The 8 Best Video Game Villains From RPGs

No other game genre has as much fun with enemy diversity as RPGs, and that goes for their major antagonists as well. The dialogue-heavy nature of roleplaying games leaves developers lots of room to create villains with more interesting motivations than just “I want to kill everyone/rule the world/whatever.” And now, we’re gonna give these devils their due — here are the best RPG video game villains:

Ultros, Final Fantasy VI/III


Listen, I know the obvious selection form this game is Kefka, and that’s because he’s one of the greatest villains in video game history (the guy destroys the world, for God’s sake). But I didn’t want to just go the obvious route, so here we are, talking about Ultros the octobus, a recurring villain who you fight… I want to say… a half dozen times? While not the symbol of pure murderous insanity that is Kefka, Ultros is a just as solid villain archetype — the boob. From laughing at his bad jokes during battle to sabotaging himself to coming back for more, Ultros is the Wile E. Coyote of the Final Fantasy universe, and I don’t think the games have had a character like this ever since.

Wiegraf, Final Fantasy Tactics


First, the fight with Wiegraf is one of the most difficult RPG battles I’ve ever had to get through. He’s just that hard. And it’s not like he’s an incredibly formidable enemy — Wiegraf’s story is one of a reasonable man trying to stick to his principles in the name of justice, who loses his way and descends into evil. He starts off as a “terrorist”, but one whose mission is to free the common people of Ivalice from the nobility’s oppression. And Wiegraf doesn’t pillage or kidnap or resort to any of the more unseemly elements of a revolutionary force. He even executes one of his own men for kidnapping someone. That’s why it’s kind of depressing that he dies a hideously transformed zodiac monster, appropriately representing his own tumble from his once lofty ideals.

Lucas Blight, Suikoden II


In the mold of Kefka, only much less supernaturally powerful, Lucas Blight is a psychotic warlord who seems to enjoy murdering people, and not just on the battlefield. Suikoden II has a great storyline, and so much of it is driven by the feeling that Lucas Blight is such a truly evil character, there’s a real need to make sure his armies are stopped. And like Wiegraf, he’s a hard as hell boss battle.

Darth Malak, Knights Of The Old Republic


Sure, Darth Malak suffers a little bit from being the “lite” version of Darth Vader, but look at it this way; being the lite version of one of the greatest villains in all media means you’re still a pretty damn good villain. And the discovery that he’s the former apprentice of the amnesiac main character is huge, since it means that this entire time you’d been playing as one of the most sinister and powerful Sith lords in the galaxy.

The Turks, Final Fantasy VII

Again, I know; Sephiroth is the OBVIOUS choice for best villain in Final Fantasy VII. Hell, a lot of people think he’s one of the best villains in any video game ever. I, however, am in the minority, believing Sephiroth to be a good villain, but not a great one. First, all the stuff about the ancients and Mother in the game is… kind of confusing. And Sephiroth’s decent into cold, murderous villainy just happens so quickly, and he becomes kind of a flat character. He actually has some personality in the flashback sequences, and it really goes out the window once he breaks bad. His final form does have one of the best bad guy themes ever though.

So, all that to say, I like The Turks in Final Fantasy VII better than Sephiroth because all of them are interesting characters, they wear suits, and have a cool theme. Plus, they have a bit of that Ultros “constantly failing to defeat the heroes” thing going on.

The Illusive Man, Mass Effect Trilogy


First, being voiced by Martin Sheen is a huge get. Second, the Mass Effect series builds a fascinating dynamic with the Illusive Man — after battling his forces in Mass Effect, the guy ends up bringing you back to life and funding your efforts in Mass Effect 2, before going right back to being a villain in Mass Effect 3. I mean, the guy is an intergalactic equivalent of a white supremacist, so it’s nice that you don’t spend TOO MUCH time allied with him. He’s cold and calculated, and brings to mind great characters from other media such as the Smoking Man in The X-Files — not a villain you’d typically see in RPGs.

Loghain, Dragon Age: Origins


Ah Loghain, you arrogant dink. So sure you were that the evil approaching the land was a lie perpetrated by the hated Orlesians so they could retake control of the kingdom, you actually let the king die, and then assumed control of the kingdom yourself. Of course, Loghain remains something of a principled man through it all, and once he realizes he was terribly wrong, he begrudgingly accepts your offer to join the party so that he can be the one who will be sacrificed to kill the Arch Demon. That’s a hell of a journey (you can also just execute him before that, but then that annoying Allistair doesn’t end up a sad drunk in later installments).

Smithy, Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars


A mechanical clock man who manufactures sentient weapons to make the Mushroom Kingdom a land where wishes cannot come true is a pretty bad ass villain, if you ask me.

I clearly have a thing about war heroes who fall from grace in my RPGs. Who’s your favorite? Let us know on Twitter!

Will Weldon
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