- The Mafia Trilogy offers a character-driven story set in the 1930s, 1940s-50s, and late 1960s, providing a unique period drama experience in the crime sim genre.
- Fans of the series can try other games like Yakuza 0, Narcos: Rise of the Cartel, and The Godfather 2 to satisfy their craving for similar settings and characters.
- For those who enjoy open-world crime games, Grand Theft Auto 4’s expansions, Red Dead Redemption, Cartel Tycoon, American Fugitive, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City offer immersive narratives and engaging gameplay.
With the Mafia Trilogy available in its definitive form, it is the perfect time to get into the series and experience the saga at its best. Even though the games are set in an open-world environment, their main focus is telling a character-driven story with shocking twists and a powerful narrative.
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These characters are much loved in the Mafia Trilogy despite their many flaws. But who is the greatest mobster of them all?
In addition to being crime sims, the Mafia Trilogy is also a period drama set during the 1930s, the 1940s-50s, and the late 1960s. For veterans of the series looking to dive into another series with a similar setting or characters while they wait for the Mafia remake, this list includes games that fans may love in the meantime.
Updated on January 16, 2024, by Michael Llewellyn: The Mafia Trilogy aren’t vast open-world crime dramas like Grand Theft Auto, but character-driven mobster stories inspired by classic gangster films like Goodfellas and The Godfather Trilogy. Even though games have open cities to explore, they aren’t packed with side stories and missions. However, the Mafia game’s best aspects are the characters and mature storytelling. This list is updated to include another recommendation for Mafia fans and links to features that fans will enjoy.
27 Hotline Miami
Take Down Gangsters In This Surreal 1980s Miami Shooter
- October 23, 2012
- Dennaton Games
Hotlines Miami is a retro-styled top-down shooter with a cleverly told and surreal story where the players are tasked with destroying the Russian Mafia. The story is unique, strange, and one of the most original and visceral in gaming. Equally visceral is the combat and expertly crafted levels that keep the action moving without getting stale. Fans of the Mafia series will love the mature narrative and its throwback visuals reminiscent of the classic GTA games on the PlayStation. Hotline Miami challenges players to question their motives and offers depth beyond the dialogue. It’s a rich experience that crime fans will love.
26 Yakuza 0
An 80s Set Crime Drama With Great Character Development
- January 24, 2017
The Yakuza series features several times on this list. However, fans of Mafia should start with the Yakuza 0. Its story is set in the 1980s and stars series lead Kiryu in his early days as a junior member of the Tojo Clan. Yakuza 0 also features Kiryu’s rival, Goro Majima, as a secondary protagonist as he tries to come to terms with being ousted from the Tojo and plans to find his way back in.
There is a complex narrative with betrayals, friendships, and scheming between the various families embroiled within the Tojo. However, the serious tone and drama are offset by some of the most humourous and worthwhile side content seen in an open-world crime sim. Of course, the quests are optional, but the streets of Kamurocho and Sotenbori come to life with their fantastic cast of characters.
25 Narcos: Rise Of The Cartel
XCOM-Style Strategy Game Based On The Narcos TV Show
: PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One
Narcos: Rise of the Cartel is a tactical strategy game similar to the XCOM series. It is based on the true-life Netflix crime drama Narcos, which focuses on the drug baron Pablo Escobar. It isn’t as complex or challenging as the XCOM series, but the gameplay is fun and stays faithful to the source material. Players can take on the role of a Cartel or try taking them down as the DEA. It is an enjoyably low-budget strategy game, but it’s better played on the PC, as the controls for consoles feel like an afterthought.
24 The Godfather 2
Crime Drama Set Alongside The Events Of Iconic Film
: PC, PS3, and Xbox 360
: EA Redwood Shores
Like the first title, The Godfather 2 video game features a story that intertwines with the films. Although it does take some liberties here and there with the plot, The Godfather 2 is a solid mobster game where the main character is responsible for taking down rival families and running an extortion business.
The game features tactical missions called Crime Rings, which focuses on taking over criminal enterprises to strengthen the protagonist’s gang members. The tactical mechanics are arguably better than The Godfather 2’s central story mode. Moreover, the setting and themes are similar to the Mafia Trilogy, making it a worthwhile entry for fans.
23 GTA 4: Lost And The Damned & Ballad Of Gay Tony
Expansions With More Gripping Stories Than The Main Game
: PC, PS3, and Xbox 360
On its own, Grand Theft Auto 4 is a fantastic crime game with an interesting protagonist and a gritty storyline. However, criticisms were aimed at the pacing and repetition of events and side missions, most notably Niko’s cousin and his phone calls. The fourth entry in GTA came full circle with the Episodes From Liberty City expansions, The Lost and the Damned, and Ballad of Gay Tony.
