Hey! Hallie here!
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about gaming on this blog, but I love it so much that I really can’t stay away from it for long. This time around I’m speaking directly to the people who, like me, are hopeless romantics. I’m not going to lie, romance options seriously elevate my opinion of almost every video game that includes them. One reason is absolutely because a good video game romance supplies me with instant serotonin. But another reason is that video games that include romances often have much more character development for their side characters than other games in order to make them viable romance options. This list is going to include some of my favorite, and some of the most popular, games with romance options. I won’t be able to talk about them all (And I’m not going to talk about ‘Witcher’ because I have problems with the way women are written in that series), but I’ll try to cover the most notable ones. With that out of the way, let’s get started!
BioWare Games: BioWare’s getting its own section because their games are very clearly at the top of the romance competition at the moment. For simplicity’s sake, though, let’s talk about their two most popular series: ‘Dragon Age’ and ‘Mass Effect’. The romances in these franchises work similarly. In each of their entries your main character, who is customizable and meant to be a stand in for the player, spends part of their time recruiting allies to their party in order to achieve the main goal of the game. In all of these games all of the recruitable characters have backstories and character development that can be discovered by the player if they talk to their party members enough. While not all of the characters that can be recruited are romanceable, most of them are and, should you choose to romance them, will reveal even more about themselves than you would learn otherwise. ‘Mass Effect’ is the weakest of these two when it comes to romances, though it’s by no means poor. The romances in these games are important, but not nearly as detailed as the later entries in the ‘Dragon Age’ series. The first game doesn’t have many romance options, only one romance option that can be a LGBTQ+ option, and doesn’t include many romance scenes. The second two games do much better though, with many more options including more LGBTQ+ options, though still not enough, and more romance scenes. ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ gets even more detailed, and finally has a decent amount of LGBTQ+ exclusive romances, though the overall story of the game is controversial. ‘Dragon Age’ does better with much more developed romances through its games, many more romantic scenes, and particularly in ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’, a large plethora of romance partners for anyone of any sexuality. As far as the romances go in these games, they really can’t be beat.
GreedFall: ‘GreedFall’ may have flown under your radar if you’re not paying much attention to indie game companies, but especially if you like the BioWare style of romance, I would recommend this game. Right off the bat I’ll warn you that if you’re expecting BioWare levels of cutscenes, storylines, and character moments dedicated to the romance you chose, you won’t find it here. But you will find something satisfying with characters who are very well developed. ‘GreedFall’ operates the same way as most BioWare games. You have a customizable character who must put together a party of side characters to help them complete the tasks at hand. All of these characters have backstories and storylines worth exploring should you choose to talk to them, and all but one are romanceable. Like early ‘Dragon Age’ and ‘Mass Effect’ entries, the options for LGBTQ+ players aren’t exclusively LGBTQ+ and there are less options overall to choose from due to the smaller party. But the romance scenes available here are really good and do feel at least partially important to the plot. Plus, these characters are well explored in the story so you don’t feel like you don’t know a character well enough to make an informed decision about dating them.
Persona: Not all the Persona games have given players the option to pursue a romantic relationship, but the two most recent main entries gave players some really good options. The catch is that, if you’re not attracted to women, there isn’t really a romance for you here. Both games force you into the role of a male protagonist who doesn’t have much personality so that you can still insert yourself into the story, but is not customizable at all. Instead of the player recruiting the side characters in the game, the characters are introduced gradually throughout the story, though it’s still up to you to pursue deeper relationships with your peers and learn more about them. Whether or not you explore their deeper stories, both games do a good job of fleshing out their characters so that you feel as though you know them very well by the time you can choose a romance to pursue. There are also a few moments in each game, particularly if you purchased ‘Persona 5 Royal’, where you get to spend some quality time with the person you chose and even get to arrange a few of your dates. ‘Persona’ has its problems with romances, especially considering that you, as a minor, CAN romance adult characters like your teacher in ‘Persona 5’ but you CAN’T romance any men including Goro Akechi who is clearly in love with the protagonist. That said, it’s sadly not that different from most other video games in this regard and the games still dedicate a good chunk of time to the romances.
Fire Emblem (Three Houses): ‘Fire Emblem’ is one of those franchises that’s consistently had romance options for a while. ‘Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ is the best attempt ‘Fire Emblem’ has made in the way of romance options. This game works a bit differently from the games listed above because the sheer amount of romanceable characters here is actually kind of overwhelming. The way the game narrows down your options for you is by having you choose one of three “houses” to represent and teach for. Once you choose your house, you’re pretty much limited to other faculty and whichever students are part of your house. Understandably, some people find the romances in this game a bit questionable because you take up the role of a teacher while the majority of romanceable characters are students. Luckily, you’re established as being a prodigy that’s around the same age as your students, and all of the romantic relationships in the game are only possible once you create a trusted friendship with whoever you want to romance. If anything, it makes the faculty romances more questionable. Anyways, there aren’t a ton of romance scenes in these games, and your dates are more minigames than they are romantic moments, but you do get a handful of rewarding scenes for each character you wish to romance. Like too many other games on the market, LGBTQ+ options are few and far between in this game despite the amount of romance options, but they did attempt to add more with the DLC. While the romances aren’t important to the plot here, they’re still perfectly satisfying.
Stardew Valley: This one is just a really feel-good game with some really wholesome romances. This game is light on the story, but unlike many games of its kind, romances aren’t just a matter of choosing someone to marry on the spot. Each character has a developed backstory that you can learn if you earn their trust. Earning a character’s trust is a difficult but fun process, involving not just speaking to the characters, but learning about the things they like and giving them appropriate gifts to match those things. Once you spend enough time giving the characters gifts and spending quality time with them, you’ll have the option of entering into a romance with them. While the process to get to a romance is much lengthier and more detailed than the romance itself, it’s still really rewarding to be able to cement a relationship after all the hard work you put in. And once you give the final gift, a gift that’s meant to mimic a proposal, you get an adorable marriage sequence and then your new partner moves in with you. They won’t have much more to say to you at this point other than some really lovely compliments, but they’ll help out around the farm, sometimes treat you to breakfast in the mornings, and you can even expand your house and start a family with them. Plus, the kissing animation in this game is really cute. And though none of the characters state their sexuality explicitly, that does leave it open for anyone of any gender to romance any character! Yes please!
And that’s it! Of course, if you’re looking for games centered entirely on romances there are other places to look. There are plenty of games on the App Store and Steam that you can seek out, and even independent ones online that are worth giving a shot. I’m specifically going to name drop ‘Dream Daddy’ and ‘Andromeda Six’ if that kind of thing’s what you’re looking for. As far as the titles I listed go, they’re really good options for the people who want an epic story with a little romance on the side. I clearly have a particular soft spot for ‘Dragon Age’, but really any of the things I listed are worth giving a shot! And if you are going to try out ‘Dragon Age’ for the romance options, stay away from the egg. You’ll understand later.
Don’t of anything fun until I get back!