Romance and video games have always been a kind of strange balance that a great many developers had no idea what to do with or how to do right. A good early example of this is Double Dragon (arcade, 80s). You fight alongside your brother to help save your girlfriend and once you save her she makes you fight your brother to the death over her.
Yeah, um, nope. But luckily, things have evolved since the 80’s (slightly) and more and more romance options are arriving in games, especially over the last decade. But how many of those video game romances felt real? How many of those video game romances didn’t just boil down to a “love scene?” What are the 10 best relationships in gaming that actually do a decent job at summing up relationships? Well, we got a mixed bag here, TBH.
Here are 10 games that handle romance and sex right (for the most part).
Geralt and Triss from The Witcher series
Some games just give you someone to love, some games just toss a love scene at you, and while The Witcher at times does both, very few relationships in gaming can top what Geralt and Triss have from the Witcher series. Sorry Yen!
Theirs is not a romance broken down to just love scenes. It is complex and there is work involved and the pay off is a love between two fictional characters that feels palpable and real. But let’s not forget, you do totally bone a chick on a dead unicorn in part three so as close to Shakespeare as this gets, there is always that.
Alyx Vance and Gordon Freeman from Half Life series
Again, a relationship you FEEL grow over the course of the games, Alyx Vance was one of those characters that hit people deeply (no spoilers here) and it was one of the rare occasions when gaming just seemed to really nail the shifting dynamic between these two to the point where they very much felt like REAL people with genuine feelings of affection towards one another (even though one was a mute, apparently).
Can’t wait for part 3 when they flush it out more.
Just kidding. Never gonna happen. Valve hates us, even though we love them.
Life is Strange (No Spoilers)
The funny part about this game and love here is, I do not want to spoil it because I went at this game blind, chapter by chapter, and the love I felt by the end was very honest and realistic, moreso than the games I had played up to that point. Like, everything about the relationship in this game feels real (loss, pain, sheer joy, it is all there) and done in a way gameplay wise where you HAVE to make some of the toughest relationship choices you will ever have to make, honestly.
Just keep the kleenex handy for this game is all I am saying. Mind blowing, soul-heaving love at its most trying.
Morrigan and the Warden from Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins was truly one of Bioware’s best achievements. What really makes this game shine are the characters whom the player can even recruit and romance, of course. Among those, one stands out quite notably: Morrigan. She’s a wild witch who also happens to be the hot goth girl of your dreams, meaning yes, she’ll break your heart too.
However, it’s not hard to get attached to Morrigan when playing as the Warden in Dragon Age: Origins. Despite her rough demeanor and hurtful tongue, she’s a softie inside with a certain sensitivity and some cute quirks. Depending on your choices, you actually get to have a child with Morrigan though that doesn’t necessarily mean the game will end well.
Everyone from Final Fantasy
This might look like a cop-out but most of the time if you’ve seen a Final Fantasy romance, you’ve seen them all. From Cloud and Aerith, Squall and Rinoa, or even the latest Noctis and Luna. All of them are two beautiful people who are instantly compatible with each other and carry out romantic gestures with the most minimal interactions available.
We’re not saying it’s not an immersive kind of romance in video games, of course. You’ll find plenty to like in the many couples of each Final Fantasy game. In some of them, you can even choose between a love triangle, most notably in Finaly Fantasy VII where you can choose Tifa over Aerith based on your choices.
Link and Zelda from The Legend of Zelda
These two aren’t exactly together but over the years, Nintendo has slowly and gradually teased their potential romantic spark. One of the closest instances that these two have ever been together as a couple is in the latest game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Apparently, Zelda has sort of teased that what he feels for Link is everyone’s favorite “L” word.
Sadly, Nintendo chose to let players writhe in their beds by not revealing what Zelda wanted for both of them. That leaves these two’s relationship hanging; though at this point, it’s hanging so low that they might as well pluck it already. After all, the potential romantic connection between these two is just limitless. C’mon already Nintendo.
Mario and Princess Peach from the Super Mario franchise
Here we go, another undying couple from another undying game franchise. Mario and Princess Peach are two of the most popular couples in video games and it makes sense to include them here. While their relationship might have been tumultuous initially since Bowser keeps kidnapping Peach, Mario never fails to exercise some chivalry in saving her.
Depending on what game you’re playing, Mario is closer to Peach than he was back in the days of 8 and 16-bit graphics. Throughout the years, these two have made their relationship stronger and more memorable than ever even through thick and thin and even when they compete against each other in Mario Kart. It’s one of the most iconic among all video game romances.
Master Chief and Cortana
Before Cortana started pestering you in Windows, she was but a character in the Halo franchise. Like Link and Zelda, her relationship with Master Chief isn’t formal nor were they dating. However, the fans wished they did since their chemistry is already present in spades. There is only one problem though; Cortana isn’t real – she’s just an A.I. hologram.
Still, she accompanies Master Chief in missions and most of the time. At one point, Cortana even sacrifices herself to save Master Chief from certain death. So, yes, Cortana died. While their love might have been unrequited, it still taught Master Chief and the players a lot about war and humanity. We don’t know about you, but that’s a valuable lesson to learn from a romance.
God of War and All Dem Women
Sorry but not all of us view committed relationships as the best things in the world. Sometimes they are fun, and sometimes, they suck the life out of you like a fucking vampire and make you wanna crawl off and die.
For that very reason, it is nice to see all those disgustingly shallow quick time events from the God of War series where Kratos just smashes genitals like he is mad at the Gods themselves because he is. Not all of us view love as long-lasting and life-altering. Some of us just want to fuck, and Kratos repping that is not wholly unrealistic, especially for alpha males. Dudes like that cannot keep their rods in their pants.
Also, this is not a gender thing. Some women just wanna do it, too. Speaking of women who just wanna fuck, let’s end this list right…
Commander Shepard and EVERY ROMANCE OPTION IN THE MASS EFFECT SERIES!
Seriously, game over, Mass Effect and commander Shepard win. Not only is every romance realistic and weird in some ways (date a girl who kills you when you mate, date an alien who shows you her face only ONCE in the game if you fuck her, have straight-up gay sex your weird. religious parents would kick you out of the house for). It is ALL here and all of it is genius.
By the end of the game, I got a fucking achievement (literally, a fucking achievement) for bedding most of the romance options across all three games (and oddly enough, Jack, the sexy bald chick was the ONLY ONE who got mad which proves the “hot to insane scale” is true). Plus, you could gay it up or straight it up or mix and match and that is pretty damn mature for a video game. He/she was pansexual, meaning Shepard was like Deadpool in the fact that will fuck anything that has a pulse. That was me at ages 18-30 so who I am to cast stones?
Players gotta play, in this case, literally.
I also wanna take this moment to admit I totally slept with that reporter who looked like Snookie, too. I never felt more in-game shame than my virtual walk out of the room after that bang.