Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
In most video games where the police are involved, they are actually AI controlled, with the player taking on the role of the bad guy. Games like Grand Theft Auto really popularized this type of gameplay, but there are some games out there where you actually get to be the police, bringing the bad guys to justice. With all the crimes we commit in our video games, it’s a nice change of pace to be the one actually ridding the streets of the criminals instead of the other way around.
The games we are going to take a look at today are some of the best where you get to fight crime. Whether you’re a detective, a member of a SWAT team, or any other segment of the police, these games will let you live the dream of making the world a better place.
SWAT 4 (PC)
In many ways, games from the SWAT series feel like any other shooter, but the setting really makes it quite a bit different. Instead of taking place in the war setting, one that we’ve seen overdone in the world of shooters, SWAT 4 (and the older games in the series) thrust the player into the roll of a member of an elite team trying to infiltrate various situations that a real SWAT team might face. Something else you won’t find in many other shooters is the encouragement of non-lethal means of bringing down the bad guys. In a world where games like Call of Duty see us bringing down thousands of faceless enemies without batting an eye, it’s an interesting change of pace to be encouraged to leave the enemy alive.
The game features both multiplayer and a solo campaign, though it came out all the way back in 2005, so finding people to play online with is going to be tough. Still, just playing through the interesting story is a ton of fun, especially if you’ve never experienced a game in the series before.
LA Noire (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Rockstar, the company best known for Grand Theft Auto, took things in the reverse direction with LA Noire, a game that sees the player taking on the role of Cole Phelps as he investigates, interrogates, and tries to solve crimes. Not only is it the opposite of GTA in that you are a police officer, but the pacing is also different. While GTA is a non-stop action fest, this is a dialog-heavy game that sees the player spending much of their time reading the faces of the other characters trying to catch them in a lie. Of course, that’s because it was only published by Rockstar and developed by Team Bondi.
Don’t worry action fan, because the game does have plenty of active sequences to break up the detective work. After all, the life of a police officer consists of far more than just talking to people, and LA Noire captures that. If you’ve never experienced this game, it’s worth going back to, just to experience the story. It’s well-written, and a very different experience from most games you will find on the market.
Need For Speed Rivals (PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)
This is not your serious cop and robber game like most of the others, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. In Rivals, you choose to take on the role of either cop or racer, and both are a ton of fun. In a world filled with intense racing simulators, it’s nice to get in some arcadey racing and police chase action every now and then, and in that regard, NFS Rivals most certainly delivers. You can play as a police officer both in online and offline races and challenges, and because the game is still fairly new, you’ll actually find people to play with online. If realistic police action isn’t really your thing, you’ll appreciate the set in reality but not quite real feel of this game.
This just so happens to be the only game on the list available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so that means you can get in on some good old police action on your shiny new console. Of course, it’s one of those games that’s available on both the new and old consoles. Even though it doesn’t deliver a true next-generation experience, it still looks pretty damn good, and it’s a lot of fun.
Crackdown (Xbox 360)
If Need For Speed Rivals was somewhat unrealistic, Crackdown is in a completely different stratosphere from the reality in which we reside. The game actually caught on because it featured access to a demo for Halo 3, but as it turned out, it was a fantastic game that was easily able to stand on its own. In the futuristic Pacific City you are an elite police officer with borderline superpowers who must bring down the criminal scum in the city. It’s a third-person open world game, and it’s just good clean fun.
The sequel was not quite as well-received as the original, but it was still a fantastic game, so you can really dig your teeth into the over-the-top police action in both games. A new game is coming to Xbox One, so once you finish up the first two, you’ll have a brand new next-gen experience to look forward to!
Save The World
Doesn’t it feel nice to be the good guy every now and then? These games remind us that being a police officer can be just as fun as being the criminal in a fictional world. Whether you want realistic police action, or something a little more crazy, you’ll find it all with the games featured here.
Now, we turn to you. What are some of your favorite games in which you get to play as the police? Hit the comments section below and let us know!