Villain's Legacy

While I don’t often submerge myself in the world of adult-only video games, I do dip my toe in from time to time. For example, I found myself enamored by House Party earlier this year. And one thing I noticed is that if you end up playing one of these games, Steam will start filling your recommendation list with piles and piles of them…

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I can only assume that it was my interest in House Party that drew the attention of Mad Scientist Lab, the developer and publisher of Villain’s Legacy. They were quick to offer me a review code for Villain’s Legacy so I could check it out, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Why not?” After all, this holiday season has been a little light on gaming content, so I have some unexpected downtime right now.

This meant, of course, that I would have to stop playing The Witcher 3 for a bit, but this is the price one must pay for video-game review copies.

Anyway, one weird thing happened between Mad Scientist’s first email and their second one: The game changed its title. The original title was Evil Genius, and the game’s weirdly unlisted trailer on YouTube still shows the old title at the end (though the title of the YouTube video was changed to reflect the game’s new title.)

Villain's Legacy

I can only assume this happened because there was already a game called Evil Genius. In fact, the original Evil Genius just got a sequel just last year. So I don’t know if lawyers got involved in this one or not, but I can definitely think of at least one reason that this game would need a title change just days before launch.

Anyway, I did eventually get to check out the game (under the title Villain’s Legacy), and I just have to wonder, does anyone know the person who made this? If so, you might want to check in with them, because homie ain’t doing so great.

Now, I’m totally fine with all the nudity and gratuitous sex — that’s what this game is all about, right? I also don’t mind the visual novel format. In fact, one of my favorite games of 2020 was a visual novel. There are some really great things that can be done with the format.

But Villain’s Legacy invites you into its world, and what you’ll find there is kind of… unhinged and disturbed?

First of all, I have to admit that I hated the protagonist right out of the gate. Because I thought the name Wind Faster (which is legitimately a character in this game) was kind of funny, I named my protag Badguy Harder to keep things consistent. But this awesome name wasn’t enough to endear him to me. He’s a sad sack of worthlessness, drowning in a mudslide of his own mediocrity. Just look at this guy.

Villain's Legacy

I mean, really, really take a look at him.

Villain's Legacy

You can tell just by looking at him that he’s the absolute worst, right? And he’s not just weird looking. He’s whiny and sniveling, and worst of all, he has this massive and fragile sense of entitlement that makes him feel slighted by every little thing that happens to him.

The game starts with a flashback sequence of him hanging out with the neighbors and ogling a woman named Lola, and he admits (in his internal monologue) that he’s spied on them while they were having sex. Real classy, Badguy Harder.

But the plot twist is that the neighbors knew about this, and they set up this particular visit so they could play strip poker with his wife, then tie him to a chair while both neighbors had sex with his wife in front of him. By this point, I was honestly rooting for his neighbors, even though I think I was supposed to feel sorry for him. But the point of showing this flashback is that this little incident made him hate superheroes with every ounce of his being (the male neighbor was a superhero; I forgot to mention that).

Now, I wasn’t exactly expecting Shakespeare here, but come on…

Villain's Legacy

As you get deeper into the game, you sink further and further into Badguy Harder’s narcissism and neuroses. And this is where things really get weird. Because as far as I can tell, “superheroes” is a thin metaphor for “women,” and Badguy Harder really hates them. Like, really, really hates them.

And this starts coming out in these weird scenes where he’s forcing women to strip in front of him, or watching them change when they’re not looking, or inventing pheromones that make certain women want to have sex with him, or just generally complaining with other characters about how much he hates “superheroes.” I think you can probably see, by the list of things that I laid out, that “superheroes” just means “women,” right?

And the game will randomly drop these weird lines out of nowhere, where two characters are talking about how the only people who get assaulted on subways are women who wear miniskirts. And Villain’s Legacy just expects you to accept this.

If blatant misogyny isn’t enough, there’s also a lot of blatant racism and homophobia that’s just sort of dropped on you, like it’s no big deal. For example, Badguy Harder’s arch-nemesis is a black dude named Black Commando. Hmmm.

While I thought this experiment might prove to be interesting — at the very least, I have something interesting to write about — I quickly found myself regretting my decision. See, when I decided to review Villain’s Legacy, I expected something sleezy and pervy. I thought it would be kind of goofy and stupidly oversexualized for no real reason — which can be kind of funny sometimes. But this game is actually vile. I think the most interesting thing about it, to be honest, is that it puts you inside the head of an incel, and forces you to wander around in that absolutely insane interpretation of reality.

Villain's Legacy

With House Party, I had a blast, because there’s a lot to love about that game. Sexy stuff aside, there’s a genuinely charming and compelling game there, with well-written dialogue and believable character drama. And, I mean, a house party seems like a good place to set a game about trying to have sex. I would proudly recommend House Party to my friends (and I actually have been doing just that).

But with Villain’s Legacy, I feel like I tumbled into a weird part of the internet by mistake and saw something that I can’t unsee. I spent a little over two hours with it, and that felt like a lifetime. I don’t think I’ll be going back to finish it. And no, that doesn’t have anything to do with the sexual content, which I consented to viewing before installing the game. It’s that the game is a twisted rabbit-hole of genuine resentment and frustration, and tapping into that — even for two hours — was kind of sickening.

And look, if this is how the game was trying to make me feel, I could honestly appreciate that. I don’t mind art that makes me uncomfortable when it’s asking me to think really hard about something dark or disturbing. But when the game can’t even go more than a few slides without making a super obvious spelling error, I don’t trust that anything else it does is intentional.

Villain’s Legacy is easily the worst game I played all year. I can’t even think of anything that comes close to being this unapologetically awful. So no, this one is definitely not for me.

And seriously, somebody check on the folks at Mad Scientist Lab.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Villain’s Legacy on Steam, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own. That probably goes without saying, right? I mean, come on, do you really think the publisher told me to write any of this?

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