5 best video game villains of 2023

Great video game villains in 2023 (image by Square Enix)
There are many great video game villains in 2023 (Image via Square Enix)

Storytelling in video games has come a long way in the last couple of decades, with modern titles shifting towards a more narrative approach when it comes to design. Rivaling some of the best films and TV series made, video games can surprise, entertain, and intrigue anyone who engages with them.

One of the reasons behind the success of video games is their focus on character development. Players are heavily invested in the stories and arcs of their favorite characters, including villains.

While we have seen some great video game villains over the years, this article takes a look at some of the year's best ones and what made them so evil.

Note: This list is subjective and solely reflects the opinions of the writer

Who are the best video game villains in 2023?

1) Ultima (Final Fantasy XVI)


Final Fantasy XVI is the newest installment in Square Enix's video game franchise. Branching out from existing IP, the developer dives deep into a darker, moodier form of storytelling that feels refreshing for a Final Fantasy title.

Keeping in line with its roots, Final Fantasy XVI is easily one of the best video games to play on the PlayStation 5.

Ultima, the final boss of the main story in Final Fantasy XVI, is a god-like being who is cold, heartless, and manipulative. He is behind all of the strife that plagues the land. To add to his villainy, he speaks in the third person.

2) Kraven the Hunter (Marvel's Spider-Man 2)


Kraven from the Spider-Man comic books is easily one of the toughest foes that the web-slinger has had to face. Kraven is ruthless, efficient, and calculating. A hunter by profession, he stalks big-game prey and takes pride in his trophies.

Kraven in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 shares almost all of the above character traits. As fans are not accustomed to seeing Kraven outside of printed comics, it is incredibly nice to witness another one of the great Spidey villains getting their spotlight on the big stage.

There might be other villains in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, but Kraven is just top-notch.

3) Enver Gortash (Baldur's Gate 3)

False-Lord of Baldur's Gate (Image via Larian Studios)
False-Lord of Baldur's Gate (Image via Larian Studios)

Baldur's Gate 3 exceeded everyone's expectations and is a sure-fire nominee for the 2023 Game of The Year. The game is exceptionally well-made and boasts an expansive world that almost feels like it doesn't end.

Baldur's Gate 3 has some iconic characters, one of them being Enver Gortash. The Act 3 villain is one of the three main antagonists that are controlling the Elder Brain. He plans on using his cult of followers to invade all of Faerun and is as manipulative as they come. His silver tongue can turn many to his side, and players are advised to keep their wits sharp around him.

4) Ketheric Thorm (Baldur's Gate 3)

Ketheric Thorm in Baldur's Gate 3 (Image via Larian Studios)
Ketheric Thorm in Baldur's Gate 3 (Image via Larian Studios)

Act 2 in Baldur's Gate 3 builds upon the rock-solid foundation of the first one and catapults it into the stratosphere. Act 2 opens up the game and pits players against harder foes, tougher encounters, and more memorable characters.

The villain of Act 2 is Ketheric Thorm, who presides over a blighted land controlling a massive army of the Absolute. Voiced by actor J.K. Simmons, Ketheric Thorm is menacing, wrathful, and a terrifying foe to go up against. His army of followers obeys his every command, and he is a motivated commander who will see his goals through to the end.

5) V.II Snail (Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon)

The Vesper's No. 2 (Image via Reddit user u/count15)
The Vesper's No. 2 (Image via Reddit user u/count15)

The last Armored Core game was released for the PlayStation 3, and almost a decade later, From Software has come back to the franchise that they first started off with.

In Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, V.II Snail is the deputy leader of the Arquebus Vesper Squad. He can be best described as the embodiment of the corporation itself. His tone towards the player is always hostile, and he looks down on everyone, including his own squad members.

Willing to sacrifice anyone to meet his goals, V.II Snail is a calculating, vengeful personality that adds a lot of depth to Armored Core 6.

Villains and antagonists in video games continue to evolve, and fans can rest easy knowing that they will always bring excitement.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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