Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #25 Hidden Agenda
- #24 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
- #23 Murdered: Soul Suspect
- #22 Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
- #21 Mafia 3
- #20 Watch Dogs: Legion
- #19 Empire of Sin
- #18 Payday 2
- #17 Serial Cleaner
- #16 Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition
- #15 Saints Row: The Third Remastered
- #14 Mafia: Trilogy
- #13 Hotline Miami
- #12 L.A. Noire
- #11 Sleeping Dogs
- #10 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
- #9 Judgment
- #8 Lost Judgment
- #7 Watch Dogs 2
- #6 Grand Theft Auto Online
- #5 Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- #4 Yakuza Kiwami
- #3 A Way Out
- #2 Red Dead Redemption 2
- #1 Grand Theft Auto V
There are so many great stories told in video games, and many of the greats allow us to step into the shoes of someone we could never be. From titles made for little kids to those written with a more mature audience in mind, if you’re after a game featuring a protagonist living a life of crime or one on the hunt to solve a case, we have you covered. These are our picks for the best PlayStation 4 crime games. These are in no particular order–they’re all a great time. If we missed any of your favorites, reach out and let us know!
#25 Hidden Agenda
Supermassive Games found their niche making some fantastic horror adventure games. With the launch of Until Dawn, players were able to progress through a narrative that adapted to the player’s choices. The simplistic gameplay was mainly based around exploration, making choices, and quick-time events. This genre of game continued with the developers bringing out The Dark Pictures Anthology, featuring the same overall visual style and gameplay mechanics.
Hidden Agenda sees players take control of Becky Marney and district Attorney Felicity Graves who are currently searching for the serial killer known as The Trapper. This is a short title, but it does offer a PlayLink feature where other gamers can join in and vote on decisions that would alter the title’s outcome. This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. After all, there’s a serial killer on the loose.
#24 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
There are many Sherlock Holmes games out there if you were to want to try them, but Sherlock Holmes – Crimes & Punishments might be one of the more unique.
Mainly because in this game you’ll have six very different cases for you to go and solve. The twist is that how you solve them is very much dependent on how you wish to handle Sherlock.
In this instance, you’ll be able to use 14 different skillsets of his to follow your own path of inquiry and see where it takes you. Get clues, then interrogate suspects to find out whom the culprit is, and how to punish them.
Your choices will affect future cases, so beware.
#23 Murdered: Soul Suspect
What is the hardest kind of murder to solve? Your own. Because usually you aren’t “around” to go and do the solving. But in Murdered – Soul Suspect, you’ll be the one who has to bring the killer down.
You’ll play a detective who was killed in a robbery by a ruthless murderer. Now, you’ll have to use your detective skills and new supernatural abilities to find clues to who this person was, and find out the truth about why you died.
The living and the dead all have a role to play in this mystery, including fighting off spirits who are trying to take your soul before you solve the case.
Do what you need to and learn the truth so that you can move on in peace.
#22 Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
If you’re up for more Sherlock adventures then Sherlock Holmes – The Devil’s Daughter might be another to look into. This time around you’ll have to solve a case that isn’t just a fight for truth, but for the very soul of people.
You’ll get to explore London in order find clues and suspects, and how you conduct the investigation will send out ripples that can affect you down the line. Play Sherlock and Watson how you want them in order to get the crime to be solved.
Will you be able to prove once again that you are indeed the world’s greatest detective?
#21 Mafia 3
In Mafia 3, you take on the role of Lincoln Clay, a man who has recently returned from the Vietnam war and is 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, as it offers a unique ‘crime documentary’ vibe as you’ll be pulled from gameplay and thrown into a clip from the present day. This is used as a means to set up the next plot point, but these little details give the game an incredible amount of charm. There’s plenty to do outside of the campaign as the map is broken up into territories. These areas are dived up and given to different factions that you’re aligned with. Of course, who you give these locations to will matter, and it could cost you alliances if you slip up.
#20 Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs has been around for three installments now with the latest release being Watch Dogs: Legion in 2020. This game is similar to previous titles in which players are tasked with fighting off a strict regime that invades the privacy of its citizens. While the first two installments put players into the shoes of a single protagonist attached to a hacker group known as DedSec, this game makes a pretty drastic change.
Watch Dogs: Legion takes place in London with DedSec looking to free the citizens from a tyranny-controlled private military group. Players take on 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 the regime. You can freely roam around the world and hack info about any citizen to learn more about them such as skills that could prove useful in the fight. Afterward, you’ll have to convince the NPCs to join DedSec which, if successful, will add that character to your playable roster. This goal of grabbing up recruits allows for future missions to be completed in a variety of different ways.
