It is no doubt that video games have become an essential part of the current popular culture.
Unlike films, however, these games have had a deeper connection with people. For most millennials and Gen-Z, video games are something they grew up with. Therefore, it is not surprising when video game enthusiasts know more than the heroes and main characters: especially villains.
In their defense, video games have either introduced or adapted some of the best villains we have seen. Some of them were so great that they made it to the television and movie screens. So, when we think about the best video games we have had in the past decade or two, we must also think about the best video game villains we have seen.
In this article, we have talked about some of the best video game villains from the past two decades. We did select these 15 best villains based on their unique character, power, and impact on pop culture.
#1 The Joker from Batman Arkham Series
As you know, The Joker is not just one of the best video game villains out there. It is one of the unique characters that popular culture has seen.
Of course, we cannot reduce the presence of the Joker in the video gaming world. Like we have seen in the previous decade, this fantastic villain has made it to the world of TV series, movies, and comics.
The version of the Joker from the Batman Arkham Series requires a unique round of applause if you ask us. The character takes a rather deep psychological approach and alters the storyline as we have never seen before. Therefore, when Arkham Series fans say they have seen the best version of the character, we will have to agree silently.
#2 Alduin from The Elder Scrolls
Some supervillains make our regular video game villains do an introspection. The character of Alduin from The Elder Scrolls series belongs to this group. I mean, we should have some ideas when Alduin is said to be the destroyer of the entire world.
The villain also bears some of the best names any villain could have: the king of Dragons, the God of Destruction, and the World Eater. Those who have played the Elder Scroll would never forget the sound of the meteors and the thunderous sky upon the entry of Alduin.
Considering all this charisma and power, Alduin deserves a spot on our list. For the record, he might have just ruled over Skyrim, but his reputation has crossed multiple worlds.
#3 Edgar Ross from Red Dead Redemption
The Red Dead series has contributed a lot of things to the world of video games. Edgar Ross is one of those things, making him one of the best video game villains in the modern era.
Of course, we see the full power of Edgar Ross in Red Dead Redemption, and he takes a step down as we get to the sequel. Red Dead players do not lie when they say Edgar Ross epitomizes one of the most strange and fearsome forces in our world.
An outright hypocrite, this character takes only a few minutes to gain our hate. And, the hatred itself is a reason why Edgar Ross is on this list. You may have also noticed that the dark humor shown by this chief villain is the top of wickedness.
#4 Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry
The typical description of Vaas Montenegro goes like this: he is the primary antagonist in Far Cry 3 and is the leader of the pirates you see on Rock Island.
However, we firmly believe the description does not say what kind of villain this character is. Some attribute the actions of Vaas Montenegro to mental stability, but it is primarily a kind of reductionism.
There is more to the criminal psyche of the character. Being one of the most charismatic figures in the world of villains, Montenegro talks sadistically about murders and everything. He is also one of those villains that remind us of evil.
#5 Handsome Jack from Borderlands
There are a couple of reasons why villains become as famous as the protagonist of the game. The charisma of the character is one of those options.
However, judging by this standard, we cannot exclude Handsome Jack from Borderlands. Of course, he does not always use the resources for the ultimate good despite the great personality. But then, you will not expect anything more saintly from a villain, will you?
The backstory of Handsome Jack is something you can relate to on a more profound level. We often think the character is popular because of an inner version of humans’ primal tendencies.
#6 Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is one of those RPGs that took the gaming world by a storm. Considering this fact, it is not a surprise that Sephiroth, the evil-filled villain from the game, is hailed as one of the best in video games.
In making Sephiroth one of the best villains we have seen, many things play an essential role. It is worth noting that the game paints him as a powerful entity even though he uses cosmic power as an agent of evil.
While it does not make Sephiroth the most powerful villain in Final Fantasy, you would not forget this character if you have played Final Fantasy VII.
#7 Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid
Some say any discussion regarding the best villains in video games would not be complete without a mention of Revolver Ocelot.
One of the best villains we have seen in the Metal Gear Solid series, Ocelot can impress all of us with his revolver-wielding skills, among others. There are a few reasons why Ocelot remains one of the fan favorites. Probably the biggest reason is that the character remains a mystery even today.
Even when other villains are explained through backstories and even spin-off content, little stuff can explain why Revolver Ocelot does what he does. This mystery could be one reason you would see Ocelot in the many lists to come.
