To many PC gamers, video games are an escape from real life, and some have even dedicated their playing skills towards cementing a career in the video games industry.
The allure of exploring fictitious new worlds and creating an alternate persona is addictive and refreshing, which is made even more rewarding when in-game AI companions (NPCs) behave and react almost human-like, giving us the impression that we’re genuinely not alone during our gaming sessions.
Unlike online browser games, if we’re hungry for triple-A (AAA) gaming experiences while playing solo, these are the best PC games offering the most satisfying AI companions to date:
1) The Last of Us Part 1
Developed by: Naughty Dog | Release Date: March 28, 2023
Previously exclusive to PlayStation consoles, The Last of Us Part 1 is the popular franchise’s first PC port, bringing the same survival drama encompassing the two leading protagonists, Joel and Ellie, to home desktops.
Despite being marred by numerous bugs and glitches – among the common optimization issues concerning PC-game ports – subsequent patches and updates have since resolved many of its glaring problems after launch, offering improved gameplay experiences and steady 60fps performance.
2) God of War
Developed by: Santa Monica Studio | Release Date: January 14, 2022
Another former PlayStation-exclusive title, the universally-acclaimed God of War storms to PCs worldwide beginning from 2022, letting us partake in Kratos’s latest adventure with his coming-of-age son, Atreus.
Atreus might be young, but he’s exceptionally smart and useful, helping us solve puzzles while blasting enemies away using his powerful bow and arrows. Who knows, he might just follow his father by making cameos in other fighting games on PC sometime soon too!
3) Red Dead Redemption II
Developed by: Rockstar Studios | Release Date: November 5, 2019
Step in the shoes of Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption II, the glorious sequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption.
Finding ourselves as an outlaw trying to survive the Old West, we’ll get accustomed to many well-written characters aiding us on our journeys; some of whom are extraordinarily intelligent and loyal, partnering up with us during certain sections of the game!
4) Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Developed by: Capcom | Release Date: January 16, 2016
Set in a world mixed between fantasy and medieval premises, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is Capcom’s innovative take on the open-world concept made famous by games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
One of the game’s most memorable aspects is the Pawn System, enabling us to recruit premade heroes or custom characters – created by other players – to become our most trusted companions.
They have their own classes, abilities, and bestiary knowledge as well, occasionally reminding us of crucial insights during combat, such as enemies’ elemental weaknesses.
5) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developed by: KONAMI | Release Date: September 5, 2015
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently the final entry to the official Metal Gear Solid series, not including branching storylines, such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Metal Gear Survive.
This latest rendition is bolstered by sophisticated enemy AI patterns and behaviors, so we get our own allies to depend on for combat too, like the enigmatic yet sexy assassin, Quite, or the loveable canine, D-Dog.
6) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Developed by: Monolith Productions | Release Date: September 30, 2014
Upon its release, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor introduced a revolutionary mechanic called the Nemesis System. This core gameplay design is continued in the sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and it differentiates the two games from their competitors on the market.
Essentially, as we grow our influence and reputation as the protagonist, Talion, high-ranking enemies that are on our hit list will remember our encounters with them, leading to some wild scenarios.
If we recruit some of them to our cause, a few can even betray us during battle or pivotal moments, catching us off guard if they deem us unfit for their allegiance. That being said, there are those who remain resolute by our side, but everything is randomized in-game, so we’re always kept on our toes at all times!
7) BioShock Infinite
Developed by: Irrational Games | Release Date: March 26, 2013
BioShock Infinite is the last game released under the BioShock trilogy, although the publishers have confirmed that a new title is currently being developed to continue the franchise.
Regardless, Infinite is the most successful of all three, and this directly correlates to the game’s inclusion of Elizabeth, the naive yet innocent woman possessing otherwordly gifts central to the game’s plot.
She’s smart, emotional, adventurous, and helpless all at the same time; all traits that make her interactions and decision-making life-like and human!
8) StarCraft II
Developed by: Blizzard Entertainment | Release Date: July 27, 2010
Blizzard’s sci-fi universe, StarCraft II, is considered the ultimate real-time strategy (RTS) game by many, considering how deep the game’s trilogy narrative is, and how balanced (albeit unique) the game’s three factions are from each other: Terran, Zerg, Protoss.
The game’s first installment, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, won complete praise from critics and fans alike. It’s one of the best free PC games we can get right now too, with each race’s AI very challenging yet fair for everyone to test, including the pros.
9) Star Wars Republic Commando
Developed by: LucasArts | Release Date: March 1, 2005
Visiting a galaxy far far away, Star Wars Republic Commando is amongst the most underrated yet finest first-person shooters ever, boasting superb AI teammates that are ahead of their time in 2005.
Each representing different classes and specialties, they’ll back us up without question, attentively trying to outmaneuver droids and Geonosians as effectively as they can.
Community-created mods are also aplenty, modernizing the game to current standards!
10) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (Series)
Developed by: Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Milan | Release Date: November 13, 2001
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is a global intellectual property (IP) that’s recognized for its sublime tactical shooter elements, starting with the first game of the same name all the way back in 2001.
Adopting true-to-life strikeforce tactics, in-depth gunplay, and diverse gun modifications, the latest renditions, such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, offer incredible improvements to squad AI, justifying the series’ inclusion on this list.