The Lost and the Damned put players in the shoes of a high-ranking biker gang member called The Damned named Johnny in one of GTA’s darker stories. There is a greater emphasis on gang warfare, territories, and character development. The Gang Wars side missions show Johnny and his gang taking control of the city piece by piece. The Ballad of Gay Tony is a lighter and more colorful take on the drab yellow and brown visuals of GTA 4, making it somewhat reminiscent of GTA Vice City.
In Ballad, the protagonist is Luis, a bodyguard to a nightclub owner and ex-gangster. The player can take on side missions called Drug Wars, similar to Lost and the Damned’s Gang Wars content. The best side content is the Club Management missions, which see Luis as the head bouncer for the Prince Nightclubs. The Episodes From Liberty City are shorter, but the pacing and character development are better executed than in the main game. Moreover, they add value to Niko’s story as all three narratives are intertwined and cleverly told.
22 Red Dead Redemption
Deal With Outlaws And Villains In This Epic Western
Red Dead Redemption
- May 18, 2010
- Rockstar San Diego
Launched in 2010, Red Dead Redemption is a spiritual follow-up to the cowboy shooter Red Dead Revolver. Taking the series into a vast open world in the Wild West, Red Dead Revolver takes inspiration from some of the most iconic Westerns with a protagonist with more than a passing resemblance to Clint Eastwood, much like its predecessor.
As the protagonist, John Marston, players participate in shootouts, duels, and more as he must take down his old gang. Marston can either be an honorable gunslinger or an outlaw who causes citizens to run away in terror. Mafia fans will appreciate the character-driven story and a protagonist with realistic motives as a man forced back into the life of a gunslinger.
21 Cartel Tycoon
A Real Time Strategy Crime Sim
: Moon Moose
Cartel Tycoon is a real-time strategy game and a business sim set during the 80s and 90s narcos trade. Players who prefer to take control of the business aspect of running an empire of crime should give this crime sim a chance.
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Where the Mafia games take inspiration from gangster movies like The Godfather, Cartel Tycoon is the perfect game for fans of the true-crime Narcos series on Netflix. The game has a sandbox mode that is procedurally generated for replay value and a story mode to unlock lieutenants and more.
20 American Fugitive
A Crime Sim Inspired By The Classic GTA Games On The PS1
: PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One
: Fallen Tree Games
Many gamers in the 90s were introduced to the crime genre with the original top-down Grand Theft Auto games. Even though the GTA series experimented with their critically acclaimed Chinatown Wars game for handhelds, the classic style has been forgotten in favor of the 3D open-world spectacles from GTA 3 onward.
Fallen Tree Games has created a love letter to the classics with American Fugitive. Players take on the role of a fugitive from the law after getting framed for his father’s murder. To survive, the protagonist must infiltrate and work with the criminal underground to find the actual killer and prove his innocence. Of course, it wouldn’t be a GTA clone if there was no carnage and crime of all descriptions to partake.
19 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Miami-Set Crime Drama With An All-Star Cast
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- October 29, 2002
First released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is still one of the most popular titles in the GTA series and one of the best mafia video games. The 1980s setting, the fully voiced characters, and the music made for one of the most iconic open-world games ever.
In terms of story and atmosphere, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is about as mobster as it gets for fans of the Mafia series. Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta stars as the protagonist, Tommy Vercetti, and is backed up by an outstanding supporting cast. Vice City also takes inspiration from films and TV shows like The Godfather, Scarface, and Miami Vice.
18 The Warriors
A Street-Level Crime Game Based On The Movie
- October 17, 2005
- Rockstar Toronto , Rockstar Leeds
- Action-Adventure , Beat ‘Em Up
First released in 2005, The Warriors video game is an action beat-em-up with more in common with coin-op fighters like Streets of Rage than it does the Mafia series. However, for a different take on gang warfare, The Warriors is an excellent alternative with a great story.
The story works as an expansion of the movie and follows the same script. However, it allows the characters of the 1979 movie more time to develop as the film is renowned for its relentless pace as a chase movie. The voice cast is excellent, with most of the original cast reprising their roles from the movie to make it feel as authentic as possible.
17 The Getaway
A British Crime Game Inspired By The Guy Ritchie Movies
- January 19, 2003
- Team Soho
Released on the PlayStation 2 in 2002, The Getaway was a Grand Theft Auto clone inspired by British gangster movies like Get Carter, Lock, Stock, Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch.
Unlike the Grand Theft Auto series, The Getaway is set in modern-day London. As a result, the setting is a nice change of pace from the sometimes overused modern-day New York and Los Angeles settings. Furthermore, players will also have to deal with rival gangs like the Yardies, the Bethan Green Mob, the 14K Triads, and others.
16 Max Payne 3
A Character-Driven Action Game Dealing With Violent Gangs And Cartels
Max Payne 3
- May 15, 2012
- Rockstar Studios
- Third-Person Shooter
Released in 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PC, Max Payne 3 is a third-person action shooter that once again puts players in the shoes of the iconic and titular Max Payne. Unlike the Mafia series, Max Payne is a linear shooter focusing on character development and keeping the story and its momentum moving.
