A look back at the 2006 release, Sonic Riders. A very polarizing things, we look at what the game excelled at, while noting how some of the flaws may have led the game to be overlooked.
The Top 10 Final Fantasy Romances
For those of you out of the know, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster releases on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita today. To celebrate, let’s take a look back at the ten greatest Final Fantasy romances, shall we?
10. Delita Heiral & Princess Ovelia Atkascha – Final Fantasy Tactics
This one is a bit unique among this list. Delita, a commoner seeking to transcend his lowborn status, rescues/kidnaps Princess Ovelia from a plot to have her murdered. The princess, unsurprisingly, is constantly used as a tool in a war for the land of Ivalice between two warring royal families. She is swayed by Delita’s promises to free her from her burdens of toolship and marries him during a brief period of affection. In the end, she believes Delita to be using her for his own ends and stabs him, though the act costs her own life, as Delita reciprocates before apparently dying. It’s this couple’s unique romance and grotesque fate that earns them a spot on this list.
9. Snow Villiers & Serah Farron – Final Fantasy XIII
Of all the romances portrayed in the Final Fantasy franchise, perhaps none transcend time the way Snow and Serah’s engagement does. Though the game begins candy-in-the-sky enough for the pair, Serah is doomed to either be crystallized for eternity or transform into a horrible, mindless creature. Fortunately, she falls victim to the former, and Snow, along with Serah’s sister Lightning, embarks on a journey against the gods of XIII’s world (fal’Cie) to bring her back. After succeeding, instead of living his happily-ever-after, Snow is coaxed into traveling time in search of Serah’s beloved sister while another man moves in on his betrothed (which, incidentally, is why this doesn’t rank higher). Never fear, though; the pair are reunited at the trilogy’s conclusion some thousand years later, after Serah has been crystallized, brought back to life, thrust on a venture through time, killed by a mystic, prophetic power, and revived five hundred years later. But their enduring love, even across time, earns them a spot.
Terra, being the sole female protagonist in the original Dissidia, naturally finds herself in the company of several interested men. Though Vaan had eyes for her in the prequel, it’s the Onion Knight whose vague romance earns a spot on this list. Though the two technically don’t become a couple or even express sentiment toward each other, I always felt a vibe between the overconfident protector and the woman frightened by her own potential. The two are eventually separated and don’t seem to grieve over the “could have been” scenario, but their brief sojourn together is more memorable than many other character relationships in the entire franchise. Just try to forget that Terra went crazy and tried to blast the Onion Knight into oblivion, prompting him to beat her to her senses.
Though this romance takes place largely off-screen, as Anna is bombed into the netherworld before the player can become acquainted with her, it is still one of the most memorable. Edward, the prince of the kingdom of Damcyan, prefers performing music and wooing mage’s daughters over politics. Against the great mage Tellah’s wishes, he attempts to elope with Anna, though an attack by Baron’s Red Wings leaves him single and ready to mingle…well, except for his inconsolable grief. Because of Edward’s undying love, he and his late fiance take No. 7, and also because this romance gave us one of the best lines in any Final Fantasy game: “You spoony bard!”
This one stands as one of the more tragic romances in Final Fantasy. Vincent, at the time a member of Shrina, Inc.’s Turks, is put on an assignment that acquaints him with Lucrecia, a beautiful scientist who has a questionable taste in men. She rejects Vincent for the infinitely more deranged Professor Hojo. When Vincent plays the knight in shining armor, he is instead gunned down by his rival, and it is only by Lucrecia’s graces (?) that he is saved via zombification and a strange ability to mutate when he’s angry (kind of like the Hulk!). Lucrecia herself goes into hiding while her genetically-altered son grows into the world’s greatest killer who attempts to become the god of the Planet by causing a whole lot of suffering. Wait to atone, Lucrecia!
From the get-go, it’s pretty obvious there’s a connection between Cecil and Rosa. They follow the typical “childhood friends who become lovers” motif, but the game works well with it. Perhaps what makes it even greater, though, is the sort of love triangle involving Cecil’s best friend, Kain Highwind, who is also in love with Rosa. While under Golbez’s mind control his jealousy becomes obvious, but in the end it’s the main man who gets the girl, while Kain retreats to a mountaintop to atone for his wrongdoings. Their unforgettable romance, fueled by the subplot involving Kain, land this couple at No. 5.
Though I have only played VI once, the relationship between Locke and Celes still sticks out as one of the greatest in the franchise. Initially disenchanted by the death of his lover Rachel, Locke joins the Returners in hopes of avenging her death and finding a way to revive her (because love defies the laws of nature, apparently). He also takes it upon himself to protect both Celes as well as Terra, I guess to compensate for failing his true love. Celes, meanwhile, is motivated by her love to find her friends after the world falls to pieces, in one player choice instance being motivated by seeing Locke’s bandanna. The two cultivate a strong relationship throughout the game, and it is presumed they end up together. What makes this relationship so great is the struggle the two face both before meeting and then with each other, slowly developing a love that ultimately is crafted with more care than most other video game romances.
Squaresoft (as they were known then) sought to deliver us a potent love story and VIII was the result. There is no denying the impact Squall and Rinoa’s relationship has on this heart-wrenching tale. While Squall is a moody punk dazzling his academy with his display of gunswordsmanship, Rinoa turns his life upside down by becoming the object of his undying affection, which almost literally reaches the moon. The profession of love between the two on the Ragnarok is one of the most moving scenes in Final Fantasy, and may be one of the greatest if it wasn’t overdone just a tad. Either way, if you’ve played this game, you’ll never forget the love these two share.
2. Zack Fair & Aerith Gainsborough – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
I know, I know. “Why not Cloud and Aerith, or even Cloud and Tifa?” As to the first, I am of the group that believes Cloud’s romantic feelings were toward Tifa, and as for the latter, their relationship simply isn’t expressed the way Zack’s and Aerith’s is, remaining a more unspoken love for the majority of the game (especially on Cloud’s part). Zack, however, doesn’t shy away from his most personal feelings, and from the moment he crashes through the roof of Aerith’s church, he is lovestruck. There are several heartbreaking moments in the game, such as when Zack realizes he’s been a captive in Nibelheim for years and Aerith has been writing him all that time. Also, the scene in Aerith’s church where she comforts a weeping Zack is one of the most powerful ever, and a perfect representation of their love.
Who else could take the top spot but these two? Their love carries the game and demonstrates how far one will go for the one he or she loves. Tidus, being the foreigner thrust into a strange world, finds sanity and constancy in Yuna, the young object of all of Spira’s hopes. It’s a real bummer when Tidus finds out in order to bring Spira another respite, Yuna must sacrifice herself. It’s an even bigger bummer that, when they discover a loophole around this, Tidus fades away, as he is a mere dream with no future in a world of peace. Of course, the two are reunited in the sequel, but it’s the original game’s poignant ending that stands out in my mind and makes their romance the greatest (and perhaps saddest) in all of Final Fantasy lore.