Valentine’s Day is coming up and yes the holiday is commercial but the celebration of love is real. So that’s what we’re here to celebrate love and the fact that it sometimes despite everything you do, doesn’t work out. Video games have given us a ton of love stories to celebrate and cry over but I’m picking my top 5 for this list. For some reason this year I’m resonating with all the really tragic ones. Not everyone gets a happy ending but the love can still be amazing while it lasts. Spoilers.
Herschel Layton & Claire Foley – Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
It’s a weird choice for this lighthearted puzzle series to be our first love story. Normally Professor Layton and his assistant Luke spend their time visiting places and solving mysteries. While being perfect gentlemen of course. And in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, that seems to be the case, until it isn’t. You’re investigating the demonstration of a time machine gone awry. When you meet Celeste, the sister of your former paramour Claire who died in an explosion. Timey-wimey hijinks ensue and together you all save the day. Yay! But the story doesn’t end there.
It’s revealed that Celeste is actually Claire from the future. And while it may seem perfect that she’s at last returned, she can’t stay as her body needs to return to the past. All that’s left to say is one last farewell. And we have to watch as the once calm, stoic professor breakdown and abandon logic as he refuses to say goodbye. It’s almost too harsh to have lost your love and then have to lose them again.
Wander & Mono – Shadow Of The Colossus
You’re not the good guy here. You’re the bad guy. But this is a story about the crazy things that love can make you do. Wander’s love Mono is dead and he’s come to the Forbidden Lands to make a deal with Dormin to bring her back. His quest? To kill the Colossus wandering this world that are holding a piece of him. Upon killing each Colossus, black tendrils assault Wander’s body and leave him pale, growing horns. A potential curse from killing peaceful Colossi. In the end, it is all for nought as Dormin takes over and both him and Wander are sent into a portal. Before you both perish he does keep his end of the bargain and revives Mono. But at what cost.
Johnny Wyles & River Wyles – To The Moon
If you haven’t played To The Moon, it’s definitely not one with game mechanics to write home about, but it has an amazing love story at the end. The story actually starts backwards with two scientists that transport themselves into the memories of a dying old man named John. You get to relive his life story while slowly unravelling the reason why he wants to travel to the moon before he dies. Johnny first became interested in River because she was aloof and mysterious. After an awkward date invitation, we see the relationship between the two naturally grow and prosper. Despite having to deal with psychological and medical issues, the two remain utterly committed to each other, until ultimately death does them part. You also find out why Johnny wants to go to the Moon. It’s an extremely touching story that tastes a little bittersweet.
Jackie Estacado & Jenny Romano – The Darkness
Definitely one for the no happy ending list. The game begins with you watching the brutal murder of the love of your life Jenny. Overcome with the grief you kill yourself. End of the game. But it isn’t really because you awake in the hellish Otherworld controlled by the Darkness. The Darkness is an ancient demonic force which has inhabited Jackie’s bloodline for generations. By using the Darkness’s power you will become more consumed by it, but Jackie hellbent on revenge goes on a murderous killing spree.
Eventually, the Darkness consumes him, but before it does he wakes up to find himself lying on a park bench in Jenny’s arms. Jenny explains that they are only allowed a few minutes to be together before they say goodbye to each other for the last time. Jackie tries to ask how, but Jenny just quiets him, allowing them to enjoy the last moments together before Jackie wakes back up. It’s a bittersweet love story that really embodies the rage that literally takes over you when your loved one dies.