All you need is love... and player two
Flowers and candy? So clich. Romantic movie marathon? Way too cheesy. A forgettable gondola ride through Venice? Maybe a little out of your price range. If you really want to prove your love and devotion to your better half this Valentines Day, what better way than spending some quality time together playing your favorite games?
To celebrate the week of love, GamesRadars senior relationship experts Luke Brown and Sarah LeBoeuf (yeah, we had to freelance it) assembled a list of games perfect for enjoying with your significant other on the most romantic day of the year. A day with these games is sure to make your relationship stronger than ever! Unless, of course, your partner is a total jerk bag.
Sarah suggests: Halo 4
Its hard to go wrong spending Valentines Day playing through Halo 4s campaign with your significant other. If youre a fan of the Halo mythology, you get to see the next chapter of Master Chiefs story. If you dont care about Halo, at least its fun to run around shooting aliens in one of the generations best-looking games. And with local split-screen co-op, adding a second player into the mix is seamless.
Plus, if your partner is being really annoying (either in-game or in real life) just remember: friendly fires on. An elbow to the back of the head should fix everything.
Luke suggests: Any game in the Lego series
There are few cooperative games as enjoyable to play with a significant other than TT Games various licensed Lego titles. Whether youre a devout Batman fan, or youre into the more fantastical tales present in Lord of the Rings, its easy to get caught up in the brick-based recreations for hours at a time. Making things even better, there are so many different characters to play as, arguments over who gets to play as which hero are few and far between.
The Lego games truly rely on co-op play to make the experience more engaging, particularly when hunting down the every last collectible piece hidden throughout a level. Occasionally your partner may lose focus, but since the penalty for death in Lego games is so minimal, smashing her character to bits always serves as a great reminder to stay on task.
Sarah suggests: New Super Mario Bros. U
The brothers Mario have come a long way since you were playing with your siblings in your parents basement. Where two players used to make their way through eight worlds to save the oft-kidnapped princess, they can now make their way through eight worlds to save the princess... at the same time! This makes New Super Mario Bros. Wii or NSMBU ideal for some hot two-player Valentines action.
Even if your partner is terrible at platformers like a certain husband who will remain nameless, its still fun to run and jump through dozens of beautifully designed levels, and when it gets too hard for him, he can just make blocks on the GamePad or float beside you in a bubble until the tough part is over. For an extra laugh, pop that bubble over a cliff or lava pit. Hell get over it... eventually.
Luke suggests: Minecraft
World building is a lot of fun, and with a partner, mining resources and completing a massive architectural masterpiece in Minecraft becomes much less of an arduous burden. Its also a lot easier to fend off the skeletons, spiders, and creepers with someone else to watch your back until the sun comes up.
Of course, getting your spouse to agree with you about what kind of house to build is just as excruciatingly difficult in the virtual world as it is in real life. At least in the (relatively) safe confines of a Minecraft world, everything you do wrong can be undone easily, and without having to pay someone else to repaint the dining room because that color of blue isnt quite as blue as it was supposed to be.
Sarah suggests: Animal Crossing series
The console iterations of Animal Crossing aren't two-player games, but two players on the same system can exist separately in the same town, which can create some interesting interactions. Did you find the last piece of furniture your significant other needed to complete the robot set? Send it to him, along with a sweet letter sure to light up his day.
Of course, theres a chance that the person might respond with a crude letter and attach a dead fish to it because he's really immature. Or maybe the next time you load your game, all of the trees will be chopped down and there will be holes all over town, but thatll only happen if your so-called better half is a total jerk. So unlike me, you probably dont need to worry.
Luke suggests: Just Dance 4
Listen. Ladies love dancing. Its a fact. Thats where Just Dance 4 comes into the picture. In addition to songs from cheeseball 80s chick flicks, theres actually a pretty good variety of tunes for everyone to bust a groove to. At least with Just Dance, you can look like a fool in the comfort of your own living room, and not in public.
Just Dance is perfect because it requires the two of you to work in synchronicity to get the most out of a routine. Working hard to ensure youve got your choreography nailed down will go over huge in the long run. Well, at least until you discover your date has two left feet, and cant do the fist-bump power twirl during The Final Countdown. Who taught her how to dance, circus elephants? Just do what the person on the screen is doing! Is it really that hard?
Sarah suggests: Sid Meier's Civilization V
One of the most addictive games of the last few years, Sid Meier's Civilization V is easy to learn and hard to stop playing. With two computers, its a snap to set up a co-op or versus session of world domination, so why go out for a romantic dinner when you can stay home and wipe out entire countries?
This is one of the most fun gameplay experiences a couple can have, because almost nothing is more delightful than invading your significant others Germany and burning its cities to the ground. I mean, why did Germany think it could defend itself with a few landsknechts and trebuchets when the obviously superior France was loaded with cannons and musketmen? Stupid Germany, always leaving its dishes in the sink to "soak" when it could just freaking wash them and put them away like an adult.
Luke suggests: Rock Band 3
Who needs real musical talent when you can be the best virtual band in the known universe? Rock Band is a staple at parties and get togethers, and even without a full quartet to round out the ensemble, its still fun to be a White Stripes-esque duo rocking digital arenas.
