Being a hero is nice and fair, but we all love a bad guy now and then. Video game antagonists can be so endearing that the best villains in history sometimes outshine the main protagonists. And playing an anti-hero opens up a world of possibilities as exciting as they are cathartic. That’s what mobster games are all about, with their action-packed drama and morally questionable sets of colourful characters.

So, are you ready to run a shady business, laundering money and sending out your goons to intimidate rivalling criminal organizations? Spanning the Sicilian mafia to the yakuza, here are four exhilarating gangster games.

The Godfather

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If you’re a fan of gangster movies, The Godfather must be high on your list of cult classics. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this 1972 movie marked a stepping stone in the gangster genre. Weirdly enough, it took developers over thirty years to adapt The Godfather to the gaming medium. But this action-adventure à la GTA did not disappoint.

While based on the movie, the game introduces a brand-new character. Seeking vengeance for his father’s murder, Aldo Trapani is brought into the Corleone family. As he rises through the family’s ranks, Trapani bears witness to some of the film’s most iconic events. Much to fans’ delight, The Godfather’s open world brings new perspective to some major sequences and even expands on the film’s plot. The voice acting by actual actors like James Caan and Robert Duvall only adds to the game’s cinematic feel.


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When it comes to gangster games, the Mafia series is the golden standard. Comprising three mainline instalments and two mobile spin-offs, this action-adventure franchise mixes to perfection a thrilling open world environment with a compelling plot. Critics praised its intense and complex narrative, while gamers relished in the series’ riveting twists and ambient setting, as the plot unfolds throughout the 1920s to the late 60s.

The first Mafia entry might show its age, but a remake modernised some of its dated mechanics in 2020. A remastered version of the second instalment came out shortly after. And avid Mafia players have much to look forward to since a Mafia sequel is reportedly under development.


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Much like the Mafia series, SEGA’s Yakuza franchise has become a staple of the mobster genre. Its first instalment hit the PlayStation and Wii U in 2005. Since then, the series has spawned eight main titles and a range of spin-off entries. Except for the Yakuza 0 prequel, most entries build upon their predecessor’s events and storyline. And all combine elements of beat’em up, turn-based strategy, and action role-playing to balance heavy fighting and story-driven crime drama.

The Yakuza series takes players on a journey blending hand-to-hand combat and exploration. Impersonating a reformed mobster, players brawl their way through in-game neighbourhoods modelled after real-life Japanese locations, such as Tokyo’s Kabukichō red-light district. From visiting cabaret clubs to crafting items, anything goes in this open world. Various mini-games also await, including batting cages and underground casinos featuring table games like poker and blackjack. For players developing a serious thirst for real gambling, the best online casinos in the UK offer a larger catalogue of games. High-quality slots, live dealer games, and even video poker are easily accessible online. Plus, gamblers can claim tons of hefty bonuses and promotions to fund their bankroll. And for fans of gangster games, mafia and yakuza-themed slots are a click away.

Sleeping Dogs

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Released in 2012, Sleeping Dogs marked an engaging change in scenery from most mobster games. This open world action-adventure flick follows a Chinese-American cop on an undercover mission to infiltrate a brutal Triad organization. Departing from the usual US and Sicilian settings, the game takes place in Hong Kong. And the detailed recreation of the city adds much to the atmospheric charm of this action game meets martial arts. A definitive edition even improved the game’s immersive lifelikeness in 2014.

While Sleeping Dogs sets off to a linear start, the game’s later stages allow players to navigate an open world full of side missions in crime-ridden back streets. The game also involves several fun-filled activities, from hitting the karaoke booth to street racing and joining a fight club. Yet, Sleeping Dogs never loses focus on a strong storyline supported by a memorable cast.