In many RPGs with full freedom of choice, you can try on the role of a villain. Here are the games in which the villainous root is best implemented.
Let’s face it, we’re all a bit of a villain at heart. Fortunately, humanity has invented video games in which you can take out all the accumulated aggression. And games, in turn, smoothly moved away from a single template in the style of “become a hero, defeat the forces of evil and save the universe”, allowing gamers to take the dark side in virtual worlds.
The most exciting and interesting story arcs tend to be hidden in villainous routes (and, unfortunately, are almost always considered non-canonical). But on the other hand, they allow you to enjoy destructive fun and look at history from a completely different angle, which is usually not available to noble heroes. In some RPGs, roleplaying a villain is just a nice, if not necessary, addition to an already finished story, while in others, the villainous root plays a key role in understanding the global plot.
In fact, any part of Fallout could have been included in this collection, but we decided to focus on Fallout 3, which is often called the best game in the series. Here, as in any Fallout, you can play a notorious villain, but since Fallout 3 is made in dark colors, such a role-playing quickly takes a harsh turn. The fact is that in one of the first missions you can destroy an entire city with a nuclear bomb. Not every villain will do this …
Sadly, Fallout 3’s villainous root doesn’t have much of an impact on the main story. Nevertheless, it is worth going through it at least in order to see what the authors have prepared for us (spoiler: the ability to deceive everyone we meet and enslave entire settlements).
All three parts of Fable have their advantages and disadvantages, but the original of 2004 turned out to be the most successful in the franchise. He set new standards for the genre, giving players unprecedented freedom and allowing them to take the side of good or take the path of evil. In the second case, the appearance of the protagonist also changed – he turned into a demonic creature with horns.
The moral choices in Fable didn’t have any serious consequences, so it looks dated by modern standards. But it was still fun to play the villain in it, because the game did not punish this way of passing in any way. Here you could get drunk and flirt with everyone, while saving the world. The villainous Root in Fable is a fun and hilarious adventure that is much less dark than the other games, but that’s the thing.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines forces players to constantly balance on the brink of good and evil for the sake of survival. The main character needs to periodically drink blood, while losing his humanity, but trying to suppress his bestial essence.
Because of these internal struggles, presented as gameplay mechanics, the temptation to go to the dark side is quite high. After all, why be kind when you can play the classic vampire who drinks every last drop of blood from his victims? Despite a bunch of bugs, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines attracts with its unusual setting. After all, where else can you get used to the role of a modern bloodsucker?
Back in the 90s, Black Isle Studios created one of the greatest and darkest RPGs in the history of the genre. In the game, executed according to the rules of Dungeons & Dragons, it was decided to abandon heroes and vivid landscapes in favor of a dull and joyless underworld. Since Planescape: Torment is philosophical, the evil is presented here so terrible that after the passage you will probably want to return to playing typical heroes.
The protagonist in Planescape: Torment can adhere to one of many worldviews and be, for example, law-abiding evil – that is, act straightforwardly and refuse to be unpredictable. It is thanks to the complex morale system and the outstanding script that Planescape is considered the golden classic of the genre, although the combat system in it is hopelessly outdated.
Mass Effect Trilogy
The creators of Mass Effect took the idea of universe-wide choices and woven it into a complex yet compelling storyline that spans a massive trilogy of games. And if during the passage you follow the path of the apostate, then Commander Shepard will look not so much a hero as a threat to the galaxy.
The ramifications of your choices can be seen in one of several endings in the Mass Effect 3 finale. If you have steadfastly followed the path of a renegade, then the galaxy is in for dire change. However, the journey itself is much more important than the destination, and the series is loved, among other things, for the opportunity to observe how even minor actions affect the characters and the world around Shepard.
The Outer Worlds
The creators of The Outer Worlds took everything that worked beautifully in Fallout, diluted it with wit, interesting characters and retro style, which resulted in a memorable cosmo opera. Unlike many open world games, any NPC can be killed in The Outer Worlds, even those that issue quests.
