Love is an integral part of the human experience. Everybody tends to find it in one form or another. Science shows that it is all just chemical reactions in the body that creates these feelings, but even with that knowledge, the magical feeling cannot be denied.
Because of its importance to humanity, fiction spends a wealth of time exploring the complex subject.
Interesting stories can be found regarding all stages of love, including when it is found, lost, broken up by an outside party, and even when obstacles are overcome in a relationship.
Video games may not dwell on the matter as much as movies, show, or books, but characters often fall for each other in many beloved titles. This list will take a look at those couples that detracted from the experience, and those that made the entire game better.
The reasons for them hurting the game vary greatly. Sometimes they either do not seem to have chemistry or they are not well written characters, while other times something just seems off about the whole romance.
One should never stick their nose into a relationship between two consenting adults, but some of the entries featured feel wrong for reasons that will soon be made clear.
On the other hand, the good relationships are not necessarily great because they are a match made in heaven. Some of the couples are toxic or on the brink of ruin. But If they positively contributed to the story, then they made the list.
Here are the 12 Couples That Hurt Video Games (And 13 That Saved Them).
25 Saved: Tidus And Yuna – Final Fantasy X
Video games, specifically RPGs, with their relatively long run time have the luxury of telling their stories with a slow burn.
Final Fantasy X is a long journey through the world of Spira, and throughout the whole adventure, love slowly blooms between Yuna the Summoner and Tidus.
The tale culminates in a melancholy finale that sees the world salvaged, but also permanently separates the two.
While the canon is unclear past FFX-2, leaving the story off with the normal ending of the sequel tells a beautiful tale of moving on after the loss of a loved one.
24 Hurt: Sonic And Princess Elise – Sonic 2006
This relationship is hardly the only thing holding 2006’s Sonic back. The entire game is plagued with bugs, glitches, and is all around lackluster.
What really cements this title’s infamy, however, is the cross species kiss Sonic and Elise share close to the campaign’s conclusion.
Unlucky players who came across this scene all those years ago are still reeling from the shock of the moment.
In general, it is distasteful to judge a romance, but most can agree that humans should never harbor romantic feelings for hedgehogs, let alone kiss them.
23 Saved: Raiden and Rose – Metal Gear Solid 2
Metal Gear Solid 2 threw the entire fanbase a curveball when the narrative shifted focus from Solid Snake to Raiden.
Players were split down the middle on their feelings about the new character, but the story is still masterfully crafted, as evidenced by the complex relationship between Raiden and his girlfriend Rose.
The two initially seem over the moon with each other, but tension soon arises.
Rose eventually confesses the romance was a farce, done so that the big brother-like Patriots could keep tabs on him, but she eventually develops real feelings for him.
Throughout the entire series, their bond is tested, but true love prevails through even the toughest hardships.
22 Hurt: Beast And Belle – Kingdom Hearts
Stockholm Syndrome never felt as romantic as with Beast and Belle. It is such a heartwarming story that even nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
The pair then show up in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, but their appearance in the games fails to mention that she starts out as a prisoner in Beast’s castle.
What makes it so much worse is how good everything related to Beauty and the Beast is, especially Kingdom Hearts.
It almost makes one forget that Belle was a captive of the Beast before falling in love.
21 Saved: Max Payne And Mona Sax – Max Payne 2
Max has never been lucky when it comes to love, yet it is this misfortune that makes his stories so gripping.
The first entry begins with his family being slain, and the sequel revolves around the unlikely entanglement between him and the assassin, Mona Sax.
Mona is as cold as one would imagine a hitman (or hitwoman) to be, but some of that ice melts away when she is with the titular character.
Max himself is so damaged by past traumas that the path back to humanity lies in someone like Mona.
Like any classic film-noire, their time together is marred in conspiracy and tragedy.
20 Hurt: Crash And Tawna – Crash Bandicoot
Crash’s premiere outing stands as one of the toughest platformers out there. Players brave enough to beat every level get to rescue the Bandicoot’s girlfriend, Tawna.
One would assume that they lived happily ever after, but she is never seen or mentioned again in the sequels, and thank the heavens for that.
Tawna’s design is awfully graphic for an anthropomorphic Bandicoot, especially in a game marketed towards children.
Fortunately Crash’s little and spunky sister Coco became the female sidekick in the sequls and Tawna was abandoned, only reappearing in the 2017 remake of the first title.
19 Saved: Dom Santiago and Maria – Gears of War
On the surface, the Gears of War franchise is all machismo. However, underneath the heavy armor, big arms, and even bigger guns, there is a surprising amount of emotional storytelling.
The waterworks really start to activate in the scenes featuring Dominic Santiago and his wife, Maria.
Much of the first two Gears games are spent searching for Maria. When the married couple are finally reunited, a suprisng event transpires that leaves one feeling completely hopeless.
We won’t spoil all the details, but Madworld never sounded as sad as its use in that scene.
