With the Batman: Arkham the series is getting an exciting sequel in the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the franchise that began as a “Batman Detective” series is moving in more fantastical directions. Still, for fans of the detective aspect of these games, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Video games are particularly suited to providing a detective experience, as they allow players to become the investigator, rather than just passively watching a detective story. So when it comes to detective games, which do IMDb rank the best?
ten Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express – 7.9
Crime novelist Agatha Christie has had a resurgence in the world of film thanks to adaptations by Kenneth Branagh, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, in 2017 and 2022, respectively. Fans of these movies have a great game to check out in the 2006 video game Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express.
Featuring the voice of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, the man who played him on TV for decades, the game actually introduces a new character to the story as a playable character, who in this version investigates on behalf of Poirot. Even if you know the original story, it has a different ending than ever before, giving even big Christie fans a fun new experience with this classic.
9 Return of the Obra Dinn – 8.7
Game developer Lucas Pope has started working on some of the best video games from the Naughty Dog studio, like Unexploredbut left in 2011 and two years later gave the world the incredibly unique papers please. In 2018, he released his next indie game, The return of the Obra Dinn.
In this game, players are tasked with figuring out how each member of an abandoned ship died, as well as who each corpse is in the first place, through brief magic-induced flashbacks and deductive reasoning. The thrill of deducing something is so rewarding. Obra DinnThe deceptively simple art style also helps put more emphasis on the voice acting and the story; it really makes you feel like a detective.
8 What Remains of Edith Finch – 8.7
To like The return of the Obra Dinn2017 What Remains of Edith Finch is an investigation-based game that adds supernatural elements where players must witness flashbacks to deaths that occurred before the game’s story begins. Edith Finchhowever, all deaths come from the same family over several generations and are attributed to a curse.
While mainstream titles entice gamers with beautifully polished action gameplay, Edith Finch uses exploration and uncovering secrets as its main draw for players, making the detective genre particularly suited to indie games in particular. The flashbacks also contain some of the saddest video game deaths, and one or two might even bring the player to tears.
7 LA Noire – 8.7
Although published by Rockstar Games, The black was actually developed by Australian studio Team Bondi and took seven years to go from concept to finished game. While the game’s difficult development actually contributed to Team Bondi’s closure, the result of that long development was one of the most detailed detective games ever made.
Players take on the role of LAPD Detective Cole Phelps in 1947 as he deals with corruption and violence straight out of the film noir that inspired the game. The blackThe best thing about is its actors, as the game used unique motion-capture software to collect facial nuances, so players could read those expressions and make inferences. It is clear that the underrated The black deserves a sequel.
6 Heavy rain – 8.8
Another game that pushed the motion capture technology of its time, Heavy rain is a dark interactive drama featuring four different protagonists and their involvement in the search for a boy kidnapped by a serial killer. With a branching narrative, it’s a game where the player could fail, adding to the stakes and realism of its story.
Although most of the story’s important moments are dictated by simple choices and some events are unavoidable, the game still manages to make players feel like they’re in control all the time. Also, anyone who loves the main game should check out “The Taxidermist”, originally released as DLC and with their own experience that acts as the main game in miniature.
5 The Wolf Among Us – 8.9
When Telltale Games shut down in 2018, it meant that none of their planned games or sequels would ever be released, including the 2013 follow-up. The wolf among us. However, those who loved this game can be thankful that a new studio operating as “Telltale” is delivering the sequel in 2023.
The original features a wolf-man sheriff in a modern but fairytale-filled world investigating a series of murders. Bearing the Telltale signature, its art style is basic and its mechanics limited, but the studio delivers a mystery that keeps players engaged and constantly wondering who the culprit might be in a town filled with strange creatures.
4 Max Payne Series – 9.0
After releasing two games in the early 2000s, the Max Payne the series was put on hiatus until Rockstar Games relaunched the series with its third installment, Max pay 3in 2012. Even though this entry is the lowest rated of the three, the series as a whole is still one of the best survey-based of all time.
Yes The black it’s classic black, so Max Payne is its modern equivalent, with police corruption, cover-ups and interior monologues galore, except in this case transplanted to the then-modern streets of New York. At its peak, Max Payne was an innovator for its use of slow-motion panels, graphics, and comics for its cutscenes, so while it looks dated by today’s standards, it’s rightly remembered fondly.
3 Batman: Arkham Series – 9.0
Not only the Batman: Arkham contains four of the best Batman video games of all time, but it also commands an impressive average even taking into account the much lower ratings Origins of Arkham. Batman is a draw for fans everywhere, and few of its releases have been as detective-focused as these games.
Some lean more into the detection aspect than others, and one of the reasons why Batman: Arkham City is so popular is likely due to the mysteries players are tasked with solving over the course of this game; when games leaned less into that, like Arkham Knight and Originsthey were less popular with the gaming public.
2 Disco Elysee – 9.1
Disco Elysee is a retro role-playing game that puts players in the role of an amnesiac detective investigating a murder mystery while slowly uncovering his memories. If that wasn’t noir enough, it’s also set in the post-war era, just as film noir was heavily influenced by WWII.
For fans of traditional RPGs, it might not be the best choice, as it eschews combat in favor of mechanics focused on character interactions. Disco Elysee uses its RPG elements and more open-ended nature to really engage with the detective genre and give players freedom in a way that few games in the genre have been able to do before it.
1 Detroit: Become Human – 9.2
Detroit: Become Human raises many questions about the nature of humanity and the potential ethical future of AI development, but nestled within it is a detective story where the detective begins to question his purpose. Meet Connor, one of three playable characters and an android investigator.
Connor’s perspective is the most closely aligned with humans in the game, and his mission to hunt down rogue androids puts him at the center of the plot around Why these machines deviate from programming. It is quite similar to blade runner in this regard, but it is to his advantage.
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