Art of Games

7 Video Games With The Best Romance, Ranked

7 Video Games With The Best Romance, Ranked
Written by Noah Roy

There have always been undertones of romance in video games, ever since Mario battled Donkey Kong to rescue his girlfriend. In recent years, however, romance in video games has blossomed, with the writing becoming more sensitive, the pairings becoming more egalitarian, and the chemistry between characters becoming more believable.

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There are still plenty of games with poor romance, whether it is unrealistic, underwhelming, or simply embarrasing to watch. Others, however, present truly delightful, tragic, or exciting romance for the player’s enjoyment, pushing the boundaries of emotional storytelling in video games. Whether as an emotional element or a fun diversion, some games just have great romance.

7 Mass Effect Gives You A Deeply Attractive Crew

Shepard and Liara kissing in Mass Effect

Romance is an element of classic sci-fi, thrust in between the quests to save the galaxy and the enormous spaceship battles. As a love letter to the genre, Mass Effect Obviously includes plenty of romantic options – something that has become a stable of developer Bioware.

Starting off as reasonably enjoyable and well-written in the first Mass Effectlater games in the series take the romances further, adding more options, LGBT+ possibilities, and potential romantic partners with a range of personalities – to the extent that there are still arguments over who is best-suited for Commander Shepard.

6 Cyberpunk 2077 Gets Its Romance Right, At Least

V attempting to romance Kenny Eurodyne in Cyberpunk 2077 game

Cyberpunk 2077 is best-known for its notorious launch and underwhelming final product, failing to live up to the vast surrounding it with poor performance and average gameplay. One area most agree it holds up, however, is its storytelling.

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Aside from its main story, Cyberpunk 2077 gives a number of other storylines, including a number of potential romances. These romances have become well-regarded for their depth, the development they give their characters, and the focus they give on the individual nature of human sexuality. Much of the game isn’t well-regarded, but many will defend its romance.

5 Stardew Valley Gives Surprising Depth To Pixel Art Romance

The player marrying Haley in Stardew Valley

On the surface, the romance in Stardew Valley appears relatively basic, between the game’s deceptively simple art style, and that the main relationship mechanic involves identifying a partner and then giving them cauliflower twice a week until they agree to marry.

As with many things in Stardew Valley, there is far more beneath the surface. Aside from the layered and multidimensional personalities of each of the romanceable NPCs, which each have their own storyline, the game includes a number of touching, well-written, and crucial scenes at certain thresholds with each NPC, adding significant depth to each relationship.

4 Life Is Strange Makes Romance Central

Chloe and Max sitting in the front of Chloe's pickup truck

As a heavily choice-based game, it is no surprise that Life is Strange makes romance an important feature. The series as a whole takes a serious look at love and sexuality, but it is the first game in the franchise that received acclaim.

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Although there are two romance options in Life is Strange, the best-known is that of Max Caulfield and Chloe Price, the game’s two main characters. Able to grow from distant former friends to people in love over the course of the game, the romance is loved by Life is Strange fans and makes the final choice all that more tragic.

3 You Can Seduce Half A Country In Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Kassandra kissing a partner in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

For a long time, romance was a fairly perfunctory thing in the Assassin’s Creed series, taking place in the background and occasionally providing character motivation. With the series’ redesign in Assassin’s Creed: Odysseythings began to change. Odyssey features a surprisingly large number of potential romances, many of which can be achieved in one playthrough.

Both to grant the player options, and as a nod to Ancient Greece’s different sexual norms – both player characters and a large number of potential love interests are bisexual, with various combinations of genders possible over the game. Although not as deep as the romances of other games, those present in Odyssey are considered representative, well-written, and simply fun.

2 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Gives You Two Fleshed-Out Options

Geralt and Yennefer kissing in the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt game

Both the book and earlier games of The Witcher have faced criticism for objectifying their female characters for male gratification – sometimes in deeply unsettling ways. This criticism appears to have been taken to heart in The Witcher 3: Wild Huntwith far more sensitively-approached female characters and romance.

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Rather than many options like in other games, there are just two potential love interests in The Witcher 3, with the player choosing between Triss Merigold and Yennefer of Vengerberg. Both have well-written, emotional, and funny aspects of their relationships, and there are still fierce debates about which of the romances is best.

1 Dragon Age Has Some Of The Most Nuanced Relationships In Gaming

Dorian and the Inquisitor dance in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Bioware have become well-known in recent years for their focus on interpersonal relationships in their dramatic, world-spanning adventures. The Dragon Age series, even more so than Mass Effectdisplay an emphasis on the importance of relationships both romantic and otherwise.

With a wide variety of party members, each with their own personalities, tastes, dynamics, and values, a player is spoiled for choice but isn’t just fed romances. They often require work on the part of the player, and Dragon Age is rare in presenting a large number of LGBT romances without simply making everyone bisexual. Noted for their heart and their realism, the romances are one of the most popular thing about the series.

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About The Author

About the author

Noah Roy

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