5 Star-Crossed Lovers in Video Games

Zack and Aerith

Star-Crossed

Video Games – some of them have great and immersive stories and more often than not, there are lovers in these video games that we envy or love; and they earn a special place in our hearts. Not to sound cheesy but, one way or the other, they remind us that love is such a powerful force. Unfortunately, not all love stories have happy endings filled with flowers and dancing-in-the-rain sort of romance. As usual, there are spoilers. So if you read the characters of a game and you know you haven’t played it yet, play them first then come back. I believe that these stories will have more effect if you’ve built a strong relationship with the characters. Without further ado, Here are some of the star-crossed Romeo’s and Juliet’s in video games. Enjoy.

Max Caulfield and Chloe Price

That look : Chloe looking at Max
That look : Chloe looking at Max

Probably one of the most memorable games I’ve played in recent years, Life is Strange. It tells the story of Maxine Caulfield, who discovered that she has the ability to turn back time after seeing her childhood friend, Chloe Price, killed by her annoying spoiled classmate, Nathan from the influential Prescott family. After saving Chloe – through Max’s newly discovered ability – Max opened her powers to Chloe and the pair decided to use it for good. Starting there, the player is brought to a series of breaking in various areas, solving puzzles, and of course, time-reversing moments. All to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Chloe’s friend, Rachel Amber. I won’t reveal who the perpetrator is and jump right to the ending.

Because of Max’s playing around with time, she brought a huge tornado closing in to Arcadia Bay, a fictional coastal city in Oregon. And the only way to save the town is to reverse time to when it all started. At the bathroom where Max saved Chloe using her new ability. It is then the player’s choice to save Arcadia Bay by letting Chloe die or to sacrifice the town to allow Chloe to live.

Life is Strange Max and Chloe
Whichever you path you choose, the pain will still be there…

Remember that philosophical question about which train track would you pass a train: a track with the one you love tied on the path or the other track with multiple people tied on the path? That was how I felt making that decision.

Master Chief and Cortana

Master Chief and Cortana
Master Chief and Cortana

Imagine yourself as a super space soldier, so powerful that even alien species know your name; then, imagine yourself accompanied by a caring, intelligent, and gorgeous woman who is slowly dying. What would you feel? Would the feeling be the same if I told you she’s an Artificial Intelligence?

Meet John-117 aka Master Chief, a Spartan-class commando of the United Nations Space Command, and Cortana, an AI tasked with assisting the Chief through his missions. Playing Halo for all these years, we develop a bond between the two and the player. Which made the events of Halo 4 devastating for the players out there. We can feel Cortana’s feelings for the Chief during the intro and ending of the live-action film, Forward Unto Dawn, which also acted as an introduction to Halo 4. What hurt more was when Cortana, despite ‘decaying’, harnessed all her remaining power to appear as a human-sized version of herself just to feel and kiss Master Chief. Also that part where Cortana sacrificed herself to save the Chief; I don’t know about you but, that hurt like hell.

Cortana confesses
I’ve waited so long to do that…

Ellie and Riley

Ellie and Riley
Ellie and Riley

Oh, Last of Us, we are going to talk about you again. But this time, we will talk about the DLC, Left Behind. It tells the story about Ellie’s flashbacks as she was looking after Joel after he fell on a piece of metal that pierced his flesh during the course of the main game.

Ellie’s flashbacks showed us the story of how she and her best friend, Riley, worked together and survived the harsh world filled with hordes of infected. Along the course of the DLC, we become attached to the pair. They laughed together, helped each other when in danger, but it all reached the climax when Ellie suddenly kissed Riley – Out. Of. Nowhere. Even I was shocked despite anticipating such a reveal. Despite, their sweetness and joy together, the universe didn’t agree. During their struggles in the mall, both of them were bitten and we all know what happens when you’re bitten by an infected. You turn. You become infected yourself. That just what happened.

That's the look when you know it's all going to end...
That’s the look when you know it’s all going to end…

Then, they just decided to just wait it out Instead of committing suicide – enjoy the little time they had together. But, things can get worse. Only Riley turned. Yes, Ellie discovered that she was immune and now she is – incoming pun – left behind. Without Riley…what an ending. Thank you Naughty Dog. Neil Druckman, you…you’re awesome.

Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly

The graduation ball. Isn't she cute?
The graduation ball. Isn’t she cute?

