Sometimes, it’s just good to be bad. I’m one who constantly finds himself on the darker side of the line, often preferring beautifully written villains to the moral knights that strut through the battlefield, emerging from the dust and debris with the princess under one arm.
It doesn’t take much to stand out from the faceless terrorist threats from most war games these days. Go on, name Battlefield 3’s bad dude. Can’t do it, can you?
These are just some of this generation’s villains that are just too hard to hate. The ones you can’t help but love, leaving you crossing your fingers that they might make it through to a sequel, living to unnerve heroes again on another day.
5Gary Smith (Bully: Scholarship Edition)
If you ask me, Bully is one of Rockstar’s most underrated titles. It’s always Red Dead this, Grand Theft that but the tale of Jimmy Hopkins’ turbulent ride through Bullworth Academy never gets the kudos it deserves. The same can be said of Gary Smith, Jimmy’s one-time friend and full-time sociopath.
He’s Bullworth’s resident problem child as his reputation across campus—faculty included—doesn’t exactly place him on the honour role. He befriends Jimmy and shows him around the school, even informing him of his plans to takeover. But after a stint off his meds, paranoia sets in and Jimmy is betrayed.
Hopkins is a bad kid, sure, but I’m convinced Bully was named after its antagonist. He dresses up as a Nazi for Bullworth’s Halloween festivities for crying out loud. He’s off the rails, but to hell with it.
4Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)
So I am the bandit and he is the god damned hero? He’s as narcissistic as they come! I’m talking about Handsome Jack, ladies and gentlemen. It’s bad enough that he enslaved Pandora under a brutal dictatorship and stole credit for finding the infamous Vault, but that Hyperion moon base of his is an eyesore.
Insensitivity is Jack‘s home run swing as he frequently suggests for you to kill yourself, tells unfortunate looking people that they appear to have headbutted a belt sander and even belatedly mocks the death of a beloved character by fetching a violin to play a memorial tune, in E. Cruel intentions? Ihave no doubt. But hilarious enough to make you doubt your own moral compass? Guaranteed.
But despite all that, he does have a diamond pony named Butt Stallion, has a keen interest in double rainbows, and seems to dislike Tiny Tina at least as much as I do, so that shifts the ledger back his way just a little bit.
3The Joker (Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City)
Despite being Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill’s best work of late has been done from behind the microphone. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s long-time nemesis and asylum regular, The Joker, has been among his finest roles.
In his apparent final hurrah as The Joker, Hamill’s comical, dark and desperate performance as the ailing Clown Prince of Crime brought chills on more than one occasion. Slowly, the disease ate away at The Joker but through it all and until his final gasp, he wore that creepy blood-red grin.
An anarchist at heart, The Joker’s sole purpose is unleashing chaos on Gotham and pushing Batman’s moral code to the brink. In many ways, their to and fro acted as sustenance for them both. In what was popular culture’s most twisted relationship, they gave each other purpose.
2Sander Cohen (BioShock)
As Atlas says, he’s seen a lot of cutthroats in his life, but Cohen? “He’s a real lunatic, a real dyed-in-the-wool psychopath.”
Artists can be a temperamental bunch, and Cohen is no exception to the rule. Within moments of arriving in Fort Frolic, BioShock’s hero Jack is invited to hear Cohen’s masterpiece in the Fleet Hall. Plastered to a piano, rigged with explosives plays hostage Kyle Fitzpatrick whose failed attempts to realize Cohen’s work sees him light up in a cacophonous boom.
Cohen orders Jack to capture the moment on camera to begin his twisted new project, his Quadtych. Compliant, Jack sets off to murder Cohen’s remaining proteges in the hopes of escaping Fort Frolic. As the piece nears completion, Cohen’s paranoia flares up as his Splicers descend upon Jack. A lone spotlight lights the dim arena as Jack fights the ravenous horde off to “Waltz of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky.
It’s truly one of the game’s most exquisitely deranged performances.
1Mr. Scratch (Alan Wake)
After that abhorrent film with Drew Barrymore, I’d given up hope that doppelgängers could do anything right. But while Alan Wake slaved away at his typewriter at the bottom of Cauldron Lake, it is implied that Mr. Scratch, whose true purpose remains a mystery, took his place in Bright Falls. After Alan Wake abruptly ended and the downloadable content explained very little, American Nightmare released as a kind of standalone game; again, adding nothing to the main narrative.
But thanks to Mr. Scratch, it was a memorable frolic through Wake’s Night Springs inspired dreamscape. Oddly enough, it wasn’t even Mr. Scratch’s in-game gags that made him such a lovable source of evil. Remedy Entertainment proved themselves to be kings of promotion in the lead up to American Nightmare. Trailers featuring Ilkka Villi, the live-action Wake and Mr. Scratch, emerged as the warped, Patrick Bateman style snuff film unravelled.
He even found time to entertain the team down at Remedy; there were no survivors.
Thats our list, but what are some of your favourite villains this generation? As always, let us know by commenting below!