#8 Andrew Ryan from BioShock
If you have played BioShock, you may have several reasons to hate Andrew Ryan. One of the fundamental antagonists in the game, the character acts as the chairman of the Rapture City Council.
Even though Andrew Ryan does not appear in the game as other villains do, his villainous reputation is something you would know while playing BioShock and BioShock 2. He is the villain because of his egomaniac personality and mystery.
As someone who has had a back-to-back failure in running a pathetic utopia, Andrew Ryan does not regret what he does even as he ends the last minutes of his life. It is one scenario where you love how an evil person sticks to his terms.
#9 Alma Wade from F.E.A.R.
First Encounter Assault Recon, better known as FEAR, presents one of the best video game villains we have seen in recent years. Even though the story is built around the supernatural, the game offers a deeper view into how Alma Wade became vengeful as the player would know her.
It is a rather sad story of captivation, sedation, and abuse. It is also worth noting that Alma had to face all these problems because she was special.
As we have seen in other villains, people take a liking towards Alma Wade and even sympathize with her situation — if not her actions. Thanks to all these factors working in tandem, you get a villain that even the most entry-level players would not forget.
#10 Arthas Menethil from Warcraft
As you know, there is no scarcity of great villains in the Warcraft universe. And Arthas Menethil is a name that we cannot ignore at any point.
Also known as the Lich King, the character shares a few traits with the Andrew Ryan character we mentioned earlier. First of all, Arthas Menethil also wanted to build something so good, but he turned evil in the end.
This villain’s path to that of a Death Knight is motivated by something good, but the results are not as impressive as he expected. So, when you play Warcraft, it is tough not to think about what made Arthas Menethil the threat you must face. Once again, you have a rather easy-to-sympathize-with villain here.
#11 GLaDOS from Portal
GLaDOS is another name we cannot ignore while listing one of the best video game villains we have seen so far. As it happens, this supercomputer villain has maintained the reputation even when it comes to platforms other than video games.
Powered by an utterly manipulative personality, GLaDOS will gain your attention from the very first shot when you see her. For one, the Portal game also gives so much importance to the thoughts and actions of this human supercomputer.
Even though she might seem funny and clever, you can never forget the cruelty GLaDOS shows in the game. We believe GLaDOS remains one of the most noticed villains because she denotes a future that we may have soon.
Dracula is one of the classic villains that you would encounter even if you traveled through different eras in games. As you probably know, the character of Dracula does not stay within a single match or series.
With every series, developers and story writers have tried to make this character more charismatic. We see this transition taking another turn with the Castlevania series, though.
The Dark Lord takes a path that can make him as powerful as the Devil, which is no surprise. Unlike other villains, Dracula has stood the test of time because of the powerful backstory.
#13 Zanza from Xenoblade Chronicles
Like many other stories from the same category, Xenoblade Chronicles is filled with rich stories and entertaining content. Therefore, it does not surprise us when we see Zanza emerging as one of the best villains in that territory.
As you can guess from the other villains Zanza shares the place with, there is no debate over how powerful this fantastic villain is.
The story takes us through how Zanza created the monopoly by killing his counterpart and gained the skills to obliterate planets and thus manifest the sadistic adventures. If you can keep up with the storytelling of Xenoblade Chronicles, you would love what Zanza offers as a character.
#14 The Reapers from Mass Effect
We mentioned in the introduction that we had chosen some of the best video game villains based on their power. If we look at things from the same perspective, the Reapers from the Mass Effect games will be a great addition to the list.
These incredibly vast and powerful robots represent the biggest version of evil since they want to destroy everything good about sentient life in the universe. The use of destructive weapons and their persistence are some other characteristics you would love in the game.
Of course, these characters can make you blame yourself, especially when a fleet of the best weapons does not kill them.
#15 Majora from Zelda
If you are into the Zelda universe, you would have looked at Majora with a feeling you had never had before. Despite being simple enough, this evil entity is a reservoir of a lot of cosmic power.
Only a few other characters can destroy planets and mess with realities with the same control that Majora has in this matter. The best part about this villain is that you have a lot to explore.
As you move deeper into the game, you would start encountering the best villainous qualities in the Zelda universe. Therefore, we believe Majora very well deserves a space on this list.
There you have it: the best 15 video game villains from the past few decades. As you have seen, the list has added entries from various eras, representing the growth of video games.
However, even as we have grown used to super-powerful games and other features, these villains will retain their spot in the players’ minds.