5. Ike (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn)

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Ike fights for his friends, but what about his enemies? The events of Path of Radiance have him fighting with goal of reclaiming the Crimea nation from the clutches of the Daein Empire, run by the Mad King Ashnard. And when you put Ike next to a man labeled ‘Mad’ it isn’t too hard to see the better side. But Ike is not much of a hero when you look through the eyes of Daein citizens. While life might not have been perfect under the rule of the Mad King, they don’t get any better after his death. With their ruler gone the nation is invaded by Begnion forces, where they are treated as lesser people. Seeming to be branded as bad just for having lived under the Mad King. And where is Ike? The Hero of the Mad King War? He’s back to his life as a mercenary, until needing to step in to stop an execution of an ally. Still, he does little to repair the damage he left behind after toppling an Empire. He may be a hero to some, but is certainly a villain to others.

~Melissa Buranen


4. Kenny (Telltale’s Walking Dead)

ntl_kenny_inoxKenny seems like your average affable Florida-born family man when you first meet him in Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1. Unfortunately for him, he ends up suffering big-time, losing his family to the Walkers before being separated from the rest of the cast. He returns in the second season and acts as a secondary protagonist alongside returning hero Clementine. While the games do show him committing violent and otherwise unsettling acts (picking fights, bludgeoning people, screaming at teenagers, naming his son Duck), it goes out of its way to establish him as an overall good guy in a bad situation. Except, he’s not. Kenny is an argumentative (and occasionally murderous) asshole who refuses to believe that anything bad that happens as a result of his actions is his fault at all. He constantly puts his groups in danger by focusing on his problems and his desires above the survival of the team. This just in-Florida Man Basically Screws Over Everyone in Zombie Land.

~Donovan Bertch


3. Booker (Bioshock Infinite)

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Columbia, the setting of Bioshock Infinite, has one of the most beautiful introductions in any game. But it’s initial allure is erased by shock when you swiftly realize how horribly racist Columbia is. Stuck in a 1910 American society, Columbia and its citizens are almost cartoonishly villainous. Booker Dewitt arrives in Columbia searching for a young woman named Elizabeth. In his quest to rescue and then escape Elizabeth, he destroys nearly all of Columbia and its populace. At first, this may not seem so horrible, but Booker doesn’t replace the horrible racist society with anything. Columbia ends up being reduced to squalor and civil war. Though Columbia may have been morally questionable, at least it was functional. Oh and (spoilers) Booker also sold his own daughter to pay off his gambling debts. Not too heroic.

~Ryan Dodd


2. Joel (The Last of Us)

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The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s hit post-apocalyptic survival horror game has a lot of room for moral grey areas. It’s hard to pick a clear cut hero or villain, but Joel comes pretty close to hero, with his unending drive to keep his daughter figure Elle out of harm’s way (to mixed results). The game’s plot comes to a head with Joel mowing down a group of survivors called the Fireflies who planned to dissect Elle to find a cure for the virus that’s ravaging the world. Hooray, they’re safe! Except…well…the Fireflies were going to find a cure for the virus! Sure, it would’ve killed Elle, but it’s pretty clear that’d be a better fate than survival in this world-and the potential cure in her brain could have saved the lives of countless others. Not to mention, Joel lies straight to Elle’s face when she asks what happened to the group, and the trailer for the sequel shows Elle even more messed up than before. In trying to save what he saw as humanity’s light, he may have just dimmed its glow for good.

~Donovan Bertch


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