There are so many great stories to be told and showcased in video games. From titles made for little kids to a mature audience. If you’re after a game that features a life of crime or a protagonist that is on the hunt to solve a case, then we have you covered. Here are some of the best video games featuring a crime plot on the PlayStation 4. It’s tough to really rank these games so rather than looking at any game being better than the other, we suggest looking at this list of just some incredible games available for the platform. With that said, we want to know your favorite crime game on the PlayStation 4.
#20 This is the Police
This is the Police is a pretty unique game compared to the other titles on this list. Players are put into the shoes of a police chief in this narrative strategy game. With your retirement coming up, you have a goal of making as much money as possible before the end. In hopes of making at least $500,000 before retirement, players will be sending their officers to help out in a variety of areas such as emergency calls or alarms. Looking at the city map, you’ll be able to see how many units have been dispatched and to where. Of course, to make a bit of money you can also take bribes from other organizations not to send out any police to a certain call. It’s a struggle to keep your nose clean enough to not pick up any suspicion while also making sure that citizens are safe from harm.
#19 Hidden Agenda
Supermassive Games is a pretty big development studio that brought out a killer horror adventure game. With the launch of Until Dawn, players were able to go through a narrative that adapted to the player’s choices. Meanwhile, the gameplay was mainly based around exploration, making choices, and a series of quick-time events. This series of games continued with the developers bringing out The Dark Pictures Anthology. Essentially, this collection of video game titles would release into the marketplace that had the same overall visual style and gameplay mechanics. The differences between the games would be the actual storylines and settings these titles would take place within.
Between the release of Until Dawn and the first installment to The Dark Pictures Anthology, Man of Medan, we saw Hidden Agenda. This is a game that again had similar gameplay mechanics, but the narrative put players into a dark crime thriller as players took the role of a homicide detective that was seeking out a serial killer. While The Dark Pictures Anthology and Until Dawn is mainly enjoyed as a single-player experience, Hidden Agenda offered a means for players to connect with their smartphones and vote on certain decisions to be made in this game.
#18 Mafia 3
In Mafia 3 you take the role of Lincoln Clay a man who has returned from the Vietnam war and looking for a place to belong. As a result, Lincoln ends up with his old crew and mentor though as you can imagine, things don’t align very well leaving our protagonist on a quest for revenge.
There’s plenty to like about this game. This game also offers a crime documentary vibe as you’ll be pulled from gameplay and thrown into a clip from the present day. It’s a means to set up the next plot point, but its this little details gives the game a bit of charm. As mentioned, there’s plenty to do outside of the campaign as the map is broken up in territories. You’ll have the chance to chip away at these territories and claim them for yourself, in a sense. Really, these areas are dived up and given to different factions that your aligned with. Of course, who you give places to control will matter in the game and it could cost you alliances so you’ll need to be careful on how upset you make certain characters with your decisions as that can cost you safe areas or potential goods you would have been able to reap.
#17 Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs has been around for three installments now with the latest being Watch Dogs: Legion. This game acts much like the past installments in which players are having to fight off a strict regime that invades the privacy of citizens. While the first two installments put players into a single protagonist that’s attached to a hacker group known as DedSec, this game makes a pretty drastic change. Before we get ahead of ourselves, Watch Dogs: Legion takes place in the London area with DedSec looking to free the citizens from a tyranny-controlled private military group.
To go about your goal of freeing the citizens, players will be taking the role of a variety of characters rather than a single protagonist. A big part of this game is actively recruiting citizens to aid you in your fight against regime control. Players can freely roam around the world and hack info about any citizen to learn more about them such as skills that could prove to be useful in the fight. Afterward, you’ll have to convince the NPCs to join DedSec which if successful, you’ll be able to take control of the NPC during your journey. This goal of grabbing up recruits will allow future missions to be completed in a variety of ways rather than the game forcing players into going through this third-person action-adventure game.
#16 Empire of Sin
The 1920s was a start of an era that allowed gangs to thrive. With the nation undergoing prohibition, there was a new means to make some big money. With bootleg booze and territory wars, cities like Chicago were a ruthless area and a battle zone for gangs to take charge. We’ve seen several video games take on the life of crime as a member of a gang or even a leader of organized criminal groups. Empire of Sin puts players into a role of a gang that’s slowly attempting to become the top dog in the city.
