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?