Here we are in February. Love and frostbite are in the air, and Valentine’s Day is upon us. In celebration, I’m taking a look at five of my favorite gaming romances of all time. Let me start by saying that I am a sucker for a good love story. Yes, I enjoy pulse-pounding thrillers and tales of corrupt governments and everything else that sells like crazy these days. But there are few things in this world that make me melt like a good love story.
So before we dive in, let’s set a few ground rules.
- No Final Fantasy games. They got their own article right here.
- No repeats from the same series.
- Mario/Peach and Link/Zelda are gimmies. We’re not going to include them on here.
Chloe Price and Max Caulfield
Yes, technically, your decisions may not lead to this couple happening. However, and I think everyone can agree on this, that would be the WRONG decision. Life is Strange is a game that is literally what you make of it. Your choices have consequences, and the game plays on a theme of obligation. If you know what’s going to happen and can change it, are you not obligated to do so?
But underlying the story is a budding relationship between main characters Chloe Price and Max Caulfield. Some people out there might argue it’s more of a platonic friendship, but I disagree strongly. Chloe and Max’s is a story of friends reuniting and discovering something deeper. And if you all made the wrong choice at the end of the game, GO BACK AND FIX IT YOU MONSTERS!
Dart and Shana
In Legend of Dragoon, you play Dart Feld, a young warrior who lost his parents and sets out on a quest to slay the Black Monster, the monster that killed your family. The game opens on Dart’s hometown being destroyed by the knights of Sandora and his best friend Shana being kidnapped.
What’s great about Dart & Shana is that the relationship blooms and blossoms as the game unfolds. Yes, it’s a bit of a tired trope to have two characters who are friends but have unresolved feelings for each other but rarely do those two characters actually get together and it works. The romance in Legend of Dragoon is understated. It’s not played for laughs, or drama. It’s honest and probably more real than most “romantic” plot lines. You get to watch as these two friends start to fall in love. Just watch this scene and tell me it’s not adorable.
Commander Shepard and Please Don’t Make Me Choose
Seriously, how is anyone supposed to make a choice? There are SO MANY good relationships in this game! There’s also Kaiden and Ashley if you’re lame, but everyone else is great. Shepard and Tali? Aces, but I wish they would have left the fem-shep options in the game. Shepard and Garrus? Absolutely, although for my money, best friend Garrus is best Garrus.
My first play-through, I stayed loyal to my girl Liara. Despite the fact that she barely got to do ANYTHING in Mass Effect 2, the third game finally paid it off pretty well. If only they had left in the romance option for Tali and Fem-Shep… But whether you were into Liara, or Tali, or Garrus, or Jacob, Mass Effect had some incredible romances!
Tiz Arrior And Agnes Oblige
I was going to put Nathan Drake and Elena on here, but dammit this is my list! As a fan of the older Final Fantasy games, Bravely Default was right up my alley. A quintessential JRPG, the game was cheerful and funny at times while playing on some difficult themes at others. And of course the twist of “Where The Fairy Flies” was worth the price of admission.
Bravely Second wasn’t as strong as the first in my opinion. In many ways, it felt like a retread of the ground the first game paved. However, it did have one strong point and that was the realization of the romance between Tiz and Agnes. Tiz is your typical country bumpkin, while Agnes is essentially a religious figurehead. It’s the story of a romance that can never be that we all got introduced to with Aladdin. It’s good to know that the story is no less inspiring 25 years later.
Bayek and Aya
Bayek and Aya aren’t just a romance. They are one of the most complex, realistic, and relatable couples ever in video games. In Assassins Creed: Origins, you are introduced to the two as they are suddenly shattered by the murder of their young son, Khemu. Separately, the two hunt down the cult responsible for Khemu’s death, but every time they reunite it’s as if they are teenagers again. Bayek loves Aya with all of his heart, and Aya’s playful teasing of Bayek is charming and natural.
However, as the web of deception in Origins grows, the rift in their relationship grows wider. Bayek wants to keep Aya in his life, desperate for his only connection to his son. Aya, however, grieves through her duty to Egypt and devotion to the newly formed Assassin Brotherhood. Eventually, they end their relationship stating that it was for the betterment of the world that they focus on their quest. Its a bittersweet end for such a loving couple.
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