Games aren’t always about violence and destruction. A lot of them let you build things, loving relationships included. To celebrate that, we’ve prepared a list of some of the most prominent games with romance options or some of the best-known love stories.
As always, these are our subjective picks, so your favorites may have not been included. Anyway, let’s delve into these, shall we?
WARNING: SPOILERS, SOMETIMES MAJOR ONES, AHEAD!
|Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!||2021-06-30||Visual novel, horror||Team Salvato|
|Crusader Kings III||2020-09-01||Strategy||Paradox Development Studio||69%|
|Kingdom Come Deliverance Royal Edition||2019-06-11||Adventure||Warhorse Studios||84%|
|Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition||2013-01-16||RPG||Beamdog||84%|
|La Noire Complete Edition||2011-11-08||Adventure||Rockstar Leeds||78%|
|The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt GOTY||2015-05-18||RPG||CD PROJEKT RED||65%|
|Saints Row IV Game Of The Century Edition||2014-07-15||Adventure||Deep Silver Volition||75%|
|Dishonored Definitive Edition||2012-10-11||Action||Arkane Studios||72%|
|Dream Daddy A Dad Dating Simulator||2017-07-20||Indie||Game Grumps||28%|
|Gears Of War (Xbox One)||2006-11-07||Adventure||Epic Games / People Can Fly|
|Final Fantasy VII||2013-07-04||RPG||SQUARE ENIX||44%|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||2019-11-05||Adventure||Rockstar Games||72%|
|Planescape Torment Enhanced Edition||2017-04-11||Strategy||Beamdog||83%|
|The Darkness II||2012-02-09||Action & Shooter||Digital Extremes||91%|
|Mass Effect Trilogy||2012-11-06||Adventure||BioWare||33%|
|Bully: Scholarship Edition||2008-10-21||Adventure||Rockstar New England||61%|
|Life Is Strange: Before The Storm||2017-08-31||Adventure||Deck Nine||24%|
|Red Dead Redemption (Xbox)||2010-05-18||Adventure||Rockstar Games|
|Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!||2021-06-30||Visual novel, horror||Rockstar Games|
|Assassin's Creed Odyssey Standard Edition||2018-10-05||Action||Ubisoft Quebec|
|Fallout 4 GOTY||2017-09-26||RPG||Bethesda Game Studios||83%|
|Divinity Original Sin 2||2017-09-14||Adventure||Larian Studios||45%|
|Greedfall Gold Edition||2019-09-10||Action||Spiders||68%|
|Cyberpunk 2077||2020-12-10||Action RPG||CD PROJEKT RED||53%|
|Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous||2021-09-02||RPG||Owlcat Games||89%|
|Life is Strange: True Colors||2021-09-09||Adventure||Deck Nine||69%|
|Saints Row IV||2013-08-22||Adventure||Deep Silver Volition||56%|
|Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic||2003-11-19||RPG||BioWare||78%|
|Persona 5 Strikers||2021-02-23||jRPG||Omega Force||65%|
|The Witcher 2 Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition||2011-05-17||Adventure||CD PROJEKT RED||86%|
|The Witcher Enhanced Edition Directors Cut||2008-09-16||RPG||CD PROJEKT RED||39%|
|Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition||2010-09-29||RPG||BioWare||72%|
|The Sims 4||2014-09-04||Simulation||Maxis||80%|
|Fire Emblem Three Houses (Nintendo) (NA)||2019-07-26||Adventure||Intelligent Systems|
|Fallout 4 GOTY||2017-09-26||RPG||Bethesda Game Studios||83%|
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Although there’s already a Star Wars game on this list, The Old Republic definitely deserves to be here as well. As it turns out, your in-game companions are totally single and ready to mingle. Plenty of marriage material here!
That’s correct: you can even marry your party members here, even if you are a Jedi (and as you know, relationships are frowned upon in their ranks)! This option becomes available as you level up throughout the game.
The Old Republic is unique in this regard, as not many MMORPG games feature romance options, let alone marriages. So, if you’re looking for a fun title that does all that, SW: TOR is a good pick, especially now that it is free to play.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a free-to-play game.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
|Genre:||Visual novel, psychological horror|
Make no mistake: this is not a lighthearted dating sim at all. You’ll quickly find out that this cutesy visual novel is in fact a psychological horror in disguise!
The protagonist of DDLC joins the titular Literature Club in order to find a girlfriend there. Your task is then to woo three of its four members through a mini-game where you compose poems using the words these girls like. Monika, the president of the club, cannot be romanced this way, though, but she’ll guide you through the dating process.