This is a strategy game that has players picking up the role of a gang leader and working their talents in hopes of becoming a leader of an underground criminal empire. This means managing your group, defending your territory, expanding your casinos, speakeasies, and either charming or intimidate anyone that attempts to stop your hustle. With that said, there is plenty of moments where things may get physical such as another gang not respecting your territory lines. As a result, the game would play out as a tactical strategy game with players setting up their characters around the level and deciding on how to best take out the targets, whether it’s brute firepower, or getting up close for melee beat down.
#15 Payday 2
If you enjoy heist games then it doesn’t get much better than Payday 2. While the title may be a bit older at this point, it’s still a solid game that’s enjoyed by veterans and newcomers as well. It also helps that the developers are still bringing out new updates to give players more content to go through. Overall, this is a game that’s played best with friends as you participate in four-player heists across different locations. Before you jump into that crime spree to make a quick buck, there’s plenty of planning to go through. After all, you’ll want some insight as to what you’re walking into so everyone is aware of their job and making each heist not only seamless but free from any law enforcement.
Payday 2 was released back in 2013 but it found a launch on the PlayStation 4 back in 2015. However, if you’re going to attempt this FPS heist game either again on the PlayStation 4 or for the first time, then it’s worth looking at the Payday 2: Crimewave Edition which makes some overall improvements to the game. Again, this game is full of DLC packs which adds more heists and in-game weapons to make use of. With that said, we know that there is a third installment being developed, but at the moment we’re not sure just when the game is expected to hit the marketplace.
#14 Serial Cleaner
Criminals only get away if they keep their wits and ensure that all their bases are covered. If a job gets messy then that’s where a cleaner comes in and makes sure that everything is removed from the crime scene to ensure that there’s nothing left behind for the law enforcement to make use of. Instead of diving into the game as a criminal mastermind looking to make a score or eliminate the competition, you’re instead the guy who is responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind.
Set in the 1970s, players will go through this stealth game with a top-down perspective. Overall, players are controlling the protagonist around the map and collecting all the evidence left behind including the bodies. However, among the crime scene is police officers looking around and marking down the items to tag and bag. You’ll need to carefully maneuver around the area and stay away from the police officer’s field of view while also grabbing up the items to get rid of. It’s a simple game to understand but the levels will continue to get more difficult.
#13 Saints Row: The Third Remastered
The Saints Row video games are typically viewed as Grand Theft Auto clones. However, they are a whole lot wackier and over-the-top with their gameplay mechanics along with its narrative. We haven’t seen a new mainline installment in a good while for this franchise, but one of the titles that have proven to keep fans entertained was Saints: Row The Third. This is a third-person action title that takes place five years after the events of Saints Row 2.
Within this game, players will follow the Saints street gang that has become a worldwide phenomenon hit. This street gang moves some serious merch and entertainment media for fans to enjoy. While promoting their upcoming film, the Saints end up enduring a bank robbery gone wrong which puts the gang behind bars. Now the Saints are not only breaking but having to face against new law enforcement that’s seeking to end this street gang once and for all. Again, it’s quite a bit like the Grand Theft Auto franchise but with the narrative being loose with more comical events or parodies.
#12 Mafia: Trilogy
The Mafia franchise was already mentioned earlier with the third installment to the Mafia IP, but it’s worth adding this installment collection as well. If you’ve never played any of the Mafia games then you might find Mafia: Trilogy to be the better deal. You’re getting all three installments that are remastered for modern platforms today. These remastered editions are handled pretty well, but the first installment is what’s going to show how much work went into these enhancements. Players are given a big overhaul to the classic 1930s Mafia tale which follows a city cab driver that gets picked up in the life of crime when the money turns out too good to pass up.
There’s Mafia II available as well which takes place within the mid-1940s featuring another criminal that needs money and uses his wits and street smarts to handle some ugly business. Then of course you have the third installment which we covered earlier in this list. At any rate, all three of the games are played out in the third-person perspective with missions that involve high-speed chases to brutal gunplay.
#11 Hotline Miami
Hotline Miami was one of the breakout indie titles to come out in 2013. This top-down shooter was an intense and brutal action game that was set in Miami in 1989. Players step into a protagonist that’s been getting nonstop messages on his answering machine telling him to go out and commit massacres with targets being aimed at different Russian mafia members. From there it’s a nonstop action title full of destruction and death. With the game set up to look like an old-school retro title with a dash of neon, Hotline Miami sticks out and the slew of weapons you’ll pick up along the way makes the game a bit chaotic.
