This list is pretty much what one would expect from the title. However, to make it more diverse we stretched the idea a bit by including detectives and agents as well. They are still police officers, but with more authority. We also made sure to not include any characters that existed first outside of video games.
This means that Batman and Bigby from The Wolf Among Us, which is based on the Fables comic, are not on here. Professor Layton is a detective of sorts, but more of a teacher so we also didn't include him. We had to at least give them honorable mentions, but with that out of the way let us see who is the best cop in video game land.
10 Nick Mendoza (Battlefield Hardline)
Nick Mendoza is kind of a forgettable face. He looks like a lot of other main characters in video games and has an equally forgettable name. That said we included him on the list for being the star of the underrated gem, Battlefield: Hardline.
The story is over the top and silly on the scale of Bad Boys so it is not going to win any dramatic awards. That said Mendoza knows how to get the job done even if he leans on the dirty side of things. Plus stealth handcuffing bad guys is pure fun.
9 Cole Phelps (L.A. Noire)
Cole Phelps is like the complete opposite of Mendoza. He’s a good cop that got back from the war and wanted to keep up with saving people. From a cop on the beat to a detective, Phelps has a harrowing journey.
He’s not exactly the brightest detective as he somehow fumbles his way through scenes, but his good heart and determination are why he is on this list. Plus L.A. Noire is a great, unique experience that everyone should try.
8 Ryotaro Dojima (Persona 4)
Ryotaro Dojima is the main character’s uncle in Persona 4. He’s another detective who is trying to do right by his family, which leaves Yu and his daughter alone for a good portion of the game.
Even though he isn’t there all of the time emotionally due to work, it’s hard not to love this confused uncle. We won’t give it away now even though the game is over a decade old, but let’s just say what happens to his partner later is a big deal for this character.
7 Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs)
Sleeping Dogs was at first going to be a third entry in the cop centric True Crime series. They are average at best Grand Theft Auto clones. This is all to say not a lot of people, ourselves included, thought this game, even with the rebranding, was going to be any good.
Well, it turned into something incredible beyond our wildest imagination. Seeing Wei Shen have to deal with both sides of the law, making decisions with his heart, were some of the hardest choices we’ve ever had to make in video games. Plus his martial arts skills are amazing.
6 Max Payne
We shouldn’t have to list it, but Max Payne is from the Max Payne trilogy. Duh. Obviousness aside Payne is one hard-boiled detective. His wife and child were murdered in the original wherein we find him on a redemption arc. The second finds him falling in love again only to have that stripped away as well.
Thousands of pills later we get him in an aged state out for one more job in the third entry. He is the poster boy for film noire cops with an attitude and we loved spending every second with him even in the darkest of times.
5 Takayuki Yagami (Judgment)
There is a theme with cop characters in film and video games especially on this list. Takayuki Yagami was a hotshot lawyer who always thought he was doing good. That is until a client confessed to the crimes thus tarnishing his name.
Now he is a detective with as much bite with his tongue as he does with his fists. We didn’t think the Yakuza formula would work as well with a Phoenix Wright like twist, but this is another case where we were wrong.
4 Connor (Detroit: Become Human)
Connor and his human partner, Hank, are the two best parts of this game. We could honestly have done without Kara, or Markus as playable characters and the game probably would have been better off.
The whole narrative is about whether or not androids are alive and if they are then what are their rights? This is why Connor and Hank work so well together as cops because as such they need to rely on each other as partners. Plus his coin trick is pretty boss.
3 Aya Brea (Parasite Eve)
It took awhile to get a woman on here, but that is because Aya deserves to be in the top three. She is one cool cucumber considering an entire theater of people bursts into flames around her and she is dead set on stopping the threat right then and there like it was nothing.
On top of her composure, she also learns to use magic essentially. Just another day on the force in New York City we guess. Square Enix needs to pay her more respect.
2 Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil)
Leon is without question the best hero in the Resident Evil franchise. This is a series full of cops in one form or another. Jill was a close second, but we chose Leon over her.
The story of being threatened with zombies on the first day as a cop and surviving is too good to be true. Plus his return in Resident Evil 4 wherein he fights tentacle monsters and saves the president’s daughter cements his place at number two.
1 Francis York Morgan (Deadly Premonition)
Francis York Morgan is pretty much THE only reason to play Deadly Premonition. The gameplay is frustrating and borderline broken. And yet Morgan’s intensely quirky personality is so unique to video games that this bad game has been played by thousands just to witness his brilliance.
It is The Room to the gaming world. Saying too much would spoil him so just get it already. Isn’t that right, Zack?