To conclude this Valentines Day celebration, we’re here to countdown the top 10 best couples in video games. It’s a common trend to have an objective of the game to save the damsel in distress, but to actually build a relationship and take steps into the romance genre in video games is another. Though video games are a different media than books, movies, and TV shows, my standards of ranking romance is remains the same. Very rarely do games ever try and show us romantic relationships of any substance and even rarer are the times they get it right. Sure, we’ve had some epic loves that are spellbound fairy tales, but real love isn’t always about prince charming and a sleeping beauty; sometimes love’s messy, complicated, confusing, depressing, or just plain off. Love isn’t perfect and people in love are most definitely not perfect either, but that’s what makes romantic stories so compelling.
Number 10. – Eddie Riggs and Ophelia
Both of them are extremely likeable characters. Eddie, despite one’s potential feelings about Jack Black, has an affable approach to everything, and works perfectly as an everyman hero: in a world of rock gods, he’s just a roadie. Ophelia, meanwhile, is the hot (but also cute) goth-girl-next-door who was never out of your league, but still broodingly difficult to approach. Their relationship follows some great ups and downs. First, Eddie is stoked about meeting her, even though she seems a bit aloof. Then, when they meet Lars, Eddie thinks he can’t compete with Lars’ leadership and washboard abs. Then, his romance with Ophelia begins to blossom. SPOILERS: Naturally, Ophelia has a past tinged with dark mystery, and when she thinks Eddie has abandoned her, she “turns” evil. A huge part of the game involves battles against her and her emo minions. This turn of events, while fairly cliche and predictable, still made us feel bad, since we really liked Ophelia. We wanted to believe she couldn’t really be so evil, or that she’d be brought back to the light by the end (although the latter would be less satisfactory). Luckily, we were right all along: the evil Ophelia was a doppelganger, while the real girl lay at the bottom of the Sea of Black Tears. As a final bonus, it’s possible to find Ophelia after the game proper ends and have one final makeout session.
Number 9. – Chrono and Marle
Chrono is a hero. Marle is a secret princess who gets stuck in time and needs saving. Sound familiar? By all accounts Marle and Crono are a paint-by-numbers couple. However, when they finally get together at the end of Chrono Trigger, it is one of the most emotional moments in gaming history. After such a long and perilous journey, seeing Chrono and Marle finally get together is enough to make even the most cynical gamer shed a tear or two. And if you get the “balloon” ending, be prepared to take out an insurance policy on your hankie, as the simultaneous beauty and tragedy of that ending is enough to ruin your life for several hours post-game.
Number 8. – Monkey and Trip
It’s very rare to see fantastic acting in games, let alone any truly skilled performances, but developer Ninja Theory is one of the few companies that pulls this off consistently. With some help from performance capture tech, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West’s two leads, Monkey and Trip, felt particularly real. Players watched both characters grow throughout the game’s many engrossing cutscenes, seeing a bond form between the two that was totally believable. Monkey starts the game as Trip’s unwilling slave, but only because Trip is in desperate need of someone to guide her through the robot-infested wilderness. The intense circumstances force them to be allies, but things deepen quickly. Whether Monkey is saving her life or Trip is baring her soul to him over a campfire, just looking at the characters’ eyes will tell you their relationship is evolving. Though we see little in the way of physical contact between the two, we can look at their faces–even in the preposterous finale–and know that these two are in love.
Number 7. – Max Payne & Mona Sax
These two really are Bonnie & Clyde. Partners in crime, they’re the quintessential noir couple. Their relationship, while based largely on lust and power, is an interesting one. In the first game, there’s a faint attraction as there often is between the protagonist and femme fatale in noir film, but it’s in the second game when they truly come together. Max, believing Mona to have been shot to death in Nicole Horne’s building in the first game, is surprised to find her alive later on. Love is a complicated thing. But rarely is it so complicated that your burgeoning love interest tries to kill you the first time you meet, almost gets killed herself, is presumed dead for a bit, and then comes back to life so she can enlist your help finding her sister. With all that drama, it’s no wonder Mona Sax and Max Payne ended up developing feelings for one another. However, those feelings were too short-lived, as Mona’s eventual fate ended up being a tragic one. Still, Max and Mona made a terrific on-screen duo, and had a relationship that fans of the series will always remember.