We would be doing a disservice to you if we didn’t make mention of the sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. This game keeps up with the same top-down shooter mechanics with the title taking place before the events of the first game and after. If you enjoyed the first installment then chances are you’ll find plenty to love with the sequel.
#10 L.A. Noire
Chances are you’ve already played L.A. Noire if you enjoy crime titles. This game throws players into the late 1940s where you take the role of a detective named Agent Cole who’s slowly working up his way through the various divisions within the LA police department. Throughout the game, players will follow Cole through a series of criminal cases in which you’ll need to explore the area, ask witnesses questions, collect evidence and slowly solve the crime. The gameplay is similar to the Grand Theft Auto franchise where players are in a third-person perspective and can freely roam the open-world.
An interesting aspect of the L.A. Noire franchise is the fact that the developers were able to use technology that could capture the motion expressions of the actors. It’s through this technology that players would be able to tell if a person was lying and holding back the truth. By seeking out cues to the actor’s performance, players would be able to navigate through questions or bring up evidence that chips away at the suspect’s guilt forcing them into a confession.
#9 Sleeping Dogs
Sleeping Dogs is a game that didn’t take off that much but still had a good following with newcomers discovering the IP today. It was a game that acted out similar to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but here players stepped into the role of law enforcement that was attempting to invade into a criminal organization. It’s a game that takes place in an open-world Hong Kong city environment with the combat thriving on melee. There’s even a definitive Edition available which enhances the gameplay and audio for fans that are wanting to enjoy this game for the PlayStation 4 platform.
Judgment is a game that takes place in the same universe as the Yakuza series so if you’re familiar with the franchise then you can get an idea of some of the gameplay mechanics you’ll find in this game. Overall, Judgment follows a storyline of a lawyer that most have written off. To climb back on top and get redemption our protagonist Takayuki Yagami begins private detective work in order to investigate the believed corrupt Red Light Distract of Kamurocho. As you can imagine, from the developers behind Yakuza, this game features not only an over-the-top storyline, but a beat ‘em up style gameplay when you’re forced to throw fists at a thug that steps in your way. With that said, this is still a game focused around solving crimes rather than committing them.
#7 Watch Dogs 2
Ubisoft brought out Watch Dogs 2 in 2016 as a means to deliver a new experience featuring the hacking group DedSec. This time around you’re taking the role of Marcus Holloway in San Francisco Bay. The game is a means to really improve on the foundation Ubisoft laid out with the original title. With that said, this game is certainly not the title where you can just go in and be a badass. You’ll need to really rely on stealth and hacking various devices.
This game be really challenging as well, it’s less of a means of going out and defeating enemies with brute force, but instead using your tools and gadgets to explore areas, plan, and execute in a way that draws little to no attention. There’s also a big open world for players to explore with activities to check off, though we’re likely going to see this improved upon even further with the upcoming Watch Dogs Legion. For now, if you haven’t dived into the franchise yet then Watch Dogs 2 could be a great starting point.
#6 Grand Theft Auto Online
Grand Theft Auto V was a behemoth of a video game title and it’s a game we’ll be diving into more info down below. However, we felt that the online component for Grand Theft Auto V deserved a spot on our list. With Grand Theft Auto Online, players are once again able to explore Los Santos freely. However, there is a new slew of missions, heists, and trouble to get into with friends or again by yourself. This game mode is full of content and the developers have continued to add more content into this game from missions, in-game items, to different events. Everything you would expect to find from a Grand Theft Auto game is present but there’s a whole lot more chaotic gameplay to be had here with other players logging into the mix.
#5 Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The Yakuza series is well-known as an over-the-top brawler series. However, things made a big change with Yakuza: Like A Dragon. The development studio opted to give players a new protagonist, storyline, and even combat mechanics this time around than what the series IP was known for. Within this installment, players stepped into another criminal role. Players will be stepping into the role of Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking yakuza family member that ends up taking the fall for a crime that he didn’t commit.
From there, our protagonist is thrown into jail where he’s forced to live out an 18-year sentence. After getting out of prison, Ichiban finds no one waiting for him and that his yakuza family has been destroyed which prompts him to discover what happened. As mentioned, the series was known to be a third-person brawler but in Yakuza: Like A Dragon, players are instead given a classic turn-based RPG which has proven to be just as popular and worth going through.