18 Hurt: Commander Sheppard and Liara – Mass Effect
Mass Effect offers numerous romantic opportunities. All of them look awkward during the steamy love scenes, but very few of them hinder the total experience.
Should Shepard romance Liara T’Soni, the game’s quality is somewhat hampered.
Liara is an Asarian, a species that does not have genders. Despite this, they all appear feminine and can be romanced by both the male and female Shepard.
If they were truly one gender, they should have features that resemble neither women nor men.
As it is now, it feels like any hetereo-relationship when male Shepard does it and like a weird fantasy when female Shepard romances Liara.
17 Saved: Drake and Elena – Uncharted
Too often in video games, and fiction in general, a woman is treated like a prize that the hero claims once they have rescued them or defeated the antagonist.
The Uncharted series could have easily fallen victim to this, but instead, the game chose to develop a realistic relationship between Nathan Drake and Elena Fischer.
Throughout four games over nine years, the two slowly form a bond that is tested and almost brought to a breaking point.
The dynamic between the two adds realism to a series usually known for extravagant set pieces and supernatural curses.
16 Hurt: Nathan Rad And Emily Spencer – Bionic Commando 2009
The year 2009’s Bionic Commando is a severely underrated title. It has an intriguing story, unique game play, and great voice acting from Faith No More’s Mike Patton.
Unfortunately, one plot twist overshadowed every positive element of the reboot.
Near the end of the campaign, it is discovered that part of Nathan’s wife, Emily, is in his bionic arm because the apparatus needs to synchronize with the host both physically and emotionally.
While some found this revelation interesting, the majority who disapproved acted as if it hurt the entire game.
It didn’t, but the bad publicity sadly stopped any chance of a sequel.
15 Saved: James Sutherland And Mary – Silent Hill 2
This one certainly should not be filed under “relationship goals,” yet the mystery surrounding the marriage between protagonist James Sutherland and his wife Mary is what makes Silent Hill 2 a timeless classic.
The 2001 horror game starts with James looking for his recently deceased wife in the titular town after receiving a letter from her.
The revelations that follow are best discovered by playing the game.
Silent Hill 2 was venerated upon release for exploring topics generally considered taboo by gaming up to that point, and its themes still hold up to this day.
14 Hurt: Sindel And Shao Kahn – Mortal Kombat 3
This one is mostly for the sake of Sindel. The poor woman had her home world of Edenia taken by the emperor of Outworld and forcefully became his wife.
With the loss of her home and real husband too much to bear, she took her own life.
However, the Mortal Kombat lore was not done with her yet, so she was revived and brainwashed into servitude.
The list of misfortunes that befall on Sindel because of Shao Kahn goes on and on. Why can’t Ed Boon and NetherRealm studios give her a break for once?
13 Saved: Ico and Yorda – Ico
Video games have the ability to tell a story in a unique way that is impossible for movies or books to duplicate.
To this day few games utilize the medium in this way, but Ico showed a developing relationship between the titular character and Yorda through the simple mechanic of holding hands.
The two lead characters are imprisoned on a mysterious island and speak two different languages.
Ico and Yorda break out of the castle together, and through game play, a silent bond is forged between the two.
Making the player feel this without explicitly stating it was a tremendous feat of game design.
12 Hurt: Bond And Nicole Hunter – James Bond 007: Blood Stone
Celebrity voice overs can be hit or miss in video games. Either the actors have no enthusiasm for the project, or they are inexperienced in voice over work and turn in a poor performance.
Joss Stone, who plays Nicole Hunter, does a fantastic job in Blood Stone.
However, Daniel Craig, despite being a solid Bond on the big screen, does not quite match Stone’s performance.
Maybe this is due to the fact the two never actually met during the game’s production, but it is a sore spot on an otherwise solid shooter.
11 Saved: Welkin And Alicia – Valkyria Chronicles
Otacon once asked Solid Snake “Do you think love can bloom, even on a battlefield?” Snake’s response should have been “Just play Valkyria Chronicles.”
Alicia and Welkin are the two central characters of the fictional war time RPG, and they sure are cute together.
The beginning of the game sees them as complete strangers, but they slowly fall for each other during the epic journey through war torn Europa.
Despite the potential defeat that lay before them, Welkin and Alicia still remain hopeful for a future without the war, one where they can live together in peace.
10 Hurt: Darius Mason And Kara – Red Faction: Armageddon
Red Faction: Armageddon was a huge departure from its predecessor, favoring linearity over open world destruction.
This rubbed some fans the wrong way, leading to poor sales and dashing hopes for a sequel.
While the game play was mainly to blame, the poor relationship between the main character and Kara did not help matters.
The two are engaged in a will they / won’t they romance until they finally kiss. Mere moments later, she is slain in a meager attempt to give the protagonist a “now I’m really angry” moment.
Had the relationship been allowed to further develop, the issue may have been somewhat remedied.
