The Best Crime Games Ever Made

crime-games

 

Updated: This list has been updated in August 2018 to reflect new video game installments. 

Original article follows:

Few people with options otherwise would chose to do crimes, but yet somehow culturally we find the idea fascinating. We base so much of our entertainment on people doing terrible things that we’d vilify in real life. It’s as true in games as it is in films or books.

We don’t claim to have an answer for why this is, all we know is, there are a bunch of games about crime that are very good and you should think about playing them! We’ve collected 10 of them here!


Mafia 3

  • Developer: Hangar 13
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO,
  • Release: October 7, 2016

Take on the role of a Vietnam war veteran, who returns from the war only to find his hometown of New Bordeaux in control of the mob, as he picks up a gun and rises through the ranks of his own “family,” eradicating all of the gangsters in his way and plunging the city into the worst chaos it’s ever seen.


This is the Police

  • Developer: Weappy Studio
  • Publisher: Nordic Games, EuroVideo Medien
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, NS
  • Release: August 2, 2016

In this narrative-based strategy game, players step into the shoes of the police chief who must make difficult choices throughout the game. Do you sack every black police officer on the force and capitulate to the demands of City Hall and its pandering of racists? Do you let a mobster go if it means saving the life of your best friend and his family? The choice is yours.


Yakuza 5

  • Developer: Sega CS1
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4
  • Release: December 8, 2015

In this legendary series, players play the role of a high-ranking member of the Japanese mob, also known as the Yakuza. Steeped in honor and violence, Yakuza 5 sees the Tojo clan teetering on an all-out war, four men and one girl will be pulled into the chaos. Experience the continuing story of the criminal underworld that makes all of Japan tremble in fear.


LA Noire

  • Developer: Team Bondi
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS3, X360, PC, NS, PS4, XBO
  • Release: May 17, 2011

Inspired by the novels written in the 1940s, film noir, and detective films like L.A. Confidential, LA Noire is everything we’ve come to expect from a detective game made by Rockstar Games. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, players take on the role of a detective solving crimes in a city corrupted by crime across five major divisions in the LAPD. Players must search for clues, interrogate suspects, and uncover a vast conspiracy.


Payday: The Heist

  • Developer: Overkill Software
  • Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS3
  • Release: October 18, 2011

We all saw Heat (or we pretend to have seen Heat but have only watched the opening scene of The Dark Knight) and thought we could rob banks. We thought we could scheme a way to take massive amounts of money out of a building while wearing masks and telling everyone to keep cool and stay on the ground.

Payday is the Bank Robbery Sim. Though it inevitably becomes a shooting gallery toward the end of missions, nowhere else has yet attempted the same idea quite as specifically.

It’s a little bare-bones in the original, but the concept is claimed to be advanced even further in the sequel, accessible early now on Steam.


Yakuza 4

  • Developer: Sega CS1
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4
  • Release: March, 15, 2011

Crime isn’t relegated only to the West. Following the events of the three preceding games before it, you once again return to the role of the Yakuza boss Kazuma Kiryu, who’s joined by three new protagonists this time around.

As with the previous games, the action takes place in Kamurocho, a fictionalized yet realistic recreation of Shinjuku’s red light district.


Monaco

  • Developer: Pocketwatch Games
  • Publisher: Pocketwatch Games
  • Platforms: PC, X360
  • Release: April 24, 2013

It’s two different games. One of them is about as tense a stealth experience you can have on your own, the other is a frantic goof around with your friends. In Monaco you’ll inevitably bungle something up, but that’s when heists are at their most intense. It successfully makes you fail constantly but never feel like you’re a failure.


Mafia 2

  • Developer: 2K Czech
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360,
  • Release: August 24, 2010

Set in the late 1940’s to the early ’50s, Mafia 2 is the epitome of crime in games as you play the role of Vittorio Antonio “Vito” Scaletta, and up-and-coming member of the Sicilian Mafia.

As Vito, you perform a wide variety of criminal activities, ranging from heists to assassinations as you proceed through the game’s The Godfather-inspired storyline.


The Godfather

  • Developer: EA Redwood Shores
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Platforms: PS2, XB, PC, PSP, X360, PS3, Wii
  • Release: March 21, 2006

It’s impossible to deny the quality of Francis Ford Copella’s film which even today holds up as an absolutely essential piece of entertainment. So pervasive is this film’s appeal that the plot of this game wouldn’t think to stray from it. You’re a character introduced into the world working behind the scenes, performing tasks from within the film like planting Michael’s gun and the iconic horse head.

Through your role might be a little hammered in, it’s well executed and utterly recommendable.


Watch Dogs

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO, Wii U
  • Release: May 27, 2014

Watch Dogs is about crime and the prevention of crime before it happens. As a futuristic vigilante, you’ll have access to the city of Chicago’s powerful ctOS system that allows you to predict crimes even before they occur and break them up as they are in progress, leaving the cops to clean up after you. It’s a bit like Minority Report but with nightsticks and shooting up the bad guys.

