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Love Or Hate: This Generation's A.I. Partners

Over the years artificial intelligence in video games has advanced significantly, but the current generation has allowed for an explosion of titles that seek to take advantage of this in crafting the gaming experience.

The net effect: a lot of discussion and argument back and forth about which A.I. partners people loved and which ones they hated. Sometimes it just seemed like a bad idea for them to be there in the first place. I heard a lot of this talk when Sheva Alomar joined Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5. Besides the fact that adding a partner pretty much destroyed any fear factor that Resident Evil once had I also didn't like Sheva constantly depleting ammunition supplies while managing to be almost no help at all.

Helena Harper and others did a better job in Resident Evil 6 but I think a lot of fans would have liked a less crowded experience. Since the aim of developers in adding these partners is often to create a great co-op experience, fantasy fans had hoped that Hunted: The Demon's Forge would also offer some intelligent A.I. when playing alone. It was nice that we could switch characters now and then and I did like the banter between Caddoc and E'lara but of course it never reached the level of Nathan Drake's snappy patter with Elena, Chloe or Sully as they backed him up through the trials and tribulations of his adventures.

Lost in a lot of the shuffle this generation was the Ninja Theory gem Enslaved: Odyssey to the West where protagonist Monkey developed a complex but beneficial relationship with female hacker Trip. Having her order me around was no picnic, but I know I couldn't have made it far in battle without her technical abilities.

We also have the two recent Game of the Year contenders boasting two very likeable A.I. partners. I was a little worried that Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite would cramp my style if she required any babysitting but Irrational seemed to read my mind. She turned out to be a great help and there was no need to defend her. Also she wasn't a typical damsel in distress character either, she was someone very dynamic and complex.

Knowing this community I think a lot of us here might put Ellie from The Last of Us right at the top of our favorite A.I. partner lists. Her character was written so well and so carefully that she wasn't just a partner on the road through the wasteland, she slowly became a family member.

My favorite is probably Elizabeth, but I have to be honest and tell you I had the most fun of all with Fawkes in Fallout 3. Something about an erudite supermutant laying waste to my enemies with a gatling laser and then shouting “You! Lose!” just had me cackling every time.

Who were your most and least favorite A.I. partners this generation?

Related Game(s): The Last Of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Resident Evil 6, Fallout 3

Tags: A.I. Partner

7/12/2013 10:16:46 PM David D. Nelson

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Comments (38 posts)

Dukemz_UK
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 10:59:45 PM
Reply

I forgot about Fawkes, but you're right, he was great fun as an AI partner.
My best would be Ellie from The Last of Us. My worst is the foul-mouthed Rico from Killzone 3

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Jawknee
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:04:14 PM

Yes!!!! I couldn't stand Rico. So annoying. Ellie had a potty mouth too which bothered me at first then I realized it was a cleaver way of showing how different Ellie and Joel really are, him being born before the fall and her being born after.

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Temjin001
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:15:36 PM

Rico can just die already!

If he wouldn't be such an idiot while trying to save you I'd be okay with him.

"Don't worry buddy. I'm coming to get you!"
...
... (gets stuck on a stair step or rock pebble)
... (takes ton of fire while wrestling with petty object)
"IT'S A FREAKING S***T STORM OUT THERE. I CANT GET TO YOU! Im sorry"

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Dukemz_UK
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:34:44 PM

Rico was also too trigger happy and one dimensional.
I hope Killzone : Shadowfall has better characters

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VampDeLeon
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:58:06 AM

The character depth and personality of Rico died after the PS2's Killzone. I also hope Shadowfall brings back the combat-buddy close relationships the original game first had.

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Jawknee
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:00:42 PM
Reply

I really liked Elizabeth too. She's all around a great character and didn't get in the way like the partners in other games (resident evil). Though her help felt a bit too scripted where as Ellie would surprise me with a brick to the face of a guy charging me or a knife to the back of a guy pummeling me. I also liked that Ellie was a product of the fallen world she was born in yet able to maintain goodness. They were both great characters but if I had to choose it would be Ellie.

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SayWord
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 3:46:28 PM

Ellie telling off bill all the time is hilarious.

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Temjin001
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:31:22 PM
Reply

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57540142-1/watch-this-darpa-robot-climb-leap-and-walk-past-obstacles/

yah, just wait until we have these policing us =p

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:14:43 AM

f*cks sake man, that thing is terrifying. Didn't that come after me in MGS4?

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 1:08:04 AM

yah, it's pretty insane.

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 8:44:05 AM

Oooh yes, let's trust the robots.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 11:52:20 PM
Reply

I really thought Sheva in RE5 was great. I never once had a problem with her at all.

But Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite) and Ellie (The Last Of Us) are definitely the best, IMO. I also liked Elika a lot in Prince of Persia, but only because she was almost more of a tool than an ally. LOL

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:09:11 AM

Oh yeah I forgot about Elika, she was always saving my ass.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:12:40 AM
Reply

Kat in DmC doesn't quite qualify I think, but I really liked her character's role in the plot.

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Oxvial
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:24:07 AM
Reply

He doesn't qualify but Bladewolf (Metal Gear Rising) was a very entertaining sidekick, he alone made MGR have one of the best codecs of the franchise.


Last edited by Oxvial on 7/13/2013 12:25:32 AM

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VampDeLeon
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:24:48 AM
Reply

The AI for Uncharted 3 was funny at times. During that part where Drake, Chloe, Charlie and Sully are escaping the building through all these guys before boarding the tourist bus there were a bunch coming out on one of the last walkways.

