If you can’t get enough of all the new murder mystery documentaries coming out, it’s time to put yourself in the shoes of the investigator. This is exactly the case here, as we look at the five best murder mystery video games of all time. Expectedly, all the games on this list have been praised for their compelling narrative, which is essential in murder-driven story games. Equally essential, all these games are equipped with thrilling themes, gruesome cases, and disturbing mysteries.
So grab your magnifying glass and most dapper hat, because this list is full of murders that need answers. And behind every complicated murder, is an adequately equipped and thorough detective. Is that you? If so, It’s time to put your investigating skills to the test, as we look-see at the five best murder mystery video games of all time.
5. Heavy Rain
To kickstart this list, we have a really immersive, but rather dark murder mystery. Heavy Rain, takes on the narrative of the Origami Killer, a serial murderer who uses long periods of rainfall to drown his victims. It already sets up a sinister storyline, however, it gets grimmer. The main motive comes into play when the Origami Killer flees off with the protagonists’ son. From there, you play as four different detectives, with an adaptive storyline where you must make quick-time actions that could end up costing you your life.
Heavy Rain has been praised for its visuals, writing, voice acting, music, and highly emotional storyline. Which, is really in-depth and has an extensive backstory, that brings the game’s narrative to life. You can’t help but feel as if you’re standing in the protagonist’s shoes, motivated by the same emotions as he is. The game isn’t as polished as some of the others on this list, but it is regarded as one of the most gripping thriller games of all time, earning it a position on our list of the best murder mystery video games.
4. The Wolf Among Us (Series)
As history has proven, tell-tale games are one of the most captivating genres. The Wolf Among Us is evidence of this. It’s without a doubt a podium finisher amongst all tell-tale games, and its dark murder narrative is helping grant it the fourth spot on our list. Based on the Fables comic series, The Wolf Among Us is a five-part series that has you, the Sheriff of Fabletown, investigating a series of unprecedented murders.
The Wolf Among Us has a distinct noir feel to it, which works well with the comic style. However, The Wolf Among Us set’s itself apart by having consequential narrative choices, that will leave you conflicted and unsatisfied regardless of your choice. With this in mind, the game has a strong argument for being one of the best murder mysteries of all time, as all five episodes received high ratings for their immersive narrative.
3. Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is not like the preceding two games in terms of its investigative components. In this game, there are no obvious or straightforward hints, so put on your best detective face, because you’ll need it. You’ll be driven to investigate and find clues amongst the Obra Dinn, a ship that mysteriously has returned after four years. With the handy help of a little pocket watch, you get to re-live the moments before somebody’s death. This alone pushes the story and your desire to discover who the culprit is.
If you’re being steered away from Return of the Obra Dinn for its graphic style, don’t be. The game is inspired by the 1-bit monochromatic style of early Macintosh computers, and it works perfectly with the gruesome supernatural theme of the game. It’s actually for this reason the game has received nearly perfect scores. The game’s art style only enhances the game’s gruesome and supernatural atmosphere to a point of investigative addictiveness. Once you dive into Return of the Obra Dinn and uncover you’re first body, you’re immediately hooked into its narrative which is entirely focused on multiple murder mysteries.
2. Disco Elysium
A game that has seen many awards for its original concept of an isometric RPG murder mystery, is Disco Elysium. This game’s entire narrative dwells around a single murder, and it couldn’t be more established by the game’s environment. Playing as an old and more so aged-out detective, you’re working to find clues about the murder without losing yourself in the process. This is because the game actually contains no actual fighting whatsoever. But don’t let that turn you away just yet.
Instead, Disco Elysium works to resolve issues and events in the game through skill checks and dialogue trees. This is where the RPG aspect comes into play and is developed further by the Thought Cabinet. This represents the protagonist’s ideologies and personality traits. With this in mind, you have to tread carefully as your narrative choices are entirely reflective of how or even if the murder mystery plays out in your run. Essentially, you’re trying to solve a murder mystery while avoiding getting lost in the clutter and shadow of your own prior work and mental compass. This makes the murder mystery in the game all the more challenging and will surely fill your void for investigation.
1. L.A. Noire
The quintessential game of murder mysteries is no other than L.A. Noire. The game, which was first launched in 2011, has a place in today’s modern era of gaming and delivers on all fronts of a murder mystery. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, you play a young detective who has just newly joined the force. Almost every case you get in L.A. Noire is a classic old-timey murder mystery with a shocking motive behind it. And with each mystery solved, you slowly climb the ranks which pushes you into deeper and more elevating murders.
L.A. Noire delivers a vast open-world, compelling stories behind every murder, and highly renowned facial animation that gives each character a sense of life and emotion. Really, L.A. Noire paved the path for murder mystery games, with every game on this list coming after its release. As a result, each game in this list can thank L.A. Noire for being a first of its kind and giving inspiration for the others to follow. For all these reasons, L.A. Noire is the go-to game if you are in need of many murder mysteries.
Do you agree with our list? Is there another game you feel should be included? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!