The long arm of the law is one of the most well-worn tropes in video games. Gamers relish the chance to both be a career criminal, making ill-gotten gains and tons of loot in games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Saints Row 4. They’re also pretty fond of playing as the other side of the coin, joining the police force and putting criminals (like those in GTA 5 and SR4) behind bars. So, here are the five best police-themed video games.

L.A. Noire

A neo-noir crime game that’s set in the 1940s, L.A. Noire puts you in the loafers of police officer Cole Phelps as he works his way through the ranks of the police force. You solve clues by interrogating suspects and analyzing their facial expressions, and hunting for clues using your intuition and your actual detective skills to catch the bad guy. The game pioneered facial animation technology and world-building tech and was a critical hit, so it’s no wonder why fans are desperate for developer Rockstar Games to make L.A. Noire 2.

Cops ‘N Robbers

While most police themed video games are grim, online slots like Cops ‘N Robbers offer a more light-hearted affair. This online game takes a cartoony approach to things, with the cop waving a humorously large truncheon and the robber taking off with a big bag of cash. The game is full of the features that you’d expect, with handcuffs, iron bars, and police cars all present and accounted for. There are even Hot Pursuit and Car Chase Bonus features for added capers.

Battlefield Hardline

The Battlefield franchise is typically focused on the military, but EA took a gamble by making Battlefield Hardline focused on the police force and it paid off. Hardline’s sales performance was incredibly strong as players loved its action-packed, war on crime story that includes power, corruption, and undercover investigations. The game’s multiplayer also embraced the police theme, including Heist, where players break into a vault and try to escape from (player-controlled) police on the way to the extraction point.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is another one of the police-themed video games to focus on undercover policing, following Wei Shen, a Hong Kong-American police detective who is tasked with infiltrating the Sun On Yee Triad gang. What ensues is a blockbuster tale as Wei Shen explores Hong Kong committing crimes, beating up thuggish gang members of rival groups and getting involved in bombastic shootouts. Like with many other brilliant police-themed video games, a film adaptation is currently in the works.

This Is The Police

Adventure strategy game This Is The Police was released in 2016 by Weappy Studio and focuses on police corruption. On the orders of the corrupt mayor, protagonist Jack Boyd has to retire. In the lead-up, the character has to make half a million dollars, by working with the mafia, hiring and firing officers, taking bribes and more.

The police force is an oddly captivating institution with interesting themes of honor, peace, and justice. It makes for fantastic video game making so expect the list of police-themed video games to grow in future.

Which police-themed video games have you played and loved? Drop us a comment below and let us know.