The protagonist of The Outer Worlds can humiliate his allies, destroy other people’s businesses and just be a villain who is shunned by the inhabitants of the entire galaxy. This means that he will have to travel alone, depriving himself of many good side quests. Not the biggest price to pay for the ability to wreak havoc on a cosmic scale.
And although Skyrim does not have a moral system as such, it is still possible to make villainous decisions in it. For a start, it’s enough just to join the most hated faction for the NPCs to start mistrusting you too. And then it’s time to release your inner villain outside, completing quests in the most inhumane way. And as the Dragonborn grows stronger, his actions smoothly lead to the destruction of the whole kingdom.
Skyrim gives players incredible freedom of action, so when playing the villain, you can also use your imagination. For example, ignore certain missions that could potentially harm your villainous storyline. And this is just one of the many interesting nuances in this large-scale game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
In The Witcher 3, you often have to make decisions based on gray morals, and in many cases this leads to unpleasant consequences. You can ignore certain quests and characters, turning a blind eye to their fate and knowing full well what dire consequences await them. And although Geralt is not endowed with power, he is inextricably linked with many heroes, and the life (or death) of influential people, as well as ordinary peasants, depends only on his actions.
Interestingly, during the first playthrough, it is not always clear what Geralt’s next decision will lead to, and that is why it is easy for him to empathize, even when the witcher’s actions cause nightmarish results. Without realizing it, you can act out the role of the most destructive form of evil – a good Samaritan with pure thoughts, who is his own naivety. plunges the world around him into chaos.
Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic (KOTOR) focuses on the classic battle between good and evil (Jedi and Sith). And you have to balance between the dark and light sides of the Force, choosing one of the many paths of passage, and many of your decisions will certainly shock even Emperor Palpatine himself.
KOTOR was one of the first projects in which gamers were finally allowed to play an active role in the universe familiar from childhood. Here you could easily bring your old fantasies to life by choosing one of the camps of intergalactic conflict and plunging headlong into your beloved universe.
This is a completely unique game that simply cannot be compared with anything. She gracefully turns the conventional RPG conventions upside down: for example, typical actions for the genre (killing all opponents in your path) add up to the villain’s route (aka the path of genocide). The fact is that enemies in the game, according to the author’s idea, can and should be spared in order to open a good ending.
Undertale does not end after the first passage: if, for example, after the path of a pacifist, you follow the path of genocide, you will find completely new dialogues and changes in the world around you. And between the lines in Undertale, there are serious questions about the morality of video games and the appropriateness of playing a villain for fun. This way, even after the end credits, you will have something to think about.
Unlike many RPGs, where the villain’s path is only one of the options, Tyranny from Obsidian Entertainment presents us with a fact from the very beginning: evil has already won. You have to work for a sinister corporation whose methods are not very different from those of today’s large companies. You can control the population in one of two ways: by instilling terror in the people, or by gaining their trust.
Your decisions directly affect the plot, as well as the fighting skills of your soldiers, and it looks surprisingly fresh and creative. Tyranny gets rid of the usual patterns and allows you to disperse to the fullest in a world in which fairly realistic evil flourishes. And if you have always been interested in looking at the structure of such a world, then Tyranny is the perfect option for you.
Evil Genius 2
Evil Genius 2 is, rather, a simulator with management elements, but RPG mechanics have not been forgotten in it either. The game has a non-linear storyline with several lines, and also makes a noticeable emphasis on pumping your base and your wards. And Evil Genius 2 was inspired by the obviously classic villains from spy films – to better capture the mood of the game, imagine the mixture of Blofeld’s team from the Bond movie with the grotesque “Dictator”.
You have to command your henchmen, build bases and catch annoying spies in order to eventually conquer the world with the help of cunning doomsday weapons. Of course, the game is not perfect (many side quests and overly complicated menus raise a number of questions), but the pros of Evil Genius 2 outweigh all its disadvantages. If you have long dreamed of being in the place of a villain who gives orders to henchmen and lures spies to the casino, then you definitely should not pass by Evil Genius 2.