The choices are almost endless when picking an excellent role-playing game (RPG). You can pick something with tons of dialogue and cut scenes like Hoyoverses’ Genshin Impact. Or you can choose something a little more low-key, like LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Even though some of these titles aren’t “true blue RPGs,” they still capture the genre’s essence.
Whatever your gaming preferences, there’s one aspect of every RPG that no player can get away from: terrying RPG villains. For better or worse, these baddies are an integral part of any good game, and RPGs are no different. So, in an ode to the best RPGs of 2022, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the most terrifying villains in recent video game history.
If you like alternate histories, you’ll love Steel Rising. This RPG is set during the French Revolution when King Louis XVI overran his opponents not with cold logic but with a massive machine army. With eight main bosses, picking the biggest and badest might be challenging, but we’ll do our best.
Picking just one villain can be challenging, but in this case, we’ve chosen The Treasurer of Les Invalides. This mechanized villain carries a vast metal pot on his back. During the battle, it will spew small, flying minions. The treasurer takes more than just strategy to defeat them.
- Scarlet Witch
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- Dr. Strange
- Ghost Rider
- Nico Minoru
No matter who you want to play, there are aspects of Midnight Suns you can’t choose, and that’s the list of ‘bad guys.’ Hydra makes an appearance and is a formidable enemy, but their story is only necessary for resulting in the emergence of Midnight Suns’ worst villain.
In this ‘dark side’ of Marvel’s Universe, Lilith, who is the professed mother of all demons, makes a resurgence. One of the most terrifying RPG villains of the year, her plan isn’t just to bring forth the end of the world. It’s also to raise her master, Chthon. While Lilith is the biggest bad in Midnight Suns, so far, she also controls a nasty force of demons known as Lilin.
If there is one hope, however, it lies with The Hunter, Lilith’s child, who has the power to defeat her mother and Lilith’s forces of evil.
God of War: Ragnarok
In the original God of War trilogy, you follow a young, arrogant, and extremely angry Kratos. His vengeance knows no bounds and sees him cast to the highest heights as the God of War and lowest lows in the depths of Tartarus.
Each god in the Greek line presents a particular obstacle for the lowly Kratos until he’s faced his father, Zeus. Initially making his demi-god son the new God of War on the defeat of Aries, Zeus reconsiders and knocks his young son back down to his human form. Still, Kratos’ need for revenge knows only its need for justice, and Kratos ends his father’s reign.
Years later, after the death of Kratos’ second wife, Faye, the Ghost of Sparta is on a mission to fulfill his wife’s last wish. Accompanying him on this journey is his young son, Atreus. Passionate, like his father, Atreus has no idea of Kratos’ past nor of his divine nature. The two butt heads as often as they battle gods of the Norse world in which they now reside.
Midgard has never looked more alive in gameplay in this newest installment to the God of War series, and as the two fight to fulfill Faye’s wishes, they are tasked with stopping Loki and the damnation of the world through Ragnarok, hence the name for this 2022 game. It’s also one of the best PS5 games of the year.
Names like Thor, Loki, and Freya bring forth images of formidable enemies Kratos will face in his quest to stop Ragnarok. But Odin, the Zeus of Norse mythology, will prove to be the most intense and daunting foe Kratos will face. Even with the help of Atreus and Freya, Kratos will struggle to bring the father of Norse mythology to his knees.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Pokémon’s latest video game series, its ninth in total, features a duet of sorts in the Scarlet and Violet game-play set. Two versions of the same game, Scarlet and Violet will face off with a group of troublesome students from either the Naranja Academy or the Uva Academy. This is obviously contingent upon which version of the game you decide to play. Both academies on Starfall Street allow players to challenge them to battles.
Known collectively as Team Star, these troublemakers are bent on seeing your Pokémon destroyed. Thankfully, you’ll get some new Pokémon to work with and new skills for legendary Pokémon.
Paldea, the name of the region where these stories take place, will never be the same as players learn a new battle form called the Terastal Phenomenon and battle their way to victory. This new form allows Pokemon to take on a shiny, gem-like quality and increases their powers. Much like Gigantamax and Z-moves, this new power is one you’ll quickly learn to master as each villain comes your way.
New Tales from the Borderlands
“Sometimes, all it takes to change the galaxy, is a trio of losers trying to make it through a bad day.”
If you’re new to the Borderlands series, you’ll enjoy getting to know Fran, a frozen yogurt store owner who uses a hoverchair for mobility. You’ll also get to know Anu and Octavio, a sister-brother combo. Anu is an altruistic scientist, and her brother wants fame and fortune. One issue they all have is the invasion of Tediore, a bad intentioned gun company made famous in previous Borderlands titles.
