Top 8 love stories in video games

Square Enix
Square Enix /

Video games are known for their emotional up and down, roller coaster moments. Whether it be a horror title that has you on the edge of your seat or finally taking down a boss in an epic RPG fight, none are as lasting as an emotional love story. We take you through some of the 8 best love stories in the history of video games with a breakdown of each below.

Now, by love story, I don’t necessarily mean romance. Some of the below are romantic, yes. However, some also focus on a different kind of love – an emotional bond that serves at the core being of those characters involved. Check out our top choices below and let us know what you think.

Now, obviously the accompanying videos may have spoilers so watch at your own discretion. Enjoy!

8. Zidane & Garnet – Final Fantasy IX

Now, Final Fantasy IX is one of the best in the franchise. Personally, it’s my third ranked one for overall in the series. However, one of the things that stands out is the relationship between main characters Zidane and Garnet.

What starts out as a plot to kidnap the Princess Garnet in order to save kingdoms, the relationship between she and Zidane evolve throughout the game. This evolution is tied to pivotal moments in the game and leaves you hoping and cheering for Zidane to pull through in the end. It’s a love that grows over time allowing you to appreciate it more as a player.

7. Shepard & Liara – Mass Effect

Not only is Liara the best “space wife” in gaming (Mass Effect’s Jack is a close 2nd), but her relationship with Commander Shepard is one of the most up and down, all over the place love interests in video games. Beginning with the first game, the bond between the two increases dramatically due to the branching and impactful dialogue options at your disposal in the series.

By the end of the ‘suicide mission’ and completion of third game (the atrocious ending not withstanding), the Shepard / Liara romance will have seen the player experience many of the same emotions as the characters due to the writing choices. This allows the love story to have an even more lasting impression

6. Sora & Kairi – Kingdom Hearts

One of the most innovative and creative franchises mixing Disney characters with video game lore has led to one of the more long running love stories with Sora and Kairi in Kingdom Hearts. Right out of the gate, Sora wanted to be friends and just be by himself. However, after rescuing his friend Kairi (who he viewed he had to protect), the relationship expanded over the course of three games and dozens of guest character appearances.

Often times the strongest bonds of love are shown by some unspoken act. Well, that’s what happens in Kingdom Hearts.

Finally, after hours of gameplay filled with gut-wrenching heartache and exhilarating “YES!” moments, Sora and Kairi have that exact instant as they share their Paupo fruit to solidify their love without words

5. Clementine & AJ – Telltale’s The Walking Dead

This is one of the non-romantic love stories I was speaking of. We are briefly but strongly shown a relationship between Clementine and Lee in the first season of The Walking Dead. That relationship ends and to say it leaves a lasting impression on Clementine would be the understatement of the universe. Later on, after being caught by fellow boarding school member AJ (Alvin Jr.), Clementine leaves believing that AJ will be ok with other schools in the area. Guess what? He wasn’t ok.

Throughout Season Two, A New Frontier and the Final Season, Clementine becomes a cynical, hardened teenager who is desperately trying to hold on to her last hope for humanity. She becomes the Ward dejour for AJ, and is “raising” him the way she knows Lee would have raised her: By protecting him and making choices for his betterment even though she may not believe them herself. It’s an incredible story and the “Whatcha doin’ there goofball?” at the end made me jump out of my chair cheering. It’s an incredible story that you really need to experience.

4. Joel & Ellie – The Last of Us

Now, this game is 10 years old but many are just coming into it after the most recent HBO TV series. After losing his daughter Sara at the beginning of the “zombie” apocalypse, Joel gets thrust into being the caretaker for Ellie, an alleged holder of the cure for humanity.

The game is one of the more incredible stories overall in gaming alone as it is, but the love story between the two is even better. It’s that of a parent, duty, responsibility and just sheer humanity that makes the story between Joel & Ellie such an incredible one.

Continued into the second game, that bond continues to grow and, well no spoilers but, shows how it continues to grow even after it is broken. If for some reason you haven’t played the games, I suggest you do as it’s a gaming experience.

3. Tidus & Yuna – Final Fantasy X

Not only is this the best Final Fantasy game in the series by far (It is, and I’m not going to pretend it isn’t), but the love story was the best overall in all of gaming for nearly 15 years. Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to have voice acting, so it added so much more to the emotional turmoil throughout the game. Seeing the bond between the two grow romantically while also impacting the players’ journey in the game was incredible.

I was 22 years old when the game released, and I still remember freaking out as Yuna ran toward Tidus as he was disappearing and just missing him. It was a moment I’ll never forget in gaming and one of the top 3 gaming love stories in history.

2. Max & Chloe – Life is Strange

This one was a hard one for me. The original Life is Strange is the best game I have ever played bar none – It’s not even close. In fact, it’s the only game I’ve ever played that taught you how to become a better human being. The sheer gut-wrenching turmoil my body went through while playing this game will never be forgotten. The bond I formed with the characters themselves was incredible. The end of the game with the dreaded choice was tear jerking and I couldn’t stop crying.

To me, it was more an experience than a game and everything that Max and Chloe went through showing exactly how powerful love is will always be remembered by me as a life changing experience.

1. Sean & Daniel Diaz – Life is Strange 2

Now, while the original Life is Strange game is a better game overall, Life is Strange 2 has the better love story. It’s about Sean & Daniel Diaz, two brothers who go on the run after an accident leaves them both wanted for crimes they did not commit.

Sean, age 16, quickly becomes the parent dejour for his younger brother Daniel. A mom who disappeared (who Daniel doesn’t remember) and a father who is now gone, Sean has to carefully manage the responsibilities of being a brother with that of a father-figure as well for Daniel. Seeing as Life is Strange is a choice-based game with impactful decisions, Sean’s actions shape not just his life, but how Daniel too sees the world and reacts to it. It shows the importance of thinking outside of yourself and for the betterment of others.

While it’s not your typical romantic love story, as a parent and brother myself, Life is Strange 2 and the story of Sean and Daniel is the best love story and bond in video games. Like Delroy Lindo said in Gone in 60 Seconds “A brother’s love is a brother’s love”.