Italy is famous for three things: pizza, Marcus Aurelius… and organized crime families. Okay, I kid! Seriously, the country’s also famous for plenty more (football included). However, it’s hard to deny the storied Italian Mob has been the inspiration for more movies, TV shows, and video games than there are bullets in a Tommy gun clip. In light of that, it’s easy to see why many best gangster games like Mafia 3 have cropped up over the years. Shooting insubordinates in a pinstripe suit and matching fedora never gets old.
To celebrate the new installment, we thought it’d be cool to round up a list of 10 gangster themed games like Mafia 3. So, here’s how we picked them.
Selection Criteria for our List
- These gangster classics are not limited to open world games like Mafia 3. Rather, we’re really just looking for titles that let you participate in organized crime and other nefarious activities. So, no genre-restrictions here.
- Forget cookie-cutter heroes. Instead, the character you control should be an anti-hero gangster in his / her own right (i.e. actually be part of a gang). He or she might be good at heart. However, he / she should not hesitate to kill scores of henchmen without batting an eyelid.
- Not all these best gangster games like Mafia are universally loved by critics. Still, in true anti-establishment fashion, each of them maintains a loyal following of gangsta’-lovin’ fans.
- Selections are in no particular order.
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1. The Godfather series
If you’ve not seen the Godfather movies by now, it’s high time you crawl out from under that lame rock of yours. Now, binge watch the classic film trilogy in one sitting. Then, proceed to play the officially licensed games which follow the infamous Corleone family with a story told through similar characters and settings (save for the main man you control). Boom! Instant gangster classics.
Unlike most movie-to-game franchises, this series actually garnered high praise for staying true to the tone and style established in the films. You also get a moderately robust open world to explore with plenty of shady characters to pump full of lead. In addition, the total gameplay length for both games is fairly long, making for good value for money. Like the films, the Godfather games are quite old but still good to play – even if some critics profess them to be too easy.
Overall, the Godfather series stands strong amongst other best gangster games like Mafia 3. Just don’t forget to put on your Al Pacino impressions, OKAY?
2. Saints Row series
As a whole, the Saints Row series is a shoo-in franchise when it comes to offering the best gangster games like Mafia. It tells the story of the 3rd Street Saints, a downtrodden street gang fighting for territory and respect in the fictional city of Stillwater (not the band from Almost Famous). They eventually try to take on the world as well. These games are similar to Mafia in that they follow the socio-political microcosms that erupt as a result of organized street crime. Now, couple that with open-world sandboxes where you’re free to run amok and you’ll be living up your gangster dreams in no time… from the safety of your couch!
Admittedly, recent installments have gone wayyyyyyyy off the bombastic deep end (giant dildo weapons? Really?!). But do yourself a favour and check out the first two releases – especially Saints Row 2. For sure, those earlier games do a far better job at conveying visceral, in-your-face gang warfare. Don’t worry though. Everything’s still served with the right amount of toilet humour and over-the-top action, in true Saints Row fashion!
3. Grand Theft Auto series
Duh! If you’re looking for best gangster games like Mafia 3, look no further than the entire GTA series. But let’s be clear. I feel silly saying the GTA series is like Mafia, because in every sense of the argument it’s most certainly the other way around. The Mafia games owe a lot to Grand Theft Auto 3 onwards when it comes to setting the bar for open-world, criminal infested environments.
As everyone knows, all GTA games deal with gangsters to some degree or another. However, the one most similar to Mafia in terms of storyline and purpose is GTA: San Andreas. It centers around the Grove Street Families and their claiming of gang territory in Southern California. Not too different from the kinda stuff you’ll do in most gangster games like Mafia. In fairness, the game did receive a bit of flak for its various control issues and poor character models. Still, there’s plenty to love here when it comes to fun gang-themed gaming activities: flashy car mods, committing home invasions, bouncing in low-riders, etc. Just another day in the life of your average street criminal!
Also check out our list of 8 Open-World Games Like GTA for some genre-specific recommendations, not necessarily gangster-themed.
Gangland is a unique hybrid of real-time strategy, role-playing elements, and simulation. When the Don of the Borgata crime syndicate dies, it’s up to his four underprepared sons to take over the family business of racketeering, murder, and generally seedy (but highly lucrative) business activity. You can imagine where the story goes from here. It’s an Italian mob yarn through and through, and one that echos the family dynamics established in games like Mafia.
In all honesty, Gangland wasn’t as well received as most other best gangster games like Mafia 3 on this list. Weird controls, save point issues, and wonky camera angles plague the overall gameplay experience. Nonetheless, Gangland’s gangster themed story is actually not half bad and will likely please many willing to give this little-known game a try.
5. Scarface: The World Is Yours
Warning: Spoilers ahead for those who’ve never seen the Scarface movie.
So, ever wondered what Tony Montana’s life would’ve been like if he wasn’t peppered with bullets right after stuffing his face in a mountain of cocaine? Well, you’re in luck! Scarface: The World is Yours picks up as a pseudo-sequel as if Al Pacino’s legendary character never died. It follows him through a revenge story that features much of the same shenanigans Tony and his crew undertook in the movie. Fun fact: Pacino didn’t want to voice the game, as he felt his voice had changed too much over the years. But that didn’t stop developers from using his likeness anyway, to which he approved!
At its heart, The World is Yours is about a gangster fighting for his life among rival gangs and crime families. Also, it features the same open-world action adventure gameplay that the best gangster games like Mafia 3 are now famous for. Now, the question is… are you ready to say hello to Tony’s little friend?!
More best gangster games like Mafia 3 await! List continues on Page 2 –>
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