Best games where you play as a police officer

To protect and serve.

Image via Aesir Interactive

Being a police officer has been the dream of many young boys and girls, but as you get older, you stop wanting the dangers involved in that life. Instead, it’s more fun to play it in a video game and pretend you’re the sword of justice, keeping the people of your city safe.

Most video games give you a badge or say you’re an officer while completely ignoring the fact that you should be stopping crimes, but the best cop games give you a sense of being an officer. Below, we have gathered the games you will enjoy if you’ve always wanted to live that life.

10) Police Simulator: Patrol Officers (2021)

Image via Aesir Interactive

Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is a pretty accurate representation of what it’s like to be an officer in many parts of the city. Players control a patrol officer as they perform their daily duties in Police Simulator: Patrol Officers. Fast-paced movie action is rare, and while it does happen, you’ll spend most of your time just giving tickets and keeping the peace.

This is not to say that there is no minor action. A person can always be caught in a minor crime, and then when pressed, they will attack you or try to run away because they have some illegal paraphernalia on them.

The game is still in early access, so it will only improve with time, and many are already enjoying the simplicity. 

9) This Is The Police (2016)

Image via Weappy Studio

This Is The Police is a police management simulation game with a backstory to keep things interesting. Playing as a police chief, you are responsible for sending police to the scene and ensuring they are well-equipped.

There are many inaccuracies in This Is The Police, but you will still enjoy it if you suspend your disbelief. The most enjoyable part of This Is The Police is dispatching your officers and handling crimes, but the investigation really shines. Ultimately, you must distinguish truth from lies, determine how a crime occurred, and arrest the perpetrators.

If you try to find holes in the storyline, you’ll find many, and you won’t enjoy it, so it’s best to focus on doing your best to win.

8) True Crime: Streets of LA (2003)

Image via Activision

Players in the True Crime series were put in the shoes of police like no other game had. Investigating crimes is your job as police detective Nicholas Kang, a member of the autonomous Elite Operations Division.

It follows Kang as he seeks closure for his father’s disappearance, but the free roam is where the game shines. You could arrest criminals, frisk suspects, and stop crimes around the city. The best part was that the game lets you be a bad cop if you choose, but if you were too bad, the police would stop you.

More than once, fans compared the game to GTA III, and many thought it was more of a clone. That’s a fair assessment because commandeering vehicles for no reason is pretty much Grand Theft Auto. Still, the game stands out enough to be more than just a GTA clone.

7) True Crime: New York City (2005)

Image via Activision

True Crime: New York City did not get the praise it deserved at the time. The game put players in the shoes of Marcus Reed, a former gangster who is now a police detective.

As in the last game, the player patrols the streets of New York as a police officer. It had 25 miles of roaming, which was a huge feat at the time, and there were plenty of crimes to stop on the way to each mission. The best part of True Crime: New York City was the combat. Instead of being plain like in True Crime: Streets of LA, the sequel allowed players to develop their combat style and engage in hand-to-hand combat with many criminals.

The story was pretty good, but ultimately, the game flopped, and this was the last installment in the series.

6) Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (2008)

Image via Ubisoft

Many games on this list capture what it’s like to be a police officer, but the Rainbow Six series has never tried to accomplish that. This is the SWAT that you see in the movies, fast-paced and killing any hostile in the way. The game involves some strategy, as you tactfully send your squadmates to reinforce you. You’ll be doing more shooting than thinking, however.

Rather than trying to get hostiles to surrender, you sneak in and kill them with various weapons. As you advance through the ranks, you can customize your squad and equip them with better weapons and armor.

The story is pretty strong, but the best part is the missions where you must take out enemies that you can replay and do better each time.

5) Disco Elysium (2019)

Image via ZA/UM

A fun blend of a police mystery and a role-playing game. In the game, players assume the role of a detective tasked with investigating a murder involving many notable hands. Depending on what you do in the game, there are multiple endings, so you’ll need to be careful with what you do.

You’re not going to engage in combat like in most police games, so when you set up your loadout, it’s for skills related to police work. As your loadout consists of clothing and items, the way your dress affects your personality and psyche.

It is best to dress like a professional detective rather than a homeless person, as Harrier “Harry” Du Bois, the main character, will act a lot more professional and sane when he dresses the part of a detective.

4) SWAT 4

Image via Activision

SWAT 4 remains one of the most realistic and atmospheric police games available today. SWAT 4 simulates real-world police procedures while you take on the role of the leader of a five-man team as you subdue armed targets and rescue hostages in 21 missions. This game is similar to Rainbow Six, but with improved graphics and much more attention to detail.

You can use many different weapons, from assault rifles to submachine guns, but don’t expect to be able to use them in every situation. This version of SWAT 4 remains firmly attached to realistic police procedure, punishing you for unnecessarily escalating the use of force, injuries caused to hostages, and loss of officers. You should instead use less-than-lethal methods like bean bag shots, pepper balls, and pepper spray to try and get the suspects to surrender.

You play Rainbow Six when you want to kill everyone around as if you’re a super cop who sticks to no rules, and you play SWAT 4 when you want to see how hard it is not to shoot in those situations.

3) The Wolf Among Us (2013)

Image via Telltale

During the game, players take on the role of Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf), who is appointed sheriff of a neighborhood in Manhattan filled with folkloric figures. The game is based on the Fables comic series published by DC Vertigo.

Telltale Games released a game titled The Wolf Among Us in 2013, a smash hit. Telltale Games survived bankruptcy and then announced The Wolf Among Us 2, a sequel to The Wolf Among Us. Because the story is so well written, you’ll care what the other fables think of you.

As an adventure game, you’ll spend a lot of time making decisions, but there’s also a lot of action played out in quick-time events. At the end of the game, you will feel as exhausted as Bigby, but it’s hard not to think that you did an excellent job.

2) L.A. Noire (2011)

Image via Rockstar Games

LA Noire is a captivating game set in 1940s Los Angeles that will have you guessing from start to finish. The story follows Cole Phelps, a former United States Marine Corps officer and World War II veteran, as he moves from beat cop to detective.

At times, the game is slow, which allows you to investigate crime scenes and question suspects. Realistic facial capture was still a new technology when Rockstar made this game, and it was a core feature. The players need to read a suspect’s face to tell if they are lying, which they normally are.

In tense moments, you’ll have to chase suspects on foot and in cars, shoot at criminals who want you dead, and beat up those who don’t want to be arrested. Any fan of detective and cop games will enjoy L.A. Noire.

1) Sleeping Dogs (2012)

Image via Square Enix

Sleeping Dogs is a lot like an upgraded True Crime, but it focuses more on being undercover and its story. You are an undercover police officer investigating the triads, which puts you in many morally questionable situations. 

It may feel foreign at first, but Hong Kong’s lights and atmosphere make it very welcoming after a while. By the end of the game, you will feel as though you’re a martial arts master because the combat borrows from the Arkham games and does it very well. Guns are also available, but you won’t use them as much as you would in a game based in the US.

While the main character, Wei Shein, grows fond of his friends in the gang, he has a sworn duty as a police officer to stop the Triads.