The 10 Best Detective Games To Play Right Now

The 10 Best Detective Games To Play Right Now In 2015
The 10 Best Detective Games To Play Right Now

Who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery or want to solve the murder of the century? Who doesn’t want to be the enigmatic protagonist trying to chase down a villain or a ghostly malcontent?  

(Too much?  It is isn't it? I should have stopped at century. It's my own fault, I always go too far, expect too much too quickly.  Maybe this is why the girlfriend left me. I don't know, maybe proposing marriage one month into the relationship was too quick. Well, that, or sleeping with her mother. It's probably either or.)

But anyway, the point is, is that everyone likes a good detective game and solving crimes that need, well... solving. Fortunately in video games, there’s a lot of these type of games to choose from. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of them suck. Fortunately though there’s also a lot of good ones out there too. So here’s a list of the top 10 detective style video games for PC I think are worth getting your hands on.

Let's start the tour of our crime scene. (Do you see what I did there?)

10. Tex Murphy: Tesla Effect

Tex Mex is back on the menu

Tex isn’t dead! Unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it when I saw this. Tesla Effect is the homage to the 90’s multimedia gaming revolution that died before it had started. Back in the day, low quality, poorly acted ‘multimedia’ gaming was going to be the future of games: Then everyone realised it wasn’t. But some games and some characters still managed to sparkle and Tex Murphy was one of them and let me tell you, it is a joy to see him back one last time.

Tex, and the punch line of another joke.

The Tex Murphy detective games are a mostly point and click comedy-mystery-noir-puzzler set in post WWIII San Francisco. The comedy when it hits is good. Tex is older, but just as stupid as he ever was, and while the game isn’t brilliant, it’s still a worthwhile diversionary walk down memory lane for both new and older players.

9. Murdered: Soul Suspect

“If only I knew how I died.”

Soul suspect is a very interesting game and worth your time if you have the time, to play it. It’s a supernatural mystery thriller where the murder you have to solve…is your own. OOOH! But seriously, it’s a refreshing thing to be able to walk through walls, as you play a ghost, trapped between this world and the next. It’s a mix of the old school detective game, and the ever faithful old popular gaming go-to: Demonic spirits. The story is total noir, the voice acting is terrific, and the whole thing is done very well from start to finish.

“I don’t know what it is, people just see right through me.”

The game looks great, but it is let down by its relatively short, 6-7 hours of main story game play. There’s also a distinct lack of any real character progression and the combat whilst initially a lot of fun, is simplistic, repetitive, and soon just seems get in the way of you solving the crime. But this doesn’t detract from the overall feel of the game, and it’s well worth playing. The story is total noir, the voice acting is terrific, and the whole thing is done very well from start to finish.  

Think Alan Wake meets La Noire, and you’re there.

8. L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition

 “This isn’t a zombie game!”

Why 'The Complete Edition?' Because for $30, it’s a freaking steal on Steam. Don't let the fact this game came out in 2011 fool you. If you haven’t played it, or any of its DLC, then you should stop whatever it is you are doing, and buy this game now.  

This is like a cross between The Untouchables, and LA Confidential. This is not GTA. Not even close, although, yes, it is made by the same guys, but it’s a different style and while it is fun to drive through 1950’s LA randomly murdering civilians, this practice is frowned upon and should be avoided wherever possible. This is a detective game through and through.

“Why, yes, I do have a minute to talk about Jesus.”

A large part of the game revolves around talking and interrogating suspects, following up on leads, and just generally being part of something so epic, it’s almost filmic in its experience. If you like your stories deep and nuanced, and every character having something to hide, then this is the game for you. It also ticks all the boxes for immersion and realism and plays as good as it looks.

7. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Because it's harder than you think to get a copyright free image of this game....

This is a mystery game set in the 1st person. Unlike most games of its ilk, there are no explosions, no crazy gunfights, but the game is none the less addictively intriguing. You get to play as occult detective, Paul Prospero, as he investigates a horrific murder. But for Prospero, it's only the beginning of something much much, bigger, and darker...

