An antihero is a protagonist who blurs the line between hero and villain, who shows no signs of the typical heroic qualities such as morality and nobility. These characters are rare in video games since people typically like to see heroes be heroes, but there are a few out there and some of those few are to be showcased in this post. I have chosen my personal top 5 video game antiheroes with the intention of describing what makes them antiheroic and why I favor them about all others. These men and women are outstanding at walking the line between good and evil all the while reaching their ultimate goal.
Be careful, this article will contain a few spoilers for the games these characters are involved with so be careful when reading!
5. Booker DeWitt (Bioshock: Infinite)
Booker DeWitt is the protagonist in Bioshock: Infinite, the man whose shoes you fill when playing through the game. This choice is a shifty one since I don’t think DeWitt is a continuous anithero throughout the entire game. To me, DeWitt begins as an antihero by choosing to basically kidnap a girl he doesn’t know anything about in order to wipe away his own debt. He snatches her up and tells her he will take her to Paris when really he plans to bring her to New York City in order to clear out this debt of his. It’s a completely selfish reason for committing this crime and he lies to her in the process. By the end of the game though, he seems to change his mind and genuinely cares for the girl, risking his life to save her and whatnot, and helps her accomplish her goal. The thing of the matter is that her goal is to kill her dad. I suppose you could say that this is a heroic goal since her dad is the bad guy, but still – it’s murder. I think Booker DeWitt is a light anithero with the aptitude to change, which is why he fills the number five spot on my list.
4. Corvo Attano (Dishonored)
Crovo hits the list at number 4 for some obvious reasons, the main of which is that he is an assassin. Corvo’s job was to protect the empress of Dunwall, but when he failed and she gets murdered by an assassin named Daud, he is striped of his title and imprisoned. I consider him an antihero since he goes through the game on a revenge mission. The one hook here is that when played with a low chaos goal he is a pretty decent hero, but when played at medium or high chaos he is a cold-blooded killer. Regardless of how you play the game, he is an assassin who is looking for revenge and to atone for his failure to protect the empress. Even when attempting a low chaos playthrough, Corvo must get rid of his adversaries in a nonlethal way, and some may argue that while they are not killed directly by his hand their fate is worse than death – at least in some instances. This guy wasn’t completely innocent before the game took place, so it’s safe to assume that he has always had a knack for killing his enemies, or at least disposing of them in one way or another. This makes him my fourth favorite antihero and lands him spot on my list, respectively.
3. Dante & Vergil (DmC: Devil May Cry)
That’s right, I put two characters under one number, what of it? Okay let me explain: I had to put both Dante and Vergil in here together since they are equally antiheroic but in different ways. One without the other makes no sense, in my opinion. Dante starts off as a cocky, selfish, womanizing jerk who doesn’t care much for anyone or anything but himself. Oh, and his weapons. Dante is faced with the task of helping his twin brother Vergil eliminate a demon threat, and the twin brothers work together to achieve what appeared to be a similar goal. At the end, Dante gets over himself and begins to fight for the greater good of actually protecting humanity and those he has grown to love, until Vergil turns on him and reveals that he was the real anithero all along. They flip sides and switch roles in an instant, throwing us all for a loop while setting up the next game. Vergil could be categorized as a villain instead of an antihero, but in my opinion he has his own code and thinks that he is doing what is right, he isn’t intentionally screwing everyone over. These brothers take up the number three spot on my list since I really could pick one without naming the other and hey, it can be considered a two for one kind of deal!
2. Ada Wong (Resident Evil Series)
Ada Wong is present a handful of Resident Evil games and always seems to take on the role of ass-kicking femme fatale, but there is a little more to her than her good looks and combat prowess. She is typically seen working with the villains of the game series but takes it upon herself to help out the game’s main characters, specifically Leon S. Kennedy. Wong seems to typically have an ulterior motive and seems holds the upper hand over everyone she encounters, both villain and hero. While she seems to strive to help out with protagonist’s cause, she is still employed by a antagonist which places her right in the middle. Neither good or bad. That is what makes her such a stunning antiheroine, and she is definitely good at taking on that role. She is very secretive and it seems clear that she does not support either side fully, but more just what suits her at the time and helps her accomplish her tasks, whatever those are. Ada Wong is my favorite video game antiheroine, but still comes second to the antihero taking first place on my list.
1. Kratos (God of War Series)
This one should have been a little obvious. Kratos is a demigod hellbent on getting his revenge on the gods who have made his life a living hell. After learning he was tricked into slaughtering his own wife and daughter by Ares, Kratos turns into an all-powerful ass kicking machine, often being overly violent and amoral in most every way possible. He doesn’t even care who he kills, as long as it get’s him closer to his goal of murdering Zeus, king of the gods. Kratos is pretty much the epitome of antihero. Since Zeus is not a kind god as has committed various crimes on his own against humanity and other gods, Kratos’ need to kill him may seem justified. On the other hand, he is massacring everyone else in Olympus and it is a bit of much. He even ends up hurting others who care about him and protect him, like Athena, who he kills. Kratos takes the number one spot on my list of top anitheroes in video games due to his lack of morals and need to kill every man, woman, child, and monster who stands in his way.
Well, there you have it. That was a list of my personal favorite video game antiheros, what are some of yours? There are plenty out there, and I even considered adding more to this list, but I wanted to keep it simple this time. Some honorable mentions include renegade Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series and evil Cole from InFAMOUS. Those are two characters that are great at being evil, but are made that way through player action so I didn’t really want to add them into the list. Be sure to share your favorites with me and tell me how my list stacked up against yours.