Gaming Villains: Why Play the Good Guy?

There are plenty of opportunities in gaming to take up the anti-hero mantle for a change. These characters are inherently flawed, motivated by all the wrong things and yet still able to justify themselves – that takes guts, and we like guts. So check out some of our favourite anti-hero characters and story-lines, along with some epic gaming footage, below…

Grand Theft Auto (2001-present)

It might be commonplace in games today to steal some sweet cars and run over ‘ladies of the night’ but this wasn’t always the case, and for many of us it was GTA which really made these things possible and entertaining. (Man, we’re pretty twisted aren’t we?)  Whichever GTA game you step into, of course you’re going to assume the protagonist’s drive to get the dirty work of that city done; and more importantly done well.

Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

Would you kill tens of initially non-hostile shadowy titans for the one you love? Well sure, maybe, and so you will as Wander in Shadow of the Colossus. In this beautiful, mournful game you will also sport some seriously skewed morals since you probably won’t even question the task at hand until you’re halfway through the poor Colossi population. Shame on you!

Assassin’s Creed (2007-present)

You can’t exactly say that Assassins are ‘good’ (because hey, killing people is bad mmkay) but when you compare them to the increasingly twisted Templars then they’re definitely the lesser of two evils. Also what’s fun in the Assassin’s Creed series isn’t always taking out the targets, it’s the stealth, the eagle diving off buildings, the thrill of the chase across beautiful historical cities and trying out your latest gadgets. However, at the end of the day it typically comes back to a war for the fate of humanity – which let’s face it, you’ve got to fight!

Hitman (2000-present)

Agent 47 is about to make his big screen debut but has been showing up in Hitman games for 15 years now. As a cloned assassin he’s been bred for his deadly purpose so in theory he doesn’t know any better, but once he learns of his origins he does opt back into his lethal calling to use it for good.

Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)

With a name like Shadow it was never going to be rainbows and kittens for Sonic’s arch-rival, and the addition of guns to original Sonic style gameplay was certainly a way to let out the darker side of this childhood classic. In some levels you play as the ‘Hero’ ad help out classic Sonic protagonists, but in others you play as your ‘Dark’ side and help out the villainous Doctor Eggman.

The Last of Us (2013)

20 years of survival are bound to brutalize a man, and anything goes in a post-apocalyptic society so there’s no denying that Joel is an anti-hero as the result of his merciless actions. Perhaps he does save one young girl that he grows attached to in the midst of extinction, but to get to this point he remains blasé about everyone else, and has killed innocent people to get to where he is – so how does that make him any better than the detestable cannibals in the game?

Tom Clancy’s The Division (2016)

Tom Clancy’s The Division sees you become a self-supported tactical agent to help combat the threat of a pandemic virus by any means necessary. You’ll need a team to get things done but when it comes down to it, loot or friends? Your call! From what we’ve seen of gameplay it’s easy to turn on your teammates, but you better watch your own back too.

Wario (1992 – present)

Originally considered to be an outright villain, it’s pretty unfair to say Wario is completely evil – his greed and jealousy just motivate him to do evil things. When he gets his hands on coins he’s actually an amicable guy, and we can relate to that! He is the liberating naughty streak in an otherwise shiny Nintendo gaming canon.

God of War (2005 – present)

Kratos is looking for vengeance and not much stands in your way when you’re a demi-god. His excuse is that he ‘is what the gods have made him’ but he is utterly unremorseful in his actions which often include killing innocent people. A juggernaut of hate, we’re just glad to be stood by his side rather than in his path.

Did we miss any out? Tweet us @Zavvi and let us know who you’d include….

Featured Image Source: Square Enix

Team Zavvi

Team Zavvi


A collection of thoughts, opinions and news from the staff at Zavvi.