This is a proper detective game. It’s slow, but well-paced, and you need to actively seek out the clues to find them. It’s almost like conducting your own real world investigation. There is so much more to this game than meets the eye, and the experience as a result it is all the better for it.

 “Whoever Dale is, he isn’t helping.”

The story is all about finding out what happened in Red Creek valley and why. The truth when it is finally revealed will haunt you for days. This game doesn’t pull punches and I often found myself while playing feeling like I was in the middle of a real movie. There's just something so ethereally transfixing about being able to relive and recreate victims memories and final moments in a monochromatic visual masterpiece. The soundtrack and atmosphere is spot on for total in-game immersion, and graphically this is one of the nicest looking games out there. This game stays with you, long after you’ve finished playing it…  

6.  Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

For Sale: Cosy, compact cottage in idyllic surroundings.

I won’t lie to you. I was concerned about playing this game. You see it's one of those 'casual' hidden object games, originally designed for your phone. But don't run away, not yet. It's actually rather good on the PC. Seriously. This is an old school adventure game and it really works. The story telling and writing for the game are excellent and the music is done to perfection. The game itself is action packed with content, innovative diverse puzzles, and I clocked the storyline lasting me a good 8.5 hours, so no complaints there.  

Solving puzzles for the win. Nice, if you like puzzles.

The ending is also sublime and the whole game is visually beautiful to play through. You really shouldn't expect to be able to play such a high production value game like this for the $5-10 price tag it's currently going for online. But you can and so Enigmatis 2 is a fricking steal for that small an amount and well worth the investment and your time.

5. Alan Wake

 “May not end well…”

Think Stephen King does Twin Peaks, and you’re home and dry and you know exactly what the Alan Wake game is all about. Looking back it’s hard to believe that when Alan Wake was released back in 2011 few expected anything much from this game as it's now seen as something of a modern classic. The best way to describe Alan Wake is as a detective story nightmare, more horror than mystery in its offering. But it’s still a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery of just what the Hell is going on in Blight Falls.  

Graphically, the game runs amazingly well on modern PC’s, and is one of the most atmospheric game worlds out there, either then or now. Alan’s running commentary is similar in style to Max Payne and only adds to the overall brilliance of the game.  

Alan Wake is more of an action game with a mature and mentally challenging take on the detective genre. Combat when it comes is frenetic and challenging, but rewarding, and is as much about an exploration of evil as it is about finding the answer to what happened to Alan’s wife.

4. Nevermind

It's tough to explain just how promising this game is from a screenshot.

How do I explain Nevermind and the concept behind it in such a way that actually captures just how much absolute mind-blowing potential this game has? I can’t, it’s as simple as that but here goes anyway: Basically, Nevermind has you travel through the subconscious of mentally traumatised patients in an effort to piece together the fragments of their broken mind and help them regain at least a certain level of sanity. What's different about this offering however is the bio feedback nature of the game.  

This may be the future of gaming, seriously. In Nevermind you have the option (if you own one) of using a real life heart rate monitor that changes the way the game reacts according to your real emotional state, depending on how stressed you actually become in real life.  

It does this by introducing graphical issues like static on your screen, or blurred vision to just simply making simple in game interactions like opening a door a total bitch to do. Essentially, the calmer you are when you react to game stimuli, the more chance you have of solving a puzzle, or progressing through the level. Crucially though, the bio feedback monitors aren't really needed to enjoy this survival horror mystery game and it does play well without them. But they do offer a level of in game immersion and atmosphere I've never experienced before. It's amazing.

Also; the game is first person, the graphics are good, and it plays really well. However, players should be aware that this is an early access game; BOO! Etc. But it's a Hell of a game in spite of that. YAY!!  Etc.

Do you fall up, or do you fall down?