In previous Borderlands games, Tediore was a disposable gun manufacturing company that prided itself on making the cheapest firearms on Pandora. These guns were so cheap that they could easily be bought in bulk. Their only redeeming feature is that once emptied, instead of reloading, they’d act like an explosive grenade as your character would automatically throw them toward an enemy. While inexpensive, the sheer nature of their disposability made them less than stellar firearms as your character progressed through the games. Still, Tediore made a mint marketing its guns as ‘made for the working class.’
As an antagonist in New Tales from the Borderlands, the Tediore company is bent on tormenting the people of Promethea while they try to find a vault key they believe is hidden there. With three protagonists trying to stop them and find the key for themselves, mayhem is sure to ensue.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Developed by Monolith Soft and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and released in July 2022, this action RPG is sure to please. Imagine a world where you live to fight, only to fight to live. The world of the Xenoblade Chronicles is this world. In this open-world game, you’ll settle on the planet Aionios. You’ll be at war from the moment you open your eyes as the mechanically enhanced nation of Keves fights against the ether-centered nation of Agnus. Your chances of survival will increase only when you understand that the enemies you’re fighting aren’t the real threat. Coming together with those you thought of as foes is your only hope for destroying the real enemy in this action-packed RPG.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has several fearsome enemies, including a fake Queen and the engineered soldiers of each realm, but the Moebius leader, Z, poses the biggest threat. As a result, the six main characters, Noah, Mio, Lanz, and Eunie (Noah’s friends), and Mio’s servicemen (Taion and Sena), will have to come together if they want even the hope of destroying Z.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 picked up where its predecessor left off and was received exceptionally well, selling 1.72 million copies in the first two months after its release.
Originally scheduled to drop in 2021, this medieval-style RPG is darkly grotesque. Still, the delayed pushback allowed developers to incorporate feedback from a demo provided on Steam. This valuable feedback, while given as the reason for the delay, also gave game makers a chance to correct areas that players took issue with.
Creating a game that players can dive into is done best when player feedback is incorporated into the final game development. So, despite the delay, Thymesia received excellent reviews for its stellar, high-energy combat. At its core is one of the most terrifying villains in an RPG this year.
What underwhelmed players, however, was the overall story arc. This action-centered RPG follows a royal operative named Corvus, who – affected by a deadly virus – must search the void of his memory to uncover a way to stop the spread of the virus and save his people.
The story premise is rich, but the development of realms Corvus encounters may leave players hoping for more. One area that excels, however, is the boss fights. Hard to stagger, these bad guys are bent on Corvus’ destruction. Still, the only baddie that stands a chance is Urd. Strong and stealthy, Urd is unique because she’s an optional boss. Following the main storyline will not bring you a fight with this top-level boss. Instead, you can find her at Hermes Fortress. Once you defeat Vard, you’ll want to return to Hermes Fortress to face this big boss.
Based on Norse mythology, this beautifully designed game continues the ‘Valkyrie’ series. While the game has lots of negative reviews for slowness and a plot that underwhelms, the boss fights are not one of the negative aspects. Published by Square Enix for PlayStation, this game focuses on the All-Father, Odin, of Norse mythology and a few unique Einherjar.
Of these, Kristoffer is purportedly the hardest to beat. Blessed with ice powers, she uses a killer bow for long-range attacks and comes in quick to deliver some disastrous combos. However, her long and short range abilities give her a hand up when dealing damage to Valkyrie Maria. And while it is possible to score an S level by defeating her, she is one brutal enemy to take down.
Outward: Definitive Edition
If you’re looking for a challenging survival RPG, Outward: Definitive Edition is one to check out. A new visual and mechanical overhaul, including DLC content from the Soroboreans and the Three Brothers, allows for a brand new experience.
This game doesn’t have bosses like a traditional RPG game, but it contains several enemies with extremely high health points and takes more strategy to beat.
Several enemies fall into the 4,500 to 5,000 health point range, and one Elite Crimson Avatar – a humanoid creature – sits at a hefty 6,000 health points. These enemies will spawn more often if you work to get ambushed, which causes them to appear faster. Also, specific NPCs can only be fought based on the faction you choose at the beginning of the game. Others won’t even be part of your game.
Even though there are no actual bosses, this game still offers players a fun, interactive, and challenging set of gameplay, especially with the new upgrades.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
The Sunbreak expansion pack requires the original Monster Hunter Rise game but is worth the investment if you’re inclined. Released by Capcom for the Nintendo Switch 2021 and PC in 2022, this expansion provides new combat mechanics and improved gameplay to enhance the user experience.
Sunbreak also provides a new Elder Dragon, but he isn’t the biggest or baddest dragon in the game. That denotation belongs to Gaismagorm, a rock dragon who feeds on stolen life and has a symbiotic relationship with a red, rock-like formation named Quiro. If this doesn’t sound like a terrifying RPG villain, I don’t know what does.
