Ah, true love. It’s one of the grandest things in this world. It’s beautiful enough of an experience in the real world, but when it permeates our favorite video games, it’s even more splendid.
When we aren’t fragging the weak and hurdling the dead in our favorite shooters, journeying through unknown worlds, or saving the entire planet, sometimes we’re lucky enough to watch characters fall in love.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, before you head out to enjoy a candlelit dinner with your significant other, chow down on some chocolates alone, or flick through Tinder, we’ve rounded up the top 5 romantic plotlines in gaming.
Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to find your own beautiful love story – no matter where you are in life, or you’ll come to better appreciate the one you have now.
Wander and Mono (Shadow of the Colossus)
The entirety of Shadow of the Colossus is a romantic plotline, if you choose to view it that way. While we don’t know exactly if Wander was in love with the young woman, Mono, it’s heavily implied that they were once a couple, or at least very close. Throughout the entire game, Mono is trying to rid Mono of a curse and bring her back to life. Thus, he’s taken it upon himself to undertake a challenging ordeal to do just that. Wander is tasked with destroying sixteen massive monsters known as Colossi by an ominous, disembodied voice that calls itself Dormin.
As he makes his way across the countryside and fells these beasts, he believes he’s doing his part to bring his beloved back to life – risking life and limb every moment to do so. He seeks a happily ever after for the two at all costs, even though it doesn’t seem as though it’s in the cards. The pair doesn’t exactly get the fairy tale resolution Wander was looking for, but the idea that someone would go to these lengths to resurrect you if you passed away is heartrending and romantic – you’ve got to admit that.
Fei and Elly (Xenogears)
There’s nothing more heartwarming than believing you and the one you love are destined to be together. There’s something enticing about the idea of being bound to someone by fate. That’s what we have with Xenogears’ Fei Fong Wong and Elly Van Houten. When they die, they’re simply brought back to life over and over again in a bid to find each other and prevent the birth of the weapon Deus.
No matter what incarnation they find themselves in over the course of history, and no matter how many times they must part, the pair inevitably find each other and fall in love once more, no matter the odds. Their relationship transcends the bounds of time and space, and they’re connected by the ever-unbroken red thread of fate. Xenogears may occasionally be rife with obtuse concepts, but Fei and Elly’s love has a crystal clear meaning.
Dom and Maria (Gears of War)
Dominic Santiago and his wife Maria are part of one of the most tragic love stories you’ll ever find in a shooter. That’s why their emotional bond brings something new and refreshing to the table. When Dom and Maria lost both of their children on Emergence Day, as the Locust overtook their planet, Maria slipped away into a deep depression. One day, she simply disappeared, having wandered out into the world on her own. Dom is a faithful, tireless husband who’s always searching for the love of his life, and each Gears of War installment is sure to remind us of this.
Even throughout the dangerous work he does as part of Delta Squad, he keeps her photo with him and holds out hope that one day they’ll be reunited once more. Unfortunately, when he does end up finding her, he has to make the tragic decision to part ways with her, after he realizes she’s been tortured until she’s practically out of her mind. He has to live with the pain of knowing he’s lost his entire family to the Locust, and you never quite stop feeling for Dom and the relationship he worked so hard to nurture.
Nathan and Elena (Uncharted)
There’s something satisfying about watching Nathan Drake fall in love with Elena Fisher over the course of the Uncharted series. At first, Drake sees Fisher as little more than a way to fund his excursions, beginning with his trip to seek out El Dorado and up to the moment he discovers Shambhala. Drake has promised poor Elena that he’ll give her one hell of a story (since she’s a journalist and all) time and time again, and as they find themselves going on one adventure after another, they find themselves drawing ever closer.
Even when Chloe Frazer’s appearance threatens to change the nature of their relationship, this couple finds their way to each other over and over again. The evolution of their relationship is a secondary yet satisfying thread that connects the Uncharted quadrilogy, especially by Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, where their union has culminated in a child: Cassie Drake. Talk about playing the long con. Elena finally got more than just a great scoop in the end. She fell in love.
Tidus and Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
When blitzball player Tidus finds himself lost in a strange world called Spira, his first move is to connect with a group of guardians who are accompanying a summoner named Yuna. Yuna is tasked with heading out on a pilgrimage to defeat the powerful force called Sin. Unfortunately, felling Sin could mean giving up her own life for her planet and her people. Luckily, Tidus is along for the ride, and while he’s looking for his own way home, he and Yuna quickly fall for each other.
Final Fantasy X is rife with the pair’s burgeoning romance, and though by the end of the game Tidus’s existence is called into question, it’s clear he’s struck a chord in Yuna’s heart. She spends an entire game sequel looking for him, changing up her whole approach to life and purpose to see if she can track him down once more. Just thinking about holding on to a love that may not even be real brings tears to my eyes, but if it brought me the happiness it brought Tidus and Yuna, I’d pursue it in a second.