Best Video Game Villains Of 2023

Highlights

  • There were some truly fearsome and imposing villains in the best video games of 2023.
  • Whether they caused immense emotional turmoil to our main characters or just made for a great boss battle, we look at the best game villains that made an impact in their respective games.
  • For instance, Shang Tsung is a great villain of 2023, with his multiversal scheme in Mortal Kombat 1 forcing the heroes into a war for survival.

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Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of villainy in your life. Luckily, 2023 has been jam-packed with some of the best villains in gaming. With threats that range from street-level to world-threatening, 2023 was a big year for villains in gaming.

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The year was big for giving a fresh perspective on decades-old villains, reinvigorating the kind of fear that those villains are capable of. They may all end up defeated in the end, but their evil schemes aren’t likely to be forgotten any time soon, even if a large part of that is due to the excellent games that the villains are in. Check out some of the villains of 2023 that made our gaming experiences thrilling and challenging.

In collating this list of memorable big bads of the gaming world, we’ve picked some of the most notable games released during 2023 that featured iconic villains, taking into consideration their impact on the story and their overall goals. And how much we loved them, that too.

11 Ganondorf

No one should be surprised to see the excellently designed Ganondorf on this list. Making his return to the series for the first time since Twilight Princess, Tears Of The Kingdom’s Ganondorf is one of the most fearsome in the series’ history.Not only is Ganondorf successful in nearly defeating both Link and Zelda in an instant, but you also get to learn about his ancient history in Hyrule and what led to him being sealed. Cap all of that off with an incredible boss fight in one of the most cinematic final bosses in Zelda history, and you’ve got a great villain in Ganondorf.

10 Venom

Venom himself may not be the most outstanding villain right from the beginning of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 thanks to the nature of the story, but it’s hard to say that he doesn’t make a massive impact in a hurry.Being Peter’s best friend Harry, Venom causes emotional turmoil for one of your heroes and begins to turn everyone into symbiote creatures. Even MJ isn’t safe from the treatment, and the massive city-spanning battle that requires two Spider-Men to take him down goes to show just how impressive Venom can be.

9 Shang Tsung

There was so much speculation on just who the villain of Mortal Kombat 1 would be, and there weren’t many who believed it would really be Shang Tsung. Of course, even that is more complicated than it sounds, as it is a multiversal Shang Tsung that is the true threat.

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Putting a massive plan in action to destroy his rival Liu Kang and the entire reality that he created, Shang Tsung is a massive threat. Recruiting some of the greatest evils from across the Mortal Kombat multiverse, Shang Tsung forces the heroes into a war for survival and nearly wins yet again on multiple occasions.

8 Ultima

The Final Fantasy series has plenty of great and memorable villains, but it’s possible that Final Fantasy 16’s Ultima will go down as one of the more memorable ones. Being the true villain behind all the conflict throughout the game, Ultima is a destructive god-like creature.Ultima is so good because of how connected he is to the deep lore of the game, while at the same time being a massive threat to existence. Even better, Ultima has many in the game convinced he is actually a savior instead of intent on destruction.

7 Bowser

Bowser may be a bit more bizarre than you’re used to in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t great. Bowser literally becomes a massive castle at one point, and it’s absolutely as weird and wonderful as it sounds.Having to contend with the sweet beat of Bowser’s rage is probably not even close to something you’d ever thought you’d have to do, but that’s the case in this game. While eccentric, the game is classic Bowser villainy, and it seems like that is never going to go out of style.

6 Osmund Saddler

While Saddler may not play a major role on-screen until deep into the runtime of Resident Evil 4, the fact that the entire scheme is his doing means he deserves some recognition. Planning to use his cult to infect the president’s daughter with Las Plagas in order to eventually control the president isn’t half bad.When compared to his original iteration, Saddler comes across so much more menacing and threatening here, and that’s what helps him to stand out. With a seemingly insurmountable boss fight, it seems like even if his plan won’t be pulled off, he’ll be just fine with killing Leon, and that is terrifying.

5 Leatherface

While some may have missed out on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre game, there’s no denying just how terrifying Leatherface and his family are. Forcing you into helpless situations as you try to escape with your life, Leatherface is sure to be three steps behind you with a chainsaw ready to go.He’s one of the most imposing video game characters of the year and that without ever even needing to be directly on-screen. Just hearing the nearby sounds of his chainsaw makes him a threat, and the fact that he is always player-controlled means he will be acting with purpose instead of whatever it is AI usually does.

4 Adachi

While Persona 4 Golden may have originally released years ago, and the original Persona 4 even earlier than that, the game was ported to the modern generation of consoles this year. Thanks to that, a whole new generation is able to contend with the horrendous villainy of that traitor Adachi.Standing out as one of the best, if not the best villains of the Persona series, Adachi begins as a bumbling side character who is eventually revealed to be behind the game’s many murders (mostly). There may be an even greater threat than him, but how close Adachi is to you the player is always creepy when he’s revealed as a villain.

3 Kraven The Hunter

Venom may have gotten some love earlier, but Kraven The Hunter deserves just as much love for pushing a lot of the narrative forward before Venom is even a major concern. Proving himself capable enough to kill Spider-Man’s previous villains, Kraven is a serious threat.

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Kraven is a great villain because he pushes both Spider-Men to their limits in different ways. He forces Miles to face his own demons with Martin Li, and he literally almost kills Peter Parker if it weren’t for the symbiote’s interference.

2 King Smithy

There is a lot to love about Super Mario RPG and King Smithy is certainly one of those things. He could have just been a Bowser rip-off for the most part, and that probably would have been fine, but arguably, Smithy is even more fearsome.Being so powerful with a massive army at his disposal that even Bowser himself has to aid Mario in his adventure, Smithy poses a serious threat. He’s not an ever-present villain like some, but he doesn’t need to be, as the anticipation of eventually fighting him makes him even better.

1 Ketheric Thorm

Thanks to how phenomenal Baldur’s Gate 3 is, this list really could have been made up primarily of characters from that game. Many who played the game seem to agree that Ketheric manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the villains though.Thanks to his rich backstory filled with tragedy, and the massive power that he wields, Ketheric is a serious force to be reckoned with. Combine that with his incredible introduction and you’ve got an antagonistic force that you won’t know how to stop.

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