There’s something to be said for games that put you in the role of the villain. You don’t get them too often, but when you do they’re kinda fun. One of the most recent titles I had fun with in this area was Aveyond 4: Shadow Of The Mist, where you’re basically playing a dethroned villain at the end of an RPG and must rebuild your life. Not all of these titles work, though, as it’s far too easy to make your villain be sympathetic and the heroes look like some jerks who wandered into the home you built just to trash it. So it was cool to get a slight change of pace from Degica’s latest game, Antagonist.
You start the game off as D’Vil, an evil being that the hero “Ralph” has come to vanquish. Turns out you’ve been filming scenes for an RPG to go with an upcoming game. The director chats with you and lets you know you’ve become the end boss in the title you’re currently shooting. In the middle of the final act, the creature you’re supposed to be controlling knocks you off the set, along with the hero. Something has gone wrong where you’re still an actor but everything else has become real. You end up teaming with the hero in order to save yourselves and figure out what’s happening to people in the cut scene industry.
Antagonist allows you to choose your own adventure to a degree, picking who you can chat with and what you decide to do. You’ll run into characters that are clear parodies of villains from other games like Chefiroth, who cooks things in the epic adventure Final Cooking Mama Fantasy VII Deluxe Arcade 3rd Strike Super Edition Remixed. The conversations will either be pre-planned or you can choose what to say, which will affect how people react in the future. The battles play out like an RPG, your character gains magic with every hit, which in turn fuels your spells.
There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialog throughout the game, like an “arrow to the knee” reference from Skyrim. Or “causing eruptions” being referred to as CGI. You eventually run into Pink and Loud (who look a lot like Link and Zelda), and Master Chef, who basically confirm that you’ve now been transported into a game and are blamed for all the death and destruction happening around the area. Each battle basically gives you a chance to learn new skills and level up as you go, learning new abilities that can help you and Ralph defeat enemies much quicker as they get tougher.
There’s no option of direction to go, the story is pretty straight forward with little wiggle room for side questing or breaking out of the story you’ve been put in. Even my attempts t break away from the hero and go off on my won were thwarted because he doesn’t trust you. But the funny dialog and absurd references make the adventure all that much better. The big issues I have with the game is all the unnecessary dialog. There’s so much exposition you’d swear it was a prelude to a Tarantino film, as very little of it plays into the actual story and is more there to get some quick laughs. But there’s so much of it that you end up getting buried under it and just click your way through the dialog to see some light.
Antagonist is a fine game, but it’s super short and doesn’t have a ton of replay value. The real fun of the game comes from the story you’re being told along the way and the chance to fight as an unexpected villain trying to do the right thing. But because there’s so little of it, it just gets washed away in the minutia of all the game references and tropes. It’s not going to be everyone’s kind of game, it’s mainly for RPG players who like seeing the fourth wall broken from time to time.
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