides helpful information to Ratchet as well as expressing wonderment at the worlds they visit. Inevitably there are times where the two are separated, and Clank-controlled sections in each game are remarkably enjoyable. Clank’s physics-based anomaly minigames in 2021’s Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart might be some of the best.
So popular is Clank that he’s even starred in his own in-world movie. Called Secret Agent Clank, it was released as a standalone game for Sony’s PSP back in 2008, before an eventual release on PS2.
4. Atreus (God of War)
Much like Ellie from The Last of Us, Atreus has a tough path to walk as a companion. After all, in 2018’s God of War he’s paired with Kratos, one of gaming’s all-time strongest, most powerful, most fearsome protagonists; slayer of gods, destroyer of empires. Not an easy act to follow.
Fortunately, Atreus makes sure to pay his way. He’s helpful in combat, both from a distance and up-close. In the heat of the moment, his help can mean the difference between defeat and victory. And perhaps most helpfully, he can use his resuscitation stone to revive Kratos, avoiding death and therefore avoiding a checkpoint restart. Most crucially, in their fight against Modi, son of Thor, it is Atreus who lands the deadly blow, not Kratos.
Atreus’ own story may take a back seat to Kratos’, but it’s actually the backbone of God of War. Essentially, this is a game all about Atreus earning his father’s trust, and to do so he demonstrates great ability, great discipline and great compassion. PlayStation sidekick characters really don’t get much better than that, surely?
5. Daxter (The Jak & Daxter series)
Jak & Daxter’s world runs on the power of Dark Eco. It surrounds every location and gives power to all of their foes, transforming humble plantlife into deadly predators. Somehow, however, Daxter got off pretty lightly. Falling into a vat of the stuff, he’s transformed from a dorky teen to a lovable Ottsel (part Otter, part Weasel). And in the process, one of the best PlayStation sidekick characters is born.
Providing comic relief alongside his silent buddy, Jak, Daxter spends most of the first game playing second fiddle. Come Jak II, however, and Daxter is a far more fleshed-out character. He leads the operation to free Jak from his two-year imprisonment at the hands of Baron Praxis.
The events leading up to this miraculous escape are fully playable in Daxter’s self-titled spin-off. All the best sidekicks get their own game eventually, right? Launching in 2006 for PSP, Daxter reviewed well, performed well and played well, giving players a new perspective on the world of Jak & Daxter.
6. Sully (The Uncharted series)
Rounding off our list of best PlayStation sidekick characters is good old Victor “Sully” Sullivan, aka Victor “goddamn” Sullivan. He’s the saviour, mentor and eventual partner-in-crime of everyone’s favourite treasure hunter, Nathan Drake.
Sully’s introduction in the series is one of the most finely written in this list. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune sets Sully up as Nate’s rescuer for the first time. At the very beginning of the game, he saves Drake from a pirate ambush in his seaplane. What an entrance.
The sequel, Uncharted: Among Thieves, once more sees Sully rescuing Drake. This time it’s from prison, having posted his bail. Sully also goes to lengths to encourage Drake to trust Chloe Fraser who ultimately, ends up a trusted ally and friend of the team.
Having bided its time, Naughty Dog used Uncharted 3 as the perfect time to explore Nathan Drake and Sully’s history. Here it’s revealed that Sully not only saved Nate’s life, but sacrificed his way of living to shelter him and bring him under his wing.
Finally, A Thief’s End sees a grizzled old Sully dragged along on the pirate adventure of a lifetime with Drake’s long-lost brother, Sam. As well-written as Sam is, he can’t hold a candle to Sully. With three main-line titles behind him, he’s Nate’s ultimate brother-in-arms.