But yeah, this one is a psychological horror, one that often breaks the fourth wall. Get ready for some very disturbing imagery and creepy stuff!
Crusader Kings III
|Genre:||Grand strategy, role-playing|
This one is a perfectly complicated, intricate 4X strategy that should totally appeal to those who find Civilization and Total War games totally plebeian. It also features probably the most complex relationship mechanics among all the titles on this list.
As you probably know from your history lessons, marriages in the Middle Ages were not just unions between two folks madly in love, but in fact, political tools to form powerful alliances and ensure that dynasties thrived throughout the ages.
So, if you want your lineage to continue, you need to choose who you or your heirs marry wisely. It’s completely insane, to be honest, but also very rewarding for grand strategy aficionados. If you’re not one of them, you’ll probably be better off choosing any other game from this list.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Let’s stick to the Middle Ages for a bit, shall we? Kingdom Come: Deliverance was praised as a wonderful medieval life simulator. If you’re looking for something like The Witcher 3, but realistic and more hardcore when it comes to difficulty, this one is a good pick.
Just like The Witcher 3, Kingdom Come offers various romance options. Some become available once you complete certain side quests, others require, erm, a “purchase.” The whole thing is more in line with other games on the list, so it’s all about the choices you make.
Speaking of these, there is an achievement called Virgin. If you want to achieve it, you need to stay chase throughout the game and avoid pretty much any woman in order to make sure no one will make you stray from your path.
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
|Release year:||1998 (original release), 2012 (Enhanced Edition)|
Baldur’s Gate is an RPG classic, hands down. This game singlehandedly revolutionized the genre, including the whole romance thing. Before BG, party members were simply additional pairs of hands to help you out in your quests. BioWare’s hit, however, featured more complex relationships between some of the characters.
The original BG did not feature any romance options for the player character. The Enhanced Edition changed that. Three different prospects were introduced for you to woo them and quite possibly win their hearts.
If you’re looking for more, the Siege of Dragonspear expansion features a lot of characters to get involved with, with four options for females and six for males. So, who will become your significant other?
Saints Row IV
Volition’s delightfully kooky third-person gangster simulator cranks the absurdity up to 11, including in the romance department.
The real-world sections of the game take part on a spaceship, which is a perfect setup for poking fun at Mass Effect. Proving that he (or she) isn’t any worse than The Shepard, the Boss gets to get romantic with all the crew members. Yes, including the blue-eyed floating younger brother of HAL 9000.
It’s super simple. All it takes is a press of a single button. Perfection. What a way to satirize the somewhat simplistic and straightforward romance mechanics in BioWare’s games!
Romance in Dishonored is somewhat low-key, but it plays a major part in the storyline.
In the game itself, Corvo and Empress Jessamine share, like, two minutes together. But their backstory reveals that they’ve been lovers for a very long time, with the fruit of this relationship being Emily Kaldwin, a girl we need to rescue in Dishonored 2 who becomes a fully-trained assassin/Empress in the sequel.
One thing’s for sure: a gift from the Outsider, Jessamine’s still beating heart mixed with some dieselpunk machinery, telling you stuff about places and people, is pretty darn creepy. Yuck.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Who would’ve thought that a silly dating sim, probably made for kicks, could show a pretty healthy way of meeting new people?
Sure, the premise is controversial, since it’s about relationships between, well, dads. But it’s also a cheeky, self-aware and heartfelt production thanks to the father-daughter dynamic featured in the game.
You get to romance a bunch of other dads who come from all walks of life. Some are more rebellious, some dark and brooding, others have settled down. It’s a nice, brief game that is somewhat unusual among visual novels.
Shadow of the Colossus
Why do sad stories stick with people so much? Shadow of the Colossus definitely is a heartbreaking game, no matter how you look at it.
Take the premise, for example. A young man, Wander, carries a dead body of a girl named Mono to a temple in order to resurrect her, making a literal deal with the devil. The payment for bringing the woman back to life is killing several enormous beasts.
As it is with such deals, it goes south big time. To paraphrase Meat Loaf: Wander would do anything for love, but he shouldn’t have done that.
Gears of War
Oh yes, another sad story on this list. Why can’t people get emotionally invested in happy ones instead?
The story of Dominic Santiago and Maria Flores dates back to the times when the two of them were still children, long before the Locust emerged. For a while, everything seemed fine, good, even. They married and had two kids. But then the Locust attacked.
The Emergence Day brought death to the children and Maria herself disappeared without a trace, only to be found later on, merely a husk of herself after enduring heavy torture at the hands of the Locust. The wedding vows are like “till death do us part,” but after euthanizing Maria to end her suffering, Dominic couldn’t move on so easily. For a series of bombastic shooters, the story of Dom and Maria struck a chord with many people, and for a good reason.
