Love and romance permeate every form of media, including the action-packed and interactive medium of video games. Some of the best video game romances rival even those found in movies and TV shows.
The best video game romances stand out for their writing, characters, witty dialogue, deep progression, and even player choice in some cases.
In no particular order, some of these best-game romances feel pretty standard with only two people involved, while others encompass additional characters. Regardless, all of them make their games even better.
1. Cloud and Aerith (Final Fantasy VII)
The moment the flower seller Aerith offered a flower to Cloud Strife changed his life forever in this renowned RPG. Their love has such complexity in its mix of tragedy and hopefulness. Cloud’s entire life revolves around Aerith, which shows a permanence most game relationships don’t have.
2. Geralt, Yennefer, and Triss (The Witcher 3)
Geralt of Rivia has his hands full in this open-world RPG with not one but two worthy women to choose from. Yennefer has a calm, cool, and wisened old flame, while Triss offers a heavy and emotional current relationship. Both feel equally great for the Butcher of Blaviken.
3. Nathan Drake and Elena (Uncharted Series)
It takes time across these four games for Indiana Jones knockoff hero Nathan Drake to find his love for Elena, but the long wait feels worth it in the end. Fans spend so much time with their relationship that the payoff in the final game feels different than almost any other video game romance.
4. Commander Shepard and Crew Members (Mass Effect Series)
The main character players take on the role of in this BioWare sci-fi series, Shepard, has the best selection of romance options in any game ever. Players have the exotic love in Liara, the subtle buildup with Tali, the electrifying relationship with Garrus, and so many more.
5. Protagonist and Bastila (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic)
A few video game romances exist in this Star Wars RPG, but one reigns supreme: the relationship between the male main character and Bastila. This relationship changes depending on the player’s Light or Dark Side alignment, showing an excellent, forbidden Jedi romance.
6. Farmer and Various Villagers (Stardew Valley)
Players take over a farm in this life sim game with many goals in the journey, including settling down with one of the many villagers. Most options, from Abigail to Elliot, feel worthy of the player’s time. Better yet, players even marry their chosen partner and have a family with them.
7. Hero and Astarion (Baldur’s Gate 3)
Baldur’s Gate 3 has some fantastic romances (shoutout to Shadowheart as an honorable mention), but Astarion stomps over all of them. The charming and handsome vampire starts with a heavy focus on physical action and little real love, but its exploration of trauma leads to two different and phenomenal endings.
8. Chloe and Rachel (Life Is Strange: Before the Storm)
While many think of Max and Chloe when they think of this series, it has a much better romance in this prequel game with Chloe and her original flame of Rachel. The awakening of her persona feels so natural and well-written, which gives this a realistic and adorable approach.
9. Joker and Kasumi (Persona 5 Royal)
The leader of the Phantom Thieves, Joker, has several romance options, including some quite controversial ones and a fun implied one with Akechi. But the new addition in Royal, Kasumi, wins over all of them. It almost feels canonical in their interactions with one another and how Joker brings out her true self.
10. V and Panam (Cyberpunk 2077)
Cyberpunk 2077 has its fair share of romances, but Panam feels like one of the best characters in the game by far in terms of personality and writing. Her romance only improves her as the player explores her tribe and helps her with her personal dilemma.
11. Link and Zelda (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
Skyward Sword provides fans with the most explicit attempt at an actual romance between Link and Zelda yet. They grow up together, and their interactions feel so genuine and earned compared to other games. In addition, Link’s journey this time feels so personal due to his intimate connection to Zelda.
12. Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey (Ace Attorney Series)
Fumbling attorney Phoenix Wright only succeeds in the first game in this series due to the younger sister of his mentor. Maya Fey stands next to Phoenix as his trusty partner throughout numerous challenging trials, and their interactions always lend to more than friendship in their future.
13. Joker and EDI (Mass Effect Series)
One of the few canonical romances in this player-driven series follows the two side characters of the Normandy ship’s pilot, Joker, and his AI companion, EDI. It may feel like a rather strange combination, but their frequent witty banter with one another grows to something more over time.
14. May and Cody (It Takes Two)
The entire premise of this award-winning platformer game revolves around a couple on the brink of divorce. Two players take on the role of both of these characters and play a direct part in navigating their issues with one another. It leads to realistic resolutions of real-life problems.
15. John and Abigail Marston (Red Dead Redemption Series)
The outlaw John Marston falls in love with the beauty Abigail over the course of these two games, and it shows their marriage and life together. While much of their relationship feels drenched in tragedy, welcome bright spots occur every once in a while.
16. Tidus and Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
This feels like the most overtly romantic game in this beloved Japanese role-playing game series. Tidus takes Yuna on a journey to fulfill her destiny, and their clear feelings for one another only grow over time with some awkward but hilarious moments.
17. Estelle and Joshua (The Legend of Heroes Franchise)
Sure, the implications of this particular relationship feel a bit weird if players dig deeper, but it feels earned in the end. The two start out as companions on a journey to save their country, but their ups and downs in romance go to some surprising places.
18. Goro Majima and Makoto (Yakuza Series)
Yakuza 0 gave Goro Majima his best arc as a character, and in no small part due to Makoto. She starts out as the elimination target for the Mad Dog, but he soon falls in love with her. The complicated circumstances of their relationship leave little room for hope, but it provides the best glimpse into the psyche of this irresistible madman.
19. Peter and MJ (Marvel’s Spider-Man Series)
One of the most beloved and classic superhero romances has its own iteration in video game form with the Insomniac titles. The games focus more on Peter Parker, which leads to one of the most compelling versions of his romance with MJ and how Spider-Man plays into it.
20. Master Chief and Cortana (Halo Series)
The love between these two feels so fascinating in how it transcends the boundaries of a human being and AI. The two spend so much time together over the series that they love one another and would do anything for each other. Though some may question whether they have romantic love, it remains a focal point of the franchise.
21. Junpei and Akane (Zero Escape Series)
The relationship between these two starts out as a childhood crush and develops into one of the most shocking and tragic romances in gaming when they meet up again after their kidnappings in this death game. It spans the entire series and takes some unbelievable and emotional turns as the titles go on.
22. Aerith and Zack (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)
While many root for Cloud and Aerith as a couple, Aerith has a previous love interest in Zack Fair, Cloud’s idol. The passion and interactions between Aerith and Zack often feel a bit more equal and two-sided, which makes for a sometimes more believable romance.
23. Roxas and Xion (Kingdom Hearts Series)
Sora and Kairi suffer from pacing issues in their relationship, which helps the emotional couple of Roxas and Xion to thrive. The constant interactions between these two in 358/2 Days feel so adorable and help the player root for them amidst their rather confusing circumstances.
24. G’raha Tia and Warrior of Light (Final Fantasy XIV)
This particular relationship has a heavy emphasis and implications from the Shadowbringer's expansion forward. It downright even has a couple of confessions from party member G’raha Tia toward the Warrior of Light, no matter their gender. It helps their relationship, and G’raha himself stands out as one of the more compelling parts of this already excellent MMO.