Need to feel the love on Valentine’s Day? Here are five games that will have you thinking about things other than your typical flowers and chocolates on February 14th. Presented in alphabetical order, because we love everyone equally.
So this one’s not your typical romantic game, despite all the hearts and pink. In fact, as Aston points out, Catherine might not be the best game to play with your significant other. Dealing with ideas like infidelity, romantic happiness, children and other intense topics, Catherine is a surprisingly adult look at relationships, and also happens to be a darn challenging puzzle game, to boot. It’s basically Q*Bert, with more sexual tension.
Final Fantasy VIII or X
Squall and Rinoa, Tidus and Yuna. Ask Final Fantasy fans about the greatest romance in all of gaming, and they’ll usually fall into one of two camps. For those who are willing to brave the PS1’s archaic graphics and the annoying Draw battle system, Final Fantasy VIII offers up one of the most fantastical tales of longing since Romeo and Juliet, except for the part where everyone kills themselves.
If you’d rather not return to the days of 240p resolution, Final Fantasy X is considered by many to be the last great game in the franchise (until lat year’s XV, that is). It is widely available on PS2 as well as PS3, Vita and PS4 in an HD remastering.
As luck would have it, there’s currently a sale for Final Fantasy on PSN celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary. Both VIII and X are discounted for multiple platforms.
What’s more romantic than courting pigeons? A lot, you say? Well phooey on you. You knew we had to include some sort of dating simulator, so why not do something interesting with this Vita and PC game from 2011. It’s also available on PS4 and iOS. The visual novel format may not be for everyone, but the game is a goofy and fun ride for those who jump aboard. Of course, if you can’t handle the pigeon angle, there’s always bartender robots in last year’s VA-11 Hall-A…
Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime
Nothing shows your love for another like saving their ass in the nick of time. When it’s just the two of you controlling the many functions of a complicated space ship, that tends to happen a lot, too. This cooperative side-scroller pits two to four players (or for those without a significant other, you and your AI cat) against the terrors of the universe in their clunky, complicated, spaceship of love. Working together, you’ll be constantly running around firing weapons, firing the engines and steering your craft through an unknown universe while fending off hordes of enemies.
Shadow of the Colossus
When was the last time you loved someone so much you were willing to murder 16 giant beasts to get them back? Never? Well, then you haven’t experienced one of the late Playstation 2’s greatest achievements, Shadow of the Colossus. As Wander, accompanied only by your horse Agro, you traverse a barren land, seeking out the game’s only enemies- the towering colossi, whose death will bring about the return of your beloved Mono’s soul. An experience in minimalism and beauty, Shadow is a gut punch of a game that makes one of the best arguments for the medium as an art form.
While the game was originally released on PS2, picking up a copy of the HD collection including the game’s predecessor ICO is the recommended way to play it. Shadow pushed the PS2 hardware to its limits, and it often shows- the added overhead of the PS3 port allows for a sharper and more stable experience.