#19 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 of making some big money. With bootleg booze and territory wars, cities like Chicago were transformed into ruthless battle zones, and while we’ve seen several games focusing on gangs and organized crime, Empire of Sin does a particularly good job. The game 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 tasks players with becoming a gang leader and working their talents in the hopes of leading an underground criminal empire. This means managing your group, defending your territory, expanding your casinos and speakeasies, and either charming or intimidating anyone who attempts to stop your hustle. With that said, there are plenty of moments where things may get physical such as when another gang doesn’t respect your territory lines.
#18 Payday 2
If you enjoy a good heist, 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 alike. It also helps that the developers are still bringing out new updates to give players more content to enjoy. 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– everyone needs to be aware of their job and each heist needs to be seamless and free from any law enforcement intervention.
Payday 2 was released back in 2013 and was launched on the PlayStation 4 in 2015. If you’re going to attempt this FPS heist game again or for the first time, it’s worth looking at the Payday 2: Crimewave Edition which makes some overall improvements to the game. We know that there’s a third installment being developed, but at the moment we’re not sure when the game is expected to release.
#17 Serial Cleaner
Criminals only get away if they keep their wits about them and ensure that all of their bases are covered. If a job gets messy, 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 law enforcement to use. Instead of diving into this game as a criminal mastermind looking to make a score or eliminate the competition, you’re the guy responsible for cleaning up the mess.
Set in the 1970s, players will go through this stealth game from a top-down perspective. Players will collect all the evidence left behind while avoiding police officers. You’ll need to carefully maneuver around the area and stay away from the police officer’s field of view while grabbing everything you need to dispose of, and while it’s a simple game to understand, each level will become more difficult.
#16 Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
Rockstar Games is largely known for the stellar Grand Theft Auto franchise. While fans have been waiting on more information about Grand Theft Auto 6, Rockstar Games opted to give players something to tide them over. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is a remastered collection of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The narrative is intact here, but players are receiving some overhauls in visuals and modern mechanics.
If you’ve never played these installments in the past, each features a unique protagonist and overall storyline plot. For Grand Theft Auto III, players take on the role of Claude, who is on a revenge quest in a New York City-style location called Liberty City. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, we’re taken to the late 1980s in a Miami-inspired area. Here you’ll be stepping into the role of a mobster named Tommy Vercetti who is building up his own criminal empire. Lastly, with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you’re playing Carl Johnson, who ends up back in his hometown where he’s drawn back into a life of crime and corruption. If you’ve played the latest Grand Theft Auto installment, Grand Theft Auto V, you know what to expect in these games. While the title was released with countless bugs and issues, many of these have been fixed, either by Rockstar or by modders–so go enjoy a little nostalgia.
#15 Saints Row: The Third Remastered
The Saints Row games are typically viewed as Grand Theft Auto clones. However, they are a whole lot wackier and over-the-top with their gameplay mechanics and narratives. We haven’t seen a new mainline installment in a good while for this franchise, but one of the titles that has proven to keep fans entertained is 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. The 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 them behind bars. Now the Saints must face off against new law enforcement that’s seeking to end this street gang’s activities once and for all. Again, it’s quite a bit like the Grand Theft Auto franchise but with the narrative being more loose and comical.
#14 Mafia: Trilogy
The Mafia franchise’s third installment was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth adding this collection as well. If you’ve never played any of the Mafia games, you might find Mafia: Trilogy to be the better deal, as you get all three remastered installments in one package. These remastered editions are all handled well, but the first installment shines, showing just how much work went into these enhancements. The game follows a city cab driver that gets involved in a the life of crime when the money turns out to be too good to pass up.
Mafia II takes place in the mid-1940s and features another criminal that needs money and uses his wits and street smarts to handle some ugly business. All three of these games are played in the third-person perspective and include a number of memorable missions that involve everything from high-speed chases to brutal gunplay.
#13 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 set in Miami in 1989. Players step into the shoes of a protagonist who’s been getting nonstop messages on his answering machine telling him to go out and massacre Russian mafia members. From there, it’s a nonstop action title full of destruction and death. With the game set up to look like a retro title with a dash of neon, Hotline Miami sticks out on this list. The slew of weapons you’ll pick up along the way makes the game even more chaotic.
We’d be doing a disservice 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 and takes place both before the events of the first game and after.
#12 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 they take on the role of a detective named Agent Cole who’s slowly working his way up through the various divisions within the LA police department. Throughout the game, players will follow Cole through a series of criminal cases in which they’ll need to explore, 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 that the developers were able to use motion capture technology that could capture the intricate facial expressions of the actors. It’s through this technology that players are able to tell if a person is lying –by seeking out cues in the actor’s performance, players are able to navigate through questions or bring up evidence that chips away at the suspect’s guilt, forcing them into a confession.
#11 Sleeping Dogs
Sleeping Dogs is a game that didn’t take off, but still has a decent following with newcomers still discovering the neglected IP today. The game was also similar to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but here, players stepped into the role of law enforcement attempting to invade a criminal organization. The title takes place in an open-world Hong Kong with the combat thriving on melee smackdowns. There’s even a definitive edition available that enhances the gameplay and audio for fans that are wanting to give this game a try on the PlayStation 4.
