There's been some pondering here about the importance of companions in the story, about their advantage/disadvantage to custom adventurers, which quest is the best or worst, which companion is Your least favourite, and so on, yada yada yada. This is why I decided to gather all of these things together in an attempt to make a reasonably fair review of all of the above. But I don't feel confident to write about how good they are in combat and tactics, because I never play above normal.
So, without any further ado, I proclaim this thread open!
Thank you, one person.
Aloth Corfiser - wood elf, wizard
Subjective moniker: The Wizard
Reason for joining: At first it seems quite allright that he seeks company of another stranger in this new land. Later it is revealed that there was a hidden agenda, and there is more than meets the eye about this elf. The implication may become fatal for Aloth, because rejecting him after his confession lead to his untimely death.
Personal quest: There is some irony that Aloth seeks the attention of a watcher or animancer to help and/or better understand his problem with Iselmyr. After all he was/is a member of the Leaden Key, so animancy isn't his favourite topic. But for what it's worth, Iselmyr is the best.
Overall rating: 9/10 - well written classic elven wizard with some interesting personality(ties)
Edér Teylecg - meadow human, fighter
Subjective moniker: The Farmboy
Reason for joining: It makes sense, as most inhabitants of Gilded Vale would see him dead for picking the wrong faith.
Personal quest: This is a classic "what happened to my [insert relative here]" quest, but the investigation is interesting. The most things I like are multiple ways of getting the record from the First Fires and the vague ending. Vague for Edér that is, because he doesn't get to know what really happened with Woden. It's kinda sad, but well written. But better luck next time (Deadfire)!
Overall rating: 10/10 - generic fighter that likes to pet animals and gets to be the best friends with the main character
Kana Rua - island aumaua, chanter
Subjective moniker: The Giant
Reason for joining: This one is okay, because as long as you're gonna descend into the Endless Paths he would be more than happy to tag along because of his quest. So it makes sense!
Personal quest: Tanvii ora Toha is out of his reach, so this is similar to the outcome that Edér gets, as no happy ending for him also. The quest is awfully short though, and I have a headache when trying to tie Kana's endings with your interactions with him.
Overall rating: 5/10 - he seems off (strange class for a towering big guy like him), and his singing irks me... but his scholar banter is really OK
Durance - meadow human, priest of Magran
Subjective moniker: The Hobo
Reason for joining: I'll be honest with you - I don't get it. He notices you being a watcher and rambles about some trials, yada yada yada. Gibberish to me.
Personal quest: This is quite a lore-dump, but I appreciate the fact he is one of the Godhammer engineers. Too bad most of his stuff written by Chris Avellone got cut out, I'm sure it could've been better. Reading through his dialog is cumbersome, but it gets better towards the end (e.g. Council of Stars).
Overall rating: 7/10 - great voice acting, interesting personality and banters, kinda repulsive (as meant to be)
Sagani - boreaf dwarf, hunter, pet fox Itumaak
Subjective moniker: The Mom
Reason for joining: Absurd. Even if her quest made sense, it was far fetched to put your hopes in a stranger, even one being a watcher. But maybe she was just desperate enough at that point.
Personal quest: The investigation is interesting, the ending gets even better. I like the fact that in terms of roleplaying I can tell her how stupid and meaningless her pursue is. Yes, that didn't end well in the ending slides.
Overall rating: 4/10 - your typical dwarf character opposite, boring for most of the time
Pallegina mes Rèi - ocean human avian godlike, paladin of Frermàs mes Canc Suolias
Subjective moniker: The Woman
Reason for joining: She joins you because *reasons*, not a single common thread between the two of you was given that day.
Personal quest: It has impact, I'll give 'em that, but I was feeling some insufficiency (it's a quickie). There was more soul in her talk with Hylea.
Overall rating: 6/10 - there is a great background here and I like her concept *a lot*, but sadly she lacks significance
Hiravias - hearth orlan, druid
Subjective moniker: The Joker
Reason for joining: Once again a bloke wants to travel together just for the fun of it. Maybe his exile was the reason to be a member of a larger pack, but it feels slightly imposed. But who am I kidding? Wael works in mysterious ways...
Personal quest: I seriously don't see a connection between his pursue for anserws about the Autumn Stelgaer form and finding his soul-brother on the Burial Isle. I honestly think this has next to nothing to do with it and the quest makes a U-turn upon encountering Scathden. Witty remark at the end makes me chuckle so.
Overall rating: 8/10 - despite the 'meh' quest he is a great caster and has a lot of clever things to say on our journey
Grieving Mother - meadow human, cipher
Subjective moniker: The Ghost
Reason for joining: The woman wants to be hidden, so when a watcher makes it clear that he/she can see what is going on, she ends up following you. What better things she had to do anyway? It's not bad, but people seem to put a lot of faith in watcher abilities helping them in their own problems.
Personal quest: One more lost potential from Chris Avellone cut content. Uncovering her story is good, but still there there is little to it. But hats off for making at least one character that may permanently leave you (either by doing her quest the "wrong" way or Simoc's quest the "cruel" way).
Overall rating: 7/10 - she is a fantastic cipher, has great interjections in some quests (Edér's personal, Skaen temple), love the sound of chimes, but her being such a loner is slightly unsatisfactory
Devil of Caroc - construct, rogue
Subjective moniker: The Robot
Reason for joining: Good thinking on her behalf, because she wanted both: to find Harmke and search the Durgan's Battery for a way to restore her (but that was just a hint after the Harmke thing and it was never mentioned again)
Personal quest: Plain and easy in design, but has this little dillema that most of us like.
Overall rating: 5/10 - she is quite allright, but I don't like my rogues like I like my cofee: in a plastic cup (I mean the bronze golem body is cool, but would rather see it on a different character concept)
Heihachi Mishima Zahua - savannah human, monk
Subjective moniker: The Junkie
Reason for joining: Jumping out of a barrel full of fish seemed legit at the time?
Personal quest: Let's have some shrooms and... whoooooaaaaa, the colors have shapes now...
Overall rating: 2/10 - his background is interesting, but personally I diss "Karate Kid" Mr Miyagi wannabes in fantasy
Maneha - coastal aumaua, barbarian
Subjective moniker: The Derp
Reason for joining: Asking to join a stranger that may or may not happen to find the place you're looking for is asking for trouble.
Personal quest: She wants to forget her past life, but for the most of the time we forget that she is a Giftbearer of Ondra. In my opinion this might be a more interesting path to follow than searching for a pool of blissful water. She makes a lesbian comment about being attracted to Pallegina, this is also never mentioned again.
Overall rating: 3/10 - her class (companion-wise) was the last to get into the game and the character feels rushed and poorly prepared