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5 Iconic Heist Missions in Video Games

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Pulling off the perfect heist requires a lot more than luck, that's a given. It requires a close-knit collective that would give life and limb to secure your protection as well as the score you're fighting for. It's also crucial to have all the skills required to escape the vault or locomotive with your head well above water. And then, of course, there's the blueprints, the collateral, and everything else that could essentially pose a threat to your objective. You know, the usual things you'd encounter in a heist.

Luckily, we're talking about video games here, meaning caution can often be thrown to the wind in most instances, and a lofty take can be acquired with nothing more than a few spare lives and a volley of bullets. We shoot, we take, we run — and that's usually it. But these scenes, on the other hand, delved a little deeper into the forward planning aspect, and ended up delivering some of the most compelling heists in video game history.


5. Prologue/Heist (Mafia 3)

Mafia III - Gamescom 2016: The Heist Trailer | PS4

Mafia 3 might not have been the perfect follow-up to the acclaimed prequel, but it certainly did own up to having the best open world in the series to date. New Bordeaux, which was loosely based on 1968 New Orleans, definitely had its own unique elements, all of which were backed by its worryingly accurate portrayals of its citizens and the racial discrimination that plagued the era.

But that was Mafia 3 in a nutshell. Its missions, on the other hand, were far more diverse and inclusive. Or, at least they were for the first few hours — right up until the heist job that ended up being the best and most memorable mission in the game. With a disguise, an armoured truck, a speedboat getaway and a run-of-the-mill police chase — it found its way right to the apex of the best heist missions ever made.


4. The Paleto Score (Grand Theft Auto V)

Of course, Grand Theft Auto V just had to make its way over here at some point, right? After all, the game was mostly made up of holding up gas stations for petty cash online, or robbing banks for millions in the offline campaign. And during the latter, we must have pulled off dozens of crazy scores as Michael, Trevor and Franklin, all of which ended up filling our back pockets with more cash than we honestly knew what to do with.

Of all those jobs we miraculously pulled off, nothing felt quite as surreal as The Paleto Score, where we literally had to absorb millions of bullets and somehow waltz away with miniguns as our first line of defence. Oh, and having to resort to a dozer for the getaway vehicle. It was messy, sure, but oh so captivating and memorable at the same time. It was basically everything we came to expect from Rockstar after years of shoveling through their OTT worlds.


3. Three Leaf Clover (Grand Theft Auto IV)

Going back just a smidgen, back to Liberty City with Niko at the helm, we had Three Leaf Clover, the mission that had us pulling hairs from our scalps like there was no tomorrow. Thanks to its hyperactive plotline and messy design, we must have spent hours trying to plow through its near-impossible objectives. And for what? Well, about $250,000, to be fair.

True to the Grand Theft Auto formula, Three Leaf Clover packed some genuinely intense and downright outrageous moments into its structure. From blitzing through the streets with a duffel bag of cash on our backs to fleeing through the subway with bullets coursing past our ears, every single moment between felt weighty and consequential. That is, until we had Roman interrupt us with an invitation to go bowling, of course.


2. Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall? (Red Dead Redemption 2)

By this point, it's only right that we acknowledge the guys over at Rockstar for their talents when it comes to drafting next-level heists. And I'm not just taking about bog-standard bank heists — but robberies in general. Take Red Dead Redemption 2, for example. Although the game itself featured an abundance of banks and small-time stores to stick-up, it did also bundle in the odd train robbery, which actually turned out to be some of the best missions in the fifty or so hour story.

After only a few prologue missions as the tainted Arthur Morgan, we suddenly found ourselves locked into a life of crime, where whatever gang leader Dutch said to his band of loyal followers went, no questions asked. And in this case, it was robbing a train for bonds, which meant having to execute a dangerous plan and risk life and limb for what could have been a shallow grave with no financial reward. And yet, reward or no reward — it was one hell of a ride to be involved in.


1. Withdrawal (Kane & Lynch: Dead Men)

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men honestly didn't deserve half of the hate it got after its release, and was actually a pretty solid game for what it was worth. Subpar voice acting and cliché plotline aside, its heist missions were actually well structured and beautifully carved. And its gameplay, well — it wasn't IO Interactive's worst work, that's for sure.

One of the most promising missions in all of Dead Men was Withdrawal, a segment that took all the cliché movie heist scenes from around the world and funneled them into a full-fledged mission, only with Kane and Lynch fronting the assault. With a vault, a code, a few dozen hostages and an all-out frenzy of bullets and reinforcements, it quickly sparked a few notes in our heads — almost as if we had seen it all play out before on the silver screen. Needless to say, it was actually a lot of fun to go along with — despite already knowing the outcome.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our list? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.


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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.