Number 6. – Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh
Snake and Meryl romance follows a rocky road indeed in the first episode in the Metal Gear Solid series. The first time they meet, Meryl mistakes Solid Snake for his identical clone, the evil Liquid Snake, and then, after she realises her mistake, has her mind taken over by Psycho Mantis and tries to kill him. Luckily, Snake realizes she’s not quite herself, and manages to knock her out rather than killing her. The two bond in a nuclear warhead storage building before she’s captured by Sniper Wolf. She’s then wired to a nuclear bomb. If any couple deserves a happy ending it’s these two, and if you play your cards right, in the end they get it, driving off in a snowmobile together into the sunset. The only reason why they can’t’ be any higher is because Meryl was never seen in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Snake (mysteriously) lost interest with Meryl in Metal Gear Solid 4, so she went with that idiot Akiba which turned out to be some of the worst couples in video games.
Number 5. – James and Maria
James Sunderland travels to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife Mary asking him to come meet her in their ‘special place’ there. That’s a bit strange since they didn’t really have a special place in the town, and also, she’s been dead for three years. Shortly after arriving in town he meets a woman called Maria, who looks identical to Mary but isn’t her. Maria could be Mary’s twin but she has an entirely different personality and also dresses differently. When Maria is killed, James continues his search, delving deeper into the horrors of the strange town and facing off against all manner of terrifying creatures, desperately searching for his dead wife and hoping against hope to find her somehow alive. There are several endings in the game, although Mary remains dead in all of them. Heartbroken, James either leaves town, goes a bit loopy and tries to resurrect her, or commits suicide. While most of the other romances on this list are at least mostly pleasant, the memory of James’ deceased wife torments him. After Mary’s apparent death due to a fatal illness, James receives a letter from her telling him to meet her in Silent Hill. He later learns the sinister nature of this letter, but he first must contend with a doppelganger of his wife, twisted manifestations of his subconscious and the murderous “Pyramid Head” monsters. Silent Hill 2 is one of the best stories ever told in the medium, and it holds that title for the way it manhandles your emotions with James and Mary’s love story. You feel James’ hope, pain and regret as if it were your own. That makes the game’s conclusion to their love story heartbreaking or beautiful, or both. James’ love leaves him a tortured soul, and after playing this game, you’ll be one too.
Number 4. – Prince and Farah
Drawn together by adversity when the Sands of Time were unleashed on the kingdom of Azad, Farah and the Prince rapidly developed a strong bond that would change them both. While he initially viewed her with distrust, the Prince eventually came to rely on Farah’s level-headed help, as well as her skill with a bow. More importantly, her strength of character and realistic outlook helped the Prince grow from a spoiled, annoying brat into someone far more likable and considerate. By the time they had a dreamlike, implied love scene near the game’s end, the Prince was a changed man, trading in his short-sighted ideals of honor and glory for a little wisdom and maturity. And then, in the name of stopping the evil of the Sands from spreading, he changed the past and erased his adventure – and his romance with Farah – from existence. Unlike some of the other, more tragic couples on this list, the Prince and Farah got a happy ending years later in The Two Thrones, when – thanks to the Prince’s mucking around with time – they were reunited as the Sands of Time were unleashed again, this time on the Prince’s father’s kingdom. This Farah had a harder edge to her, but given time, the two were able to rekindle their romance and end the Sands of Time trilogy on a high note.
Number 3. – Tali and Commander Sheppard
Back when I used to be the biggest Mass Effect fan, the selling point for me was choosing your character to be in a relationship with. But the one that was the best for me is the one that’s the most passionate and had the most challenges to go through and that’s Tali from Mass Effect 1, 2, & 3. Of course you could not choose Tali as your romance in the first one, but fans demanded more so Bioware put her available in the second. I chose Tali because of so many reasons.
