Villains may be villainous, but that doesn't mean they can't be interesting characters. Some villains are so well done that they have to be recognized.
In no specific order, this slideshow will take you through what I think are the top 10 villains in gaming.
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is the Artificial Intelligence in charge of maintaining the Aperture Science Laboratories and testing. Ever since GLaDOS was turned on, she has tried to kill. However, one particular incident during an annual "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" lead to GLaDOS being fitting with a morality core, which didn't work. The next year, she was activated again, due to her wanting to perform some tests with neurotoxin. She locked the whole laboratory down and killed almost everyone inside, then did her tests on the survivors.
Shortly after this is where first Portal game starts, Chell is given instructions to test by GLaDOS, who does not reveal her true intentions, until nearing the end of the tests where she intends to kill Chell.
GLaDOS is a great villain because she is not only funny and very well-written, but her monotonous voice also gives her an extremely-off-the-chart in chill factor. And she is obviously very intelligent.
Wheatley was designed by a group of the most intelligent scientists to be the dumbest AI ever created. They did this for the sole purpose of taking Aperture Science back from GLaDOS. The theory was the dumbest possible AI would be able to beat the most intelligent, so Wheatley could stop GLaDOS.
The plan didn't quite work. With the aid of Chell, Wheatley managed to take over Aperture Science. Instead of giving it back to the scientists, he took control and started running it his way. Which leads to exactly why he is such as good villain.
Good villains often have somewhat relatable goals, but the means they employ to accomplish those goals are what makes them villains . Because Wheatley is so dumb, hilarity and accidental brilliance ensue. He doesn't really have a plan, nor does he really know what he's doing, he simply gets a taste for power and cannot let that go. He also forces Chell to work with GLaDOS, who is reduced to little more than a potato battery. This creates a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" scenario, which is just damn interesting.
Wheatley is voiced by the actor Stephen Merchant, who brings a certain charm and humour that Wheatley wouldn't have otherwise.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1 and 2
The name's Vader, Darth Vader. (Wrong series, whoops.)
How could you not put Vader into a list of good villains? I'm sure everyone knows who Vader is, but he's on this list for one specific reason: He lured the most powerful Sith, Starkiller, directly to him, because he knew he could win.
In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1, Vader kills Starkiller's father directly in front of him. Vader does this for the sole purpose of taking command of The Imperial forces for his own nefarious needs. However, when Starkiller almost succeeds in killing The Emperor, all Starkiller gets as a thanks is literally being stabbed in the back and thrown into space by none other than Lord Vader himself.
Darth Vader has a certain presence to him, an aura of pure unfiltered evil. The evil which is only broken at the very end of the film saga. He is of course not the only Sith who could be on this list, Darth Malak needs a notable mention.
Shadows of the Damned
Also known as the Lord of the Demons, Fleming is a force to be reckoned with, and he's almost invulnerable to everything.
The death of Garcia Hotspur's girlfriend Paula leads to Fleming holding her captive and his mistress. Paula was once the Unbreakable Huntress, the first female demon hunter. While in The City of the Damned she challenges Fleming, but Fleming manages to win. During the end of the fight, he severs both her arms. Due to her unwillingness to die, he reattaches her arms and keeps her around as his mistress. He constantly tortures her, and has killed her hundreds of times for her escape attempts, each and every time pleasure in her refusal to die.
That pretty much sums up why he is such a good villain. He's only featured in the game for a limited number of times, but even so he feels like a constant presence, like he could reach out and attack you at any time.
Saints Row: The Third
Killbane is basically just a giant man. He also has a very short temper, he's a murderer, and just all round pretty nasty guy. He has a tendency to kill people on impulse. For example, he kills Kiki DeWynter because she called him by his real name, Eddie.
Killbane and the player are very similar, they are both pop-culture icons and they both run gangs; however, Killbane leads through fear and intimidation.
He doesn't specifically have any unique character traits, but because you understand his motivations, it adds a certain groundedness to a larger-than-life character and game world. Though he's still a horrible person through and through.
God of War, Ascension
And in the red corner with six razor-sharp bladed tentacles, two giant arms, and hair made of fire, this god stands as tall as the Empire State building.
It's none other than the original God of War, Ares!
Not to mention that he tricks Kratos into killing his family, which earned Kratos the title of the Ghost of Sparta. Of course, Ares later makes Kratos watch his family's death again.
Does Ares need more justification to be on this list? Oh yes, he wears a skirt because he just wants to make all men feel inferior, I'm sure of it.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Tenpenny deserves to be on this list just because he's a corrupt cop. But he's cemented onto this list because he's a corrupt cop who loves a bit of racketeering, corruption of others, possession, using of all sorts of narcotics, and sexual assault. He causes the riots which bring Los Santos into chaos. And he constantly and purposefully runs into CJ, making you do annoying and seemingly pointless missions.
But worst of all, you understand that all he wants to do is help the people of Los Santos, his personal greed just kind of gets in the way.
Alma starts off as a girl who quite literally jumps out at you, making you knock whatever you had on your desk off. She made nothing but flawless jump-scare appearances. When you couldn't see her, you still felt her presence throughout the series. Sometimes the atmosphere would change, plunging the character into a misty red environment, or things would suddenly block your path. You may even hear strange sounds, or see disfigured, blood-drenched corpses. It's chilling to the bone.
In F.E.A.R 2, Alma is no longer just an angry little girl, she's an angsty teenager who just wants some babies. But her desire for children leads her to subject the player to one of the weirdest and most horrifying scenes in a game. She rapes the player character, impregnating herself, and just vanishes.
Alma is scary, very scary, but all she really wants is her freedom.
Far Cry 3
We all know Vaas, I'm sure. Vaas is quick with his tongue, but quicker with his murder. He blends rambling and insanity in what is the most interesting villain I think games have every had.
He's a psychopath in every sense of the word, and you definitely want to kill him. But you also just want to hear him talk; strangely you kind of want to get to know the man. He has a lot of charisma.
The actor who plays Vaas, Michael Mando says:
"I think Vaas is in all of us. Just like all the monsters in the world, they're not inhuman, they're all human right?"
That is why Vaas is such a great, complicated and relatable villain.
Halo 2 (Anniversary), Halo 3
A Gravemind is a mass of thousands of bodies, merged to create a super-intelligent being whose sole purpose is to control the Flood. As the Flood are a hive mind, all gathered species will feed the Flood, and thus the Gravemind, with more intelligence.
The Gravemind speaks in rhyme, which emphasizes its intelligence. If it can manipulate a language on the fly in such a rhythmic and intelligent way, what else is it capable of?
The Gravemind can also interact directly with AI, which is exactly what happens when Cortana makes the Master Chief leave her on the Flood-infested High Charity. The Gravemind attempts to extract as much information from Cortana as it can.
The reason the Gravemind is such a great villain is because of its ability to control thousands, perhaps even millions of Flood, and make them organized. It can manipulate technology, which helps it get into the communication systems of the Master Chief's armor in Halo 3. The Gravemind, however, is not the only one in existence, just the only one you see in the games, and they can get bigger.