Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate than by recounting the most romantic moments in video games? Be warned that this article contains spoilers for the following games: Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, NieR: Automata, The Last of Us: Left Behind, Silent Hill 2, Kingdom Hearts, Shadow of the Colossus, Uncharted 4, and Persona 5.
Squall Carrying Rinoa to Esthar (FFVIII)
Many will point to the iconic ballroom dance scene and say that’s the most romantic moment we’ve seen in Final Fantasy VIII, or perhaps even the whole of the Final Fantasy series. It’s a great scene, but it’s not particularly romantic because Squall and Rinoa are just meeting for the first time; she’s probably there with Seifer, and he doesn’t even know her anyway. All throughout FFVIII, Rinoa is constantly trying to talk to Squall and getting him to open up, but being the stubborn little shit that he is, he brushes her off and dismisses her. That all changes when Rinoa suffers a potentially fatal injury in a fight later on in the game.
Suddenly, Squall doesn’t quite know what to do without her, and it’s here that we begin to see him start to truly change and develop as a character. Refusing to just sit around and do nothing, Squall puts Rinoa on his back and starts walking across the bridge to Esthar in the hopes of finding some way to save her. During the long walk, Squall reflects on his own personality and explains why he’s been shutting himself off from everyone his entire life, even if Rinoa can’t hear him. A lot of this change can be attributed to Rinoa’s presence in his life, and this scene is the true turning point in FFVIII. It’s here that Squall is finally able to be honest with himself about his feelings, and it shows in his determination to save Rinoa. Even though it’d probably be a lot smarter and efficient to just get a car to Esthar or something. But I guess that wouldn’t be very romantic.