Take out your magnifying glass, pocket watch, and favorite detective hat, because we’re ranking the five best video game detectives of all time. Through their own narratives, they have shown us the skills that make a great detective. All of these characters have a keen eye for detail, are excellent at sniffing out clues, and are incredibly clever. They’ve solved some of the biggest mysteries in video game history, establishing themselves as the best detectives in the process.
Each of these detectives have a strong case for being on this list, whether it’s for solving murders, working undercover, or uncovering the perpetrators of the vilest crimes. With this, they’ve demonstrated their fearlessness in the face of peril and are relentless in their quest for justice. So, in classic inspector style, Go, Go, Gadget the five best video game detectives of all time!
5. Bigby Wolf, The Wolf Among Us (Series)
Part-time wolf, and full-time sheriff for Fabletown, Bigby Wolf maintains all the characteristics of a great detective. Even if sometime’s he lets players choose the worst of his emotions, he’s always focused on the case at hand. And he’s great at sniffing out crime scenes. This is, of course, due to his heightened senses as a wolf. However, he pertains to all the other great qualities of a renowned detective.
He is a virtuoso at putting piecing clues together and breaking through falsehoods in an interrogation or alibi. Plus, who doesn’t like a detective who gets his hands dirty from time to time. It’s no more thanks to his alter wolf form, but it’s nice to see a character who is so tunnel-visioned in his pursuit of answers, that he occasionally loses himself. Although it may not appear so, every renowned detective in history can attest to that defining quality.
4. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
Undoubtedly the best detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes, has had more or less a rough history in the video game scene. However, he has had the longest stint as a detective out of all the ones on this list. Since 2002, there have been twelve detective games, dedicated to the great Sherlock Holmes. That has nothing less to do with the stature and notoriety he has acquired over the years. So, it’s hard not to include him on this list. After all, he is the greatest to ever do the job.
Despite having a rocky career in the video game industry, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One was a great installment to his series. The game harnesses the persona of Sherlock Holmes and showed great potential for what could come from this character in an action-adventure game. Well, undoubtedly there will be more to come, as his story is only in the first chapter. So be wary, because Sherlock Holmes could make a quick rise for the best video game detective of all time.
3. Wei Shen, Sleeping Dogs
One of the greatest detectives that have ever come to gaming, is also one of the most slept on. But we just simply can’t forget Wei Shen from Sleeping Dogs. This detective holds a special spot in the hearts of players of the original game. Going undercover to take down the Triad organization in Hong Kong is nothing short of brave. (Spoiler alert) Only the best detective could climb to the highest ranks, earn their trust, and take them down from within. Well, Wei Shen did just that, and with it, he made his case for being one of the greatest video game detectives of all time.
Constantly submerged in the role of an undercover detective, Wei Shen risks everything all for the act of justice. He is fearless and borderline crazy for his commitment to solving crime. Sometime’s taking it a step too far. But like we’ve addressed, this is a defining quality that only the greatest of detectives have. Plus, his demeanor and persona give him some swagger, and he isn’t utterly serious all the time, like most of the detectives on this list. In the words of the Joker, why so serious?
2. Batman, Batman: Arkham Series
When you think Batman, you can’t help but think – Justice! (Batman’s voice). It’s a classic voice line and the true calling of every detective in their line of work. Batman, being a vigilante crime-fighting detective has shown on more than one, and many occasions, that he is the ultimate detective. This of course is with big thanks to Lucius Fox and Wayne Enterprises for enhancing his detective capabilities. And in the Batman: Arkham series, all of his best detective skills and gadgets are on full display.
Let’s be honest, detectives are only made cooler with the inclusion of gadgets and devices they have to assist them. Take Go Go Gadget for example. Okay on a more serious note, Batman is a great detective, there’s no denying that. Getting to play as him across all the games in the Arkham series came with a ton of mystery and cold cases to crack, which felt like a job only he can get to the bottom of. It’s always a great feeling unsolving clues as Batman, and we’ll even give Alfred a handful of credit for assisting him.
1. Cole Phelps, L.A. Noire
When you think of a detective, you can’t help but think of the stereotypical image of a 1940’s detective in a suit, probably rocking a fedora. Well, the classic identity has only been done by the best detective of them all, Cole Phelps from L.A. Noire. No gadgets, no added abilities, Phelps is just your average detective, with a knack for solving cases. Which show’s his pure ability to do so, relying on nothing else but himself and his gut. That aspect alone set’s him as the best video game detective of all time.
But he wasn’t always like this, and you get to see Phelps grow into a great detective. From the start of the game, we get to see his character rise from being a rookie investigator to the best of them all. Phelps has repeatedly demonstrated through his investigations that he possesses the sheer talent of a brilliant detective, a stern and serious manner, and the determination to act on his instincts. He was one of the first to play a pure detective in an action-adventure game, and he has been and will continue to be acclaimed for being the greatest to do it.
So, What’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there other great video game detectives that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!