Well, as long as your bandmate hasnt been slacking during rehearsals, and doesnt end up restarting several songs because she wasnt ready. And theres a great time to be had playing through some of your favorite tracks, provided you can actually make it through a three-song setlist without having to save your partner multiple times. No, its perfectly fine for you to continue to play on Expert even though you havent cleared a single song above 60 percent since covering Joan Jetts I Love Rock and Roll. Yeah, the game must not be synced right. Im sure thats it. Maybe we're not synced right. Ever think of that?
Sarah suggests: LittleBigPlanet 2
An adorable platformer with creative levels and drop-in/drop-out co-op--what could possibly go wrong? As far as local multiplayer games go, the LittleBigPlanet series is a no-brainer. Between the stages included with the game and the ever-increasing user-created levels, the possibilities are almost endless.
Seriously, the only way you could not have fun playing some Valentines Day LittleBigPlanet is if your partner goes out of his way to make the experience terrible--taking off in vehicles before you hop on, jumping off cliffs so the camera will follow him, purposely killing himself to use up your shared lives. But you probably dont have a significant other who only feels like hes winning when everyone else is miserable, so you should be okay. Some of us aren't so lucky.
Luke Suggests: Mario Kart Wii
There are few things as satisfying as winning a race against your supposedly superior partner in Mario Kart.
One of those things is staying back in last place to ensure you get a blue shell. That way you can take out your ladyfriend when shes in first place, and just about the round that last corner before the finish line. Why? Because its not about you winning. Its about making sure she doesnt. At all costs.
At. All. Costs.
Sarah suggests: ToeJam & Earl
The jammin Sega classic ToeJam & Earl is available on the Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade, so you wont have a problem tracking it down in time for Valentines Day. As the titular aliens, you and your partner will have to work together to recover spaceship parts and get off the bizarre, dangerous planet Earth. Its not going to be easy, but surely you and your partner can work peacefully together and get Toe Jam and Earl back to Funkotron, right?
Just... dont open any gifts that havent been identified. No, I told you not to open it, the elevator is RIGHT THERE. Dont do it--rocket skates? ROCKET SKATES! Great, now weve skated off the side of the planet and fallen down three levels. Youre literally the worst person alive.
Luke suggests: Portal 2
Portal 2 is challenging enough on your own, but when youve got the added bonus of having a co-op partner to help you solve puzzles, it takes on a whole new life. Even simple solutions like portaling from one side of the test chamber to the other become an adventure when youve got to rely on someone else having the timing necessary to pull off tricky maneuvers like shooting a portal on the opposing wall.
I dont know if Valve had the married couple in mind when it developed Portal 2s cooperative mode, but the team over there definitely came up with some creative ways to raise a players blood pressure. Id rather spend Valentines Day with GLaDOS, and her idea of a romantic date is telling me I have no friends and filling the room with a deadly neurotoxin. If only I could banish my wife to space.
Sarah suggests: Catherine
This sexy puzzle game has some multiplayer features, but its primarily a single-player experience. That shouldn't stop you from sharing that experience as a couple, though. Catherine is all about relationships, and its interesting to see what kind of decisions your partner will make when faced with the opportunity to leave his long-term girlfriend for a flirty young blonde.
Whether the endings of Catherine are good or bad is largely a matter of perspective. Some might think that Vincent ending up with the faithful, patient Katherine is the best way to go, while others would rather run off with the sexy, unpredictable Catherine. Personally, Id choose neither of them, going with sweet, sweet freedom from the chains of my soul-crushi... uh... I mean Vincents relationship.
Luke suggests: Resident Evil 6
Capcoms latest entry in the long-running franchise is the perfect date night video game. By combining so many genres into one action-packed experience, theres something in Resident Evil 6 for every taste. Every quick-time event is perfectly balanced with an amazing running from danger sequence. Theres so much white-knuckle action to keep both you and your date on the edge of your seat, you may never want to stop playing, even after the credits roll. Plus, there are plenty of scares and frights to keep the ladies close.
Listen, misery loves company. If you love your lady as much as I love mine, you know that the only reason to make them play Resident Evil 6 with you is as a punishment. For what? Who cares? She wont stick around long enough to find out, and soon youll have the whole living room to yourself to play whatever game you want without a backseat second player.
Sarah suggests: Left 4 Dead 2
Just picture this romantic Left 4 Dead 2 scenario: You and your better half have played together through the entire game, and now youre about to make your last stand. All you have to do is get across the bridge and youre home free. As long as you work together, those zombies dont stand a chance. Oh, theres a Tank... and theres a second Tank... and your partners gone. Hes running away and leaving you to fight two Tanks on your own, because hes a jerk. Hope he enjoys his helicopter ride, because now youre dead, just like your relationship.
I want a divorce.
Luke suggests: God of War 3
Now that the ol ball and chain is out of the picture, its time to play a game thats perfectly suited for the bachelor: God of War III. Kratos may be burdened by the loss of his wife, but at least shes not still around to nag him to death. Nobody ever yells at Kratos when he forgets to take out the recycling. When Kratos carves a bloody path through the Greek countryside, he doesnt have anyone chasing him down with a mop and bucket to clean up after himself. Hes a mans man, through and through.
And lets not forget the ladies falling all over themselves for a crack at the main man. Oh, the ladies! With their binary breasts and their wanton wiles, itll be a long time until you feel the need for any real companionship. Im so, so lonely.
Love is over
Now that weve shared our gaming picks for the most romantic Valentines Day ever, what about you? Be sure to share your favorite games to play as a couple while we go consult our lawyers.