BioWare Romances: My Personal Top 5

Anyone who follows my blog Robo♥beat probably knows by now that I’m a huge BioWare fangirl. I love the stories, characters, settings, combat… and the romances. I can understand people skipping the romances as a waste of time, but the way I see it, the romances add emotional depth to the already gripping stories, create more motivation for the protagonists, and provide new and interesting ways to get to know the NPCs. They’re entirely optional, but I always pursue romances in BioWare games. They’re part of the fun.

mass_effect_2__garrus_femshep_by_maddithong

There are many intriguing relationships you can pursue in BioWare games, and I’d round out a top 10 list with Liara T’Soni (Mass Effect), Isabela (Dragon Age 2), Kaidan Alenko (Mass Effect), Jack (Mass Effect), and Fenris (Dragon Age 2) being in the running. But if I have to pare down my list to just my very favorites, these are my top five BioWare romances.

5. Zevran (Dragon Age: Origins)

ZevranThe elf Zevran is extremely charming from the start, which is exactly why I didn’t like or trust him when I first played Dragon Age: Origins. He’s an Antivan Crow — an assassin — and the first time he sees your Warden, he’s supposed to kill you. When that doesn’t go as planned, he negotiates his way into your party, woos you with tales of Antiva, and eventually flirts you into his tent for a massage… and stuff. It’s easy to brush off his romance as a fling if you’re into someone else in the game, which is what I did at first.

But recently I replayed DA:O and decided to romance him for a change of pace. And I’m so happy I did, because winning him over for the long-run is a rewarding challenge if your character really falls for him. What I like most about him is that he can be romantic and chivalrous, but he also respects your character as a warrior and is never overly sentimental. Even when he commits, he doesn’t lose that side of himself that’s a little irreverent.

4. Tali (Mass Effect)

tali4It’s hard to think of anyone who can match Tali’s unique cocktail of intelligence, sweetness, and the occasional bit of “babbling like an idiot,” as she says about herself. She lets down her guard to become one of Shepard’s closest friends, and occasionally she gets drunk… very carefully. It’s hard not to love Tali, but I never had much use for her in my squad during early playthroughs of Mass Effect.

That’s why I had to dedicate a playthrough to having her around and trying out her romance with a male Shepard. Romance her, and she opens up with some of the most stirring dialogue in the Mass Effect games… seriously. If she’s going to jump your Shepard, she has to not only let down her guard but also take off her mask… but a smart girl with an accent who’s willing to take antibiotics to be with Shepard? She’s worth the wait.

3. Aric Jorgan (Star Wars: The Old Republic)

aricThis is a very personal choice, I know… but I just love Aric Jorgan. And let’s be honest: he’s not hot for his looks; he’s a pretty tough-looking Cathar with bright green eyes. But he’s a slow, hard woo, which makes him perfect for any woman who likes rough-around-the-edges. Sure, he digs through your character’s private records to find out if you’re up to the challenge of leading Havoc Squad. But he’s a soldier first and foremost — so of course winning him over will take time. You just have to be patient and put up with his gruffness for a while.

First, you’ll notice that flirting with anyone else drives this guy up the wall. Later, after teaming up on missions, you realize you’ve earned his respect — and he’s into more than just “barking orders and sniping Imperials.” But don’t expect romancing him to completely whisk the soldier out of him; one of his most romantic lines involves him offering you the “position” of being his wife. Really, this guy can only take so much heartfelt sentiment in one day, and that’s kind of cool.

2. Alistair (Dragon Age: Origins)

AlistairOh, Alistair. This was my first BioWare romance in my first BioWare game, and there’s a reason he holds such a special place in the hearts of so many Dragon Age: Origins players. He’s a Templar — actually, it turns out, a bastard prince — and just when you think he’s suave, he fumbles into awkwardness as your Grey Warden attempts to hit on him. Although he often hides behind sarcasm when you ask him personal questions, he eventually opens up to the Warden and appreciates others with a sense of humor, too.

But maybe the coolest thing about Alistair is that there’s not a huge need to chase after him; he’s an old-fashioned romantic at heart, giving you a rose and eventually confessing his feelings for your Warden after the two of you have built up an emotional connection. It’s old-fashioned romance that you don’t see a lot of these days. And if you play your cards right, he can even end up king to your queen… or mistress. Which is still romantic, trust me.

1. Garrus (Mass Effect)

Sometimes this is my computer backdrop, okay?

When I first started playing the Mass Effect series, I romanced Kaidan Alenko (also a great romance) because Garrus was not a boyfriend option in the first game — but try as I might to remain loyal to Kaidan in ME2, all I could think was how much I really, really liked Garrus. He is Commander Shepard’s most loyal friend, with a great combination of sarcasm, badassery, and always the most heartfelt intentions. When I got to Mass Effect 3, Kaidan was there and all… but all I could think was where the hell is my turian and when can I recruit him?!

So I stopped playing ME3, restarted ME2, and romanced Garrus so I could carry on with him as my Shepard’s true love in my canon playthrough of the series. If you romance him, you get to see his awkward side (mainly in ME2) as well as how suave he can be (mainly in ME3), which is why I consider him one of the most well-rounded and interesting video game characters ever. Being able to get to know him over the course of three games builds up quite an attachment, too. Now it’s hard for me to romance anyone but him when I play Mass Effect, because he’s really the whole package. Except for being fictional and stuff. =)

— Ashley

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