You must be like, “Final Fantasy…Why am I not surprised?”. Well, unsurprisingly for us, Final Fantasy have some favorable couples in their series. But, we are only going to talk about one pair in particular. If you want to add Ramza and Delita here, be my guest. I was considering them when I was writing this article. *Hysterical laugh* Oh, Ramza. Seriously now, we are going to talk about Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly from Final Fantasy VIII.

This is probably one of the entries in the franchise that has quite a complicated story that only Whovians can understand right then and there during their first playthrough. Still, we all remember that sweet dance they had during their graduation ball which reminded us of our own Junior Senior Promenades, right? Plus the soundtrack; who didn’t feel something move in their chest every time they hear Eyes on Me play?

Squall and Rinoa
Squall and Rinoa

Even though the couple didn’t exchange I Love You’s, their love for each other is obvious. They even talked in private on where to meet if they lose their way during their last mission against Ultimecia during the big wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff that is the Time Compression Spell. Rinoa also brought out the “sweet and caring” side of Squall who is very serious, introverted, and cold prior to falling for Rinoa.

Wander and Mono

Wander with Mono on the altar
Wander with Mono on the altar

When I first saw the cover and the gameplay video for the Shadow of the Colossus, I prepared myself for the action and the challenge that was waiting for me. What I didn’t expect was the plot twist that was lurking at the end of the game. I did have mixed feelings when confronting the giant creature guardians dwelling in the world; a mixture of “Do I really need to kill these guys?” and “Meh, let the challenge begin, down you go, big fella!”. Little did I know – honestly, I didn’t really know, no idea at all – that I was releasing a demon with each colossus that I defeat. All I knew when I was playing through the game is that, I was reviving my love that I left on the altar at the beginning of the game.

Then, down goes the last colossus. I just released a demon and I acted as a conduit for the big guy. Yes, I did revive my love but, I fell into the depths of darkness.

Wander struggling
Wander struggling

Consumed by what I have been slowly releasing through the course of the game. Unable to at least touch a strand of my love’s hair, hold just a shadow of her now-alive beauty, or hear her angelic soothing voice once more. What struck me then was that the game broke my anticipated happy ending and caught me off-guard with a dramatic ending. You can feel Wander’s desire to be by the sides of her love at the ending when you’re controlling him as he struggle against the darkness that was pulling him away from Mono. And then you’ll feel it was all for naught and a same time feel good for the guy. Whether he knew what he was doing or not, it doesn’t really matter. What we all know is that Wander was willing to do everything to bring Mono back.

There are other star-crossed lovers in a lot of video games out there and these are just some of them. How about you? What video game broke your heart after falling for the couple in the game? Which video game couple made you feel what it’s like to love and be loved? Share with us in the comment section below and let’s talk about love and pain.

Free Games Roundup

Games

Over the past few days a bunch of games have become free through services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. But which games are worth your time? This is VgamerZ run down of thee free games and whether or not you should hit that download button. On Xbox 360, Dark Souls I is free, while Xbox One Gold Members get Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. On the Playstation side PS4 Plus users can get the PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate and Trine 2 and PS3 Plus members can get NBA 2K14. Also on PS3 anyone with a US PSN account can download Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (But this may be an error, so act fast). Back on PS4, Free-to-play title War Thunder rounds out the list of content available this week. With so many free games to get through, let’s get started.

Dark Souls I- Xbox 360

The spiritual sequel to Playstation exclusive Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls made the cult hit series a bit less cult. The game’s look evokes a paint by the numbers role-playing game, but the mechanics tell an entirely different story. A lot of people say Dark Souls is hard, and it is, the difficulty doesn’t come from frustrating cheap shots and random encounters. The difficulty of Dark Souls comes from it’s requirement of precision. Every section of the game can be memorized and beaten with the proper execution, it just takes time to gain the precision required. The process for learning the varying levels can be tedious to some and rewarding to others, so if you are interested in a giant game where every section is a trial, then give Dark Souls a download. Even if it doesn’t sound like your type of game I encourage everyone to test drive the game, it is rare to find a game as rewarding as Dark Souls with the same length and solid combat.

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood- Xbox One

As one of the first Xbox One Games with Gold offer’s, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood may not seem like a compelling offer. The games quirky art style and story certainly don’t appeal to everyone, but if you can get past that then the gameplay is solid. The game focus’s on Max’s quest to get his brother back by jumping and climbing his way through deserts,  jungles and caves. Max uses a magic ‘magic marker’ to change the environment, growing pillars and lowering vines. The game has a very strong shift from beginning to end, changing from platformer to puzzler slowly but surely. For fans of colorful games that are fine and suitable for kids be sure to check Max out, but if cheesy humor and puzzle/platforming isn’t up your alley I might skip it.

