The Fallout series are games of solitude for the player character. Half the time it’s in the moniker the character carries. The Lone Wanderer. The Sole Survivor. The Chosen One. All these nicknames bear the notion of singularity, of isolation. Yet, even with the fate of entire vaults, states, and countries weighing down on their shoulders, there are many NPCs that will happily tag along with the player to fight Super Mutants, sneak into settlements, and discover the brave new world.
Not all companions are created equally however. With their own unique equipment and often providing specific perks when having them in tow, it’s much better to have certain people/robots/mutants around more than others.
(A small note that there are minor spoiler story references to the companion’s respective game in some descriptions).
For how early on you encounter her, Piper Fallout 4 is a great comrade to have by your side when you’re first starting out exploring the dangerous post-apocalyptic wasteland of Boston. Not the most combat ready, FO4 Piper advantages benefit players who are very much fresh out of the vault.
After stumbling across Fallout 4 Diamond City not long into the main questline, you’ll find the nosey news reporter stuck outside the city gates trying to weasel her way back in. After eventually talking you and herself back inside, she’ll reside in her publication’s office, Publick Occurrences, near the main entrance. After explaining the story about your kidnapped son, Fallout Piper agrees to help you.
Along with writing numerous articles that add to the lore of the story and document the world and how the Sole Survivor’s decisions affect it, FO4 Piper can join you in your quests around the Commonwealth. You’ll need to go through her various quests involving the identity of the Mayor of Diamond City, but this isn’t too taxing, plus the quests are interesting and rewarding.
Once you’ve completed her related quests and reached maximum affinity with her, Piper will grant the bonus perk “Gift of Gab” that will earn you double experience from passing speech checks and from discovering locations. This makes her a great companion to partner with at the start as you can use her to climb up levels quickly by just discovering marked locations.
One of the best beings to have by your side when it all starts to go south, the refined super mutant Fawkes Fallout 3 is a vicious combatant that few enemies in the game can match in terms of his sheer power and gung-ho attitude.
Formerly a human resident of Fallout 3 Vault 87, FO3 Fawkes (along with everyone else in the Vault-Tec structure) was exposed to the Forced Evolutionary Virus and subsequently became the creature he is now. Unlike almost all the other unfortunate Vault inhabitants, Fawkes retained the majority of his intelligence, civility, and cognitive abilities.
This big guy is the perfect companion to have with you when taking a threat head on. His weapons of choice, those being the mighty Gatling Laser and his humongous Super Sledge, can lay waste to almost anything the Capital Wasteland can throw at you. Even the superlative enemies like Alpha Male Deathclaws and Super Mutant Behemoths are put through their paces against him.
He’s not the easiest person/mutant to find, but you’ll most likely come across him when looking for the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (or G.E.C.K) in Isolation Room 05 of Vault 87. Should he find a way out or just not appear for whatever reason, check the Museum of History or the Jefferson Memorial.
One of the most narrative-twisting (and somewhat heartbreaking) companion quests you can undertake in Fallout 4, the decorated Brotherhood member Fallout 4 Paladin Danse has all the qualities you want in a companion; strong, loyal, effective, intelligent. The man has no weak points.
My personal favourite companion in all of the games (followed closely by big ol’ Fawkes), Fallout 4 Danse is the commanding officer in the Fallout Brotherhood of Steel in their chapter in the Commonwealth, and a key figure in their mission in the area. After progressing several hours into this section of the story, you’ll be met with a very tough decision that may stop you being able to recruit FO4 Danse altogether.
Kitted out in robust T-60 power armor (that upgrades to X-01 when you complete his related quests) and his unique laser rifle Righteous Authority at his side, Danse is literally unable to be killed. He grants the “Know Your Enemy” perk which lets you deal +20% damage against abomination enemies, those being Feral Ghouls, Super Mutants, and Synths, in keeping with his rigid views on these creatures.
I would recommend to every Fallout 4 payer to complete Paladin Danse’s personal quest if they are able to. It’s the most personal moment of the entire game and the toughest decision you’ll have to make, especially if you’ve taken him on the majority of your quests.
If you prefer striking from the shadows and taking your enemies out one by one without them ever knowing you were there, recruiting Deacon Fallout 4 into your party is a fantastic move. His bonuses really mix well with players who look to sneak into combat encounters and take an indirect approach to neutralising foes.
An agent of the underground society of the Railroad, FO4 Deacon isn’t even fully trusted by those around him, each of the other main figureheads of the Railroad keeping half an eye and ear on his actions and words at all times. That said, he is one of Desdemona’s top lieutenants, and he’s a great person to have by your side in the Commonwealth.
Deacon will join you on multiple pivotal adventures in the main questline (depending on what outcome you pursue) and has no reluctance in getting his hands dirty, evident in the fact that he will happily accompany you in the stealing of a guarded vertibird and piloting said vertibird to the floating Brotherhood HQ, the Fallout 4 Prydwen.
A huge perk of having Deacon in your party is you gain access to the bonus effect, “Cloak & Dagger”, which grants you an extra +20% from sneak attacks and an extra +40% duration from Stealth Boys. If you’ve invested in ranged weapons and the multiple levels of the Ninja or Mister Sandman perk, this can be a deadly combination.
A former NCR sniper who’s seen too much, FNV Craig Boone has a tragic backstory that needs to be resolved before he will join you, but his combat prowess is worth the investment.
Retired from the NCR 1st Recon at the time of Fallout New Vegas, Boone New Vegas left the army unit after the Bitter Springs Massacre where numerous innocent Great Khan wounded, women, and children were slaughtered by the NCR troops. This heinous act left the marksman guilt-ridden and ashamed, and he left the army and settled down in the tiny town of Novac (where you’ll find him) with his new wife, Carla.
When meeting Fallout New Vegas Boone, you’ll trade some words before starting the quest, “One for My Baby”, where he’ll ask you for help in locating his missing wife and spying on the townsfolk to see if those he suspects are guilty of betrayal. Make sure you nail this quest correctly, or Boone will become hostile. The same goes for siding with Caesar's Legion or generally being negative towards the NCR.
Fallout Boone is a great combat companion if you’re looking to do a neutral or NCR based ending. He has his own unique scoped hunting rifle and machete, both of which he’s deadly with. He’s also a tough son of a gun, especially considering he’s a human. He’ll provide you with the “Spotter” perk, highlighting enemies in red when aiming down sights, and also reward you with an NCR Recon Beret which gives +1 to Perception.
All in all, Boone is a good guy to have at your back in the deadly Mojave.