Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #20 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
- #19 The Darkside Detective
- #18 The Rewinder
- #17 Murdered: Soul Suspect
- #16 Deadly Premonition
- #15 Kona
- #14 Kathy Rain
- #13 Life is Strange
- #12 Her Story
- #11 The Sinking City
- #10 L.A. Noire
- #9 The Wolf Among Us
- #8 Return of the Obra Dinn
- #7 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- #6 Batman Arkham Games
- #5 Heavy Rain
- #4 Disco Elysium
- #3 Grim Fandango
- #2 The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
- #1 Telling Lies
There are tons of games out there that have you stealthily searching places or interrogating people to get answers. Some people would call these stealth or mystery games while others would plainly call them ‘detective’ games. One thing is for certain, they all include the same elements that keep us coming back again and again: a compelling story, interrogation tactics, investigative items, and so much more. So, we wanted to make a list of the 20 best modern detective games that you can play on PC right now:
#20 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
The first chapter in the Sherlock Holmes video game series follows the famous detective through an incredible, story-driven adventure. You play as a Holmes who is struggling to prove his skills and journey to the Mediterranean to investigate his mother’s death. You play as a young Sherlock and so the game does a great job at representing a youthful and rebellious version of the character that we all know. You’re also joined by John Watson as you make thrilling discoveries and solve puzzles that no other person would be able to. To really get into the spirit of the early 19th century, there are also a wide array of weapons and skills that add to the gameplay in order to build a solid case. This is only the first chapter in this riveting story that includes diverse side-quests that you can also find and enjoy.
#19 The Darkside Detective
The Darkside Detective is a pixelated investigation game that is reminiscent of shows like Twin Peaks and the X-Files. You’ll be experiencing cases that include zombies, monsters, and all sorts of supernatural rarities that separate this game from other detective games. The main character, Detective Francis McQueen, manages to find his way to every seedy alleyway and abandoned sideroad you could think of in search of the truth. But realistically, if he wasn’t there to do the job then no one else would. The narrative is written to be witty and funny with almost all of the jokes tied to both the gameplay and the conversations you have. As a point-and-click adventure, you’ll also do well to explore everything you can.
#18 The Rewinder
There aren’t too many games based on Chinese mythology and even fewer that do it the way that The Rewinder does. Players take on the role of Yun who has the ability to enter people’s memories and influence their actions. Considering this, he can essentially change the future and alter time. Yun faces his most compelling task when he must find out why a particular spirit could not be reincarnated. Besides displaying a rich narrative that is done with few words in the dialogue, the pixelated art style really adds a sense of beauty to the game. The point-and-click gameplay coupled with the rich soundtrack is also something to experience. If you’re a fan of puzzles, there is also a lot to unravel here with hidden achievements and locations to explore.
#17 Murdered: Soul Suspect
When this game originally came out, it was met with a lot of criticism. The story follows detective Ronan O’Connor who is searching for a serial killer but is unfortunately killed in a scuffle. He returns as a ghost who searches for his wife to team up with her and find his killer. In the afterlife, Ronan has a variety of powers at his disposal that any living person just wouldn’t have. The setting takes place in Salem, Massachusetts which also happened to be the location of the Salem witch trials many years prior, As a result, the many supernatural things that occur happen as a result of the stories and events that happened all those years ago. As you progress through every area, you can search for clues that you’re able to interact with for further investigations. The puzzle-solving aspect is akin to games like LA Noire and you can also find hundreds of collectibles strewn throughout that add more depth to the story.
#16 Deadly Premonition
Deadly Premonition is a survival horror game that follows the story of FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan as he searches for the Raincoat Killer. The game is a little more interesting than the others on this list in that it has a cult following for a variety of reasons. One of these is that as you complete missions, you can have points taken off or added on for small things such as arriving at the scene shaven or unshaven or wearing a dirty suit. The world is relatively open and many of the investigations that you can take part in are timed events. This means that you can miss the events if you miss them but in that case, you are allowed to try again the following day. Outside of all of this, there are supernatural presences lurking in what is known as the Other World that essentially functions the same way that the regular world does. There are also several combat scenes and general fight scenes that require you to focus on quick-time events to proceed.
Kona is a bizarre, first-person adventure game that puts you in the shoes of a detective that needs to investigate an eerie town. The game takes place in the 1970s when a hunting resort owner reported that someone has been continuously vandalizing his property. He sends over an old detective who gets engulfed in a snowstorm just as he reaches the summit of where the property is located. Besides having to investigate the area and find clues as to why he is there in the first place, you must also make sure that you survive against the elements. You’ll be able to enjoy story-telling through a new perspective that focuses on the things you find and the areas that you investigate. There are also many locations to search through, meaning that you’ll have plenty of time alone with your thoughts in this deserted resort. Many fans would compare this game to others akin to vintage Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes games due to their mystery-solving atmospheres so if you are a fan of those games then there is a chance that this might be for you.