#4 Yakuza Kiwami
The Yakuza franchise has been around for years and there’s quite a few installments available. Jumping in at any given point may not be the most enticing thing for newcomers and certainly going back the original installments can feel quite dated. Thankfully, the franchise has been receiving remakes essentially with the Kiwami series. Yakuza Kiwami is the first installment for the Yakuza franchise giving players chance to enjoy this series for the first time ever or allowing veterans to join back into the fun with a new coat of paint along with some newer mechanics.
Overall, this franchise follows different Yakuza family organizations and players take the role of Kazuma Kiryu. After being falsely accused of killing a high ranking Yakuza member, Kiryu is stripped from the family and sent to prison. After serving his time, Kiryu begins a new quest to find out the responsible member who killed the high ranking member. It’s a game full of investigation and brawling with a variety of thugs. Speaking of brawling, the combat is over-the-top action which you’ll be doing a lot of whether during game missions or simply running into thugs during your exploration around the city. This is a perfect jumping point for the franchise.
#3 A Way Out
A Way Out is a pretty well-known video game title though it can still be considered a smaller release. The game comes from development studio, Hazelight Studios, which is likely best known from being headed by film director and screenwriter Josef Fares. This game all about co-op play as it requires two players to enjoy the game, so you best have a player two available if you wish to dive into the campaign.
Overall, the game is a story following two prisoners on their daring escape from prison. When the two prisoners strike up a mutual friendship, they work together as they escape but breaking from prison turns out to be a cakewalk on the emotional journey that will present itself when the duo makes their way from behind bars. It’s a narrative-driven story and one that will give players enough content to dive through during a weekend. If you have six hours to kill then you can get through this intense co-op prison break and a storyline of redemption along with revenge.
#2 Red Dead Redemption 2
Coming off of their Grand Theft Auto V release, Rockstar Games delivered fans a new installment to the Red Dead Redemption franchise. While the game would indicate its a sequel by the title name alone, this installment is actually prequel. Players are tossed into the boots of Arthur Morgan, a rough and tough outlaw that rides with the infamous Dutch Van Der Linde Gang. With a posse of unique characters and even some familiar faces such as John Marston, players are following this oddball group who is constantly on the run from the government after a heist goes south.
Just like the original installment to the Red Dead Redemption game, players are set in a massive open world in the old country filled with areas to explore. As a result, when not completing main missions, players are free to explore the open world which could includes landmarks, random towns, villages, mines, and outlaw gang hideouts. One of the interesting aspects to this game is that players are able to create their own reputation. While the main storyline focuses players being an outlaw, what you do outside of the storyline will give you either a positive or negative reputation. With there being so many unique character seeking help, how you handle situations or just your free roam will either tilt the meter towards being a noble person or a ruthless outlaw and that would ultimately determine what ending you receive this game.
Just like Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2 also has an online component that again will allow players to live out their life of crime with other players. Become an infamous outlaw, run a moonshine business, or attempt to break good by taking out any bounties that come up. Either way, you’ll easily get lost in this game if you give it a chance.
#1 Grand Theft Auto V
Come on you knew this one was going to be in the list. The Grand Theft Auto franchise always features a criminal and doing a barrage of missions that bend the law or outright goes against it. The series continues to bring in a massive following with each installment, but for most the latest installment remains on top for the series. Rockstar Games really outdid themselves with the creation of Grand Theft Auto V. You have a massive open world that feels lived in along with a wide variety of activities. Outside of the campaign, you can compete in races, triathlons, help random strangers who needs a helping hand, own a business, acquire vehicles, buy properties, or even take your mayhem online with other active players going about their business.
However, for this point on the list, we’re focusing on the crime aspect which there’s plenty of in Grand Theft Auto V. Players this time around have three main characters to take control of and each storyline intermingles. As the trio tries to get a big score, they are forced to complete a series of heists to helping a variety of characters or agencies. From robbing a jewelry store, breaking an individual out from federal agents control, to even taking out rival drug empires, the life of crime is a never ending journey. As mentioned, there’s also an online component which again offers unique missions and tasks. It doesn’t seem like there is any slowing down Grand Theft Auto V, in fact, years after its release Epic Games offered the title for free on the PC platform which resulted in their servers crashing due to the influx of players claiming their free game.