FINAL FANTASY VII / Remake Intergrade
|Release year:||2016 / 2022|
No, it’s not about Yuffie. So who is it about? Aerith and Zack? Cloud and Aerith? Tifa and Cloud? Cid and his ship? Vincent and Lucrecia?
The thing about this game is that it’s pretty linear and story-heavy, which means you can’t romance any characters directly. However, there are still hints of flirting and so on in the dialogue.
The original game let you choose between Tifa and Aerith, though, although this choice is absent from the remake. Well, there’s a chance we’ll get to pick one of the girls in Part 2!
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition
Here’s a different kind of game: one where your goal is not to win but to die.
What’s interesting about this game is that the relationship between The Nameless One and Annah is almost a non-romance in a way. They both bicker and quarrel, as they’re both headstrong and snarky, but what subtly forms between them is a powerful connection.
Black Isle, much like its direct descendant, Obsidian, wasn’t big on love stories, so the budding affection, punctuated with a literal hot kiss, between the two broken people has been doomed from the start. The protagonist soon catches up to his past, regains mortality and finds the strength to atone for the sins he committed across lifetimes. It’s anybody’s guess what happened to Annah.
The Darkness II
Skip eons forward. Jackie Estacado is an orphan. He meets the love of his life, Jenny Romano, and they spend years together until Jackie is adopted by a mafia boss and trained to become a contract killer.
Jenny ends up being executed, while Estacado becomes a new host for the Darkness. It then becomes a classic revenge story with a horror twist. Ultimately, it turns out that the Darkness kept Jenny’s soul hostage and she’s revealed to be the new host of Angelus. Things don’t really go well for Jackie later on…
|Genre:||Action RPG, Fantasy|
The first Dragon Age started a new era of prominent romances in modern BioWare games.
The Grey Warden (the player character) can date various characters, but none of these are as essential as female Warden’s romance with the unwilling soon-to-be-king Alistair or male Warden’s relationship with Morrigan, a witch whose mysterious plan can save your character’s life.
Dragon Age: Inquisition features even more Big Romance options, including a cynical incognito god and a Templar going through a withdrawal. While the quality of Dragon Age games vary from installment to installment, the characters in them usually have enough personality to still make us care about them.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
|Release year:||2012, 2021|
Ah, Shepard. What a trail of broken hearts you’ve left in your wake. To talk about just two ME romances is to sell these games short.
Even considering just the core crew of each game, male Shepard could get romantic with Ashley, Liara, Miranda, Tali, Jack, Samara, Morinth, or Kaidan. FemSheps could romance Kaidan, Liara, Jacob, Garrus, Thane, Samara, Morinth, Javik, or James. Apparently fighting a war against primordial biomechanical ships from the void makes people more willing to pursue happiness.
As you see, picking a particular pair isn’t easy, but there are pairings that have a bigger impact on the story than the others: Tali and Liara for the male Shepard, as well as Garrus for the female one. Even if you don’t romance these characters, they are still Shepard’s best friends and if you do, you get the benefits from building these relationships over the three games. By the way, if you like seeing NPCs flirt with each other, Garrus and Tali do that if you step aside.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Much like Dream Daddy, the brand of romance here isn’t going to be for everyone.
Depending on where you are standing in your life, the convoluted – and pretty messed up – story of Max, Chloe and Rachel’s relationships may be either a cathartic return to teenage years or a schmaltzy drama you can’t resonate with. Or it might be something in-between. But let’s go through the basics.
The romance between Chloe and Rachel would be rather sweet, if it wasn’t for the death-by-origin trope. The sudden explosion of passion between those two unlikely gal-pals may or may not have been manipulative on Rachel’s end and driven by her desire to escape the town she loathed, but it sure felt real to Chloe, and influenced her life forever. Good job being terrible, Rachel. Overall, there isn’t much joy left for anyone involved, but life lessons and valuable experiences rarely are joyous.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
When you take a dashing treasure hunter and a scrappy journalist you’re in for a very interesting dynamic whenever they butt heads.
They clash, make up, break up again and get together multiple times across four games, in no small part due to Nathan being the loveable thrill seeker that he is, unable to adjust to normal life. In the end, however, as shown in the epilogue for Uncharted 4: Among Thieves, they managed to stay married for years, and they even raised a daughter.
Her name is Cassie and shee seems to take after her parents as far as character and interest in adventures are concerned. Nathan and Elena’s twisting and turning relationship takes the best hints from decades of adventure fiction, perhaps most notably Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood. And unlike most stories on this list, it has a happy, wholesome ending. And that’s worth celebrating.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GOTY Edition
Geralt has a way with women, and especially sorceresses are all over him, but none more than Yennefer of Vengerberg and Triss Merigold.
