Excellent villains form compelling storylines and make it worthwhile for players to reach their end goal in a game. They can come in many forms and are notable through the outstanding performances delivered by the actors portraying them. Villains are especially fearsome and disturbing when a sense of realism is attached to them.
That becomes the case when the game’s villain models the characteristics of a tyrant. There have been many atrocious and horribly repugnant leaders serving as the primary antagonist in video games, and there’s no better feeling than being the one to take them down in the end.
10 Frank Fontaine – BioShock
BioShock takes place in the sprawling underwater city of Rapture, created by Andrew Ryan as a utopia safeguarded from communism where art and science thrive. Frank Fontaine, a crime boss who manufactures the genetic enhancement drug ADAM, tries to seize power from Ryan in any way he can, even initiating war in Rapture.
Eventually, he succeeds in killing Andrew Ryan by manipulating you into doing it. In the final confrontation, Fontaine undergoes horrifying mutations due to an overload of ADAM, presenting a challenge to defeat him but a fulfilling one to finally bring his evil schemes to an end.
9 Admiral Kotch – Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Admiral Salen Kotch is the primary antagonist in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare campaign. He’s the totalitarian ruler of the Settlement Defense Front (SDF), a Mars-based political faction that’s extremely anti-democratic and aims to gain control of the entire solar system.
Right from your first encounter with the Admiral on Europa, you witness how cruel and cold he can be. When you plead with Kotch for medical attention for your men, he, in turn, shoots his soldier and says, “Care clouds judgment.” In a last-ditch effort during the finale, Kotch attempts to explode his colossal ship and take Geneva with him, but you eliminate him just in time.
8 Khotun Khan – Ghost Of Tsushima
This foul Mongol conquerer who laid siege to Tsushima, Kohtun Khan, offers no respect toward the samurai or Japanese traditions. He dispatches men to do his bidding by killing those who disrupt his reign and spits in the face of samurai traditions. One example would be when he faces a samurai challenger in combat and cheats by tossing a torch at him to set him on fire and then decapitates him.
Khotun Khan is a cruel figure who purposefully studied all there is to Japanese culture only to use it against the people and manipulate faction leaders into bending to his will. He’s the fictional grandson of the historical Genghis Khan and demonstrates that same wrath. It was a righteous moment for Jin Sakai to defeat him and his reign of terror.
7 Vitalis Bénévent – A Plague Tale: Innocence
In A Plague Tale: Innocence, Vitalis Bénévent is the Grand Inquisitor during the Bite plague of 1348. He views himself as a Saint seeking a miracle curse, Prima Macula, that can help him reinvent the world and take control of the rat-borne disease. The Prima Macula flows inside a small boy, Hugo de Rune, and Vitalis would stop at nothing to see him captured and exploited.
Vitalis’ rogue actions and obsession with Hugo de Rune cause him to go to extreme lengths, such as imprisoning and torturing the boy’s mother, Béatrice de Rune, for bait. He’s excommunicated from the Catholic Church and labeled a vile heretic, but it only empowers him further. He meets a very satisfying end in the final boss battle, where Hugo and his sister use the rats against him and rescue their mother.
6 Handsome Jack – Borderlands 2
With a name like Handsome Jack, there’s no way that can be a villain. Wrong! He’s one of the most backstabbing and narcissistic villains to exist in Borderlands and gaming history. Handsome Jack murders his way into becoming president of the Hyperion Corporation and a dictator of Pandora by default. He rules with a God complex and an iron fist and gets enjoyment from tormenting and killing others, even Hyperion employees.
He’s even viler than Vitalis since he exploits his own daughter Angel’s powers by imprisoning her within the communications network of Hyperion. Jack forces her to carry out his manipulations for his own self-interests with vault hunters. He’s a master propagandist and paints himself as a hero, but the citizens of Pandora reveled in his loss.
5 Scabrous Scrotus – Mad Max
Mad Max is always about who reigns supreme in the Wasteland, and in the game, it’s the warlord Scabrous Scrotus, a son of Immortan Joe, who was the main villain in Fury Road. Although the name seems funny, he’s one of the most menacing rulers the Wastelands ever had, motivated by his greed and drive to terrorize all those entering Gas Town.
Scrotus is an incredibly vile leader, downright inhuman. Aside from leaving Max for dead and stealing his car, and later slaughtering the only woman and child Max grew to love just to inflict pain, he also abuses animals. So when that inevitable final battle between him and Max came, he justly got what was coming to him.
4 General Di Ravello – Just Cause 3
General Sebastiano Di Ravello is the wicked dictator of Medici who’s eager for world domination. He demonstrates just how feared he is the moment he’s introduced. Di Ravello is enraged with losing territory, so he hands the lead officer a gun, who then shoots himself instantly. After, he orders an entire city to be leveled to the ground, all to attract the attention of his enemy, Rico Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is an operative with the rebel opposition trying to take down Di Ravello and bring Medici back its freedom. Eventually, their efforts cause the General to flee in a helicopter, which you must take down in the final fight. He can then be shot or thrown into lava, a symbolic end for him.
3 Pagan Min – Far Cry 4
Far Cry strives to include some of the most sadistic villains. Pagan Min is the autocratic ruler of Kyrat, a fictional region in the Himalayas. The moment you meet him, Min puts his barbarism on full display. He repeatedly stabs a soldier who shot at a bus when his orders were to stop it. Afterward, he complains about all the blood on his shoes and takes a selfie with you.
Pagan’s tone is also very erratic and unpredictable, adding to his intimidating demeanor. However, he’s very forgiving and friendly toward you even though you’re part of the Golden Path resistance. You get many opportunities to kill him regardless, and most players choose the option because it’s still a Far Cry game, and he’s an utterly repulsive man.
2 Antón Castillo – Far Cry 6
Antón Castillo is another example of the bloodthirstiness and cruelty of Far Cry villains. He’s a far more oppressive and ruthless dictator who governs Yara, a fictional Caribbean country. Castillo forcefully drafts Yarans to cultivate tobacco plants treated with harsh chemicals that poison them but will have them killed regardless if they don’t comply.
He’s also no stranger to ordering public executions and gunning down detainees. Most sickening, he mentors his son, Diego, to adopt his ways by asking him to shoot prisoners and be a witness to their torture. It was true justice to see how Antón met his end.
1 Irene Engel – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
If there’s a despot to despise even worse than Hitler in the Wolfenstein Universe, it’s Frau Irene Engel. She has been a merciless menace since The New Order and has now risen to the highest rank of Obergruppenführer. Engel is a vicious antagonist responsible for decades of monstrous atrocities and now hunts the resistance known as the Kreisau Circle.
She is an extreme racist and most overzealous follower of the Nazi ideology. She even admitted to wanting her own daughter killed for being overweight and failing to behead a resistance leader when ordered because it shows weakness. It was an uproarious moment when you ambush her during her interview and gruesomely go to town with an axe.