The lights are on
If there is one thing the original Borderlands desperately needed, it was a villain. A slew of characters came and went through the story, but there was never any singular presence players could set their sights on. That all changed in the sequel, though.
The dynamic between the heroic do-gooder and the nemesis develops a clear focus on the story direction, with all of the details littered throughout. Video game villains serve a unique purpose, though. Instead of merely viewing the conflict, video games involve you in it. This calls for a bad guy who can drive you forward, dangling a carrot in front of you. Handsome Jack stands as one of the most recent enemies to accomplish this feat.
Right off the bat, Handsome Jack gives players a reason to tear through robots and slay bandits across the wastes of Pandora. His sadistic tendencies, sarcastic demeanor, and narcissism create a personality that the Vault Hunters can’t wait to silence. And yet, some aspects of the villain are likeable. Sure, he hides behind an army of mechanized killing machines. And yes, he murders innocent civilians for entertainment, but Gearbox’s character is well written, and he does a great job of propelling you from quest to quest.
What begins as a bid to take over Pandora becomes a personal dispute between you and Jack. In the end, he doesn’t just want to kill you; he wants to dismantle every fiber of your being. He’s a power-hungry tyrant turned schoolboy because of your insistence on ruining his plans. He’s an evil individual at the heart of it all, but the personal touch that Jack adds to Borderlands 2 is remarkable. In the waning hours of the game, the story climax centers directly on you and him, and the result is a satisfying end to a well-developed conflict.
Certain characteristics are prevalent among video game villains, but several games show those off better than others. Look back at titles with excellent writing, and there’s a good chance you’re also going to find some of the medium’s more memorable villains.
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