This crystallized rock covers Gaismagorm’s carapace, providing explosive charges that Gaismagorm can then throw at its enemy.
Beware when traveling through Rondine’s homeland, as this dragon doesn’t have a specific nesting place, so keep an eye out for the enormous craters it nests in. It digs these craters with its massive rocky forearms, so keep an eye out, as a surprise attack can be deadly.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Fans of the Borderlands series will likely remember the unforgettable Tiny Tina. The baddest 12-year-old to ever grace the video game stage, who had a knack for blowing things up. Now, she’s got her own game and, true to form, blowing things up is front and center of all you’ll do to take down the bad guys.
With a list of a-list comedic actors to lend their voices to the effort, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands get a lot of comedic relief. Ciarán Strange, who voiced Lorelei in Borderlands 3, returns as Paladin Mike, an NPC from the Diamon Guard. He represents the best of Queen Butt Stallion’s chivalrous defenders.
Wanda Sykes lends her comedy to the voice of Frette. Formerly an accounting robot, Frette hitches a ride with Captain Valentine (Andy Samberg) and acts as his navigator, ensuring her survival. Although she does her best to keep Valentine out of trouble, she’s limited by her mechanical nature.
Ashley Burch returns as Tiny Tina, reprising her role as the explosive, demolition loving teen. In her own game, however, she’s an NPC who acts as the storyteller. While you don’t play her character, she will affect everything you do.
Possibly the best character in Tiny Tina’s Wonderland is that of The Dragon Lord. Voiced by the one and only Will Arnett, this terrifying RPG villain will dig under your skin and set up camp to aggravate you at every turn.
As the fate maker, your goal is to destroy all the enemies in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, including the infamous Dragon Lord.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Twenty years after the Harran virus, your pilgrimage as a wandering pilgrim leaves you looking for a long-lost sister. Your journey will take you to a place known as Villedor, but it’s not just the horde of undead zombies you’ll need to watch out for at every turn. Humans, for all their niceties, can be even more dangerous.
The most brutal foe of these human enemies is Marco Hermann. Aligned with Sophie and Barney of the Bazaar, you’ll eventually have to side with either Sophie or Aitor. Choosing Aitor will automatically put you in the path of Hermann and give you one mean boss fight, which Dying Light 2: Stay Human doesn’t have many.
Still, Hermann will give you a run for your money and push your story that much further as you fight to find your sister.
Horizon: Forbidden West
Playing as Aloy in this continuation of her saga, you’ll face both machine and human enemies. Machines take the bulk of the combat you’ll encounter. It’s a boss fight against Regalla, however, that’ll determine whether you live or die and how your story progresses. One unique decision Aloy will make is whether to spare Regalla’s life or kill her. Depending on how you’ve built Aloy, you may find one decision much easier than the other.
In Horizon: Forbidden West, we see a stronger, more settled Aloy. Putting the past behind her, she leans on friends to shoulder the burden of saving the world from destruction. With new and returning characters from Horizon: Zeo Dawn, Aloy will embark on a journey to save the world.
Exclusive for the PS5, Horizon: Forbidden West has an upcoming expansion pack DLC called Burning Shores, which takes Aloy into the ruins of Los Angeles on a mission after Forbidden West ends. It was announced during the 2022 Game Awards.
Focusing on the Tower of Babel or Babylon, this cooperative focused game features enemies that shimmer with a blue light. Are they infected? Only time will tell as other main characters show the same tell-tale signs of tainted blood.
Each protagonist is equipped with a gold coffin that allows them to wield four weapons at once. Cycling through weapons quickly and smoothly will enable players to choose several different weapon combinations depending on which enemy they’re fighting.
While the game can be played solo, some missions are meant for four-player co-op and must be completed with other players. While Zenon is a massive boss to subdue in Babylon’s Fall, the fight with Bemus may outdo him. Split into four main enemies, Bemus – an organ-playing priest of death – is bent on taking you down. Defeating the weaker foes first may be the only way to eliminate this villain.
A story of medieval witchcraft and a power beyond any man had known before.
As humanity waits for the Elden Lord, they’ll look to you for guidance and to heal what you can of the broken world. An excellent story base, Elden Ring wants to lure you to the throne and hopefully put the world back together. To do that, you’ll have to battle your way to glory.
Possibly unique to Elden Ring, it isn’t so much the boss fights you need to worry about. Instead, the minor enemies will drive you crazy by taking you down while you loot or try to grind out XP before a big boss dual. Few games can deliver a single terrifying RPG villain; Elden Ring makes even the most unassuming enemy look menacing.
With names like Ancestral Archers and Kindred of Rot, these enemies come at you from every angle. Depending on your skills, you’ll be hard-pressed to survive. Upskilling will be where your survival lies, especially if you want to progress further than the opening credits.