Playing the role of a bad guy or criminal can be an exhilarating experience in video games. It lets gamers engage in a fantasy that they themselves would not do in real life. It’s no small wonder that so many games focus on criminals or committing crimes. Are you looking to live a life as a mob boss, Yakuza member, or a hitman? These are some of the best crime games you can play.
Crime games listed in this article:
With a top-down orientation that resembles the original Retro City Rampage, players assume the role of Jacket. You’re given a baseball bat and room full of people you need to take out in a bloodbath. It’s obvious the player is taking out rival criminal organizations as you progress through the game.
Her Story is a live-action game pieced together to feel like the player is watching police interview footage. Players are tasked with solving a murder investigation based on the footage they see. Do you believe her story, or is there something more sinister to the girl in the footage?
A Way Out
A Way Out is a unique game on this list as it is a two-player game. Players assume the role of one of two characters as they escape from prison and stay on the run from the law. Grab a buddy and sit down with this one because you’re in for a wild ride as a pair of escaping criminals.
Set in the ’60s in New Orleans, players assume the role of a recently returned Vietnam veteran. You’ll face discrimination and other challenges as you get deeply embroiled in the seedy underbelly of organized crime in Cajun land.
There are several games in the Thief series before this remake, but the modern game is a good starting point. Players assume the role of a master thief set on overthrowing a tyrannical leader terrorizing the city.
Most of the Battlefield franchise focuses on soldiers fighting in wars, both real and fictional. Battlefield Hardline departs from that narrative by allowing players to tackle crime set in Miami. Players go off the books and undercover as a police officer trying to suss out an underground drug supply chain.
Mafia 2 is set in the late 1940s and is a sequel to the wildly popular Mafia. Players assume the role of Vito Scaletta, an up and coming member of the Sicilian Mafia in New York City. Mobster movies like The Godfather heavily inspire the storyline.
Payday: The Heist
Ever wanted to rob a bank and get away with it? Payday: The Heist pits you and several online collaborators in several bank-robbing scenarios. You choose how you will overcome the bank’s security and deal with the inevitable fallout once the cops arrive.
Sleeping Dogs lets players rise through the ranks of the Triads as Shen, working to take down the Chinese mob. Shen is an undercover cop who goes rogue, deciding he likes criminal life more than his life as a cop. As the line continually blurs between cop and mobster, players are faced with hard decisions.
Hitman is a reboot of the popular franchise where players assume the role of Agent 47. An anonymous hitman for hire, players are tasked with stealthily eliminating a variety of targets in hundreds of different ways. The game had an episodic release, and the first two chapters are available for free as a taste of the unique gameplay on display here.
Players take on the role of a Japanese mob boss as a member of the Yakuza. Yakuza 5 is a good starting point for newbies to the series, but Sega has been working on porting the series for western audiences. You can also check out Yakuza O and Yakuza Kiwami if you want to follow the story in order.
Saints Row the Third
Saints Row 3 is a hilarious parody of the Grand Theft Auto series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. You’re a powerful crimelord and choose the direction the city progresses, thanks to your misdeeds. Don’t like how things are progressing? Call down an airstrike and wipe out the competition. The over-the-top humor on display isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely one of the funniest crime games you’ll ever play.
Grand Theft Auto IV
GTA 4 returned players to Liberty City in the shoes of an Armenian immigrant hoping to make his way in the United States. The game’s story isn’t as good as GTA: Vice City or San Andreas, but it is the newest game for the Liberty City setting.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 deserves its spot on this list, but RDR1 should also be mentioned. Take on the role of Arthur Morgan, a senior member in a gang of bandits on the run from the law. You’ll see how an Old West gang can devolve into violence at the behest of one man. The story is very well told, and the online play is fun, too.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V beats out RDR2 at the top of this list only because the online play is more engaging. GTA V is the first game to give us the story perspective from multiple characters, and it is masterfully done. The story narrative is worth experiencing, but you’ll have hours of fun blowing people up online.
So there you have it, that’s a wrap on some of the best games where you can be an outright criminal against the law. Many games stories highlight saving the world; sometimes it can be nice just to destroy it for a while.
Have a best crime game recommendation that we left off of this list? Feel free to share your favorite crime games with us in the comments and maybe we’ll feature it in a future list.