Can you dig it?


Grand Theft Auto 4

  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS3, X360, PC
  • Release: April 29, 2008

After release there was a lot of complaint about GTA4 being more restrained than the previous games in the series. People disliked how the cars felt weightier and your actions within the world didn’t have the same kind of levity. What it tried to do instead was create a game with a more meaningful story to tell about criminality and how it relates to an immigrant’s understanding of the american dream.

There’s no parachuting or plane-jacking, but there’s an adult narrative told well.

Oh also you can go bowling with your cousin, which is clearly the best part and no one has anything bad to say about it.


Saints Row the Third

  • Developer: Volition
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360
  • Release: November 15, 2011

Though 2 is where the series began to diverge into total hilarity, SR3 is where any pretense that the series is about anything except random joy was entirely dropped. 2 painted you as a horrible gangland villain, 3 painted you as a powerful crimelord and essentially a superhero.

At a point in Saints Row 4 the difficulty trails off and you’re just asked to be part of set-piece after set-piece. You can gain upgrades that make your starting pistols fire explosive ammunition which never needs to be reloaded. You get the ability to call down an airstrike in the second mission of the game.

There’s a baseball bat which is actually a 5 foot cock and balls. There’s a mission entirely set to Kanye West’s Power and it’s

You should really play Saints Row the Third.


Grand Theft Auto V

  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release: September 17, 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5 is the first game in the GTA series that doesn’t lock our perspective into a single character, giving us instead the opportunity to play three different characters across a lengthy, and well-written criminal narrative.

The plot is familiar, with small crimes leading to bigger ones and government agents getting their hooks into the protagonists before they eventually take charge of their own destinies. It’s typical GTA stuff, but far better than almost anything else out there.


Sleeping Dogs

  • Developer: United Front Games
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360, PS4, XBO
  • Release: August 14, 2012

Though more of a third-person martial arts game than an actual shooter, this action game belongs on this list namely because it’s just that good, and there was nowhere else to put it . The game puts you in the role of Shen, an undercover cop gone rogue criminal agent who rises through the ranks of the Triads as he takes down the Chinese mob.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS2, PC, XB, X360, PS3, Ios, Android,
  • Release: October 26, 2004

As we said about Saints Row 3 before it, GTA:SA is about set-pieces, It’s a game where you burn down fields of pot with a flamethrower and gradually get high as the fields burn.

It’s a game where you break into a military facility without knowing what you’re there to find and then you’re rewarded with a jetpack you can ride around in for the entire rest of the game.


Max Payne 3

  • Developer: Rockstar Studios
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS3, X360, PC
  • Release: May 15, 2012

Max Payne first hit the market back in 2001, but to keep things a bit fresh, we’re looking at the latest installment, Max Payne 3. The video game launched back in 2012 and takes place nearly a decade after the events of Max Payne 2. Players once again take the role of Max Payne who was once a detective but has since become a private security contractor. In this installment of the franchise, Max Payne finds himself pinned between death and betrayal in a brand new mission.


Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release: October 23, 2015

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has, for the most part, received a positive reception since its release in 2015. The video gamen takes the same gameplay mechanics and goals since the franchise first launched. Players are in for a story of Assassin’s fighting against Templars, however, this time the franchise is set in Victorian-era London. Gamers will witness twin assassins, Jacob and Evie Frye, as they go through the underground organized crime in order to take control of the city from the Templars.


Battlefield Hardline

  • Developer: Visceral Games
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO
  • Release: March 17, 2015

The Battlefield franchise has mainly been set in fictional to historical wars. With that said, Battlefield Hardline focuses on the war on crime set within Miami. Players will step into the shoes of Officer Nick Mendoza who goes off-the-books in order to follow a drug supply chain. The deeper Officer Mendoza digs, the clearer it becomes that power can affect anyone.


Watch Dogs 2

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release: November 15, 2016

After the success Ubisoft had with their new IP Watch Dogs, a sequel was released back in 2016. This time around, players are taken to the San Francisco Bay Area to explore and cause havoc by hacking various terminals connecting to city functions or personal smartphones.  Much of the same gameplay mechanics are present, though the developers did make a few overhauls such as driving.


Yakuza Kiwami

  • Developer: Sega
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4, PC
  • Release: January 21, 2016

We have a few installments to the Yakuza franchise in this list and if you’ve never got into the series before then Yakuza Kiwami may help. Developed by Sega, Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the first Yakuza game within the series. Players will learn about the various crime families and their connections with each other. A sequel to Yakuza Kiwami that retells the story of Yakuza 2 is set to the first launch in Japan, December of 2017.


Her Story

  • Developer: Sam Barlow
  • Publisher: Sam Barlow
  • Platforms: PC, Android
  • Release: June 24, 2015

Her Story is an indie video game written and directed by Sam Barlow. The video game features live-action police interview footage of a young female and pins the players to solve a murder investigation. Gamers must go through a series of video clips and uncover files that will lead to what really happened to Hannah Smith’s husband.


