The 10 Best Escort Quests In Video Games

In video game parlance, escort missions refer to levels or side quests that require players to protect specific NPCs and successfully guide them to a new location without being injured or killed. Often feared due to the level of difficulty and the out of control AI, most ardent players hate escort missions and will do almost anything to avoid running them.

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Yet from RPGs, survival horror, first-person shooters, puzzle games, and more, there have been a host of unconventional escort missions in video games that are not only fun to play, but also advance the plot of the game in a substantial way.

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Super Mario 2: Yoshi’s Island


Yoshi's Island Title Map Illustration

In one of the earliest examples of an escort mission well done, Yoshi’s Island basically works like a big, colorful and immersive road trip that almost everyone loves to play. The goal is for Yoshi and his prehistoric brothers to help baby Mario find his twin brother by means of a huge relay race through a magical kaleidoscopic land similar to Oz.

Beyond the wicked witches, hot lava, bizarre psychedelics, and unforeseen traps, what makes the mission so exciting is the racing aspect of the mission. Additionally, a player has to worry about two NPCs, which doubles the dramatic stakes of reuniting Mario and his twin.


Dead Rising 2 – Compound Mission


Frank wields a sword near zombies in Dead Rising 2

Marking a major improvement over boring escort missions in dead risen, the second installment of the sequel has a lot to offer. The mission is to escort a group of armed guards through a harrowing complex strewn with enraged zombies.

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First, the AI ​​engine is incredibly competent compared to the original, allowing guards to follow diligently without running away and jeopardizing the mission. Second, guards are useful and can sometimes escort the player rather than being a totally ineffective annoyance that no player wants to be responsible for.


God of War – Kratos Vs. Atreus


Kartos holds Atreus' arms in God of War

A little like Yoshi’s Island, the Kratos/Atreus narrative in God of the war was hailed as an elaborate and surprisingly visceral escort mission. However, what sets it apart the most is that the NPC Atreus also escorts the playable character Kratos into a true symbiotic relationship.

As Kratos teaches Atreus how to hunt and fight, Atreus in turn develops the skill tree he uses to guide Kratos. As the game progresses, Atreus will help Kratos by providing him with climbing chains, warning him when enemies are approaching, guiding him to the hidden treasure, etc.


Half-Life 2 – Episode 2


Alyx sits in the passenger seat in Half-Life 2

Despite a rudimentary AI developed around 2004, the escort mission of the second episode of Half Life 2 is much more plot-bound than most pointless missions of this genre. The mission is to protect a badly injured Alyx Vance as she gets into a player’s car and recovers from an injury.

The mission comes after spending a lot of time with Alyx alongside a player, which really inspires them to protect her, especially when she moans and groans when taking hard turns. But what makes the mission so much better than the others is that Alyx isn’t a completely inept NPC at all, she can help players by shooting enemies from the car. This makes Alyx feel like a true partner in crime rather than an ineffectual sidekick unworthy of saving in the first place.


The Last of Us – Saving Ellie


Ellie faces Joel in The Last of Us

Most ardent gamers would agree that, as Yoshi’s Island and God of the war, the action-adventure game The last of us functions as a large exceptional escort mission. The goal is for protagonist Joel to guide teenage Ellie through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a surprisingly intelligent and helpful NPC that players would gladly risk their lives to protect.

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Intended as an antidote to player hatred for escort missions, Ellie and Joel become co-dependent in their mutual exploration and they aid each other in combat. Additionally, Ellie’s immunity to the virus and research into her DNA became vital to the plot, a far cry from most sidecar escort missions.

Bayonetta – Escorting the Child


Bayonetta stands next to a small child in Bayonetta

Hardcore gamers are well aware of the frustration of escorting babies and young children in video games. They are vulnerable and helpless as can be, bearing a huge burden on players to keep them safe from harm. A game that fixes this trope is 2009’s hack-and-slash game. Bayonet.

When carrying the small child as the wizard Bayonetta, players cannot fight. However, by putting the little girl down, a protective force field will form around her and allow the player to fight without distraction. Even better, the game will stop whenever the shield is hit, letting players know exactly who to counterattack.

Resident Evil 4 – Stand By Me


Leon stands alongside Ashley in Resident Evil 4

Another thrilling and irreproachable escort mission for most players is Stand By Me of stellar survival horror game Resident Evil 4. The mission is to guide Ashley safely through a corridor of foaming mouth zombie ghouls. Along with being able to leave Ashley behind, hide her, and find her at any time, it’s the dramatic stakes of the character’s vulnerable fate that give the mission such weight.

In a rare case where an NPC can die during an escort mission, protecting Ashley’s life has real consequences. Additionally, Ashley moves wisely, stays out of the line of fire, and rarely leads players into enemy territory without warning.

BioShock Infinite – Elizabeth’s Quest


Booker protects Elizabeth with a gun in BioShock Infinite artwork

Another deliberately subverted escort mission includes Elizabeth’s quest in Bioshock Infinite, the awesome first-person shooter released in 2013. Essentially serving a long purpose of guiding and protecting, Elizabeth is an NPC who guides the player rather than the other way around.

During the mission, players follow Elizabeth’s guidance as she gives them key survival tips, opens doors, provides handy items, and allows them to roam freely without the added burden of having to save as a damsel in distress. The Reverse Escort Mission saves players from having to risk their lives for a futile character no one wants to protect.

Ico Remaster


Ico holds Yorda's hand in Ico

Icon is a modern 3D platformer action-adventure game that has been hailed for having one of the best escort missions in all of video games. Remastered in 2011, the whole objective of the game is to successfully guide Yorda. Therefore, no unconnected mission has a precedent. The goal from the start has been to protect Yorda at all costs.

What’s great about the mission is that Yorda is semi-autonomous. She can move freely and independently, allowing Ico to explore on his own without a huge burden. Additionally, the game’s designers balanced Yorda’s vulnerability by making her immune to death but susceptible to kidnapping. Additionally, Yorda’s backstory as the queen’s daughter gives her added weight as an NPC escort.


The Walking Dead: Season 1


Clem rests in his father's arms in The Walking Dead Season 1

Survival horror game season 1 The Walking Dead has one of the most narratively compelling escort missions in recent memory. The goal is to safely chaperone Clementine through a vicious mob of undead ghouls. More interested in storytelling than in gameplay mechanics, the escort mission enriches the dramaturgy.

Guiding Clem safely through the game is more about establishing the relationship between PC and NPC rather than being at the whim of poorly designed AI that inevitably leads players to a certain fate. Also, if Clem dies, players don’t have to go through the multi-minute glitch of the reboot. By focusing more on escort stories rather than being an escort dependent game, TWD separates itself from the pack.

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John C. Dent