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 Post subject: The Romantic Element
PostPosted: Wed Jul 1, '09, 12:46 am 
I thought about posting this in the reaction to the "reunited" picture-of-the-day featuring Chaz and Rika, then figured it might just be deserving of a topic of its own. The following paragraphs contain spoilers.

A lot of games feature "the romantic element" in some way or another, allowing the main character to get together with his significant other. While there are some across-the-board similarities that are broken by very few games (the romantic interest is often either a childhood friend or a female party member that has to be rescued at some point), there is still a lot of diversity in how things are handled. Some of the categorisations:

Strangers in the night: People who didn't read the background info might just qualify Phantasy Star 3 for this. You set out to rescue your kidnapped bride, even mess up some ancient balance in the process and then at the end get to consider whether you pick her or this random chick who visited you in jail once before making a surprise appearance after the game's first real boss fight. I suppose the lack of inter character dialogue is to blame.

Shining Force 2 went even further. The woman the main character ends up with never even really exchanged lines with him during the game and I bet lots of players secretly believed Sarah would have made a better match.

In your face: Final Fantasy 8 didn't just make a love story its main theme (or so they say), they even marketed it as such.

Lunar 1 was another good example. If you, as the player, were too dense to figure out Alex and Luna loved one another, every other plot-relevant character seemed happy to remind it to you at some point or another during the game. (though by sheer contrast, the two only lock lips in official artwork and the mere mention of family planning by a certain NPC shocks the both of them into embarrassed silence)

Is it love? Final Fantasy 5 fell into this category. Bartz/Butz tends to develop crushes on anything with ovaries that walks into his line of sight, but ultimately never develops anything more than platonic with anyone.

Ambigious: Final Fantasy 7 had a dating system to let the player decide who got the big price, although since one of the contestants dropped out prematurely and the big price himself went semi-bonkers for a while shortly after, the whole love-plot kinda went to the backburner after the second Gold Saucer visit. Depending on who you ask, Cloud's personal preference lies with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, Barret or Sephiroth and the writers themselves weren't very eager with official statements.

Fluctuating: Character 1 and character 2 meet up and develop a connection, get paired up by circumstances (sometimes even to their embarassment) and character 1 becomes as forward as character 2 grows reluctant. (or just dense) This is because you can't have major characters pairing up while there's still at least one game disk to go. As the game nears its climax, the love story gets put on the backburner a bit, the impeding end of the world never failing to kill the romantic mood and all and then gets shoved back into the spotlight after the final boss got its rear end kicked. (Grandia was such an example, although Final Fantasy 9 was also a bit appropriate in this category)

Pre-established: Main character's love is the childhood friend who gets missed more and more as the hero's mission away from home drags on. (Terranigma to some degree)

Misc: Kudos for originality go to Lufia 2 where the main character actually marries his love interest and has a kid with her close to halfway point before they set out together to finish the remaining 60% of the game.

Phantasy Star 4 was a game with a LOT of inter-party interaction and features two main characters who end up together at the end, even though Chaz and Rika had very little private time together during the game itself. (one scene to be exact) So what are your thoughts on this aspect of PS4, compared to other video games you've played? Done well? Underdeveloped? Forced? etc, etc....

(disclaimer...let me just say that even though my categorisations of those other games were somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it was meant in a joking way...I loved playing all of them)


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 Post subject: Re: The Romantic Element
PostPosted: Wed Jul 1, '09, 1:34 am 
I thought IV was well done. Sure the romance in games is alright but alot of times it takes up most of the game and it feels forced because they shove it into your face. With Chaz and Rika, you knew they cared about eachother and one scene just seemed to be enough.

But that might also be because I like alot of action and I dislike being hung up on who loves who and why and all that other stuff. Plus, Chaz never had to go save Rika because she was kidnapped. That was a plus from my standpoint


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 Post subject: Re: The Romantic Element
PostPosted: Wed Jul 1, '09, 4:03 am 
The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series really falls into the "fluctuating" category but winds up ending in the "strangers in the night" category, for the main character at least. You go through all three games thinking it's going to be someone that was there with him since game 1, and then in game three there's a last minute crush that comes onto the scene. There are a couple of other pairings in the series; the love interests for Detective Dick Gumshoe and Prosecutor Miles Edgworth. Both of which are quite apparent if you pay attention.

Grandia 2 was disappointing to me as it ended in the "Ambiguous" category. I would have been happy with either or, but to not imply one way or the other was irratating. :(

Secret of Mana, what can I say, it's an incredible game all around. Definitely falls into the "fluctuating" category. The actual love aspect doesn't really kick in until someone dies about midway through the game.

And we musn't forget the ever rare class of games for which love is the primary focus, dating sims. I actually enjoy these to an extent, namely when they're in English. :lol:
Which reminds me, there's an excellent free one that debuted a couple of months ago by the name Katawa Shoujo. It has multiple endings. Just be warned, it's highly addictive to play:
http://www.katawa-shoujo.com/download.php

And, in trying to stay somewhat within board topicallity, not not doing to well. Hyuga Wright from the PSU series certainly falls into the "Is it love?" category. To a dire extreme for that matter if you consider he even frequently hits on Casts.


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