Our pets, particularly dogs, hold a special place in the hearts of their owners. This isn’t just true in real life, but also in video games. Video game dogs vary widely in their roles – from faithful sidekicks who stick by the player through thick and thin, to independent characters with their own storylines and special abilities.
Their presence can make the virtual world feel a little more like home, filling the pixelated air with the comfort that only a four-legged friend can provide.
Today we’ll take a look at the 7 best video game dogs, exploring not just their breeds and abilities, but also the memorable moments they’ve created and the significant impact they’ve had on gameplay and the players’ experience of the game.
Game Name: Fallout Series
Characteristics: Dogmeat is known for his unwavering loyalty and keen survival instincts. With his battle-scarred appearance and piercing eyes, he embodies the rugged and relentless spirit of the wasteland. His special abilities include tracking enemies, retrieving items, and occasionally initiating attacks.
Memorable Moment: In Fallout 4, the moment when Dogmeat leads the player to Kellogg, serving as an essential partner in one of the game’s critical quests, is particularly memorable.
Impact on Gameplay: Dogmeat is more than just a pet; he’s a survivor’s best friend. Players often find comfort in his company amidst the desolation. His skills in combat and item retrieval significantly aid in exploration and battles, making him a valuable asset in the harsh world of Fallout.
Game Name: Ōkami
Breed: Not applicable (mythical being)
Characteristics: Amaterasu, the protagonist of Ōkami, is depicted as a majestic white wolf with crimson markings and divine powers. This celestial being’s grace and strength are evident in her every move, whether she’s galloping across the land or using her Celestial Brush to alter the world around her.
Memorable Moment: A standout scene is the restoration of the cursed cherry blossom tree. Amaterasu’s ability to revive the tree and bring life back to the area showcases the profound impact of her powers on the world.
Impact on Gameplay: As the playable character, Amaterasu’s unique abilities, like the Celestial Brush techniques, offer a distinct gameplay experience. Players can interact with the environment in creative ways, solving puzzles and combating darkness, making Ōkami a game that’s as beautiful as it is engaging.
Game Name: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Breed: Not specified (resembles a wolf)
Characteristics: D-Dog, also known as DD or Diamond Dog, stands out with his eye-patch and tactical gear, symbolizing his role in stealth and combat. He possesses a sharp intellect and exceptional tracking abilities, making him an invaluable asset in the field. Originally meant to be a Rhodesian Ridgeback in concept art, D-Dog ended up looking more like a wolf-dog hybrid than the African hunting dog.
Memorable Moment: When D-Dog is first introduced as a pup, the bond between him and the protagonist, Venom Snake, begins. Watching him grow from a vulnerable, injured puppy into a capable companion remains a highlight for players.
Impact on Gameplay: D-Dog can mark enemies, weapons, and other points of interest, providing tactical support that significantly enhances the player’s situational awareness and strategic options. His presence can alter the approach to missions, offering a more nuanced and dynamic gameplay experience.
Game Name: Tales of Vesperia
Breed: Not applicable (fantasy breed)
Characteristics: Repede is a blue-furred, pipe-smoking dog with a scar over his right eye and a sharp, intelligent gaze. He carries a dagger in his mouth, showcasing his readiness for battle. Known for his cool demeanor and deep loyalty, Repede is more than a mere pet; he’s a full-fledged party member with a story and personality all his own.
Memorable Moment: Repede’s loyalty shines in his backstory, revealing his bond with a previous owner and the lengths he’s gone to protect and avenge his fallen companion.
Impact on Gameplay: As a playable character, Repede brings unique abilities and agility to battles. His speed and combat skills allow for swift, effective attacks, and his “Item Stealer” skill can turn the tide by snatching items from enemies.
Game Name: Grand Theft Auto V
Characteristics: Chop is a tough, muscular dog with a surprisingly soft side, especially when it comes to his owner, Lamar. He’s trainable, responding to the player’s commands, and can participate in various activities, showcasing his versatility beyond being a mere watchdog.
Memorable Moment: A memorable aspect of Chop’s presence is the ability for players to take him on walks, play fetch, or even teach him tricks using the in-game smartphone app. These interactions add a layer of everyday life realism to the otherwise chaotic world of GTA V.
Impact on Gameplay: While primarily serving as a companion, Chop can engage in certain missions, helping to take down enemies or locate objects. His presence adds a unique dimension to the game, blending domestic life with the wild escapades of GTA.
Game Name: Mega Man Series
Breed: Not applicable (robot)
Characteristics: Rush is Mega Man’s loyal robotic canine companion, sporting a red and white metallic body with the ability to transform into various forms. Known for his upbeat personality and unwavering support, Rush can shift into vehicles, platforms, and even a jetpack, showcasing his versatility and the depth of his integration into Mega Man’s adventures.
Memorable Moment: One of Rush’s standout moments is his introduction in Mega Man 3, where players first experience his transformation abilities, adding a whole new layer to gameplay and exploration.
Impact on Gameplay: Rush significantly enhances Mega Man’s mobility and reach, allowing access to otherwise inaccessible areas and providing crucial support in battles. His ability to transform into various forms based on the situation makes him an indispensable ally in Mega Man’s quest.
Game Name: Final Fantasy VIII
Breed: Not specified (resembles a Border Collie)
Characteristics: Angelo is Rinoa’s faithful canine companion, known for her intelligence, agility, and the deep bond she shares with her owner. She participates in combat through Rinoa’s “Limit Break” ability, showcasing a variety of impressive and sometimes whimsical attacks.
Memorable Moment: Angelo’s “Shooting Star” attack during Rinoa’s Limit Break is particularly memorable, where she launches herself off Rinoa’s wrist and streaks across the battlefield like a meteor, striking all enemies with formidable force.
Impact on Gameplay: Angelo adds a dynamic aspect to combat in Final Fantasy VIII. Her involvement in Rinoa’s Limit Breaks not only provides powerful offensive options but also introduces a unique, character-specific mechanic that enriches the battle system and the player’s strategic choices.
Mankind’s connection to our canine companions is so strong that it extends into the world of video games. Just as in real life, players often find a piece of themselves, a reflection of their own bonds with pets, or an ideal of loyalty and courage in these digital dogs.
These dogs do more than just fill a role; they tug at heartstrings, provide comic relief, offer solace in the darkest of moments, and stand as steadfast allies in the face of insurmountable odds.