However, it is very story-driven, and many fans have argued that the Mafia games should lose the open-world setting and employ a more direct and focused approach to the story. Visually, the game still holds up, and surprisingly, there is no remake, remaster, or 60FPS boost on the Xbox Series X/S.
15 Blood & Truth
A Cinematic British Crime Game In VR
: London Studio
Released in 2019, Blood & Truth is a first-person shooter created exclusively for PlayStation VR. It is an on-rails cinematic shooter. Stylistically, it is a different experience compared to the Mafia games.
However, the story is about London mobsters in the vein of a Guy Ritchie movie or the television series Gangs of London, which would appeal to fans of the story-driven games with narratives that have similar twists and betrayals seen in the Mafia series. The Cockney stereotypes and dialogue get a bit tiring, but the action in Blood & Truth is the closest players will get to star in their own action/gangster movie.
14 Sleeping Dogs
A Hong Kong Crime Drama With John Woo-Style Action
- August 14, 2012
- United Front Games
First released in 2012, Sleeping Dogs was eventually released as Sleeping Dogs: The Definitive Edition on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2014, with improvements to its graphics, framerates, and lighting. The game still stands as one of the best mafia video games available, and it is a Hong Kong movie-inspired thriller that martial arts fans love.
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The game puts players in the shoes of an undercover Chinese-American cop, Wei Shen. He has infiltrated the Triads in Hong Kong. Unfortunately for Shen, many of his childhood friends are in the Triads, and he struggles to separate his job from his emotions.
13 Omerta: City Of Gangsters
A Prohibition Era Strategy Game With Gameplay
: PC and Xbox 360
: Haemimont Games
Released in 2013, Omerta: City of Gangsters is a tactical strategy game set in Atlantic City during the 1920s Prohibition era. Players have to step into the shoes of a low-level mobster, climbing the ranks to become the most powerful crime boss in the city while controlling speakeasies and fighting off rival mobsters.
The gameplay in Omerta is split between its XCOM-like turn-based combat and running businesses throughout the city. It may not have a quality narrative like a Mafia title, but Omerta will allow players to become a Made Man in control of their empire.
12 The Hitman Series
Take Down All Variations Of Mobsters Across The World
Hitman World of Assassination
- January 26, 2023
The Hitman series first launched in 2000 and put players in the shoes of the titular Hitman, also known as Agent 47. While the series is more of a sadistic James Bond/Mission Impossible stealth game than a mob game, Agent 47 will still be up against the Sicilian mob, the Yakuza, Triads, and Eastern European gangsters more than once throughout the series.
Additionally, fans of the Mafia series who enjoyed the open-world nature of the series will find some of the best self-contained sandbox missions with their own stories and a level of immersion that is yet to be matched.
11 Grand Theft Auto 5
A Benchmark Open-World Crime Drama
Grand Theft Auto 5
- September 17, 2013
- Rockstar North
The Grand Theft Auto series has always been at the top of the heap when setting a benchmark for the open-world genre. Grand Theft Auto 5 was groundbreaking in 2013 and still has one of the best single-player campaigns in the series, with an immersive and dynamic open world.
GTA 5 is a modern story that puts players in the shoes of Michael, the retired mobster, the wildman Trevor, and the street-smart Franklin. The world of Los Santos is vaster than anything in the Mafia series and is complemented by tons of side missions to participate in. Moreover, the contrast of personalities helps develop the leads as excellent characters.
10 Red Dead Redemption 2
Play As An Outlaw In The Ultimate Western Sim
Red Dead Redemption 2
- October 26, 2018
Released in 2018 and created by Rockstar, the same studio behind the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an open-world action-adventure game set in the American Wild West. Despite its very different setting to the Mafia series, Red Dead Redemption 2 players will be operating on the wrong side of the law.
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In addition, gamers who love diving into a gaming world set in a different time as an outlaw will love RDR2. It was one of the most beautifully crafted and dynamic gaming worlds ever created and is loaded with content.
9 Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Run Streets Of Victorian London
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
- October 23, 2015
Released in 2015, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is an action-adventure game set in London during the Victorian era and at the tail end of the Industrial Revolution.
While the game maintains all the staples of what makes the Assassin’s Creed series popular with its fans, there is a considerable emphasis on gang warfare and taking over territories from Templar-controlled gangs. In addition to fighting rival gangs in the streets, players will also work toward sabotaging their businesses and weakening their grip on London.
8 Yakuza: Like A Dragon
A New Story In The Yakuza Universe
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
- November 10, 2020
Released in 2020, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the eighth mainline entry in the long-running Japanese crime saga. Like a Dragon begins a new story arc with a new protagonist, so new players can comfortably jump in without having prior knowledge of its predecessors.
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The game also employs a turn-based combat system reminiscent of old JRPG classics from the 80s and 90s. The latest entry of the series shows the studio’s capability of delivering an emotionally charged storyline balanced out with humorous and heartfelt side quests.