They say everybody possesses evil in one form or another, regardless of how bright certain actions sparkle. It's also a known thing, how someone can see a hero, whereas another can only see a cold-hearted villain and nothing more. Swings and roundabouts, I guess — but hopefully you understand what I'm trying to say. People perceive evil in many different ways. Some sympathize with it, and some simply choose to banish it. But it's the former that interests us, when we find ourselves somehow connecting with the ones we're fighting to eliminate.
It's often moulded into our brains these days — especially in video games. A bad guy does something bad, and the good guy swoops along and cleans up the mess. Cue the credits, yada yada yada. But what about when we actually feel obliged to hear them out? What about when they actually have a point, and their motives are blown well out of proportion by others? It's definitely happened. On a few occasions, actually. On these five, more specifically.
5. King Logan (Fable 3)
I'll be the first to say that anybody who forces you to put either your partner or a couple of helpless villagers forward to be mindlessly executed is, and always will be, an absolute monster. Unfortunately, that's exactly how King Logan, our protagonist's own brother, introduced himself as the ruler of Albion in Fable 3. And it was because of that, as well as his strict regime, that we could kind of see why we were meant to overthrow him from the throne.
Fast-forward a vast pilgrimage across Albion, and we finally found ourselves crowned as the rightful King of Queen. And then, of course, the lofty news was suddenly slumped down on us. Albion was basically destined to fall, and if we didn't act harshly to those around us (like Logan, funnily enough) — then we would ultimately fail. So, it actually turned out, to our absolute surprise, that Logan was on the right track the entire time. I guess, in ways, he just didn't help himself by making rash decisions to execute civilians along the way.
4. Nathan (Beyond: Two Souls)
The second we clocked Willem Defoe in Beyond: Two Souls, we immediately had this sketchy feeling, almost as if his soothing voice was a mere disguise for something much, much darker. And yet, as not only a scientist in charge of analysing Jodie's link to the paranormal word — but also a genuine guardian and voluntary parent — we couldn't help but adore him. It was a love-hate sort of thing, in ways.
So, what were Nathan's motives? Why did he pursue a career researching the paranormal as well as Jodie's link with Aiden? Well, it turned out, to our surprise, that it was actually to help further his plans to resurrect his wife and daughter. Using advanced technology and a machine with indescribable flaws, Nathan aimed to enter the unknown in a desperate attempt to pull his family back from the darkness. And Jodie, in ways, was just a gateway to get to such a place. So, not exactly evil — but I suppose you could still brand him as a villain. More or less.
3. Detective (Twelve Minutes)
Not to bring Willem Dafoe back into the limelight or anything, but this one, in all honesty, is almost too good to give the boot. And if you have yet to submerge into the origami of events that is Twelve Minutes, then allow this to be the spark that drives you to ignite.
From the moment we're thrown into a twelve-minute loop in a tiny apartment, we're immediately given one goal and one goal only: to prevent a police detective from breaking into our home and killing both our hero and his dearly beloved. However, after running the mill a few dozen times and piecing together the network of clues, the detective's motives eventually become clear, leaving us to weirdly sympathize with his actions. It's unexpected, and actually quite heartbreaking. And, it's also something we'd rather not give away. Wink, wink.
2. The Lich King (Warcraft)
Before he was known as the big bad wolf of the Icecrown Citadel, he was Arthas, the well-spoken and loyal Paladin of Lordearon. Only, players that skipped a few chapters in the build up to World of Warcraft wouldn't have known that. And from first impressions alone, Wrath of the Lich King would have painted the tainted warlord of frost and thistle in a pretty dim light. But step back a few years in the Warcraft timeline, however, and you'll clock the differences in a heartbeat.
Arthas, a crown prince and desperate devotee to Lordearon, was once a prominent pawn on the monopoly, with credentials and accolades galore. But when the world he tried to protect thrust him into an everlasting doom, his duties were soon traded and replaced for a shallow life in darkness. Through twisted fate and corruption, the spirit of the Lich King latched onto the prince and plunged him into an all-powerful void. On the outside, sadly, all Arthas ever wanted was to do right by his people and be the loyal protector the kingdom needed. Sad times, really. He wasn't all that bad.
1. Marlene (The Last of Us)
The ending of The Last of Us still burns hot in our heads, forever reminding us of our twisted ways as we slaughtered an entire army and destroyed all chances of curing the human race. And I'll be the first to admit that Ellie, despite being an absolute delight to be around and an all-round hearty travel companion — had to die. But Joel, on the other hand, well — he had other plans. He just had to do it his way, didn't he?
It was made clear from the get-go that Ellie wasn't exactly destined for sunshine and rainbows. And let's be honest — Joel knew that. Marlene literally booted him out the door with a goal and a last-ditch plea for hope, and he took it. But come curtain call, all hell broke loose. Marlene was old news, and Ellie was all that mattered. Forget humanity. Forget the cure. Just save Ellie and be rid of the drama, no matter the cost. That's basically all Joel had engraved in his mind, fully aware of the consequences. Humanity would likely fall — but at least Ellie would survive. Sorry, Marlene.
So, do you sympathize with our above five? Who would you put on this list? Let us know over on our socials here.