In fact, cop games aren’t all about John Woo-style shootouts and high-speed car chases. In fact, the best cop games often have you digging through crime scenes for evidence and carrying out simple tasks, rather than chasing down perps with your gun drawn.
To help you find the right police games for you, we’ve put together a list that covers all aspects of the job, from hard-boiled detective games to cop simulations that make you feel like you’re actually on the beat. We also threw in a few unconventional picks to keep things interesting. Every now and then, we go back to our lists to add new games and make sure you’re getting the best cop games. So, get a box of doughnuts, a thermos of coffee, and get ready to stake out the best PC police games.
It might not be the most realistic police experience, but the detective in Disco Elysium is one of the most interesting characters in a police game. After quickly figuring out who you are after an apocalyptic bender, you’re asked to look into a murder that has a lot to do with the town’s politics.
Like the best RPG games, you build your detective by assigning skills and putting together a loadout of clothes and items. With no fights, these skills are all about your personality and psyche. It’s up to you. You could leave your house in a suit and go about solving crimes like in a procedural police drama, or you could march out in your underwear and argue with yourself as you go.
Rich’s review of Disco Elysium is also a good reason to read it if you don’t believe us.
THIS IS THE POLICE
When you play This Is the Police, you play jaded police chief Jack Boyd, who is under a lot of pressure from the mob and has only six months to retire. You will have to manage your staff, respond to emergencies, manage investigations, and work closely with the mob. You will use your instincts to judge the severity of each situation and decide which officers to send out in each case, and you will work with the mob.
In PC games about police work, This Is the Police is one of the best because it shows how risky and uncertain police work is. Sending two officers out to deal with a ranting lunatic seems like the right thing to do, until the suspect pulls a gun and kills several people, not to mention one of the officers from Freeburg.
Also, if you want more of what the original game has to offer, check out This is the Police 2. I don’t know which is better. The second one is more polished, but it doesn’t work as well in other places, so it’s not as easy to choose between them as you might think.
As far as police games go, SWAT 4 is still one of the best. SWAT 4 is based on real-world police procedures. You play as the leader of a five-man team as you fight off armed enemies and rescue hostages in 21 missions. If you like PC simulation games that pay attention to detail and have real-world mechanics, this game is on par with the best ones.
While SWAT 4 lets you use submachine guns, assault rifles, and shotguns, it is very strict about following real police procedures. If you use unapproved force, hurt hostages, or lose officers, you will be punished. Rather, you’ll use beanbag shotguns, tasers, and pepperball guns to pressure your enemies into giving up before you cuff them. This emphasis on the pressures of upholding the law also make SWAT 4 an illuminating experience at times, as you question whether to give suspects fair warning before opening fire, knowing that announcing your whereabouts gives the enemy a huge advantage.
If you want to use lethal force in a game like SWAT 4, you should treat it with respect. Death comes quickly, even to criminals, and even their lives are worth something. In SWAT 4, you are not an elite killing machine that is armed to the teeth with deadly weapons. If you play the game that way, you won’t go very far. If you want a modern tactical FPS game, then Ready or Not is a SWAT-like game that you should keep an eye on.
L.A. is one of the few police games that can make you feel like you’re a real detective. Noire. Your job is to play Cole Phelps, a patrol officer who has become a detective. You’ll be investigating crime scenes, questioning suspects, and fighting the seedy underbelly of golden age Hollywood as you work your way up through the ranks of the LAPD.
L.A. isn’t like most police games. With noir, you have to spend a lot of time going over crime scenes and following up leads. This makes the occasional shootout or chase even more exciting. This means that most of your job is to carefully study evidence and question suspects and witnesses, looking at their faces to see if they are telling the truth or not.
It’s true that L.A. Noire is a war game, too. This is true for every person in the story, even Phelps. They all carry the weight of the war years around their necks, even though the city is full of open-top sports cars and art deco buildings. We also like the VR game called L.A. because Rockstar Games has made a few of the game’s stories into a VR game. So, Noire: The VR Case Files, is the best police game ever made.
MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a good game. It gives a unique twist to the typical detective game by having you play as a ghost who is trying to solve your own murder.
That’s how Murdered: Soul Suspect starts off. Maverick detective Ronan O’Connor died at the hands of a notorious local serial killer, leaving you stranded in limbo until you can find your killer and put him or her behind bars. Because you’re dead, you can do things like possess and control black cats to get into places you can’t get to; eavesdrop on private conversations; influence someone’s thoughts; and follow leads through solid walls. This makes this game one of the most powerful police games out there.
In Murdered: Soul Suspect, finding evidence and finding leads isn’t very difficult. However, exploring the historic town of Salem, seeing its ghostly landmarks, and helping the many ghosts that walk its streets is always a fun time.
ENFORCER: POLICE CRIME ACTION (2014)
Enforcer: Police Crime Action is an action-adventure game made by Odin Game Studio. In this game, you have to stay alert in a town full of crime. To be a police officer, you must do things like block roads, breathalyse drivers, talk to suspects, witnesses, and chase fleeing criminals.
As a police officer, you have to deal with a lot of stress, but you also have to visit your friends and family when you’re not on the job.
Enforcer is a very big game. Even though it has flaws and isn’t always optimised well, it is still very fun and one of the best police games for the PC.
FLASHING LIGHTS (2018)
Flashing Lights is an open-world emergency services simulation made by Excalibur Games. It lets you play a part in not only the police force, but also the fire and emergency medical services.
As a police officer, you have to respond to crimes with your trusty cop car and other police tools. Tasks range from chasing down fleeing criminals to issuing parking tickets, and they can be very different.
People should be surprised by how little attention the game is getting because of how good it is, but they aren’t. We think it’s great, and Flashing Lights is one of the best cop games for the PC in a while.