games / Columns

411 Games Top 5: Top 5 Organized Crime Games

October 3, 2016 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, welcome to the 411 Games Top 5. Every week the 411 Games staff has a topic and they make lists for it. This week, with Mafia III coming out on Friday, we are doing the Top 5 Organized Crime Games.

*The staffers were only allowed to use one Grand Theft Auto and one Saints Row game in their lists.*

John Cash (Regular Contributor to Games Top 5)

5. Urban Reign: I took organized crime to mean gangs, because otherwise it would just be the Mafia series and GTA ad nauseam. Urban Reign is a forgotten gem from the PS2 library. You play a merc hired to find someone that’s been kidnapped by a gang lord, but instead you just beat up an entire city’s worth of miscreants with really satisfying combat and a great soundtrack. I recommend unlocking two player mode with a cheat code, rather than play through on your own to unlock it, because it’s best experience with another player in my opinion.

4. Saints Row: The Third: It took me a while to appreciate this game. While the second was over the top, it still felt grounded in realism, where as Third is just the definition of excess. What eventually sold me on it was the depth of things to do, and the online MP. I also enjoy that the characters don’t even take the series’ plot seriously anymore.

3. The Warriors: I feel like this game isn’t talked about enough. It was one of the few games that my brother and I rented (back when that was still a thing) and got to a point that was so hard that we ended up taking the game back and then going and buying a copy of our own, because we HAD to have revenge. Another in a long line of Rockstar Games that would be nice to see an HD upgrade on the newest consoles/PC.

2. Yakuza 2: If you’ve never played the Yakuza games, it’s kind of like if Shenmue had a baby with Sleeping Dogs and came out Japanese for some reason. You don’t just fight and take down corrupt gang lords; you go do karaoke, or you eat a hot dog, and go on a date. Yakuza 2 is my favorite though because the story was the most compelling in company with all the side things you could do. I could barely put this one down.

1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: In my heart of hearts, I wanted to put GTA III, but if we’re talking GANG culture, it doesn’t get much better than San Andreas. Conquering Los Santos block by block is still one of the harder things that has been in a GTA game from my experience, but it was really satisfying when I finished it. Most of what you hear about this game tends to be it’s huge map, the jetpack, and bigfoot hoaxes, but it is in my mind the best depiction of gang warfare in a video game.

Marc Morrison (Games Zone Reviewer, Co-Host of the Video Games 2 the MAX Podcast, Writer of the Games Zone 8-Ball)

5. Sleeping Dogs: I still really love Sleeping Dogs and the reluctance of Square to green light a proper sequel depresses me. It’s the first open-world crime game to do hand to hand combat correctly and to actually make it fun. The crime aspect is key since you’re undercover, you have to get protection money from citizens and hijack cars and whatnot, but you’re also being graded for your police work as well, like not hitting random people on the sidewalk.

4. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: This is an off the wall pick for this list, but go with me. While Evie is all about finding the Piece of Eden and foiling the grand Templar plot, Jacob just wants to form a gang and rule everything. He names his gang the Rooks and creates some gang warfare against the Templar-sanctioned gang The Blighters. The methods of warfare include assassinating key gang members, taking over Blighter bases and stealing from them in key ways. This culminates in a gang war where you both gangs fight one another and you have to take out the leader of that neighbor’s gang, assuming you didn’t already do it before.

3. Max Payne: Now onto a different side, where you play a cop trying to take down various gangs in New York. The whole point of the game is to take down various gangs and syndicates to stop the drug Valkyr from being sold on the streets and also to clear Max’s name of his friend’s killing. The gang stuff in Max Payne is written pretty arch, but it’s the film noire way, with various double crosses and innuendo going on. Also a femme fatale who is both on Max’s side and not.

2. Saints Row: The Third: Saints Row: The Third was my favorite game of 2011 and everyone who said Skyrim was better was crazy. Saints Row had interesting, fleshed out characters, some great gameplay, and enough humor (both overt and subtle) to make it stand out. It’s more impressive when you consider Saints Row 1 and 2 and how average they are, but Saints Row 3 just goes all kinds of crazy. You get a drone strike weapon in the first half hour of the game which is just fantastic for taking over gang blocks with.

1. GTA San Andreas: Without San Andreas I doubt the crime genre would have gotten as big as it was. GTA 3 was a revelation and Vice City brought Hollywood into it, but San Andreas is the game that really brought all the elements together, while giving you a huge world to explore. Not only was the county of San Andreas fun to explore, but taking care of Carl’s needs like eating/weightlifting was as vital as the gang warfare system in Los Santos. Plus, flying around in the jetpack was cool.


List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation