In the real world, my seducing skills are a little, uh, shit. But in videogames, I'm a certified Cassanova. I've secured many a virtual beau over the years across an assortment of roles, from space commander to humble farmhand. They all have their own unique quirks, flaws and personalities that make wooing them one of my favourite parts of diving into any game that lets me smooch other characters.
On this day of love, Valentine's Day, what better way to celebrate than to pit all of my videogame beloveds together in a battle to the death? Who, out of everyone, was the best of the best? Who will I fiercely protect when we discuss our gaming romances and you say my choice is boring or rubbish? Let's find out.
10. Warren – Life is Strange
A very boring pick to start off with. The first Life is Strange presents Max with two romantic interests throughout its five episodes: the safe, nerdy Warren, or the bombastic and wildly rebellious Chloe. The story heavily centres around the latter's relationship with Max and regularly pushes their relationship a lot more than Warren's, who is usually friendzoned by Max in dialogue.
Despite that, in the context of Life is Strange I would still choose him over Chloe any day. Yes he's a bit bland and his constant pining for Max is a bit much, but he's a much better option than the destructive nature of Max and Chloe's relationship. Outside the context of Life is Strange, I wouldn't even look at Warren twice. Sorry mate.
9. Katherine McBride – Catherine
Despite picking Warren in Life is Strange, I'm usually guilty of playing it safe and choosing the canon romance choices, but I also struggle to stray even slightly off the goody-two-shoes path when it comes to morality. The original Catherine has protagonist Vincent struggling along in his relationship with Katherine, all while being tempted by the blonde seductress Catherine.
Choices throughout the game push you closer to one or the other, but the obvious path is to try and fix things up with your long-term girlfriend who actually gives a crap about you. That's what I did and while it's a nice ending, I couldn't help but wonder what chaos would've ensued if I'd pursued Catherine instead. She definitely would've beaten out a lot of people on this list, I reckon.
8. Marie – Persona 4 Golden
I feel like I read somewhere that Marie was the closest canon choice to romance in Persona 4 Golden, otherwise, I'm not entirely sure why I would've picked her. The game is full of rad women and if I'd released myself from my own daft boundaries I would've gone for Yukiko instead. Don't get me wrong, Marie is cool! But is she really as cool as some of the others on this list? No. I feel like the Persona rerelease characters can suffer from being hamfisted into a pre-existing story sometimes, and I think Marie is a victim of that. I loved Persona 4 Golden, but I struggle to remember much about her as a character, which is a bummer.
7. Some woman – Fable 3
Oh god, I can't remember her name at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had a wife and a husband. I remember even less about that poor fella. But my wife, oh my lovely wife. I stuck her in a little house in Brightwall Village, a totally different location from where my husband was shacked up of course. I gave her an STD, and she gave me… something nice, probably. You might wonder why I put a woman whose name I can't even remember above three significant personalities in other games. To that, I say: who doesn't love a little mystery in their relationship? Keeps the spark alive.
6. Brian – Dream Daddy
I wooed all the handsome men in Dream Daddy, but Brian's loveable personality really won my heart. I love a bit of healthy competition and while Brian sometimes took it to the extreme, I enjoyed having an equally competitive bozo to smooch up. I feel it'd give Brian a pretty big edge if he had to fight the other beaus on this list. Or beat them in a fishing contest. Neither of those was criteria for this list, but y'know.
I was tempted to pick Robert as my Dream Daddy choice since I'm a sucker for a bad boy, but nobody likes a bad boy who's also a cheater. Not cool, Robert.
5. Aela the Huntress - Skyrim
Skyrim is my comfort game and, as a result, I've romanced a lot of its characters. None have stuck with me more than Aela the Huntress, one of the coolest marriage candidates in the whole game. Not only is she a werewolf and a thief, but her expert archery training fits perfectly with my constant need to do every single playthrough with a bow and arrow. She's a badass huntress, one who I'd happily go back and remarry time and time again. I mean, she tolerates all my pickpocketing and the occasional murder. What a sweetheart.
4. (Almost) Everyone – Saints Row 4
Holy shit, everyone in Saints Row 4 fucks. It's clean, no-nonsense fun with barely a lick of romance to be seen. Sure it's a parody of Mass Effect's romance system, but it's weirdly refreshing to see a group of people who are just DTF instead of needing to be endlessly courted before I even get to make eye contact. Hell, you can even ask a spherical robot to have sex with you. And she's totally down for it!
Almost all of your comrades will be happy to get down and dirty, and won't even get mad if you do the same to everyone else on the ship. Except for Keith David. Keith David isn't into whatever you're trying to put down. And you just really want Ben King to sign your book. Glorious.
3. Shane – Stardew Valley
Referring to my previous penchant for a bad boy, I have never looked at any other Pelican Town resident except Shane. I blame my affinity for them on reading way too much shoujo manga as a kid—looking at you, Kyo Sohma—and a lifelong crush on cranky villager Wolfgang in Animal Crossing.
Shane fits all the criteria for me right off the bat: I try and talk to him, but he doesn't want to talk to me. He's a seemingly hateful person on the surface, but knock down his walls and there's a big softie waiting behind it. He's a bit of a troubled soul and, slowly but surely, I managed to forge a deep bond with my favourite depressed alcoholic-slash-chicken adorer.
It's very trope-y but hell, I love a good romance trope. Whenever I try and stray and see what dating someone else in Stardew Valley is like, I still somehow end up in JojaMart with a hot pepper waiting to gift it.
2. Makoto Nijima – Persona 5 Royal
Oof, this was a tough second-place decision. I'm a big Persona fan and Persona 5 especially stole my heart. I romanced Haru on my first playthrough. She's sweet and I was desperate to get her out of that godawful engagement. But Makoto is kinda spicy, sort of parallel to the bad boy trope I've fallen for in the past. She's headstrong, intelligent and doesn't take my bullshit, of which I have rather a lot. Plus her persona is a motorcycle, which is possibly one of my favourites in the entire series. If that isn't badass, I don't know what is.
1. Garrus – Mass Effect 2
Bless Mass Effect 2 for not only being one of my favourite games, but giving me one of my favourite virtual partnerships of all time: FemShep and Garrus. For some deranged reason I originally pursued Jacob, a bizarre decision probably spurred by the fact we share the same surname. When he wasn't exactly interested in what I had to say, I turned my attention to the adorably dorky space cop. He's incredibly awkward and sometimes I have to wonder if he's ever spoken to a woman before Shepherd, but his severe lack of rizz is strangely endearing.
I didn't expect myself to become so attached to a dweeby turian. But when I picked up Mass Effect 3, the thing I was most excited to do was reunite with him. If that's not true videogame love, I don't know what is.