My Top 3 Video Game Villains

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Randy "Ren" Wagstaff, Entertainment Reporter

Genre and difficulty are things that have helped make video games for many decades, but within half of that time, story and in-depth characters have been another factor into making a video game feel magical. Many people point out the main characters or side characters that get a chance to have a connection with the player, but not many people actually think about the villains in these games.

I have decided to make a list of villain and rogue characters and describe how much they’ve made an impact on me. This article will contain spoilers for the following games.

Sephiroth: Final Fantasy VII

Before the events of the Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth was considered a hero by everyone. One day, Sephiroth and the main character, Cloud, have a mission in Nibelheim, Cloud’s home. Sephiroth questioned Cloud how it felt to have a place to call home and began to question himself.

Later on, he finds out about how he was created, mixing his mother with the cells of a monster experiment named Jenova. After learning about his past, his heart quickly changes as he burns the town of Nibelheim.

Five years later, Cloud and his crew pursue Sephiroth for obtaining a spell to cast a meteor to crash into Earth, and for killing Aerith, one of the important party members who’s the last of her race, the Cetra.

What makes Sephiroth a great villain in my eyes is that not only did he have a reputation before when he was considered a hero, but the main character, Cloud, had a connection with Sephiroth.

Sephiroth is considered to be one of, if not, the most iconic villains in video games, especially in Japan, and I couldn’t agree more.

 

Jin: Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Not only does Jin look like Sephiroth, but he has a similar background.. And appearance.

In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, there is this specific relationship between drivers and blades. Blades are sentient beings similar to humans, except blades have significantly longer lifespan, but they are in a form called core crystals when they don’t have a driver.

Drivers have the ability to unlock those blades from the core crystals, as the blades give the driver a weapon and become a shield for the driver. It makes more sense in game, I promise.

500 years before the events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Jin was the blade of a woman named Lora, serving her since she was young. Whenever a driver dies, the blade returns to their core crystal and loses all of their memories.

When Lora dies, Jin mixes her cells into his body so he doesn’t return into his core crystal, but since blades have eternal life, until they become titans thousands of years later and die of age, he lives and adapts to normal human lifestyles with the power of a blade for 500 years until the main events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

The main character, Rex, becomes the driver of the most powerful blade, named Pyra. Throughout the story, they meet new party members and confront Jin’s team, Torna, named after the country that was destroyed, as well as Jin and Lora’s home country.

What I love about Jin is that you still get to see his perspective in the story. Every character in this game, whether they’re a hero or villain, has some incredible character development.

Jin learns a lot from Rex, even though Rex wasn’t there to watch Jin’s life fall apart, and I feel that this was the most satisfying part of the entire game for me, because even though Jin has killed a lot of characters in the main story, he still has heart in him. One particular moment was when Jin killed Haze, Lora’s second blade, because Haze lost her memories and was being controlled.

What made this moment important was that Haze had a very similar look to Lora, and both died in his arms. Even though Jin knew what he’s been doing all these years, he still regretted his decisions.

This game’s strongest asset is the game’s writing and it works effectively for Jin, especially near the end of the game. Rex helps him realize the reason for blades’ existence, saying that if one driver can’t help that blade, then another driver will.

Jin soon after sacrifices his life near the end of the game so that Rex and his group can finish their journey. Jin isn’t even the final boss, but what I love about Jin is that he still has heart left in him.

 

Goro Akechi: Persona 5

Goro Akechi is a very interesting character that I’ve picked because he’s more of a rogue than a villain.

Persona 5 is one of the only games to have a calendar system into their story as the game starts in April and ends in December (ends in early February in Persona 5 Royal). The main character, Joker, meets Akechi on June 9th.

Goro Akechi claims himself to be an ace detective, being interviewed multiple times by literally the same TV station the entire game.

At this point of the game, the Phantom Thieves, the main character’s team, make criminals confess their deepest secrets, whether it would be sexual harassment or abuse.

Many people in Japan praised the Phantom Thieves at first because they’ve been exposing criminals and forcing them to turn themselves in, but the country begins to split opinions after Akechi’s first interview that, very ironically, had Joker in the interview.

Throughout the game, Akechi has a growing connection with Joker, venting to him about how his mother died after he was born and how he was adopted several times. He also becomes frustrated that the Phantom Thieves have grown in popularity after each target throughout the story.

One of the targets was killed by a mysterious man immediately after the phantom thieves left the scene in early October, decreasing their fame as Japan becomes very worried.

After this event, Akechi confronts the Phantom Thieves together, showing them he had proof of the Phantom Thieves identities. Akechi then blackmails them, having Akechi join them to take down a specific target.

Near the end of November, after they take down the target, they all separate as they’re being ambushed by police. Joker is the only one who gets kidnapped, and Joker’s fate would be determined by certain commands you do.

Akechi reveals to Joker that he’s the mysterious murderer and kills Joker. If the player makes the right decisions before that, then Joker easily fakes his death and you can continue the game. If the player makes the wrong decisions, Joker dies and the credits roll.

Continuing the game, the Phantom Thieves once again confront Akechi on what the Phantom Thieves think is their final mission. He reveals that he is the son of the prime minister, the Phantom Thieves target, as well as the man who gets Joker arrested before the game’s main story.

After defeating Akechi, he admits that he committed crimes for years and solved them himself and saying people will find out his past deductions were just charade, as his fame and trust will vanish.

The reason Akechi teamed up with his father is because he wanted to take down the phantom thieves, to get revenge on his father, and to feel special to someone.

The Phantom Thieves admit that Akechi was stronger than all of them and they were frustrated at how perfect they all thought he was and sympathized with him, even the one member whose father was murdered by Akechi.

Once they open arms and invite Akechi back to the group, he sacrifices himself to help the phantom thieves survive, begging Joker to get revenge on his father.

In the original Persona 5, Akechi dies in that moment, but in Persona 5 Royal, you have a chance of keeping him alive and he rejoins the group.

What I love about Akechi is the way he opens up to Joker throughout the entire game and even sacrifices himself to help Joker survive. He is playable in both games, but only temporarily in the original.

His voice actor Robbie Daymond helped me realize the importance of voice acting as he gave a phenomenal performance from start to finish. Playing this game felt emotional for me because most of the characters in this game are fantastic and make the game feel alive, taking hundreds of hours away from your life and it’s worth every second of it for me.

Ever since I was young, I thought every game would be either for kids like Mario or bland and mature like Call of Duty, but in my early teens, I started opening up to even more games and found that a game’s purpose isn’t just making people laugh and have a good time, but games have the ability to have the player connect to it and learn from it, whether it’s the main characters, the story, the music, or, for me, the villains.

These games have made an incredible impact on my life and I don’t regret the way I turned out because if I didn’t have these games with life learning lessons, I’d most likely be in even worse conditions.

The strongest point in a game for me is the villains because I find them the easiest to connect to. An example is Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles as he was made to be perfect, while characters like Akechi, Jin, and Sephiroth wished they were perfect.

Well written villains are what I look forward to in a game because spending so much time playing one game to make it to that one part of the story feels so rewarding and satisfying every time.