#14 Kathy Rain
Kathy Rain is a point-and-click adventure that follows the story of Kathy Rain, a college student studying journalism in the mid-nineties. After her grandfather dies, she returns to her hometown to face the troubles that she had in her past. Though, this time, there are different forces at work as Kathy slowly begins to unfold the secret of what it is that actually happened. There are many obvious influences in the game that fans will enjoy such as Twin Peaks and The X-Files which add depth. The story that inveils follows many years of different types of trauma that surround the people in Kathy’s life, bringing an incredible story to your screens. Another great thing to consider is the fact that the game not only follows an interesting gameplay style, but the backgrounds are also almost completely hand-drawn and all of the dialogue is completely voice acted. If you’re a fan of games like Thimbleweed Park ,there is a good chance that Kathy Rain will resonate with your tastes as well.
#13 Life is Strange
Life Is Strange is a tough story that follows Max Caufield as she returns to Arcadia Bay after several years in Seattle with her family. Upon returning, she must face the reality of things that have changed including the relationship she once had with her best friend, Chloe Price. Also upon her return, she finds that she now wields the power to reverse time according to different parameters. Both she and Chloe use these powers to help solve the case of a missing girl named Rachel Amber, an ex-girlfriend of Chloe. The story takes make dark turns and challenges the player to really investigate all the areas that are presented to them as every discovery can allude to a piece of dialogue or something different happening. Another important thing to note is that the decisions you make also have a direct impact on the ending and what happens to everyone. The game is split up into different chapters that allow you to explore different areas and interact with different NPCs. There are also hidden items all around that contribute to other story elements as well as achievements.
#12 Her Story
Her Story may seem like some sort of live-action game, but it is not that so much as it is an interactive film that focuses on different police interviews from the mid-nineties. What’s interesting is that the game is played from the perspective of an old desktop computer where all the video recordings are stored. The recordings are very short and are of a woman who is being interviewed about the case named Hannah. She is answering questions from an off-camera detective and your job is to match the transcriptions with the different interviews in order to discover what’s actually happening. Since you as a player are also playing as a detective, the gameplay mirrors that of surfing on a desktop to piece together information. Things can seem almost cynical at times as the actors involved do a great job at instilling a sense of suspense throughout. The game was also filmed and then run through a VCR player to further give the feeling of the time in which it is set.
#11 The Sinking City
The universe of HP Lovecraft is alive and well in The Sinking City. You’re a private investigator, and you have to uncover the truth of what has possessed the city… and the minds of its inhabitants. There are many supernatural elements that you’ll experience as you traverse through the city and even more places to discover. You’ll also be able to take part in different interrogations and interviews that will help you solve the strange goings-on around you. There’s an arsenal of different weapons and things for you to take advantage of in this mid-twenties universe. Another thing to consider is that like other Lovecraftian stories, you’ll need to take hold of your sanity if you want to survive against the psychological horrors that persist. Fans note that the investigation tactics used in this game really bring a sense of encouragement and motivation when solving puzzles that just isn’t available in other games.
#10 L.A. Noire
Another game on this list by Rockstar Games, LA Noire follows police detective Cole Phelps in the year 1947. He is tasked with solving criminal cases and resolving the matter using his detective skills. These skills can be used in a variety of ways including searching properties for clues, honing on a person’s anxiety when they are being interviewed, and much more. There are even points during an investigation where you’re allowed to pick up and interact with clues in order to further your search for evidence. The story is incredibly well told and similar to other Rockstar games allows for you to travel the area in different cars and vehicles. Don’t hope for water and air vehicles in this title. You only have the ability to drive in cars but the developers took special care to ensure that the vehicles that are available to you match the times better.
#9 The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us is an incredibly interesting take on the different fables that we’ve all grown to love. The game is a point-and-click adventure that follows in the footsteps of Bigby Wolf, a detective who has been tasked with the solving of different murders happening in the world of fables. Other fables in this world include Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and even myths that are usually only told in folk stories. The investigative aspect comes in the form of being able to interact with different items that Bigby finds in different areas as well as in conversations that he can have with others. The choices that he makes will also have a direct impact on different aspects of the game which could very well block off entire conversations. The story is played in different chapters and collects the information of everyone played to show you just what it is that others did in the same situations.
#8 Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is an incredibly creative game that resembles something that you’d find available on a Gameboy Advance. The story follows the tale of a boat named Obra Dinn that was tasked with transporting goods from London to the Orient but never made its arrival. The ship appeared five years later and you are tasked with making an appraisal of the ship by boarding it and assessing what it is that happened. You’ll encounter the final events of the crew that once inhabited the ship as well as the conversations everyone had with one another. The objective of the game is essentially one large puzzle as you use different devices to try to find out what it is that happened in the end. You’ll have to find all the individual crewmates and their cause of death which then fills the logbook and makes the story completely unfold.
