Heroes – well, protagonists, are a funny thing. It doesn’t matter if John Wick and Nathan Drake kill hundreds of humans, as long as the story shines a nice light on them, we, as an audience, don’t mind. I mean, come on, Nate wanted some treasure and John was just avenging his dog, we can let those slide. Sometimes, though, you play through a game as a character who performs awful acts, killing innocent people, betraying others, downright lying to your closest friends. The game will try its best to make our character look good but if you take a step back and really look at what you’ve done, you’re no better than the bad guy.
Perhaps this internal conflict of our protagonist makes the narrative more interesting. A flawed hero is often acknowledged as the best type; as it shows us they’re real. Gamers don’t always want real, though, we don’t want to end the game having wondered if we’re worse than the villain and in this list, we’ll be looking at 10 video game heroes who are exactly that.
10. Borderlands – The Vault Hunters
The first entry on our list is by far the easiest to justify, as there’s just so much content on Handsome Jack that you can’t deny him having some redeeming qualities. Also, let's not blindly judge Jack as the maniacal leader of Hyperion, that’s him at his best – or, his worst. If you gave anyone in the series that much power they'd corrupt in the same way.
Even if we take Jack's biggest villainous moment in imprisoning his siren daughter, it's justified by him numerous times. Angel killed her mother by accidental use of her powers and to stop more incidents, he created a secure housing facility for her.
He’s killed hundreds of bandits and scavengers? So have the Vault Hunters. What’s worse is that the Vault Hunters did it for treasure and glory. Jack, before he was antagonised, was ridding Pandora of the worst settlements in order to one day try to fix the planet.
He also ceased production of all Claptrap units but is that really a bad thing. Ultimately, as shown in either Borderlands 2 or The Pre-Sequel, we find out that Jack's snap from attempted hero to big bad was the result of the OG Vault Hunters.