Romancing non-playable characters (NPCs) is as old as role-playing games themselves. Who hasn’t felt the thrill of going in for a pixelated kiss? Or spent hours picking just the right flower/fruit/fish to win your digital beloved’s heart? Almost every modern RPG has romance options, but there are some that go too far. Or not far enough. Since romance storylines usually um, climax, at the end of the game, be warned there are major spoilers for the games listed below.

Dragon’s Dogma

Capcom

Do you really want to spend your life with a character named ‘Fournival’?

In Dragon’s Dogma Capcom found a winning RPG formula. But not a winning formula for love. RPGs today usually have specific dialogue trees which unlock special cutscenes with your NPC love. There’s even sometimes a heart next to the line so you know it’s gonna be a horny time. The romance mechanic in this game was not as clear cut. Who the game views your character as being in love with depends entirely on how many times you speak with them. A fact the game does not let players in on. It’s pretty revolutionary that you can romance anyone in the game, but because of the nature of the inventory management system, where the Arisen has to sell and buy items frequently, this mean lots of people ended up falling head over heels for a stodgy merchant. Even though we at Cracked loved this hilarious not quite a bug-slash-feature, it definitely ruined the flavor of more than one playthrough. 

Farenheit Indigo Prophecy

 

Quantic Dream

TFW you have sex but you're dead.

This partially forgotten and totally weird game has one of the cringiest romances. And the wildest part is, it’s totally intentional. Developer Quantic Dream made this game and their name really lives up to itself. The games got everything: mystery, oracles, cyborgs, weather, and uh… romance with a corpse. Sure it’s the re-animated corpse of the main character, but still. They’re both able to consent, which is a must obviously. But they’re also boinking in a train. Which is freezing. We don’t know about y’all but that we here at Cracked try and only naked romance when we are at least warm enough to feel our toes. Carla also gets pregnant from the encounter which brings a new meaning to the phrase “dead beat dad.”

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Ubisoft

He's handsome enough but damn take a misthios out for dinner first.

Assassin’s Creed doesn’t only have horrifying human skeleton-ed horses, it also has totally wacky romance quests. Ancient Greece is fascinating to us sexually repressed Americans because A: togas are pretty sexy and B: their culture didn’t have a lot of the same hangups that we have today. But AC Odyssey takes that a little too far. The serious, epic main story of mythic proportions feels like a totally different game tonally when compared to the hyper silly side quests. And that goes doubly for most of the romance quests. Some of the characters you meet are extremely, cartoonishly horny for you as soon as you speak with them. The game also does not hide the transactionality of game romance behind even a fig leaf of plot most of the time. NPCs will flat out tell you something along the lines of “complete my quest, and we can do the nasty.” 

Dragon’s Age: Inquisition

 

Bioware

Dragon’s Age: Inquisition might help you reconnect with your father but it won’t let you connect with one of the most important characters in the game unless you meet very specific conditions. And even then it’s morally pretty questionable. Solas is an elf you find out is actually an immortal trickster god. And even if you spend the game romancing him, he leaves you in the end. Which is actually pretty great storytelling. Except the hundreds or thousands of years age difference makes it feel… yucky. What’s even more off putting to a lot of fans is that you can only romance him if you are a female elf. If you’ve crafted a world full of demons, ghosts, and magic, just make every character romanceable by the player character. We’re here to live out a fantasy not be pinned down by Western gender norms ok?

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo

Yikes.

Calm down, we’re not talking about Link and Zelda. They’re perfect together even if they are caught in an unending cycle of battle and sleeping. The romance in BotW that hit a lot of people the wrong way is a side quest between two NPCs of different species and different ages. As Link, you help facilitate some pen pals who have fallen in love actually meet each other. And when they do, neither is quite what the other expected. Sasan is a regular dude looking Hylian who has lied about being cut af. And Finley is… a fish person with a child’s body. Supposedly she is older than Sasan…Zorans age differently and live longer than most Hylians, but still it’s a really weird call by developers to make her look like a kid at all. Plus she kind of body shames him. Pretty uncool coming from someone who looks like a melted Funko Pop.

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