Although Yennefer appeared only in The Witcher 3, her tumultuous relationship with Geralt has been explored at length across the original books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Triss caused some tension, too, and she’s been a prominent romance option in the first two games, leading to a conflict in The Wild Hunt.
There are choices to make in TW3 regarding Geralt’s love life. There’s even a chance to break the djinn wish/spell binding Geralt and Yennefer together, a delightful nod to a short story describing their first meeting. Who’s the better pick for the Witcher? Love-struck Triss for a happy, even if mellow, relationship? Or perhaps stormy Yennefer, guaranteeing many extreme ups and downs along the way? You can also make Geralt go his own way. Just don’t try to score with both Yen and Triss, it won’t end well for G.
Red Dead Redemption
|Genre:||Open-world, action adventure|
Both of you have been riding with a gang romping around the Wild West, but you fell in love and ran away, leaving your past behind.
You have a cottage, you have a son and had a daughter, free from the past you ran from. You are respectable, productive members of your community. That’s the story of John and Abigail Marston of Red Dead Redemption. And then the Federal Bureau of Investigation comes knocking and kidnaps Abigail and Jack in order to force John into cooperation.
They want the remnants of his old gang gone. They don’t care that they have reformed, with John dropping his criminal, violent ways. The country needs you, whether you want it or not. Red Dead Redemption has a really harsh, but captivating story, and John’s hopeless final stand to ensure that Abigail and 16-year-old Jack can escape remains a fantastic, heartbreaking moment, possibly one of the best in the entire line-up of Rockstar games.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
|Genre:||Action role-playing, stealth|
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey isn’t particularly limiting as far as romances go.
Whoever you choose as the Misthios, be it Kassandra or Alexios, can romance just over a dozen different characters non-exclusively. Most of them are affairs more than romances, but they still play out over several missions in a quest line and have time to develop a bit, which is nice. Things change in the Legacy of the First Blade DLC which deals, in part, with continuing the bloodline, since genealogy is extremely important in this franchise.
Since you’re not limited to heterosexual relationships in the game, the DLC, you can choose whether Alexios/Kassandra settle out of love for their partner or just state it was just a matter of duty. As a result, the romance might not even be there, even if a child was born and cared for by the parents. It’s complicated.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
|Genre:||Action role-playing, first-person shooter, stealth|
Every playthrough of Deus Ex: Human Revolution begins with a gruff security chief Adam Jensen casually speaking with his ex, Megan Reed. Even if brief, this conversation sets up their relationship well, suggesting that they have a quite a history together.
Despite their pre-story break-up, it’s clear they still care about one another. Of course, things go pear-shaped quickly and Jensen ends up getting the Robocop treatment, minus the brainwashing.
Once Jensen gets back in the swing of things, his feelings for Megan remain essential and they get very complicated later on, but that’s what makes this plot interesting. One might argue that since they are exes, it shouldn’t count as a romance, but it plays out like one, so this is why this game is on this list.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Original Sin 2 gets a spot here by virtue of providing memorable romantic options that few games, except maybe BioWare productions, dare to have, so let’s take a look at these, shall we?
There is a human minstrel haunted by literal demons. An elven assassin with a needle she needs to bury in a few throats. A dwarven exiled noble turned…revolutionary. A haughty lizard prince, also exiled. A human ranger with a few plot-relevant grudges. And an undead – or rather undying – a scientist from a forgotten era in Rivellon’s history.
The funny thing is that you can play as any of them and romance more or less any other, or you could make an original character…and romance others as well. And the relationships take their sweet time to develop since a linear progression through regions and events allowed the writers to handle pacing pretty well. Some prospects are more rewarding than others, but pursuing certain romances is quite nice and involves building trust and support. Very good voice acting also helps.
The presence of romance options in Fallout 4 is a bit amusing because from your (customizable) player character’s point of view, they’ve only JUST lost their son to kidnappers and a spouse to a destroyed cryopod.
But since you’re a fresh widow/widower, there’s no harm in looking around, is there? There are eight prospective partners in total.
The weird thing about Fallout 4 romances is that should you work the Affinity up and take a nap alongside your partner, you get a minor experience gain rate bonus. And you can do that with the likes of Preston Garvey, if you’re into powerful men, or Magnolia, if you take a shining to a more artistic soul. Either way, you’re likely to find an agreeable companion and a nice bedfellow.
GreedFall doesn’t get much exposure, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to write about.
