Nikola Tesla: War of the Currents is one of my - if not my absolute - all time favorite game, on both the HG and CoG platforms. I was so genuinely invested in the entire world and story and the relationship with the titular Tesla (even if he can’t actually be romanced, even when your character admits to loving him romantically) and the ending hit me so hard that I immediately decided to replay it. Which usually never happens, mind you; I always tend to be a one-and-done kinda gal, even with games I enjoyed.
But he and MC can have such a powerful and intense bond that I almost feel like it goes beyond love and romance in a way. It’s almost something stronger.
(Mind you, I also could never bring myself to be mean or manipulative to him, because… I mean, c’mon, look at him. I just wanna wrap him in a blanket and give him a cup of hot chocolate lmao.)
That one specifically has now kinda become my gold standard for fictional relationships. Which is unfortunate, because I know not many games might ever reach its heights. Not for lack of trying, mind you. But just because the conditions and characteristics that made it so perfect might not show up ever again.
The Golden Rose too, definitely. Like them or hate them, you have to admit the relationships with Hadrian and Alessa are incredibly fleshed-out, and they always felt very real to me. Combine that with all the little moments the author has written in that give the world more personality and the incredible writing style, and the entire game felt very alive in a way that few games do. The amount of detail that went into it all is awe-inspiring, really.
And something really important that it does really well is that every RO is distinct, and each and every one of them is memorable in their own way. All of their introductory scenes has a certain ‘oomph’ that makes them naturally stand out from the side characters in a way that’s not just the mc or narration commenting on how drop-dead gorgeous they are (though you can choose to do that as well if you want lmao).
I remember not only every single one of the ROs, but every single one of their introductions too, which is incredibly impressive.
I’d have to second Professor of Magical Studies as well. Whether you like him or hate him, the relationship with Darcy is one of the main driving forces of the game (at least the teaching segment of it), and just in general all of the ROs, whether they already be in the magical community or not, have or can have a vital involvement in the main plot, especially the final few chapters, and it’s something that I really appreciate the author writing in. It makes them feel like a more integral part of the world and story, and not just something tacked on on the side.