The Best Video Games About Crime | TheReviewGeek Recommends

There are a lot of video games out there and in this era of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic?

Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable games through the years.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to games with a focus on crime. From bank heists to undercover adventures, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!

Grand Theft Auto V

Although fans have been waiting for a decade for the next installment in the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, many adore revisiting the world and characters Rockstar Studios crafted in GTA V. This title introduced fans to three protagonists to play as, each boasting colorful personalities, remarkable storylines, and entertaining dialogue.

The story follows two bank-robbing partners named Michael and Trevor and a gangster named Franklin. Their stories intertwine as our three males must complete a mission that will have them robbing a warehouse and seizing its gold. To accomplish this task, the three must overcome the many hurdles that stand in their way of achieving the best robbery of all time.

This game’s storyline is captivating and offers a boatload of fun missions to complete. Wandering the streets of Los Santos and revisiting areas from previous GTA titles like Grove Street in GTA: San Andreas will bring a smile to gamers’ faces. The game boasts a fun online experience, despite there being several issues with it from a community perspective.

You can read our thoughts on Grand Theft Auto V in our video game review here!

A Way Out

Video game director Josef Fares has made quite a splash in the gaming community for several years now. From his hilarious stunt at the 2017 Video Games Awards to claiming the Game of the Year victory for his title It Takes Two in 2021, he’s made quite the career for himself. A Way Out may not have earned him a Game of the Year award, but it’s a must-play crime-themed game.

The story follows two men named Leo and Vincent who’ve never met each other. Upon entering prison, Vincent meets Leo, who shares his qualms about being a prisoner with him. This leads Leo to forge a plan with Vincent to break out of prison. Not only do these men come from different walks of life, but their reasons for escaping are vastly different.

Despite their differences, fans will adore witnessing how Leo and Vincent’s escape plan unfolds. This is an action-adventure title played from a third-person perspective. Fares notes that it was specifically designed for split-screen co-op, so you must play it with another friend online or locally. While this may sound like a hindrance, it only amplifies players’ connection with the game and its cast.

This is a game that emphasizes co-op play through its well-structured puzzles. The puzzles can be completed in any way, allowing gamers to form unique experiences with A Way Out. Those worried about not having a partner to play the game with shouldn’t worry. A Way Out offers a “play free online” model that lets anyone join your online sessions. Fans searching for a memorable crime-based game with an engrossing narrative should give A Way Out a shot.

Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar Studios is known for crafting seamless open worlds rich in colorful characters and activities for players to tackle. Red Dead Redemption feels like a wild west iteration of Grand Theft Auto. Not only does the game borrow similar mechanics and ideas, but it’s another Rockstar Studios game with a fantastic storyline.

Red Dead Redemption follows John Marston, a former outlaw who has bad blood with the government. They have taken his wife and child and John must hunt his former criminal allies down to get them back. Through vast deserts and western towns, players must help John capture his former friends to secure his loved one’s safety.

Redemption fuels John’s motivational drive and fans will adore seeing him reflect on his past grievances as an outlaw. The gameplay is nearly identical to GTA’s. Players can utilize vehicles for quick travel, attack wildlife and civilians, and get involved in adrenaline-pumping gunfights with other strangers. Fans looking for a western take on GTA should give Red Dead Redemption a chance.

Yakuza (Series)

Yakuza takes what fans adored about Grand Theft Auto, but splashes it with JRPG, beat-em-up, and action-adventure mechanics. This game contains hilarious dialogue and wondrous action. The storyline is fitting for its tone and will surely get you hooked from beginning to end.

Each game features plot lines inspired by classic yakuza movies and has a crime drama-like atmosphere. While some games feature different protagonists, Kazuma Kiryu feels like the series mascot. He’s a reformed yakuza associated with the Kanto-based Tojo Clan. His daily life consists of thwarting conspiracies aimed against him despite wanting to leave the yakuza for good.

The gameplay has you guide Kiryu or other protagonists through well-structured open environments. These areas are filled with beautiful imagery and countless people ranging from ordinary citizens to fellow gangsters. You can participate in several missions and activities to attain experience and cash.

You can learn new attacks from neighboring NPCs, eat and drink at restaurants, and do other things. If you’re in need of a Japanese-themed crime game with fun RPG elements, check out the Yakuza series.

Mafia (Series)

The Mafia series consists of fun action-adventure storylines, gameplay, and beautiful scenery. The games are set in fictional areas modeled after real American cities and feature historical sights. In it, players can traverse these gorgeous locales while completing a boatload of missions to progress the story.

The game offers more linear experiences, unlike the GTA games. Players can trigger missions via the game’s open-world setting. These missions are well-varied and don’t feel repetitive in the slightest. Each game centers around a different protagonist who gets involved with the mafia in an attempt to rise through the ranks or to bring the faction down.

