It may not have worked out so well for Tony Montana but as games go, running or running with your own gang can be a real blast. Okay, chances are you’re going to be horribly, horribly betrayed at some point but, still, there’s so much fun to be had. You get the illicitness of committing crimes without any of the moral repercussions. Plus, hearing characters call you call boss never gets old.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best gangster games on Xbox. There are a few others that would have made our list but, sadly, they’ve been delisted. Scarface: The World is Yours, for example, is a fun Grand Theft Auto game where Tony Montana survives the end of the movie. But, possibly due to the licence expiring, it is no more.
And, as tempting as it is to add Red Dead Redemption 2 to this list, we categorise that as a western. So, without further ado, here are the best five gangster games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
1. Mafia: Definitive Edition
Working your way up from cab driver to full-blown mafia heavyweight, Mafia: Definitive Edition breathes new life into the already appealing original. Lost Heaven, a city that should have known better than to call itself that, is an excellent background for a great gangster tale.
Mafia came out over 20 years ago so, even with this remaster, there’s are still a few bits that feel old fashioned. But you can’t beat it for atmosphere, story and mafioso activities.
2. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
In Sleeping Dogs, you’re a Hong Kong Triad.. or are you? Your undercover policeman is tasked with infiltrating the criminal underworld and as with many a crime movie, the lines between criminal and cop get very blurry. It’s a shame this game never got the sequel it deserved.
There was a movie in the works though it seems to be languishing in development hell. But you can’t go wrong with its blend of gunplay, kung-fu action and car action. Throw in some very windy streets and you’ve got a real treat for fans of Hong Kong action movies or open-world games.
3. Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0, despite the name, was developed years after the original Yakuza was released. As a on-off-on member of the Yakuza, Kazuma Kiryu, you’re accused of murdering and end up having to track down his killer. At least, that’s the way things start. It gets complicated pretty quickly, with series regular Goro Majima also getting to tell his story.
Even if you coast through the main storyline there are a ridiculous number of side-quests and activities to keep you busy, not all of which of involve smacking someone with a bike. And Kamurocho, a fictionalised version of a real-life Tokyo district, is a joy to explore.
4. Saints Row 2
Saints Row The Third is great, but for us Saints Row 2 was the pinnacle of the series. You get to build your criminal empire from scratch, as a protagonist who’s a really nasty piece of work. Saints Row 3 turned the Saints into media celebrities but here, you’re just the bad guys.
Aside from revenging yourself on a world that’s forgotten about your crew, you get to obliterate three opposing gangs. At the risk of getting into spoiler territory, ‘that’ scene in the monster truck arena has stuck with us for years.
5. Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 holds up fantastically well, despite it having come out ten years ago. It’s had a couple of remasters/glow-ups for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, which helps. And the sheer freedom it gives you is remarkable. GTA Online a certain appeal but it’s solo heisting that’s always appealed to is.
There are some wonderfully varied missions, including one where you steal a mini-sub. Bt even when you’re done with that you’ll keep dipping in just to experience its world.