Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain were two of the biggest gaming blockbusters this year, and they have one thing in common: cute, fluffy, doggy companions. Now only one question remains: which dog will reign supreme as the one dog to conquer all other dogs?
D-Dog and Dogmeat are both great in their own right, but we’ll be evaluating them individually in three different categories: usefulness in their video game, aesthetics and cuteness factor, and survivability and fighting prowess out in the field. At the end of the evaluation, we’ll pick one winner and crown him as video game top dog.
This is a very serious competition and there will be no half-assed ‘oh they’re both great in different ways and so they both get a crown’ conclusion. No. There will be one winner, and the other one will be sent back to its doghouse of shame. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at our two competition entries.
Round 1: Usefulness
Let’s start with D-Dog. He’s often lauded as one of the best companions to take on missions in MGSV, coming second to Quiet, only because she’s capable of sniping enemies from a distance. However, D-Dog has other skills that Quiet severely lacks.
While Quiet is capable of spotting enemies whenever you send her to an outpost, D-Dog marks everything on your radar. I mean, literally everything. Animals? Check. Enemy soldiers? You got it. Need to harvest some plants for Mother Base? DD’s got you covered. This makes D-Dog an extremely useful companion. Being able to mark every single little thing that moves out in the field, he allows players to be acutely aware of their surroundings.
Dogmeat is also capable of locating things in the environment, but he lacks the finesse and steady hand (paw?) that DD has. When you’re out exploring the wasteland in Fallout 4, you’ll occasionally see a pop-up in the top left corner telling you that Dogmeat has found something.
Well… that’s great. What the hell did he find? You don’t know, because Dogmeat doesn’t have the sense to pick it up and bring it to you. You can’t find Dogmeat because he doesn’t show up on your radar. He just blends into the wasteland, and sometimes he’s probably stuck on a tree miles behind you or something.
Even when you do command Dogmeat to scour the area to search for useful items, he usually ends up pointing you to that lousy 10mm pistol lying on the ground in front of you. Dammit Dogmeat, why would I need a 10mm pistol when I have the awesome Deliverer silenced pistol in my hand right now?
He also loves running blindly into things.
Round 2: Cuteness
As you increase your bond with D-Dog, you’ll unlock all sorts of cool military-looking dog armor for your RND team to develop. D-Dog can carry a knife in its mouth, and you can also put a nice little protective mask on him. The dog armor in MGSV isn’t exactly cute, but eh, it’s pretty cool-looking.
It certainly helps that you can totally pet D-Dog on the head when you’re out in the field. It also definitely helps that D-Dog rushes up to you like an eager puppy each time you come back to Mother Base when it’s still a wee little pup.
You can dress Dogmeat up in all sorts of dog armor you find out in the field. You can let him wear cute little dog bandanas that come in red or army green. You can put a teddy bear in his inventory, and Dogmeat will behave like a totally adorable baby and start playing with the teddy.
Alright that’s enough. Dogmeat wins this round. Hands down.
Round 3: Survivability
Unlike the other companions in MGSV, D-Dog really sticks to you the entire time you’re out in the field. As such, this makes it extremely easy for you to give DD orders anytime you need it. You can get D-Dog to perform lethal sneak attacks on unsuspecting enemies, or you can get him to distract enemies while you sneak around them.
D-Dog can hold his own in a fight. It’s entirely possible for D-Dog to actually die from taking too much damage, but at least you’ll know he died valiantly. For you. For the mission. For glory and honor.
Dogmeat can also fight enemies. The only problem is, Dogmeat only knows how to charge straight up at enemies and attempt to chomp them. Dogmeat is extremely flimsy, and it won’t be long before he collapses on the ground, whimpering, and begging you to save his worthless life with a stimpak.
No, Dogmeat. I’m not using a stimpak on you. You barely did any damage to that feral ghoul and you want a stimpak? No.
Well, to be fair, I guess Dogmeat does do a good job of distracting enemies while you take potshots at them. Of course, you also have to be careful not to shoot your own dog because, well, he keeps getting in your damn way. So even when Dogmeat’s keeping your enemies busy, it’s hard to even get shots in without hitting him at some point. Goddammit Dogmeat.
There’s no doubt about it. D-Dog is clearly the superior dog companion. I’d also like to point out that the player’s relationship with D-Dog in MGSV is much deeper than the one with Dogmeat in Fallout 4. In MGSV, you have build up your bond level with D-Dog to earn his trust before you can ask him to do things for you. D-Dog isn’t some pushover, y’know? You have to earn his respect before he considers you a true ally. If you kick him and beat him up, he ain’t gonna do shit for you.
Dogmeat, on the other hand, is an entirely different story altogether. That dog will love you no matter what you do. Kill innocents, steal from them, betray your allies, do what you want. Dogmeat will suck up to you, regardless of how shitty of a person you are. That’s just not the kind of companion I want in life. I want a partner, an equal, not just some lapdog that accepts everything I do.
So there you have it. D-Dog is the video game top dog, and Dogmeat should just go back to its doghouse of shame and reflect on his life decisions.
What did you think of our decision? Do you think Dogmeat is a better companion? Or do you have another video game dog in mind that you feel should have been up for consideration as well? Sound off in the comments!