Peaception: Where Is My Sex And Romance?
Let me clear this up, I don’t want to play a porn game but I do strongly believe the inclusion of romance, with some tasteful love scenes as well, does greatly help with immersion when playing a game. I’m going to detail the games that have done it well, the ones that failed and the others that would have benefited by including romance. I shall include some current games, no old classics unfortunately like Phantasmagoria or Final Fantasy. Please note there will be MAJOR spoilers for games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, Heavy Rain and Far Cry 3, so if you have yet to play these games don’t read any further, walk away right now and come back after you have played these games.
Games that did it right
Almost every BioWare game:
Most people by now know that my opinion of Bioware of late has not been good but I just love the way they handle romance in their games. They pull at your heart strings and you become so attached to the characters that at some point you don’t even view them as videogame characters. Even the love scenes are so tastefully done it just feels like the natural progression of the relationship in the game. Dragon Age’s Alistair was the main reason I was single for quite some time because I kept replaying the game and wondering why the men I know aren’t like him, yes I know it was unhealthy but it was the most stable relationship I ever had.
The whole game in itself was aimed to extract as much emotion from the gamer with the whole underlying theme of what would you do to save someone you love. The romance between Ethan and Madison was great in that it helped Ethan physically when he was hurt as well as emotionally because the man was going through hell trying to find his son who was kidnapped by the Origami Killer. The relationship though wasn’t perfect because it felt too rushed. Here was a man wanted by the FBI, who could possibly be a child serial killer, who had bruises, cuts, burns and was missing a finger and somehow all of that was irresistible to Madison (I feel a Jerry Springer episode coming up: “I love him even though he’s on the FBI’s Most Wanted List”) and the interactive love scene made me feel like such a pervert, I had to lock the door just in case any of my friends walked in during that scene. Despite all its faults it was still an enjoyable romance and I loved the ending where they are a couple and Ethan has his son back, so very soapy and touching.
The Witcher 2 Triss Romance:
I loved this romance in that Triss is also a romance option in the first Witcher game so it provided a bit of nostalgia and some history between her and The Witcher. Geralt is not a romantic so there wasn’t any grand gesture of romance which is fine as it goes with his character but it doesn’t make the relationship he has with Triss any less important. I have to say though the full frontal nudity did leave me blushing when it came to the love scene but it went well with the adult themes of the game and I found myself choosing to go with Triss whenever possible because I was that attached to her. It’s an absolutely awesome game with a romance that is memorable for me and no, perverts, it’s not just because of the love scenes.
Games that did it badly
This series is awesome and fun except when it comes to the romance between Nathan and Elena. I believe Naughty Dog were so lazy when it came to it that they stuck to the same boring formula of “they are not together at the beginning of the game and at the end after a near death experience they reconcile and love each other”. This is done in the first game then repeated in the second instalment then done to death in the third game. At some point I wished Elena would die so I wouldn’t have to deal with this stupid romance in the next Uncharted game and since letting her die was not an option I just wish you had a choice of picking Chloe, but it wasn’t to be. Uncharted ticks all the boxes when it comes to an action adventure game but fails miserably in the romance department, just like Elizabeth Taylor’s marriages.
The marriage option in Skyrim doesn’t deserve to be classified as a romance but it does have some romance undertones. This is how ridiculous it is: you wear a necklace and you automatically become irresistible to members of the opposite sex without any alcohol entering the equation. So your character is walking around with this babe or male magnet thing around their neck and you approach your intended target and the conversation goes in the vein of, “Hey I like you and you’re single since you’re wearing that necklace so let’s get married”, you get married and that’s it and there is no warming up your target with a quest date were you maybe show off your amazing archery or sword skills, what a fail.
Far Cry 3
I lost hours and days thanks to this game but somehow they failed miserably when it came to the romance. Jason’s girlfriend nagged in my opinion. “What’s wrong with you?”, “Why are you different?”, “What are those tattoos?”, “Do you want to talk?” After a while I felt like screaming, “Bitch are you crazy, I’m trying to save our lives by evolving into a badass and your nagging is not helping the situation.” I liked the character of Citra and I wanted to stay in the island but that choice meant killing my friends and afterwards a sex scene with Citra were she kills you in the end, WTF. So Ubisoft gave me a choice between a girlfriend who was so righteous and didn’t like Jason’s transformation into a killer which was necessary for their survival or a crazed tribal leader who only saw him as a sperm donor, it was just bad.
The Sims 3:
Don’t judge me okay, I played this game and it was morbidly addictive. The Sims is basically a simulation game were you help these clueless Sim people with their everyday lives including work, school and romance. Well if we had to follow the Sims formula you need to talk the object of your affection nearly to death, then now and again dance together, throw in a tickle or two, add some smooching and hugging sessions, then viola you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Repeat this procedure even after you’re married to keep your partner happy… I don’t even, but it’s my fault I played the damn game, I should be punished for it.
Games that would benefit from including romance
This is one of my favourite games this year, absolutely enjoyed playing it but it was missing something and that something was romance. I had this discussion with my friend Lionel on how awesome the game would have been if Lara had a romantic interest and how both of us were excited when there was that distress call from the pilot and Lara went to save him because we were thinking, finally he is going to be the male she has a romance with, only to have him killed when we reach him. I just feel it would have added another interesting element if some form of romance had been included for Lara but oh well, nothing happened, I guess there is always next time. Still, it was an awesome game.
Never has a game shocked me when it came to twists and there are some major ones in this game, but one thing I must discuss is that there is no romance because Booker is Elizabeth’s father. To say I was shocked when this was revealed is an understatement. Mentally, I raised both of my fists and screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I thought the main characters had some awesome chemistry and to find out all along he was her father lent to some incestuous undertones in the game I think. It was a great twist, I didn’t see it coming, and when the game ended I was still blinking trying to process everything but I couldn’t help but feel some slight disappointment because I really wanted Elizabeth as a love interest. A romance between these characters would have been awesome and even now I feel badly for even still wanting it because Booker is her FATHER, damn.
I believe story driven games would greatly benefit from including romance as that allows the gamer to form an attachment to certain characters and allows for greater emotional involvement by the player but still Booker is her father… my mind can not compute.