9 Saved: Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley – Monkey Island
The damsel in distress is such a tired a trope, which is why Elaine Marley is such a memorable character. She’s so tough that it’s almost a mystery why she pays any attention to Guybrush in the first place.
The dynamic of Guybrush Threepwood, a buffoonish wannabe pirate, and the mayor is what makes the relationship so memorable.
She if often taken by the villainous Le Chuck, but she is usually able to take care of herself even in these situations.
Elaine is intelligent and composed, while Threepwood is moronic. It is just like Paula Abdul said – opposites attract.
8 Hurt: Arno and Elise – Assassin’s Creed: Unity
The more than decade old Assassin’s Creed franchise details the epic conflict between the Assassins and Templars.
While both sides have their pluses and minuses, the games tend to depict the Templars as the more sinister of the two.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity attempts to even the morality a bit by having the main character fall in love with a Templar.
The effort is valiant, but ultimately uninteresting, as the rest of the Templar order is still up to its typical mustache twirling villainy.
Maybe future titles will address the moral complexity of the two factions more diligently.
7 Saved: Trevor Philips And Patricia Madrazo – Grand Theft Auto V
Trevor Philips is the most unhinged of the playable trio in GTAV, so maybe it is not all that unexpected to see him fall madly in love with someone.
Things get a little more complicated, however, when the object of his affection is the wife of a notorious crime boss.
Still, their sparse time together would make anyone believe in true love. It even makes the player believe in some semblance of humanity underneath the dirt and grime that is Trevor.
To top it all off, one of their scenes has the perfect use of “If You Leave Me Now”.
6 Hurt: Duke Nukem And The Holsom Twins – Duke Nukem Forever
This one is technically a thruple, but it is too awful not to mention.
Duke Nukem is an unapologetic hedonist, and most players go into the games understanding this. However, nothing good or entertaining comes from any of the scenes thathe shares with the Holsom twins in Duke Nukem Forever.
The opening scene is cute, and probably should have been their only appearance in the game.
Once they are taken by aliens, events go downhill and get downright uncomfortable.
Forever is far better than its reputation implies, but the Holsom twins are better left forgotten.
5 Saved: BJ Blazkowicz And Anya Oliwa – Wolfenstein: The New Order
The two most recent entries in the legendary shooter stand out in the crowded genre for its gripping narrative. The scenarios are dark, grim, and sometimes downright ridiculous, but the humanity of the leading characters always shines through.
None of this is evidenced any better than in the growing relationship between BJ and Anya.
The two meet in a world hopelessly at the mercy of an evil regime, but they refuse to surrender.
As of now in the chronology, Anya is expecting twins who are set to be the playable characters in Wolfenstein: The New Blood.
4 Hurt: Cole Phelps And Elsa Lichtmann – L.A. Noire
In L.A. Noire, players really feel like they are immersed in a 1940s noire film.
The fling between Cole Phelps and Elsa Lichtmann, a German nightclub singer, is far from poorly executed, but certain aspects of it could have been handled better.
One of the few times Cole’s actions are hidden from the player is when he knocks on her door to pursue a lead in a case.
It is later discovered that he had an affair with the singer, ruining his reputation as an officer and his marriage.
While it’s a surprising twist, it’s one that shouldn’t have been obscured to the player for so long.
3 Saved: Johnny Cage And Sonya Blade – Mortal Kombat
The long running fighting series has a plethora of match ups, but none come close to being as awesome as Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade.
The two start off not being able to stand each other, but things slowly heat up as the games go on.
In the most recent entry, Mortal Kombat X, the couple are divorced, but this only makes their scenes together all the more interesting.
Another plus to their marriage was creating a new combatant with Cassie Cage.
Just because the marriage failed, this doesn’t mean that it was all in vain.
2 Hurt: Master Chief And Cortana – Halo
Cortana never did anything wrong. After all, it is simply an artificial intelligence, albeit a highly advanced one.
She uses her wit and reasoning to save humanity and, eventually to try and control it.
However, why did the designers decide to make her a blue revealing woman who is so flirty with Master Chief?
Their whole dynamic is weird, especially considering the way she speaks to him.
It is much like how HAL 9000 tried to allure Dave and Frank instead of destroying them for its own survival in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
1 Saved: Sion And Dominique – The Bouncer
Few may remember The Bouncer, but those who do fondly recall the game’s crazy storyline and unique brawler game play.
At the center of it all was the growing love between Sion Barzahd and Dominique Cross.
At the start of the game, Sion is still reeling over the loss of his last girlfriend, but slowly starts to open up when Dominique comes into the three main characters’ lives.
Once she is taken and the three bouncers set off to rescue her, the player slowly learns more about everybody’s past.
The game gets progressively more inconceivable, but stays grounded with its focus on human relationships.
Are there any other relationships you think hurt or saved video games? Let us know in the comments!