For example, romance. If you didn’t know better, you’d be able to mistake GreedFall for a BioWare RPG, so of course, there are romantic subplots. There are only five options, rookie numbers by BioWare’s standards, but this means the developers were able to give them more attention.
The characters are quite likable because they are given enough time in the limelight, and their personal questlines give the player a good chance to see what matters to them and show support. Like the game itself, romance is worthwhile while it lasts.
L.A. Noire, like any good noir crime story, has an ill-fated romance bound to happen – the genre demands its tropes.
As a result we’re dealing with a story of Cole Phelps’ troubled marriage with Marie, as well as his extramarital affair with a singer, Elsa Lichtmann. The story doesn’t end well because of the Okinawa campaign. Cole’s time as a soldier changed him and Phelps returned to his wife and two daughters as an emotionally distant workaholic.
And then he met Elsa, amid an investigation. Their affair ended up costing him a rapidly developing career, and his marriage. Like many other romances on this list, this one gets only a bad ending, but it also plays out true to the genre.
|Genre:||Roguelike, action role-playing|
Romance isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you launch Hades, but it is, in fact, something you can pursue in Supergiant Games’ hit roguelite.
The mildly brooding Zagreus can have, perhaps unsurprisingly, three characters feeling for him. This bunch includes his rather hostile ex, Megaera, mild-mannered, easily-flustered Dusa, and a gloomy scythe-boy, Thanatos, basically the grim reaper.
Unlocking relationship options requires a variable amount of rare resources (Nectar and Ambrosia) and doing the three characters’ favors, but once you do that, you’re good to go. The interesting part is that the resolutions of these romantic plots are very different from each other, and don’t necessarily mean a physical relationship. Also, since Hades is pretty big on Greek myths, you can pursue all three with no issue.
In the open-world environment of a cyber-metropolis known as Night City, every V can find some temporary companionship or a more long-term relationship, if only they play their cards right.
Each option prefers a V of a certain body type and gender (female or female), with a couple going for both. Certain characters, like the by-now famous Judy and Panam feature in the main story, others require veering off course a bit.
Unfortunately for some, there is no way to romance the rockerboy himself, Johnny Silverhand, but you can romance…as him. It’s complicated, there are neurochips involved, and characters who used to be young when Johnny died long ago. Yes, it’s weird. On the upside, you DO establish a working relationship with Johnny, which may even make him a bit less of a jerk by the end.
STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic
If you are into wet blankets with trust issues, you can pick a female protagonist and pursue a relationship with Carth Onasi.
But it is much more fun to romance Bastila Shan as a male protagonist, and not only because MMO The Old Republic canonizes that union. Voiced by Jennifer Hale, the best Commander Shepard, Bastila is a prim and proper Jedi that you don’t have to be.
It’s always fun to tease and poke fun at Bastila, but when things get dire, it becomes clear that your relationship has grown beyond just a simple Force bond and you can help each other in more ways than just one. Not a love story for the ages, perhaps, but it feels good and the resolution is great.
In some ways, the setup for romance in Stardew Valley is a classic one.
A disillusioned office worker from a big city comes to the countryside to take care of a farmland they inherited. Instead, they find not only a sense of fulfillment for the first time in their life but also a chance at reciprocated love for one of the locals. No wonder this game is so satisfying to play, it’s a wholesome fantasy for the modern age.
Like most things here, romance takes time, care and effort, expressed through the hearts you gain as you do nice things for your chosen villager and spend time with them. When you reach 10 hearts, you’ll have the option to propose and marry them. It even has gameplay benefits, if you need a reason to care: your spouse, when happy, will help you out with farm stuff.
Persona 5 / Strikers
|Genre:||Role-playing, social simulation|
In Persona 5 you play a member of a group of teenage psychic freedom fighters who confront whatever troubles the society by developing manifestations of their own psyche.
But it’s also about these teens’ daily lives, exemplified by the protagonist, a guy codenamed Joker. It’s not surprising that romantic relationships are a part of the game.
There are nine (ten in P5 Royal) characters that you can romance. Some of the options are nice and sweet, some are kind of weird, and each relationship takes some effort and attention to flourish. You can romance all your prospects simultaneously, but it’s not necessarily beneficial unless you want to see what happens if you do that. We won’t tell you who’s the best girl, you’ll find it out yourself soon enough.
There are plenty of PC and console games that feature romantic subplots and most people will find one that suits their preferences easily. The ones we listed here might be the best games with romance.
We hope that the titles we’ve picked will inspire you and renew your hope whenever you’re out there searching for love. May your own, real-life romances be like Nathan and Elena’s: adventurous and dynamic.