The 50 Greatest Video Game Villains Of All Time

Credit: Matt Becker (compilation); Capcom, NetherRealm, Nintendo (artwork)
Credit: Matt Becker (compilation); Capcom, NetherRealm, Nintendo (artwork) /
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Saren Arterius
Credit: BioWare /

Greatest Video Game Villains – #43 Saren Arterius

Game(s): Mass Effect 

Background: Saren Arterius is a primary antagonist of the first Mass Effect game. Controlled by the ancient Reaper starship Sovereign, the Turian Saren is on a quest to find the sacred beacon “The Conduit. ” He is a veteran member of the Spectres, an elite group of special ops agents known for their ruthless and brutal tactics. Saren has little regard for life and views humanity as the lowest on the totem pole of the galaxy. Saren starts the game as a “good guy” working to defend galactic order. But he become susceptible to Sovereign’s indoctrination, which sparks his racist intergalactic killing spree. Saren meets Commander Shepard towards the end of Mass Effect, where Shepard tries to convince Saren of Sovereign’s influence over him. Saren’s fate is dependent on the player’s choices, but ends up dying one way or the other.

Why He’s One Of The Greatest Video Game Villains: What makes Saren an intriguing villain is his obliviousness to the true driving factors behind his actions. He is acting as Sovereign’s puppet without even knowing it, committing gruesome crimes against other alien races including using them for questionable experiments. Our first introduction to Saren is him killing his partner and friend in cold blood, setting the stage for the brutal personality of this racist antagonist. Even though he was always a Turian supremacist with a knack for violence, he was truly a puppet for Sovereign. One can argue that he is more of a victim than a villain. This also sets up an interesting decision the character must make when Shepard finally encounters him at The Conduit. But no matter what your feelings are about Saren, his cold and horrific murderous acts throughout Mass Effect seal his spot on this list.

Next: 42- Origami Killer