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Fiveish Best Buds in Videogames

Fiveish Best Buds in Videogames

I recently learned that the first full week after Valentine’s Day is considered Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week. Though I’m a bit late to the party, I can still participate, right?...right? To be honest, even though I’m unsure if I’d subscribe to the orientation, I have enough leanings to respect having a week to spread awareness of this oft-looked-over celebration. As such, and as my penance for being late, here is a list of some of my favourite game friendships and bromances, be they in the vastness of space, during war, or just growing naturally!

Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect

Calibrating their way into my heart

When I think of videogame bromances, I am first reminded of the three-game friendship I forged between my Shepard and Garrus Vakarian. Having an immense edge over the others in this list by having three full games’ worth of development and expression, Garrus has become one of my favourite characters in general, calibration obsession notwithstanding. Sure, you could romance the sly sharpshooter, but that's not why we're here.

What started as a professional relationship between Spectre-candidate Shepard and the turian C-sec officer soon was forged into an ironclad friendship in combat and shared experience, with Garrus being one of the only characters to be available to recruit in all three Mass Effect games. His wry sense of humour, sense of justice, and just general growth as a person was a fascinating trip, culminating in the two buds hanging out on the citadel, having a drink, and competing in sharpshooting, all in between life-and-death struggles against overwhelming odds. If that's not friendship, I don't know what is.

Alistair/Solas, Dragon Age

Made me laugh and cry, the bastards

I’m cheating here a bit, but I enjoyed these relationships much for the same reasons, so I decided to make an exception — not for the last time, though. Both Alistair and Solas are, what I’d consider, the first allies the heroes of both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age Inquisition meet after their respective harrowing experiences. Yes, this is another Bioware title, so the option to romance them is available, but I’m not touching that.

12307487 dragon age origins playstation 3 returning from the dead as a wa

I'm sorry, but your (guy on the right) hair is still ridiculous, mate

Alistair, one of the last Grey Wardens, acts as both a mentor and a companion in the bleak setting, helping the hero come to terms with their new lot in life, as well as acting as a pretty key figure in the land's political climate. Regardless of this, he is humorous, always ready with a quip or joke, and is genuinely a good friend. The fact that you can influence his growth, hardening him against the cruelties of the world or helping him foster his carefree and caring attitude, just endears him to me more! Seeing the skittish Gray Warden grow into a leader alongside the hero really brings them together and makes you feel for the rough choices they have to make, especially near the end.

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Solas, on the other hand, is a bit of a mirror to Alistair. Prevalently mysterious and distant, the elven mage often gives you sound advice and seems to know a lot more about your situation than he’s willing to share. Regardless, you begin to learn more about him during the Inquisition’s activities, even growing to form a friendship, of course. This is fine and dandy in itself, but what really solidified their friendship was the Trespasser DLC. If you have not played it yet, please do! It is pretty amazing. In the DLC, in a surprising twist, Solas and the Inquisitor (that’s you) find themselves at odds, both passionate about differing views and finding themselves at an impasse. What follows is an absolutely stunning and beautiful display of friendship, with both sides being conflicted and torn by their bond and duty. Some may argue that the romance route has more oomph in this situation, but I disagree; this is the kind of relationship I wish I had with more people… though please don’t, you know, do the thing I’m avoiding saying due to spoilers.

Your Pawn, Dragon's Dogma

The epitome of loyalty

I have talked about the Pawns of Dragon’s Dogma to no end, so I’ll keep this one brief; I promise. In the game’s world, people who have their hearts stolen by a Dragon are called Arisen, fated heroes bound to fight said Dragon and save the land. These heroes are assigned a Pawn, a member of otherworldly beings, who serves as their companion throughout this harrowing trial. While emotionless, the Pawns are surprisingly endearing, commenting on many sights and structures in the land of Gransys while also working with you to combat the many monsters that roam the land. Don’t get me wrong, the Pawns are not without fault, often telling you about a cool castle five minutes after you left said building or screaming about how HARPIES CAN FLY for the tenth time this combat.

Regardless of some small quibbles, the Pawn, whom you can customise, is loyal, stalwart, and even grows with you. I got really attached to my fine friends, going as far as grinding for cool gear to give to them! Ultimately, the care and worry this so-called emotionless companion shows you are heart-warming, and I will always keep it with me.

The Scions of the Seventh Dawn (FFXIV)

A dysfunctional family if I ever saw one

Another instance of me cheating a bit since this is a whole organisation, but bear with me. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn in Final Fantasy XIV is a group of like-minded adventurers and heroes who have sworn to protect the realm from both the Primals, manifestations of strong emotions and aether, and other forces such as the Garlean Empire and the Ascians. You, the player character, and Warrior of Light, are a prominent member of this organisation, helping them take on the myriad of challenges that comprise the main game and its expansions.

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"On our way to cause problems and eat your food"

While the Scions came together to stop calamities, they are more of a found family than a group of hardened veterans, and the game does a really good job of both humanising them and letting the player feel like a part of this closely-knit group of friends: the constant bickering of the twins, Alphinaud and Alisae, are sources of amusement more often than not, though the moments where we can witness their growth are even more touching as contrast. The more intelligent members, such as Y’shtola and Urianger, can often be found looking over those more brash, with teacups in hand. Though they have a habit of getting into trouble all their own, lest one think they are above the usual hijinx. The characters I think represent the epitome of bromance, however, are Thancred and Estinien.

The former being a slightly cocky and hot-headed scoundrel and the latter being an aloof spearman, their interactions with the main character and each other are the makings of a sitcom I desperately need! The family you form within the Scions is something I’ve rarely experienced in games, as more often than not, the main character feels like an outsider influencing whatever faction they are leading at the time. Here, it feels like each member is more or less equal, with a common respect and rapport that more games should try to emulate. That and Tataru is the best character, even though she is of the hated Lalafell.

That guy, Persona

You know the one

This is the last cheat, I promise, and not only because it is the last item on this list! So, what do I mean when I say “that guy”? Well, in the Persona franchise, at least from the third game onward, there is usually a character very early on in the game that you run into and becomes your first “friend” so to speak. The character you begin your adventure with and who sticks with you throughout. For example, in Persona 4, this is very clearly Yosuke Hanamura, the bumbling but well-meaning guy you find stuck in a trash bin. In Persona 5, it’s the slightly volatile Ryuji Sakamoto, and in Persona 3, it's a toss-up between Yukari Takepa and Junpei Iori, with Junpei possibly fulfilling the following criteria slightly better.

"Whaddaya mean it's not me?!"

“That friend” represents the epitome of a best friend cliché, being the proverbial Riker to your Picard, which only becomes more prevalent the further you progress in their respective Social Links. While for me, Yosuke probably epitomises the platonic friendship ideals, I think it has a lot to do with which game you start off with, which is why I went for the generalisation. “That guy” is always there for you, has your back, probably calls you bro or partner, and will lay down their life for you, but only if you help them peek at the girls. There’s a reason I kicked you out of the party, Yosuke. Be better, bestie.

And there you have it! Five-ish examples of platonic friendships and bromances I absolutely love in games. What are your favourites? What pairing did I sacrilegiously exclude? Let us know in the comments!

Martin Heath

Martin Heath

Staff Writer

Professional Bungler

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