They say a good villain can make or break a story, I’m inclined to agree.
10. Benny – Fallout New Vegas
While Benny may have had as much personality as a wet paper bag in person, he undeniably is one of the first characters that come to mind when you think of Fallout New Vegas. Full of 1920’s lingo and snappy one liners, it’s always a joy to murder him either on the Strip or in Ceaser’s Camp.
However, he’s the star of that opening scene, the one that cemented Obsidian’s place in the hearts of Fallout fans the world over. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve started New Vegas over again and not once have I skipped over this intro.
9. Andrew Ryan
Ah, Andrew Ryan and his capitalism on steroids underwater paradise known as Rapture. I almost felt sorry for Ryan at the very end. He desired freedom, a free market for free men away from the politics and regulations above the waves. Of course, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
By the end, the man was a shell, a husk of his former glory waiting to die amongst the ruins of all he had achieved. Nevertheless, like Benny, he is key to an iconic scene in video game history.
A man chooses, a slave obeys.
8. Orks – Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
The Nemisis System breathed life into Shadow of Mordor’s Orc Captains. Every failure and death leading to these slathering cardboard cuts of villains becoming more and more 3D.
Eventually, you’d reach a point where one Ork could even be considered as possessing a personality. It was always a joy to watch them adapt after I failed one particular approach, seeing them try to better prepare rather than leaving themselves wide open.
7. Vaas – Far Cry 3
Hey, guys remember that other Far Cry 3 villain? The one who the whole plot was supposed to revolve around? Yeah neither do I.
Vaas gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. He’s one of the few known instances of Ubisoft doing something right.
He’s crazy, genuinely crazy and clearly on more drugs than the rest of the island combined. That’s what I love about him though. He’s just different. He’s not all pompous with some huge overarching plan that he waffles on and on about, he’s just insane.
6. Darth Vader – every Star Wars game ever
Do I need to explain this one? It’s Darth Vader. Mr I’ll just force choke and stab anyone who displeases me. He’s the epitome of evil.
‘Oh, you failed? Well I’m afraid I shall have to kill you’ – Probably Darth Vader in one of the trillion games he appears in.
5. The Imperium of Man – Warhammer 40, 000: Dawn of War
There’s nothing quite like Space Nazis in the 41st Milenium. The Imperium of Man is a war mongering race hell bent on the eradication of all xeno life and uniting the universe solely under its rule.
The entire thing is a clusterfuck of bureaucracy jammed into the very worst possible future with technology ground to a standstill and the life of the common man one of constant misery.
So I think it’s fair to call The Imperium the villains, even if the story is based on them.
4. Gandhi – Civilisation
The most warmongering of all leaders in Civilisation, a terror greater than Ghengis Khan, Julius Ceaser and Napoleon Bonaparte put together.
Rumour has it that if you say his name three times while looking into a mirror he appears and promptly nukes your entire empire.
What began life as a bug that caused Gandhi to lurch from 1 to the maximum highest aggression level has remained in future Civilisation games as an easter egg.
To this day, Civ players live in fear of this great and terrible leader. If a random game involves Gandhi in any way most players will simply resign.
The deadpan and dry wit of GLaDOS makes her a beautifully charismatic villain. She’s sadistic as all hell but we love her to death.
Throughout Portal 2 GLaDOS forces the protagonist further and further through the facility, satisfying her own need to perform tests and collect results, all the while making snide comments about the protagonist’s weight and status as an orphan.
It’s the omnipotence of GLaDOS that earns her such a high place on this list, she’s always with us, always there to make some quip or offhand comment in that dry, monotone voice of hers.
2. Handsome Jack
It’s debatable as to whether or not Jack actually belongs on this list. He is, at the end of the day, arguably the hero of Borderlands 2.
While you may not necessarily agree with his methods, his goal was to rid Pandora of the bandits, vault hunters and others who murdered, robbed and generally terrorized the populace and environment. When you think about it, that’s essentially what you’re doing in Borderlands 2.
Like GLaDOS, his omnipotent status is what’s used to best convey his personality. A personality that can be summed up in a single word: dick. Now please pardon by French but it’s precisely accurate. The man does everything he can to come across as smug, self-gratifying and a general pain at all turns.
It’s only when you consider that Jack is ultimately holding up a mirror to the player, do you realise why he’s at our number two spot.
- The Player – Every single RPG ever.
This isn’t some pompous, waffling speech on the morality and philosophy of video games. Nor is it any attempt to lecture you for how you play RPGs or any other game really.
It’s a simple statement.
Nine times out of ten, when the player is given any measure of freedom, they will end up being the villain.
Ben, Yahtzee, Crowshaw has spoken about this in the past, stating it’s an act of rebellion against what we perceive to be the system and I’m inclined to agree.
When we’re given the opportunity to blow up a planet we blow up a planet we do it because who can resist a big red button?
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