Most video games have you playing the role of a hero. Although quite a few games do feature protagonists that don’t fit your stereotypical hero mold, some games do actually let you choose to play your character in a very villain-like matter. Well, at the very least, some of them allow you to make morally questionable decisions. Then there are a few others that will have you play literally as the bad guy. However, regardless of how you play your character in the game, most of the time, you’ll be fighting for the greater good.
With that said, there are also a select few titles that decide to throw a curveball at you and make you believe that you’re playing as the good guy only to make you realize at the end that everything you’ve done throughout the game was for malicious reasons.
Below is a round-up of 6 such games where you end up being the villain. Be warned that this article is filled with spoilers, and since these titles can all be found on PlayStation consoles, make sure to get some PSN Cards if you’re thinking of experiencing the games for yourself!
There’s a good reason why BioShock is widely considered one of the best video games of all time, and it’s because of how it told its story through its seemingly linear and straightforward gameplay.
In the beginning, you feel like you’re just playing as a stereotypical good guy who’s fighting against an oppressive regime. However, later in the game, you’ll find out that you’ve basically been doing everything the bad guy is asking you to because you’ve been mentally conditioned to follow the orders with the trigger words, “Would you kindly?”
By the end of the game, players have no choice but to kill the one man who was actually just trying to help, and in a horrifyingly brutal manner at that.
Succeeding BioShock games would feature their own jaw-dropping plot twists, but none really hits like the first time, as the idea that everything you did in the game was because you were essentially ‘forced’ to do it – and by the game’s villain, no less.
We wouldn’t blame you if you thought that Braid was just another typical indie puzzle platformer. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just that they’re a dime and a dozen and the aesthetics aren’t exactly a standout in the indie market. However, once you do decide to give it a try, you’ll discover two things: innovative gameplay that involves shifting time and that you were the bad guy all along.
You see, the game presents itself in a way that you’re a good guy who’s trying to save a Princess. The only problem is that this isn’t necessarily the case.
Apparently, the entire game is distorted and instead of trying to save the Princess, Tim, the game’s protagonist, is actually desperate to get away from the knight who is trying to kill him while Tim is doing his best to kidnap the Princess. Proof of this disturbing reality lies in the final level where the Princess is constantly above Tim and running as she seemingly opens doors, as well as disable traps for him.
So, yeah, you’re not really playing the Mario to Braid’s Princess Peach, you’re actually Bowser trying to keep her all to yourself.
Shadow of The Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus remains an iconic title that will forever be remembered for how it pushed the original PlayStation 2 to its limits and how it blinded everyone with how it ended.
The story of Shadow of the Colossus goes that you, the player, will control Wander, whose goal is to destroy giants known as the Colossi. In exchange for doing this, the god that these supposedly bad giants are trying to lock up, promises to revive Wander’s girlfriend who’d died prior to the start of the game.
So, all throughout the game, all you have to do is to kill all these majestic and gargantuan monsters. However, as you kill more and more of them, you’ll realize that something is off. They only look monstrous, but they’re not actually monsters. In fact, they look pretty much harmless, which begs the question, why?
Well, here’s the twist: the Colossi are all tethered to the chains that shackle an old and malicious god.
Basically, what you’ve been doing the entire game is trying to free the said deity only for him to possess you and use your body as his vessel. In the end, players will find themselves with arguably one of the most gut-wrenching plot twists in all of gaming and looking for a way to revive all those innocent monsters.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is what we’d like to refer to as a “realistic horror title”. True, it doesn’t look like a horror game at all. It’s more of a standard run-of-the-mill third-person shooter where all you do is take cover, aim, fire, and kill all the bad guys for some unknown reason that’s above your pay grade, but you still do it because you want to save the world. However, as you progress, you’ll find out that the character you’re playing, Captain Walker, is slowly descending into sheer madness.
There are a couple of hints here and there throughout the game of his trip to insanity. The most prevalent moment is also one of the most shocking moments in video game history. Thinking that they were attacked by hostile enemy forces from the 33rd regiment, Walker ordered his team to bombard the location of the said enemies with white phosphorus that literally burns the enemies alive.
The only problem was that there were no hostile enemies. The soldiers weren’t even trying to kill Walker or his crew. They were just there trying to protect the civilians trapped inside the building.
It is at this moment as you witness the horrific sight of innocent people dying is when you realize that you’re not playing the generic hero here. No. You’re the villain and from then on, the way Walker walks, talks, and treats his men changes drastically to the point that you feel bad for playing a guy that’s as tyrannical as he is.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 puts players in the shoes of James, who heads to the titular town in hopes of finding his deceased wife. However, as he sees more and more of his wife’s projection, players realize that James isn’t the grieving widow that he is presented to be. He’s actually the one who killed his own wife.
Everything in the foggy town of Silent Hill 2 is apparently a personal manifestation of his own psyche trying to remind him of the monstrosity that he actually is and all the horrific things that he’s done.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is easily one of the most underrated titles in the Castlevania franchise. The game is a gritty and realistic portrayal of the franchise that has this distinctive flavor that makes it different from any Castlevania game that came before or after it, including its relatively weak sequel.
It’s hard to put the tragedy that befalls the main character, Gabriel Belmont, in so few hours. However, to summarize the events of the game, Gabriel, a servant of God, is being manipulated by Satan himself to go on a quest to revive his own wife who he actually murdered. The quest takes the somber and brooding hero through a literally hellish quest that, by the end of the game, turns him into the most powerful vampire in all of history, Dracula, who now has a bone to pick with God himself.
It’s a criminally underrated game that has a story that’s a lot to wrap your head around, but it’s definitely worth giving it a go if you can get yourself a copy, preferably on PC. You might want to play the sequel while you’re at it as well. This time around, you’re playing as the literal villain, Dracula, as he takes down the fallen archangel, Lucifer.
In an ironic twist, by the end of the game, Dracula ends up being the big evil that keeps everyone else in check and prevents the world from falling into darkness in the process.
And, there you have it. The 6 best games today where you end up being the villain.
If you’re looking to switch things up for a while and play a game that will genuinely shock you (probably not as much now that you know what happened), we definitely recommend giving these 6 games a go.
Even if the shock value is not as high as when you previously didn’t know the twist in these games, it’s still pretty interesting to see how things unravel for yourself. Anyways, do let us know what other games twisted the hero-villain agenda in the comments below!
Passionate writer and certified night owl. Currently drowning in coffee.