#10 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
There hasn’t been much of a shortage in Sherlock Holmes games. In 2021, we saw the launch of Sherlock Holmes Chapter One, a prequel title that put players into the role of Sherlock Holmes before he became the renowned investigator. In this game, players get their first big case and must track down the suspect responsible for the death of Sherlock’s mother. Because this is your first big investigation, you won’t find Sherlock’s faithful companion Watson around, but you’ll be busy enough seeking out clues and figuring out how to deal with problems. This could mean using your wits or relying on brute force.
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’ll know what gameplay mechanics to expect. Overall, Judgment follows 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 beat-’em-up style gameplay. With that said, this is still a game focused on solving crimes rather than committing them.
#8 Lost Judgment
Since Judgment is on our list, we also can’t leave out its sequel, Lost Judgment. If you enjoyed the first game, you’ll find that the sequel doesn’t disappoint. The title puts players back into the role of a private investigator with harsh new crimes to deal with. While the Yakuza franchise has turned into a more turn-based RPG with the latest installment, Lost Judgment still provides over-the-top melee combat. Now, you can jump right into this game without playing Judgment. However, some characters are returning from the first game, so it’s likely best to go through the first installment if you want to understand everything.
#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. The game is a means to improve on the foundation Ubisoft laid out with the original title. With that said, this game is certainly not a title where you can just jump in and be a badass. You’ll need to rely on stealth and hacking to do some real damage, making it much more challenging. Instead of going out and defeating enemies with brute force, you’ll be using your tools and gadgets to explore areas, plan, and execute missions 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, 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 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 alone. This game mode is full of content and the developers have continued to add more, from missions and in-game items to different events. Everything you would expect to find in a Grand Theft Auto game is present, but there’s a whole lot more chaotic gameplay to be had here with other players jumping into the mix.
#5 Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The Yakuza series is well-known as an over-the-top brawler series. However, this was changed with Yakuza: Like A Dragon. The development studio opted to give players a new protagonist, storyline, and even new combat mechanics this time around, stepping away from what the series was known for. In this installment, players step 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–his family has been killed, prompting 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.
#4 Yakuza Kiwami
The Yakuza franchise has been around for years and there are quite a few installments available. Jumping in at any given point may not be the easiest thing for newcomers and going back to the original installments can feel somewhat dated. Thankfully, the franchise has been receiving remakes with the Kiwami series. Yakuza Kiwami is the first installment in the Yakuza franchise, giving players a chance to enjoy this series for the first time and inviting veterans to return to the fun with a new coat of paint along with some newer mechanics.
Overall, this franchise follows different Yakuza organizations and players take on 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 member responsible. It’s a game full of investigation, though this is broken up with plenty of brawls thrown in for good measure.
#3 A Way Out
A Way Out takes some big cues from the cinematic hit The Shawshank Redemption. This particular game is a bit unique as it requires two players to enjoy the campaign. A Way Out follows two men that were incarcerated, and in hopes of escaping, the duo work together to sneak around the prison in order to acquire the different tools required to make a successful escape.
As a result, the display is split into two halves to see where each character is in order to help complete tasks. This could be something as simple as distracting a guard while the secondary player is able to head into an off-limits area. With puzzles that require both players to complete unique tasks to complete a single goal, this game can be quite a hectic and thrilling experience.
#2 Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games has delivered some iconic titles in the past, with the obvious choice being Grand Theft Auto. However, when they first announced that they are bringing out a western timepiece called Red Dead Redemption, fans immediately labeled it as a subpar Grand Theft Auto clone, yet when it was released, fans quickly flocked to the stores and couldn’t get enough of living life in the old west. This was such a massive hit that it was clear that Rockstar Games would be delivering another installment down the road.
Atmospheric, insanely well-detailed, and widely regarded as a landmark in terms of open-world game design, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece. The game is set in a fictionalized environment based on the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States of 1899. The world maps are huge, as the setting is meant to span the entirety of five fictional American states. In Red Dead Redemption 2, your exploits as outlaw Arthur Morgan take place across an array of environments, from sweeping valleys, mountain wildernesses, and cattle towns to lake, bayous, and port towns, to name a few.
#1 Grand Theft Auto V
GTAV was originally released nine years ago and still shows no signs of slowing down. With one then-next generation upgrade under its belt, it can only get better with the upcoming improvements. Exploring Los Santos again as Michael, Franklin, and Trevor looks to be every bit as fun as it did back in 2013.
Focusing on the crime aspect, the possibilities are endless in Grand Theft Auto V. As the trio tries to get a big score, they’re forced to complete a series of heists to help different characters or agencies. From robbing a jewelry store, breaking an individual out of the pen, or taking out rival drug empires, a life of crime is a never-ending journey. As mentioned, there’s also an online component offering its own unique missions and tasks.