Deadly Premonition

  • Developer: Access Games
  • Publisher: Ignition Entertainment, Rising Star Games
  • Platforms: X360, PS3, PC
  • Release: February 23, 2010

If you’re a fan of the cult TV series Twin Peaks, then chances are you’ve come across the video game Dead Premonition. It’s quite easy to see where developers Access Games received their inspirations when creating the game narrative. Within the game, players become an FBI agent who is sent to a small town within the United States in order to solve a murder. While investigating the murder it becomes obvious that there’s an otherworldly presence taking control of the town.


The Wolf Among Us

  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, PSV, X360, XBO
  • Release: October 14, 2013

Based on the Fables comic book series, The Wolf Among Us is another hit from developers Telltale Games. Overall, the game is set within an American town that that features outcasts from your beloved fairy tale stories. Now hiding in the human world, players take on the role of Bigby Wolf, once known as the Big Bad Wolf, who must keep the fables in check in order to avoid unwanted attention. When a string of murders starts to occur, Bigby begins to investigate who is responsible for the heinous crimes.


Batman: Arkham Asylum

  • Developer: Rocksteady Studios
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS3, X360, PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: August 25, 2009

Really, there are a number of entries we could have included from the Batman Arkham series and all of which are well worth playing. To avoid flooding the list with a number of entries from the same franchise, we decided to include the first title from the Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Within the game, players take on the role of the dark knight who becomes trapped in Arkham Asylum. It becomes your quest to take out loose criminals and restore order within the infamous prison.


Hitman

  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO,
  • Release: March 11, 2016

The Hitman series is another franchise that’s been established for years now though back in 2016, IO Interactive gave it a slight reboot. Hitman released as an episodic stealth video game where players took the role as Agent 47 who must stealthily assassinate his designated targets.

As mentioned, this is a slight reboot as the game does take place both prior to Hitman: Codename 47 along with also taking place years after the events of Hitman: Absolution. Within the game, players must fulfill several assassination contracts that slowly seem to connect. Being a professional assassin, you’ll have to maneuver and get the hit taken care of while being within the public eye. As a result, Agent 47 must blend in with his surroundings along with cleaning up any messes he left from his trail.

Though Hitman released episodically, players will have the full game available right now through the Definitive Edition. However, if you’re looking to keep the game going, a sequel called Hitman 2 is slated to release on November 13, 2018.


Saints Row IV

  • Developer: Volition
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360, PS4, XBO
  • Release: August 20, 2013

The Saints Row series is one that often competes against Grand Theft Auto. However, out of the two, Saints Row is more over-the-top in terms of action and narrative storylines. Saints Row IV follows the street gang leader of the 3rd Street Saints.

Shortly after becoming the President of the United States, players receive super powers and must fight off an alien invasion. This is still very much an open world action game that the franchise is known for while also being a title where players can create havoc as they also attempt to survive the alien threat.

Likewise with the added benefit of super powers, players will be able to race at incredible speeds, jump onto large buildings, fire off fire and ice missiles along with having telekinesis. This will of course create some very outlandish moments during your journey.


Hotline Miami

  • Developer: Dennaton Games
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, PSV, Android
  • Release: October 23, 2012

Hotline Miami was a big hit for developers Dennaton Games where it was released as their debut video game title. This is an indie title that focuses on a top-down action oriented gameplay. Within Hotline Miami players take the role of an antihero that is known as Jacket. After being told to commit acts of violence, Jacket sets off on a bloodbath rampage against a series of criminal organizations.

There’s not too much that goes into the game as you’ll be introduced to a level layout and tasked with killing all the criminals within the map. Furthermore, throughout your rampage you’ll come across a variety of weapons to use at your disposal.

After their success with Hotline Miami, the game received a sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number which follows the same gameplay though it takes places before and after the events of the first video game installment.

Both titles are currently available across a wide variety of platforms that range from last generation and current generation platforms.


Thief

  • Developer: Eidos Montreal
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO
  • Release: February 25, 2014

If you enjoy stealth games then you very well may have played a few past video game installments of Thief. In 2014 under development studio Eidos Montreal, Thief received a reboot though the game takes place hundreds of years after the original series. Interestingly enough, if you enjoyed the past installments then you may even come across a few nods and items from the original series. But with that said, you don’t need any backstory in order to enjoy Thief today.

Thief puts players into the role of Garret who is a highly skilled thief. Garret returns home after being away for a long period of time where he finds that the city is under control of a tyrant leader named Baron. Likewise, players will find that the city is under famine and disease leaving those who are not part of the wealthy class status to slowly die away.

Garret is the common people’s last hope to survive which means he’ll have to use all of his cunning and skills against Baron. While the game is centered on stealth, players will have the ability to go through the game in a variety of styles such as a more action-oriented approach.