#7 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, players will have to resolve the disappearance of Ethan Carter who was a fan of paranormal investigator Paul Prospero. After Ethan goes missing, Paul starts to experience a series of paranormal and supernatural events that lead him to discover the story of the Carter family. There are many different aspects to the game including having to search the game world for different clues that allude to the malevolent spirit that is haunting the boy. The choices made in the game also ultimately decide how it ends but the way that the story is told is able to weave these decisions seamlessly into the story. There are plenty of investigative aspects that force you to explore and search different areas in order to progress or find out how to get to the next area. Of course, there are also plenty of logic puzzles to resolve and their heart-pumping nature will have you returning to replay the game for new alternatives.
#6 Batman Arkham Games
The Arkham games are all interesting in their own right but are also very much about the detective side of being the Batman. In each one, there is a different series of issues happening that force the bat to use his detective skills and physical prowess to win. Of course, these detective skills go much further than just looking for clues and have you traveling through air ducts, gliding through the air, and bombing hidden walls to find hidden areas and items. Besides doing this for story purposes, the games are also ‘riddled’ with hidden east eggs and clues that lead to other in-game achievements that you can collect. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in either Gotham City, Arkham City, or Arkham Asylum as you look for different ways to get around your enemies without them seeing you. There are also other detective aspects such as smell searching and x-ray vision that can be upgraded as you progress.
#5 Heavy Rain
When Heavy Rain first launched, it changed the landscape of what it meant to create a playable detective story. The story follows four different characters as there is a mass search for a serial killer only known as the origami killer. The four characters include a recently divorced father whose son has been kidnapped, a detective who is looking into the murders, a police detective who is doing the same through a technological means, and a journalist who has happened to get caught up in the whole debacle. There are many different aspects of the story that could change the ending of the game so it’s important that you pay close attention to all of your actions. The narrative also takes the liberty of taking as many twists and turns as possible in this riveting story that’s practically invented the genre as we know it today. The developer went on to develop games like Detroit: Become Human and Beyond: Two Souls so if you’re a fan of either of those then you should absolutely give this one a shot.
#4 Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is an interesting, top-down RPG that focuses on a detective who has a unique skill system at his disposal. Players take on the role of detectives in a fictional version of the eighties as the hardcore and hard-boiled can often be found in the same room. The game focuses on the freedom of choice and makes sure that all of your decisions will ultimately decide how your playthrough will end. You can explore whole areas and interact with different citizens to have a variety of different conversations and moments with them. Considering that, you have a lot of different abilities at your disposal with countless tools built specifically for roleplaying. These include clothing types, guns, items, tools, and so much more to make your path across the city a unique one. If you’re interested in games that utilize political motives in their narratives, then you’ll most likely have a good time with this title.
#3 Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango is an interesting title as it follows the story of Manny Calavera as he follows Meche Colomar into the underworld. The visuals are completely out of this world as they were created using clay models that were scanned and rendered into digital backgrounds. Manny is a travel agent whose clients are the recently deceased who do not have the funds or means to afford more than a four-year trip to the underworld. The game is split into acts and each act plays like a point-and-click adventure that forces you to interact with items in order to find out what they do. This title is for really hardcore fans as much of the investigative aspects and puzzles require logical thinking and the will to click on every single thing in sight. Another great thing about this title is that it is both published and developed by LucasArts, which was well-known for all of its point-and-click puzzle games.
#2 The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
Similar to the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney series, this game takes place in both Japan and England in the 19th century as an ancestor of Phoenix. Similar to the previous installments of the franchise, you are tasked with solving mysteries by searching for clues and solving puzzles left behind and the scene of the crime. When you’re done, you’ll head to the courthouse where you can cross-examine witnesses and get to the bottom of the case. You’ll be interacting with different objects and putting together clues according to different testimonies and reports in order to come to a conclusion and sweep the judge off his feet. Of course, there are plenty of people who would rather see you lose so you’ll want to be careful against enemy prosecutors who will do anything to make sure that your client is guilty.
#1 Telling Lies
Telling lies is another interactive film that plays similar to a game you would play regularly on your computer. The game takes place in the form of a virtual desktop that has different information stored on it including photos and videos. The story unfolds as being one about a former FBI agent who was tasked with a particular case named Green Dagger. The different videos located on the desktop show different events that happen and your job is to piece them together with other bits of information to get the entire story. Similar to Her Story, everything can be found on the desktop and it’s up to you to make sure that you search everything for the information that you need. Besides that, it’s also important to make sure that you are keeping close track of all the information you find because you never know exactly what’s going to be important enough for you to use as evidence.