Last week I talked about the best homies in games for those who just really love their friends. This time, with Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s time to tackle the real meat and potatoes of what the day celebrates: love. I want to sit down and talk about some of my favourite relationships in video games; those relationships that just make you feel all sorts of things. The things that made these relationships for me are things like on-screen chemistry, the story behind how they got together, or how they dealt with events that may have happened to them throughout the game. This is a list of my top 5 couples in video games.
5. Whoever the Heck You Want (Fire Emblem series)
It might be a bit strange to start this list off with something like this, especially when you consider that Fire Emblem has historically been a tough-as-nails tactics RPG series that almost always focuses on some horrible war of some kind. Starting with Fire Emblem Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS however, players were given the ability to not only romance the main character with their fellow comrades, but pretty much anyone and everyone provided they were compatible. There are so many possible combinations of relationship partners throughout the modern Fire Emblem games, and each pairing has their own story of how they fall in love as they fight alongside one another on the battlefield. They aren’t the deepest love stories ever, but the sheer amount of content for the number of relationship options in modern Fire Emblem are what made me put effectively everyone on my list of couples. The fact that your couples can have kids and you can use that as a way to optimize the stats of your army is pretty cool too.
4. Joker & Sadayo Kawakami (Persona 5)
Since Persona 3 introduced the concept of Social Links to the series, players have been forced to consider who they want to spend the most time with in order to cultivate their relationships with their favourites. Naturally, part of that as a high-school student is finding your crush and shooting your best shot. Out of all the possible romance options in the Persona series, the nuttiest one has to be pursuing a relationship with Persona 5’s Sadayo Kawakami. Ever had a crush on one of your high-school teachers? Now is your time! But in all seriousness, Kawakami is one of the coolest characters in Persona 5 with a fun and interesting story arc. Through certain circumstances you find out that your homeroom teacher Kawakami has been moonlighting as a maid service worker in order to keep up with some unknown debt, and you have the option to support her through it. Eventually it can lead to a romantic relationship with your teacher and it has some pretty realistic moments for a student/teacher relationship. There’s lots of sneaking around, some very real doubts about how good of an idea the relationship is, but also love ultimately winning out in the end.
3. Vincent Brooks & Katherine McBride (Catherine)
Catherine is one of the coolest and most unique games I’ve played, but it’s also the only game in my Xbox library that I’d be embarrassed to have someone catch me playing. If you’re familiar with the game and it’s subject matter you’ll know why. The protagonist Vincent Brooks and his long-term girlfriend Katherine McBride have a relationship that so many people can relate with. Vincent is a guy who’s kind of just coasting through life, content with what he has and where he’s at, while Katherine is looking to move their relationship to the next level and is pushing Vincent to do so. The star here is Katherine; she’s such a strong-willed and independent person who worries about Vincent, but at the same time doesn’t much of his crap. She’s honestly just really cool and it’s interesting how she interacts with Vincent based on your choices throughout the game.
2. Commander Shepard & Liara T’soni (Mass Effect series)
I love Mass Effect. I love the characters in Mass Effect. On the last list I wrote I talked about how much of a bro Garrus is. This time I want to talk about how much I love the romance story surrounding everyone’s favourite blue alien lady: Liara T’soni. Liara is a part of the all-female Asari race and joins your crew pretty early on in Mass Effect 1, and based on your choices you can enter a romantic relationship with her near the end of that game. It’s not until Mass Effect 2 where your relationship with Liara really gets interesting however. In the beginning of the second game your ship gets attacked and destroyed, your crew gets scattered, and you’re left for dead. Two years after the attack you find out that Liara has dropped off the grid entirely, and provided you choose not to date anyone else there will be scenes of your character dealing with the noticeable lack of Liara in their life. Liara eventually shows herself in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC story, which gives your character the opportunity to hash things out with her and confront questions like what the heck happened to her in the past two years. There’s some nice payoff for those of us who stay faithful to our favourite Asari.
1. John & Abigail Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
Red Dead Redemption is such an interesting western story. You follow John Marston, a former outlaw turned government asset who’s on the hunt for the remnants of his old crew that are still at large. Marston goes through hell to track down his quarry, and it’s all for the sake of his wife and kid: Abigail and Jack Marston. Once John does the dirty work he needs to get done for the government, he can see his family again. The dynamic between John and Abigail is so down to earth and imperfect that it’s refreshing. They’re just two misfit former outlaws trying their best to run a ranch in a world that’s becoming less and less accepting of outlaws. Their relationship makes me not only love the Marston ranch sequence of the game more, but it also sets up to make the game’s ending that much more impactful. John and Abigail Marston are my favourite couple in video games.