- She was so mysterious behind the mask
- She was in so much pain
- She had the darkest story (for female character)
- She needed your help the most
- She’s more passionate lover
- She has a lovely voice that soothes the ear
- She has so much to learn from you
- She desire nothing more than happiness
- She’s sensitive
- She’s strong when needed
- She’s smart with technology
- She’s adventurous
- She’s kind and generous
- She has so much to learn
- When she speaks it’s always the right words to me
Yes, the subject of inter-species relationship is awkward to discuss, but Bioware (used to be) smart enough to tell their audience that it’s okay to be in such relationship like today it’s okay to have blacks & whites romantically together. Though Mass Effect 3 was terrible, the best part was seeing Tali again, but they betrayed us by not showing her face unmasked [in her own planet with the oxygen she can breathe on] and only showed her real face on a photoshop frame…
How angry do you think I was so hyped to see where this was going only to backstab me to not show her unmasked, let alone the whole Quarian race. Never the less, just knowing Tali on the romantic side was so exciting (except the end) which is why there’s a huge fanbase on Tali’s character. Tali was the main reason why I became a Mass Effect fan because there is no other female character like her. Even non-Mass Effect fans know who she is which is why she’s the backbone of the series.
Number 2. – Dr. Liara T’Soni & Commander Shepherd
Okay, so I lied. Tali is actually the second best romance in the Mass Effect series, the best of all will have to go to Liara T’Soni. Arguably, Liara T’Soni ranks among the top love interest preferences for Mass Effect players. Who wouldn’t love the Asari right? They’re smart, powerful and attractive. But the prettiest of the whole race (as far as we can find) is Liara. She’s almost a nerd’s dream girl where she’s one of the smartest of her race, she has freckles that shine like gold, and throughout the trilogy, even despite what sex you made your Shepherd, she will be the most faithful to you (and also give you the chance to romance with her in all three games). Did we fall in love with Liara’s character on our own? Or did BioWare just give us a push by seducing us with content specifically made for one character? If true, why does it matter when you had several options throughout the series. Even despite how often monotone she is, Liara always has an interesting conversation with anyone which keeps the interest level rising the more you communicate with her. Liara does seem to get more content and better cutscene animations than the other options. Her romance is very well done in in the entire trilogy (despite the fact that there’s no happy ending in Mass Effect 3). Bioware probably put a lot of effort into making Liara’s romance good because she wasn’t in ME2 and the romance didn’t continue. Even despite the fact that you might not like her because she really isn’t your type, she has the biggest reward in having a relationship with her because if you download the Shadowbroker DLC, she’s willing to give you the Shadow Broker’s HQ as a home. Liara’s romance in Mass Effect 3 was by far my favorite. Both shown the most affection for each other without resorting to any forced bullshit melodrama about Cerberus. It was sweet, funny, and touching all at the same time. But I really hated the fact they refer to each other as “friends” on a few occasions. It was a lame attempt to prevent the players from feeling Liara was “forced” upon them, but I always found that distinction to be wildy exaggerated.
Number 1. – Gybrush and Elaine
Possibly the silliest name in video games, Guybrush Threepwood has a big crush on the sexy island governor, Elaine Marley, although it’s quite clear to everyone except him that she’s out of his league. Elaine is constantly being kidnapped by undead pirate LeChuck, who fancies her too, and Guy takes it upon himself to always try to rescue her, even though she’s quite capable of doing that on her own. Somewhere along the line, Elaine actually falls for Guybrush, and the two are married at the end of The Curse of Monkey Island. We bet Guybrush still can’t believe his luck and pinches himself every time he wakes up next to her. Guybrush and Elena’s relationship might not make much sense from the outside, what with her being a governor turned badass leader of pirates and Guybrush being essentially a pirate fanboy. But over the course of multiple games, you see them forge a connection that’s stronger than any ghost pirates or zombie curse. The differences that should keep them apart only make them a better romantic comedy duo, and they somehow always find a way to make their disparities work for them. It’s worth noting that their love story was at least partially conceived by Tim Schafer, so we aren’t surprised that we became so invested in these two. His later games, like Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, forged similarly engaging relationships for the protagonists, though those love stories couldn’t burn as bright as the flame between these two pirates.
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