When you think of gaming romances, you probably think of the likes of Mario and Peach, Link and Zelda, Nathan and Elena - the usual suspects. They're all great pairings in their own right, but I've always found them a bit simplistic. Think about it, both Mario and Zelda's franchises have always approached romance in the most archaic way possible; a hero rescues a princess, and for the most part... that's all there is to their entire relationship. Uncharted fairs a bit better, but Nathan and Elena's "Will they?/Won't they?" pairing is pretty much your standard Hollywood-style romance. Good fun, but nothing too deep. So, in the spirit of delving deeper at the more nuanced relationships in gaming, and with Valentine's Day once again upon us, here's a look at the ten most underrated romances in gaming. Note: As a rule, only one couple per franchise will get considered, otherwise half of this list would be Bioware games.
10. Professor Layton & Claire The Professor Layton Series
With a character like Professor Layton, youd think that he wouldnt have time for a relationship. After all, hes far too focused on solving puzzles to get involved in such things. However, in The Unwound Future, the players are introduced to Claire, one of the most significant figures in the good Professor's life. Claire adds a great layer to Laytons backstory, though a very sad one seeing as she died and then has to die again in order to set that game's time stream right. Shes an interesting character in her own right; Intelligent, independent, and with desires not entirely focused on her and Herschels love. What makes their relationship so poignant is how it plays with the Professor as a character. The series has always gone to great lengths to show Layton as the level-headed, logical man who always keeps his cool even when things go topsy turvy. But, when he and Claire have to part once more, that mask shatters, the tears flow, and the player is left just as devastated as he is.