Somehow Chloe ended up far ahead of us to where she physically kept trying to punch the bigger and bulkier men before being kicked back by them. It took a few minutes before her character could finally physically punch the armored guy out without any shooting help from me. It was a big help during Crushing difficulty.

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StevieRV
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 1:22:50 AM
Reply

Elena from the uncharted series for me, particularly the first 2 games

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Underdog15
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 2:46:33 AM
Reply

I love TLOU, but this is hilarious.

http://iamarg.com/comics/2013-06-19.gif

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:25:28 PM

Lol, yea, that's my only gripe about the game. My first play through Ellie ran right in front of a solider under his flashlight and didn't alert him. l just laughed.

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Underdog15
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:25:21 AM

Yeah, right before you get to the capitol building, coming in contact with a clicker under ground there, I stayed quiet as it moved relatively quickly. When Ellie and Tes were moving around, I panicked and ran when it did it's standard screeching click thinking they alerted it. lol... I died.

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Hand_of_Sorrow
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 9:48:23 AM
Reply

Ellie is on the top of my list,
a very close secound is Elizabeth.

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bldudas1
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 10:11:10 AM
Reply

Elizabeth babysat me. It's a tie between Elizabeth and Ellie. I liked how Ellie helped me when enemies were surrounding me. And I like how Elizabeth gave me supplies.
My other favorite partners are from RPGs, so I don't know if they count.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 10:21:12 AM

I suppose they could since RPG party members are no longer directly controlled.

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 10:45:58 AM

You know that Ellie being as helpful as she was was actually Ashley Johnson's idea? ND wanted Ellie to kinda just sit around while Joel cleared the areas but Ashley, during motion capture felt that if it where her in that situation she would probably help Joel so that's how the AI for Ellie being so helpful came about.

Saw this in the 90 minister behind the scenes making of The Last of Us. It's a great watch.

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 10:59:05 AM

90 Minute*

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sawao_yamanaka
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 11:21:00 AM

Yea watched that as well. Very entertaining to watch. The part with Troy Baker during the beginning since was actually funny. Pouring his emotions out then they told him he didn't get it and having to perform the same scene over and over till he got it without emotion. Great making of from them.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 11:42:57 AM

Good on her then, it was greatly appreciated the few times where I was just about to die and she pounded some fool with a brick.

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 12:18:06 PM

Yea it's a great watch. You should check it out after you finish the game World. I had to take a break at the sound portion because it was very late when I downloaded but I'm looking forward to returning to it.

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bldudas1
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 4:20:56 PM

Inever knew that. That's good that happened.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 3:12:02 PM
Reply

But strictly speaking, can we count Elizabeth as a AI partner? I mean, she could not technically get hurt, nor contribute to the actual fights/events, she were merely a mobile ammo/health spawner?

Now don't get me wrong, I *love* Bioshock and Elizabeth is one of the most charming female characters in a game EVER, she made the whole darn game if you ask me, but I'm not so sure if we can really call it a true partner.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/13/2013 3:13:45 PM

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 3:44:51 PM

She did a lot more than that with all the things she provided through her tears. Everything from cover points to turrets to motorized patriots to skyhooks.

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Cabalavatar1
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:18:05 PM
Reply

Fawkes is also my favourite. He even took credit for my kills with haunting exaltations. Good times.


On the other hand, Ellie and Elena were the best: not my favourite (though up there), but the best. Joel and Drake are too gruff or impassive without their counterparts.

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Ninja_WafflesXD
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 1:54:25 PM
Reply

I liked Elizabeth's character, but as an A.I partner not so much.

I felt like Booker was stripped down in order to make Elizabeth seem useful. Everything was too scripted...I didn't like it very much.

She was invincible and invisible...not particularly engaging.

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Reccaman18
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 6:59:02 PM
Reply

One of my favorite AI companions was Serana from Skyrim. She had so many dialog options and always had something to say about everything from the weather, to caves, and even Nordic crypts. She was a very well written and dynamic follower. Shame Bethesda wouldn't let you marry her.

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Underdog15
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 8:59:41 PM

You can marry her if you play as a female character, though!

....


ok no not really. I just wanted to give you a good "holy shit!" moment.

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Reccaman18
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 11:02:29 PM

I know the way to do it on PC, but that feels like cheating!

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chaplain
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 8:09:45 PM
Reply

The Ratchet and Clank series did a great job! There was a good balance of time usage for each character.

Clank worked well when attached to Ratchet and was enjoyable when he had his own missions.

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Lunar_Miyuki
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 @ 12:41:28 PM
Reply

the AI imo really hasn't changed that much this Gen most of the AI is still the same dumb AI we had since Snes just in 3d environments most AI still gets stuck at walls
or just runs right at the enemy take dragons Dogma as example you can tell your AI to fall back though half the time they don't listen to you and just charge at the enemy

other games AI will get stuck behind walls run straight into a powerful attack or run at an enemy with a rocket Launcher ect

now as far as enemy AI goes most of it is still the same also they go into set patterns usually unless were talking Ninja Gaiden which actually has adaptive AI well somewhat where if you start spamming certain attacks they'll pick up on it and counter you

i honestly am not impressed with Ally NPC AI

Enemy AI im starting to see some improvements with which is a start

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