It’s Valentine’s Day, which means we’re going out of our way to try and locate some of the best games to play that not only celebrate love — but also the world evolving around relationships, too. Of course, seeing as we’ve already covered a lot of the mainstream titles on the market, I thought we’d venture a little deeper — into the bottom of the barrel — where the oddest of love stories reside. That’s where we’ll be looking for this article. So, just take each of these entries with a pinch of salt and a whole heap of open-mindedness. We’ve got some strange tales to tell, that’s for sure.
Romance has become such a crucial element in video games that, more often than not, players are more driven by genuine relationships and raw emotions. They can often distract us from the mindless bullet madness and keep us grounded for a short while. Just take a look at Cyberpunk 2077, for example. Without a well-established roster of potential hookups, we’d have scrapped the game long before the credits rolled out. The use of romance was a key portion of crafting a successful game. And, honestly, we think these five also deserve recognition for implementing romance in their structure, too. But, eh — just don’t expect a Romeo and Juliet story.
Okay, so we’re throwing ourselves directly into the deep end of thought-provoking puzzles and outrageous love affairs with this one. Catherine, in case you haven’t seen it floating about on the market before, is a clash of puzzle-solving and social simulation. You see, sort of like the renowned Persona series, Catherine snaps between two completely different settings, one being in the day, and, of course — one during the night.
In the day, you’ll find yourself entwined in a mysterious love affair with little actual memory of the second female known as Catherine. However, at night, you’ll be thrown into an endless nightmare where your only goal is to ascent a stackable tower. Should you fall and plummet into the abyss, then you’ll likely never live to see another day. And yes — we’re more than aware that this is totally bonkers in concept. That’s why we can only urge you to experience it for yourself.
4. Lollipop Chainsaw
Get ready to fire up the chainsaw and mow down an entire school of zombies and ringleaders — it’s time for some Lollipop Chainsaw. Although somewhat dated in regards to it being a double ex-gen game, we do have to put this one forward with our highest respect. And yes, it is romantic — albeit a very strange sort of romance — but romantic nonetheless.
Admittedly, the love story is kept to a bare minimum, as slaughtering zombie hippies and punks tends to be the main aim of the game. However, as cheerleader Juliet Starling, it is crucial that you locate a cure for your disembodied boyfriend, Nick, to stop him from turning into one of the undead. With the witty sidekick strapped to your waist, it is up to you to storm through San Romero High School in search of justice for your decapitated little lover. Again, we understand the craziness of this idea — but we can’t help but recommend it to any hack and slash fan.
3. Life is Strange: Before the Storm
If slicing and dicing zombies isn’t to your taste, you could always opt for a more casual sort of drama with this Square Enix tale. Life is Strange: Before the Storm explores the complexity of friendship and love through a gripping and heartwarming story. With a choice to be made at every corner, there’s no telling whether you’ll end up securing the love of your life or spiralling the relationship out of control. That’s the beauty behind this series: there’s plenty to bite through and keep you on your toes, and Before the Storm captures one of the most heartfelt stories of them all. And, with the reins in hand — it is you who drives the narrative through to its conclusion.
Spread across three unique chapters, Before the Storm follows the story of Chloe, a rebellious teen destined to derail from society. However, after clashing with the school’s most popular girl, Chloe finds new reasons to stay grounded and pursue a whole other goal. How that is done, on the other hand, is entirely up to you.
2. Shadows of the Damned
Throwing ourselves right back to the outrageous end of the scale — Shadows of the Damned is another crazy number to consider this Valentine’s Day. Why? Well, believe it or not — it is a love story. And, what’s more is that it’s also a neat little combination of fast-paced action and original ideas that you’ve probably never seen before. Sort of like a predecessor to The Evil Within, Shadows of the Damned reflects a rather grotesque backdrop with eerie surroundings and hideous creatures. However, between the dark and dingy world lies a love connection between the hero and the endgame.
Filling the shoes of demon hunter Garcia Hotspur, you are tasked with breaking through to the deepest depths of Hell in search of your partner, Paula. After being kidnapped by the Lord of Demons, it is you who must strap in and fight through the lashings of evil armies and demonic obstacles in search of redemption. Just don’t expect the hellish metropolis to hold back any secrets. You’ve got quite the hike ahead of you.
1. The Last of Us: Left Behind
While The Last of Us isn’t really a romance-driven story, the Left Behind DLC does shed a little extra light on the post-apocalyptic relationships in the zombie-riddled world. Although the first major chapter did toy with Joel and Ellie’s ambivalent friendship throughout its meaty journey, we never really did have the opportunity to explore either of their backstories. That’s where Left Behind hits the nail on the head and unravels a whole other spool of emotions. We get to experience what life was like before the events of The Last of Us, and we get to grow an understanding of Ellie’s struggles surrounding her curiosities.
The Last of Us: Left Behind was the ideal puzzle piece that we never knew we needed until we had it. It almost ties the whole picture together and helps us relate even more to the characters we follow on-screen. Although fairly short and with only a portion of action to boot, Left Behind still owns up to having one of the most heartwarming narratives ever produced. And so, if you haven’t had the chance to sink into Ellie’s shoes yet, then be sure to snag this incredible DLC on your next shopping trip.