I've been playing PC games for over 25 years. It takes a lot to impress me, it really does, but Nevermind has done it. This is not a game for people with nervous dispositions. Sure, it's not 'jump out of your skin' scary, but it is creepy and disturbing. The downside is that Nevermind does cost $25 and there are only 2 levels available at the moment because it’s an Alpha release which means you would be paying for a game that’s still in development. But the game is updated quite regularly and those 2 levels are worth the entry price.  

3. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

“Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, etc…”

Think….Sherlock Holmes….and you’re getting it. Is this the king of all detective games? Well who wouldn’t want to play as the most iconic, most famous detective the world has ever known?

This game is no open world GTA but the interiors of all the buildings all seem quite vast and are suitably intricately detailed for a game of this type. The game is also beautifully drawn and Victorian England might never have been so well realised in a video game ever before. There are six different mysteries to solve, 14 ways of detecting clues, and a plethora of mini games that don’t feel like they were tacked in just to pad out the game. The final part of each mystery involves a very nifty sequence puzzle where you have to try and link all the clues in Sherlock's own head, which is a somewhat refreshing way of doing things and for my money is the best thing about the entire game.  

 “If only I could find the body!”

The game environments aren’t huge but they are created in depth and the illusion of choice in the game has been masterfully tasked in the visuals department. The gameplay is fun and every choice you make as the world's greatest detective has an impact on some other characteristic of the game. You can't really ask for much more than that in a game of this kind and why would you? You know exactly what you want in a Sherlock Holmes game, and Crimes and Punishments doesn't disappoint.

2. Detective Grimoire

 “Far better than it looks. Trust me, I'm a doctor. Just kidding. I'm not a doctor. But I am the King of England.”

There’s obviously a calling for detective games out there that are simple but addictive. This is one popular game which some might feel is surprising as Grimoire was developed off the back of a Kick-Starter game and is beautiful to look at and play.  

It has a strong sense of character, and the story itself is well thought out and developed. Some of the puzzles can get repetitive and you get the feeling the gameplay doesn't always translate through to a desktop setting but it is no less fun for all that.  

The game is all about picking up evidence as you move from location to location, and then interrogating the most likely suspects. It’s fun, enchanting, and is different enough to be unique in its genre to be worth a punt.  

Think Ace Attorney, and Professor Layton and you’ve pretty much nailed what type of game this is.

1. The wolf among us

You are the BIG BAD WOLF. You are not Wolverine, though I would understand if you thought you were looking at this image.

Well, what else could you expect from the people who brought you the Walking Dead games? The Wolf among us is amazing. It’s gritty, it’s violent and it’s all grown up.

This game is no fairy tale.  This is comic book fairy tale noir.  

You get to play as the Big Bad Wolf in a game where every decision has consequences, and this is one of the most bizarre and engrossing detective games out there. It’s also episodic in content and thought provoking. Think Sam and Max meets Disney meets Max Payne style noir, and you’re getting close.     

Lying toad. Of course he is.

The plot is excellent, the characters almost real, the writing is out of this world, and the twists have to be seen to be believed.  For a while there, I thought the old school point and click adventure was dead and buried.  But The Wolf has brought it kicking and screaming back into the mainstream.  

Based on the excellent “Fables” Comic, not X-Men, or Wolverine. Honestly.

And so that's it once again.

If you want a new mystery or detective game that you can sleuth away in then anyone of these 10 games is worth your time, and your money. But here's the question. Did I get it right?   

What do you consider to be the best detective games out there right now? Do you disagree with what I've said? Did I miss one out? Would you change the order I’ve ranked them in here today?

Log in or sign up and start trolling me about it now.  

Chilled, Calm, writer, lover, fighter
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: World Of Tanks, Skyrim, GTA5, Dying Light
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Borderlands 2, Grand Theft Auto V

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fas933 6 years 2 months ago

Can anyone tell me if any of these games 10 games are 360 degree camera ?

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