Top Six Games With Extremely Dubious Morality

Titles like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls give you the option of going full evil and becoming homicidal maniacs or slave traders, but that's pretty straight forward evil labeled as such well ahead of time. Likewise for the various Mafia / Grand Theft Auto / Saint's Row games, where you are a criminal from the get go and never pretend to be otherwise. 

These games below go a different direction – they aren't obviously evil at first glance, but rather are presented as morally justified when they're actually morally bankrupt. Not that that fact will stop us from playing them of course!

Gears of War  
This series is a case study in increasingly bad decisions by a species just hell bent on both self-destruction and the utter annihilation of any other living things on the planet. 

The hammer of dawn strikes prior to the events of the first game turned the world into a wasteland, the decision to sink Jacinto at the end of Gears of War 2 was baffling – especially after how poorly the light mass bomb in the tunnels worked at the end of the previous game – and then as the trilogy reaches its peak, humanity literally commits complete and total genocide against ALL of the locust, everywhere.

The worst part is the realization that none of that actually had to happen: the locust weren't attempting to annihilate humanity, they were escaping the immulsion poisoning that was killing them in their homes and driving them to the surface of the planet. If Marcus' father had just fixed the immulsion problem, humans and locusts never would have had to go to war in the first place – and humanity wouldn't have wiped out an entire sentient species for no good reason.

Final Fantasy 7 
No one put much thought into this when FF7 first came out – we were all too busy being blown away by the classic game propelling RPGs into the future – but this PS1 title literally starts with you assisting a terrorist cell in bombing a power plant.

At one point the utterly useless Cait Sith confronts Barret about the civilian deaths caused when Avalanche blew up the mako reactor, prompting him to defend his actions by saying there will be inevitable collateral damage while trying to save the planet - which is exactly the sort of rationalization a real world eco-terrorist would likely use.

One has to wonder if the upcoming remake of Final Fantasy 7 will address this issue or change the beginning in any way, especially considering the headline grabbing terrorist attacks that have occurred since the game came out way back in '97.

Uncharted may be the poster boy for this sort of behavior, but honestly this entry could really be any number of games where a likable protagonist waves through pools of blood, slaughtering countless enemies, to reach a specific prize or end goal.

The issue here of course is in game design – repetitive elements (like waves of enemies) are a staple of action games and are needed to keep the excitement up, and probably shouldn't be considered too much of a comment on the relative morality of any given main character.

If you want to think it through logically though, applying real-world reasoning to a make believe world, Uncharted's main character Drake is absolutely no better than the people he kills (and he kills lots of them). 

He's essentially a tomb raiding grave robber who kills anyone who tries to stop him from finding his latest prize – which is exactly what every enemy in the game is also doing. He's only the “good guy” because he's likable and reminds people of Indiana Jones. To the indigenous people of whatever area Drake is slaughtering his way through however, he's almost certainly a villain of the worst order.

You know this is just organized dog fighting in a fantasy world... right? While presented in an adorable way, the whole thing's actually pretty sinister if you think about it, and the same goes for similar titles like Monster Rancher.

Your trainer goes around looking for wild animals, beats them until they are weak enough to be caged, and then forces them to fight other animals for money and fame. The poor creatures are held captive in tiny containers until you need them to fight, then shuffled away in the kennel again afterwords. 

Taking the moral quandary of the situation to another level is the fact that many of them are clearly sentient, have language skills and would obviously rather not battle to the death for your amusement.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Beyond the sin of being a mediocre follow-up to what is probably still the best FF game in the series, the game boy advance title Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has some serious moral gray at the center of its story after snowball throwing kids use a magic book to travel to a fantasy world.

Like a reverse Pan's Labyrinth, you're busy throughout the game trying to leave a magical paradise and return to awful reality where your brother is in a wheel chair and another kid's parents are either dead or terrible drunks. At one point the main character even tells his brother he'll be able to walk again once they return to real life, which is obviously false (and shown to be so in the ending sequence below).

Now granted, everyone was forcibly sucked into this world and lots of people were turned into monstrous creatures under the thumb of a dictator, but the moral relativism of deciding some people should be back in their privileged happy lives while others are forced to deal with the worst life has to offer is definitely something to ponder over.

Call Of Duty - Modern Warfare 2
While general Shepherd actively trying to trigger World War III between Russia and the U.S. to boost military enlistment seems like pretty straight forward evil, the odd thing is that private first class Joseph Allen agrees to the whole thing after the game's first mission in Afghanistan.

I get the concept of going undercover to take down a bad guy, and realize Allen probably didn't know beforehand what Makarov had planned, but shouldn't he have done something when Makarov puts an uzi in his hand and drives to an airport filled with civilians? At the very least, he could have gone down shooting the terrorists, rather than aiding in murdering all the civilians.

Things get more complicated later in the game when captain Price decides the best way to stop the war immediately is to launch a nuclear missile... which he had specifically spent the end of the first game trying to prevent from happening.