The game’s antagonists boast phenomenal personalities and goals. In these games, players can find themselves competing in several races and combatting foes with excellent gunmanship. These events harbor enough exhilarating action sequences to keep you busy. If you’re looking for a fun series of crime-themed titles to dive into, I’d recommend the Mafia line of games.

Batman: Arkham City

Spanning a well-written narrative, beautiful visuals, and excellent gameplay is Batman: Arkham City. This game has players follow Batman’s quest to thwart a facility warden named Hugo Strange’s horrid plans inside an enclosed prison called Arkham City.

The game features some guest villain appearances from The Joker too. This game offers vast combat and has Batman completing tasks in a detective-styled manner. You can explore Arkham City freely, converse with its prisoners, and tackle missions. The game offers some stellar side missions for players to try if they’re finding themselves bored of story quests.

If players complete the side missions they can unlock additional content and items. Batman isn’t the only character you get to play as in this game. You can also play as Catwoman and tackle a campaign mode that runs parallel to his tale. Fans looking for an action-packed game with an engrossing plot should check this out.

Sleeping Dogs

Do you recall the True Crime series? It had a similar feel to GTA but felt more linear and clunky to play. Sleeping Dogs was once a follow-up for the franchise, however, delays and budget issues led the game to become independent from the series it was a part of. Therefore, it serves as a spiritual successor to the True Crime series.

Despite having a strange camera and animations, Sleeping Dogs receive immense praise from critics for its phenomenal voice acting, stellar experience and combat system, and endearing protagonist. This game takes place in Hong Kong. It follows a martial artist and undercover police officer named Wei Shen who infiltrates the Sun On Yee Triad Organization.

In the game, you’ll be using Wei’s fabulous martial arts, shooting, and parkour abilities to complete missions and defeat adversaries. Completing missions is pivotal in this game. You can’t progress the game without triumphing over them. However, you’re given the opportunity to traverse the game’s open-world area and engage in legal and criminal activities. If you’re looking for a fun action-adventure game with depth and fun gameplay, check this one out.


With how successful the Yakuza series has become over the years, it made sense for Sega to want to push out spin-offs focusing more on other characters that inhabit Kiryu’s world. Judgment is a 2018 action-adventure game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio with an endearing storyline and colorful protagonist in Takayuki Yagami.

Takayuki is a lawyer-turned-detective who explores a case involving corpses whose eyes have been removed. He’s joined by several allies who will assist him on his adventure. It takes place in Kamurocho, a fictional Tokyo district, where Takayuki combats thugs and various yakuza while carrying out chase, stealth, and search missions.

The investigation elements in Judgment were highly criticized for being too simplistic. However, many fans and critics adored Judgment’s spooky and adoring narrative. If you’re looking for a more sinister-themed plot from the Yakuza universe with a fun main character, I’d check out Judgment.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Visuals novels are often downplayed by most gamers. Many don’t adore the genre’s approach to gameplay, as you’ll mostly find yourself clicking buttons and reading dialogue. Capcom aimed to change fans’ perception of visual novels with its fabulous crime-themed visual novel adventure series Phoenix Wright: Attorney.

While it doesn’t offer a one-to-one representation of lawyer life, fans will adore the trials, interrogations, and puzzles sprinkled throughout the game. Despite some games having fresh protagonists, many people attach Phoenix Wright to the series. He’s a novice defense attorney who slowly becomes a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom.

Crime fans will adore seeing Phoenix and his allies put criminals in their place. These characters boast humorous body language and facial expressions. You’ll find it challenging not to laugh at the scenarios set in front of you. The game’s puzzle-solving mechanics are another alluring element of the series. These moments entice players to ponder and examine cases substantially. Fans looking for a fun and thought-provoking game to play should give Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney a chance.

Hitman (Series)

The Hitman series is hailed as one of the best stealth games to grace gaming systems. It offers an intriguing take on stealth and tactics. Don’t expect the gameplay to only consist of sneaking around and defeating opponents. This game entices players to perform social-stealth-like actions to throw their foes off.

With its fun disguise mechanic, you’ll find yourself feeling like a secret agent. On that note, you control an assassin named Agent 47, who is tasked with eliminating certain targets assigned to him by the International Agency. As such, you’ll explore many semi-open areas filled with wandering NPCs.

You can assassinate your targets in multiple ways. However, your best course of action is to tackle each mission with stealth in mind. The game provides you with useful suppressed weaponry to help you defeat enemies. Fans looking for a game that feels like a mix between Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell series will find Hitman to be an equally enjoyable venture.

So, there we have it, our pick for the best video games through the years about crime!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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