MAX

Halo: Spartan Assault- Xbox One

The latest entry into the Halo series, Spartan Assault is at best a decent time. For fans of the franchise and twin stick shooters, there may even be something here. For those who don’t, the title feels like a mobile title. Without the story or gameplay to keep you hooked, there is really a drought of ‘fun’ in the experience. With very mobile game/Free-to-Play things like micro-transactions, even when the game opens up a bit with larger levels and more story certain aspects never fail to remind you where this game is from. There are some genuine moments of fun, but they are so few and far between that unless Halo AND twin stick shooters are your jam I can’t recommend it.

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PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate- PS4

The new bundle of the classic PS3 games makes it’s debut on the PS4. 2D and twin stick, PixelJunk is a shooter/arcade game with a huge emphasis on fluid physics. The levels are short, maybe 5 minutes long, and consist of getting in, grabbing as many stranded people and pieces of treasure as possible, and getting out. The controls make maneuvering your ship around lava and enemies a fun experience while many games make it a chore. The lava and water are two of the games biggest aspects, as using the liquids to get through a level becomes essential early on. The different aspects of each level combine to form the arcade like experience of trying to get as many resources as you can as quickly as you can. The game also features online play where to ships go head to head trying to rescue the stranded first. PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is fun for almost everybody, especially those that enjoy old arcade games. If time limits and in-the-moment strategy aren’t something your looking for, then PixelJunk may be a skip.

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Trine 2- PS4

The Trine games are out for almost every platform in existence, but that doesn’t mean the game is any worse for it. Trine 2’s visuals are deep and colorful even though often it can be cluttered. The three character dynamic is used often and to great results, allowing players to take some control in how the puzzles are solved and the gameplay transforms. Throughout the game players balance and switch between the characters in order to pass puzzles and platform through the levels. The story is a bit throw away, with very one note characters and a world that is every fantasy world somehow rolled into one bland package. The co-op features do make for a bit more interesting time, but only due to thee players interactions and not a meaningful difference in how puzzles are solved. If platformers and co-op sound fun definitely go get Trine, but if fantasy and puzzles are not up your alley then move right along.

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NBA 2K14- PS3

The premier basketball franchise impressed everyone this year with a suite of new modes and in many cases eye popping visuals. While the last-gen version’s may not be AS drop dead gorgeous when compared to this gen’s, the game itself has more interesting modes and features. The Lebron James centric story mode won’t knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s a solid entry into the franchise for the uninitiated. Playing through the franchise mode is dynamic, offering a suite of tools and options to provide a fairly complex sim. On-the-court action is smooth and refined, allowing players to make snap decision and follow through with a game saving block or last second shot. NBA 2K14 is a must for fans of basketball and sports friends in general, but by now you probably know whether the 2K series is for you, so act accordingly.

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception- PS3

The Naughty Dog team proved with Uncharted 3 that they weren’t one hit wonders. After Uncharted 1 was considered fun but flat and 2 blew everyone away, Naughty Dog left critics and gamers wondering if they could do it again. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and after Uncharted 3 released there was no doubting the studio’s talent. The 3rd person shooter has taken up the video game Indiana Jones spot, fusing some of the best stories with a loose gameplay that fits the tone perfectly. Now for a limited time you can have the game for free, so be sure and take advantage if action games and treasure hunting appeals to you.

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War Thunder- PS4

War Thunder started out as a PC exclusive plane fighting sim, but the Free-to-play title  has now flown over to PS4. The downloadable seems to have solved the problem plaguing many games on how to make aerial combat enjoyable, accessible and  still complex enough to require mastering. Flying through the sky’s in old WWII era planes looks great, and the variety of planes and ground units is large. After picking a side players set out to destroy targets and kill planes on huge teams made up of PS4 and PC players alike. The best part of War Thunder is it’s distinctness from everything else available right now. The unique gameplay and quick pickup make it the perfect free-to-play title, and one that is definitely worth a download.

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The games for this week are a great selection across genre’s and consoles, with great deals for everyone. Hopefully this article spread a little light on what each game was about, but in reality if you have the service then I recommend going ahead and downloading the game’s. Which game do you think is the best and why? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Update:

Since posting this article, Steam has hopped on  the free game bandwagon. If you head over to Valve’s PC platform right now you can get Sniper Elite V2 absolutely free. The 3rd person shooter is a generic WWII sniper centric game, but the gimmick of  X-Ray kills make it one worth checking out. Hurry, as it gains a price-tag in less than 24 hours.