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5 Best Video Game Villains of 2023

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Characters are an essential part of the video game franchise. They are one of the main reasons why games are so entertaining and engaging. For this reason, developers all around take time to curate the ‘perfect' persona to take on different narratives. And this year hasn't been any different.

Players have interacted with several beloved characters and villains alike. Some titles took us into reliving our favorite animation and comic book characters, while others dived in with new exciting faces from scratch. Either way, 2023 has been a creative and villainous year, and here are our best five video game villains of the year.

5. Bode Akuna – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Bode Akuna – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Bode Akuna’s transformation from hero to villain is one of the most notable twists in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. He fights for the good guys at first, helping Cal escape Coruscant as the game begins and assisting the Mantis crew throughout most of the game. However, he later reveals his true identity: a former Jedi working as a spy for the Empire.

Interestingly, Bode is a tragic villain, considering the background story. He went into hiding as a mercenary after the Great Jedi Purge. Moreover, he married and conceived a daughter in the process, but the Empire eventually caught up with him and killed his wife.

In desperation, Bode made a deal with agent Lank Denvik to protect his daughter against the Empire in exchange for his services as a spy for Jedi activity. Notably, Bode considers Cal a genuine friend but is also committed to protecting his daughter at all costs.

4. Jack Krauser – Resident Evil 4

Jack Krauser – Resident Evil 4

Nothing easily beats the track record set by a good guy gone bad, and Jack Krauser is a testimony to such. An intriguing character, initially a supporting protagonist in Resident Evil 4, later decides to switch sides, becoming one of the most feared villains in the game.

While the main antagonist in the game is Osmund Saddler, the leader of Los Illuminados, Jack Krauser remains the most impactful villain in the game’s original and remake versions. Jack Krauser is a United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) soldier in both game versions. In the two versions, he also participates in a mission code-named Operation Javier, where his dalliance with evil begins.

In the original version, Krauser works with Leon in Operation Javier to eliminate viruses posing a bio-organic threat. However, he comes to understand that the viruses give their hosts incredible power and finds the concept intriguing. Interestingly, he still completes the mission despite his lust for power. However, he loses his arm during the mission and fakes his death. He then seeks out Albert Wesker for medical care and a power boost as his transformation into the bad guy begins.

As the sole survivor, Jack holds a grudge against the government and a lust for power from the virus. He eventually acquires a sample of Plaga and infects himself with it, becoming incredibly strong and powerful. Upon his return, he emerges as a secondary antagonist, seeking out his former protagonist companion, Leon, in a vengeful act. Jack rises to become one of the greatest villains this year with his deadly combat.

3. Lilith – Diablo 4

Lilith – Diablo 4

Lilith is another tragic villain who made a comeback in 2023. Initially, she was just a demon who fell in love with the Archangel Inarius. Their love resulted in a new race called Nephalem, half-angles and half-demons. The couple then created a safe place called Sanctuary, where the Nephalem could live peacefully away from angels and demons. However, the Nephalem started growing strong, compelling the forces of hell and heaven to attack Sanctuary.

The attack on Sanctuary is what made Lilith a tragic villain, considering that most of her offspring were slaughtered. She decided to wage war on both Heaven and Hell, leading to her exile into the Void.

However, a few Nephalem survived, and they evolved into humans. A few of the billions of humans retained their Nephalem genes and created a cult dedicated to Lilith. This set the stage for her comeback in Diablo 4 following the destruction of the Aegis Council and Prime Evils in Diablo 3.

2. Kraven the Hunter – Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Kraven the Hunter – Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Sergei Kravinoff was nicknamed Kraven the Hunter by Mary Jane Watson. Interestingly, he is a villain with a passion driven by his looming demise and loyalty to his ancestor’s traditions. Moreover, he has the strength, fighting skills, and financial and technological resources to match his villain profile.

Kraven grew up as a hunter alongside his brother Chameleon, another villain. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the prime of his life. He is violent and abusive by nature, and the terminal diagnosis fuels his fierce nature as he seeks a worthy opponent to kill him in battle, according to his ancestors’ traditions.

Kraven’s search for a worthy opponent sees him fight several villains and heroes in New York City, making for an action-packed experience. For example, he kidnaps Scorpion, finds an antidote for his poison, and then kills him with his own poisonous sting in an electrifying battle. Other noteworthy highlights include Mr. Negative, Vulture, Electro, and Shocker. Interestingly, Kraven dies with honor when he finally meets his match, Venom, who is, interestingly, the next villain on the list.

1. Venom – Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Venom - Best Video Game Villains of 2023

Kraven isn’t the main antagonist in Spider-Man 2 despite his murderous range. The honor goes to Venom, the villain who beats Kraven. He is the ultimate villain because of his diabolical plan to terraform Spider-Man, the whole of New York City, and possibly the entire world into symbiotes.

Interestingly, Venom is initially a hero fighting on the side of the good guys at first. For example, he saves Harry by curing a deadly genetic disorder inherited from his mother. Moreover, he saves Peter Parker’s life when he sustains mortal wounds in battle. However, the symbiote bonds with many Marvel characters, including heroes and villains.

Unfortunately, his excellent nature turns evil along the way, and he starts viewing humanity as a rampaging problem threatening the world. To this end, he plans to transform everyone into symbiotes, starting with Peter Parker and everyone in New York, before moving on to the rest of the world. However, Venom’s transformation is not surprising, considering his inherently evil nature and the experiences he acquires from bonding with various villains.

So, what’s your take on our picks for the best video game villains of 2023? Do you agree with our picks? Let us know on our socials here or in the comments below. 

Cynthia Wambui is a gamer who has a knack for writing video gaming content. Blending words to express one of my biggest interests keeps me in the loop on trendy gaming topics. Aside from gaming and writing, Cynthia is a tech nerd and coding enthusiast.