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Best Games Where You Unknowingly Play The Villain

VO: Todd Haberkorn WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
It's so easy when you're evil. Today we’ll be looking at the video games where the player character is unknowingly the bad guy. Get ready for spoilers and renegade choices down the line!
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It's so easy when you're evil. Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we’ll be looking at the video games where the player character is unknowingly the villain. Get ready for spoilers and renegade choices down the line!

“Golden Sun” and “Golden Sun: The Lost Age” (2001; 2002)

It's your standard RPG storyline; the protagonist Isaac and company set out to save everyone by preventing the elemental stars from being returned to their respective lighthouses across the world of Weyard, all the while stopping the bad guys at every turn. Simple, right? However, in the sequel, it’s revealed that these lighthouses are necessary for the world to maintain its cohesion, meaning that Isaac and the other “heroes,” were, unknowingly, setting their world on a path toward Armageddon. “Oops” doesn’t even begin to cover a mistake like that.

“Silent Hill 2” (2001)

As the definitive masterpiece of the genre, this seminal survival horror sees conflicted widower James Sullivan visit the eponymous, oddly foggy town after receiving a letter from his dead wife. Deciding to take the plunge and seek out his deceased beloved, James ends up encountering a multitude of terrifying monsters that call Silent Hill home. Turns out these deformed beings are mere manifestations of James’ guilt and self-hatred, since his wife is indeed dead – because James euthanized her to end her suffering after she fell ill. Sometimes the most frightening demons of all are those of our own making.

“NieR” (2010)

Hack and slash action games are filled with waves of enemies just ready to be decimated with wanton abandon...right? In this instance, the resident sword-fodder take the form of shades, led by a sinister figure known as the Shadow Lord. You'd think butchering them would be doing the world a favor, yet the very feature games like “NieR” pride themselves on leads the player to unknowingly commit numerous atrocities. Despite their vaguely creepy name, the shades are in actuality the souls of humanity that have been separated from their bodies. The “Shadow Lord” only wants to return them to cloned bodies and resurrect his daughter. Wish we could have known that sooner!

“Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow” (2003)

These iconic vampire-slaying games usually follow a similar formula, in that most involve a member of the Belmont family hunting down Dracula, who always returns after a century or so. “Aria of Sorrow” is a major departure, at least in terms of setting, as it takes place in Japan in a time after Dracula’s so-called permanent demise. We're then introduced to a transfer student named Soma Cruz, who finds himself pitted against a missionary named Graham Jones, who believes he is the reincarnation of Dracula. Surprise! Turns out that Soma is actually the Vampire King reborn. Nobody tell Alucard.

“Braid” (2008)

A break-out hit of an indie game, “Braid” sees players take on the role of Tim; a snappy dresser on a quest to save a princess. While its premise on the surface couldn't be more unoriginal if it tried, what manages to elevate it to new heights is the inclusion of its innovative time manipulation mechanic...not to mention that "oh my go what have we done" revelation of an ending. Remember that princess Tim spent the entire game trying to save from a monster? Whelp, turns out we were looking at the whole thing literally backwards, since in reality, WE'RE the monster that's been chasing down a helpless maiden this whole time. I feel unclean.

“Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)

This ain't your daddy's third person shooter. As Captain Martin Walker, players found themselves jumping into the heart of darkness as they followed the titular spec ops team in their search for a rogue soldier in war-torn Dubai. As time goes on, Walker commits more and more morally questionable acts; bringing to life that old adage that he who hunts monsters risks becoming one. However, unbeknownst to Walker, or the player for that matter, the rogue operative you’ve been chasing is but a figment of the imagination, which Walker created to justify his own heinous acts and to shift blame away from himself. Who else got chills?

“Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

While it's mostly remembered for its intuitive, action-puzzler gameplay, gorgeous visuals and soundtrack, this landmark title also featured a great plot twist too. In order to resurrect his deceased beloved, Warder enlists the help of the enigmatic entity known as Dormin. In exchange, the creature demands that Wander slay the sixteen massive creatures known as Colossi. While watching each majestic beast fall to Wander's blade is sad enough, it's not until that stinger of an ending do we really understand that Dormin has played a fast one on us, and that by killing the Colossi, we have allowed him to be reborn into the physical world through Wander.

“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” (2003)

Ah yes, the video game equivalent to "I Am Your Father." Awakening with amnesia, the player character soon finds themselves flung on a quest across the galaxy, eventually being trained as a Jedi in order to combat the infamous Darth Malak. Blinded by all the mind tricks, lightsaber battles and awesome side characters, we were all caught off guard when Malak revealed that the player was in truth his old master, the legendary Lord of the Sith; Darth Revan. As you can imagine, gamers lost their collective minds after they found out they were unknowingly the most powerful being in the galaxy. Dark Side FTW!
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