15 Best Detective Games for Xbox Series X / S

Image credit: ZA/UM / Microsoft Store

Mystery games were some of the very first games to come out. This was mainly due to their point-and-click nature, as the weak hardware that was available when video games were becoming mainstream could easily play such games.

Now, mystery games encompass a wide variety of subgenres. One of the most popular subgenres is where you get to play as a detective and solve a case. There have been a lot of detective games over the years, and Series X has received its fair share since it was launched.

Having gone through all the major titles available on the console, we have handpicked the 15 best detective games for Xbox Series X / S. Whether you want to play as a detective working for the police or an anti-hero hell-bent on personal revenge, this list should help you get your fix.

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium truly is a masterpiece. It is difficult to imagine what was going on in the minds of the developers when they created the game. The story feels fairly simple at first: You are a policeman who is tasked with solving a crime. However, you also suffer from numerous other issues that will come into play as you move toward the end of the story.

The best thing about Disco Elysium is that it is completely up to you what you decide to do. With innumerable characters that are both intelligent and entertaining, you can play the story at your own pace. In between finding the person behind the crime, you can do everything from writing poetry to simply making conversation with an endless number of people.

All of these reasons led to Disco Elysium also being a part of our list of the best indie games for Xbox. With a lot of character customization, it is possible for your protagonist to be completely different in subsequent playthroughs. As such, you probably have an almost endless stream of content to experience in this game.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

You know that we would have a Sherlock Holmes game on our list of the best Xbox detective games. In fact, there are two Sherlock Holmes games on our list, with the second one coming towards the end of the list.

Crimes and Punishments is a collection of six cases that you get to solve as Sherlock Holmes. All six of these cases are completely unique and will have you thinking in completely different ways. While Disco Elysium provides more content overall, Crimes and Punishments has that classic detective game feel.

The six cases take a significant time to complete. However, there isn’t a lot to do once you are done with them. We also mentioned this problem when this game made our list of the most underrated games for Xbox Series X and S.

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us is a game by Telltale. If you have ever played a game by the studio prior to this, you will have a fairly good idea of how the game will play. Simply put, the game is an episodic adventure that almost feels like a graphic novel. It is based on the Fables comic book series, although it interprets the characters in a slightly different and darker way than the comic books do.

While your official title is not a detective in the game, the entire five-part series revolves around you trying to solve a mystery. As such, the game plays like you would expect the average detective game to.

If you have read the comic books, then you will be very interested in the adventures of all the characters. Even if you haven’t, the gameplay is standard Telltale (you either like it or you don’t), and the story is intriguing enough. As such, chances are that fans of mysteries will like The Wolf Among Us.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing series is a great example of how to mix a detective game with themes usually found in action games. When it comes to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you will find that there are a lot of occult themes in the game, and they end up playing a huge part in you solving the mystery.

You play the role of Paul Prospero. After receiving a letter from Ethan Carter, you travel to his house. Only when you get there do you realize that he has been murdered. Thus begins your journey to find out who was behind the brutal killing.

There are numerous stories that have ended up inspiring the story behind this game, and you see all of them as you play. With just enough elements of horror to make some moments a bit jittery, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a very unique detective game that fans of the genre are sure to like.

Demon Hunter: Ascendance

Speaking of games that borrow heavily from lore and strange events, Demon Hunter: Ascendance is the perfect game for people that want to play a detective game that also has strong elements of action and adventure.

In the game, you play the role of a freelance demon hunter. This means that it is not only your job to track down the demon, but also to take care of it once you know where it is. In Ascendance, you have to investigate the disappearance of a museum visitor.

This will take you on a complex tale where you almost always get the feeling that you are being watched by someone or something. Just like the previous game on the list, Ascendance also has a few elements of horror mixed into the game, making it a fascinating blend of multiple genres.

Lacuna

Lacuna is the next game on our list of the best Xbox detective games. The developers describe the game as a sci-fi noir adventure, and that is as accurate a description as there can be. When it comes to games about solving mysteries, Lacuna basically throws all of the predetermined rules out of the window.

You play the role of a CDI agent by the name of Neil Conrad. Investigating murders and other crimes is par for the course in your job. However, you are about to begin working on a case that will change your life as you know it.

Don’t let the graphics fool you, Lacuna is a game that has had a lot of work done on it. This shows in the fact that there are a lot of endings, and you can play the game multiple times to experience them all. However, you will not be able to go back once you have made a decision and will have to live with the consequences.

L. A. Noire

Let’s be honest, everybody knew L.A. Noire was going to be on our list. We knew, you knew, and so did your neighbor who doesn’t even own an Xbox. L.A. Noire wasn’t particularly revolutionary in terms of the concepts it introduced. However, it managed to combine airtight gameplay with an amazing story to create one of the most memorable detective games of all time.

Although the game has been out since 2017, it was enhanced for the Xbox Series X. Despite that, we would be lying if we didn’t say that the game looks outdated in terms of the visuals.

As for the game itself, you play the role of Cole Phelps, a detective in the LAPD who has to investigate a series of crimes, all of which are related to the LA underworld. What you end up finding may have huge ramifications for the city, and your life.

What Remains of Edith Finch

While you don’t play a detective in What Remains of Edith Finch, there is a fascinating mystery that you have to solve. You are Edith, and you will wander your house looking for clues as to why you are the last person in your family still alive.

What makes the game really fun is that you also get to experience the last day of each family member from their perspective. Over time, you have to piece together a cohesive narrative about your family.

The story of each family member is so different from the last that the game never becomes boring. Towards the end, will your world finally begin to make sense?

The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark

The Darkside Detective series are not that well-known in the genre, but they are great games that everyone should try. This game is actually a sequel to the original Darkside Detective and continues the story while adding new gameplay mechanics.

The game manages to combine humor with a serious narrative. Using point-and-click mechanics, A Fumble in the Dark will lead you on a journey that will have you stifling a laugh from the beginning to the end. While the art style and the graphics are quite uninspired, we believe the gameplay still makes the title worth playing.

Return of the Obra Dinn

As we continue our list of the best detective games for Xbox Series X / S, the next game is Return of the Obra Dinn. It seems that games of this nature are always the ones that seem to experiment with weird art styles. This game is set in 1802 and tries to look like a movie made in that year (if movies existed at that time).

In the game, you play the role of an insurance investigator for the East India Company. After a ship that was declared lost at sea shows up without a crew, it is up to you to figure out what exactly happened.

You will need to explore the ship and figure out what’s going on. The only problem is that the game is too short. And the nature of the game is such that multiple playthroughs are not worth it.

Blacksad: Under the Skin

We are going from the early 1800s to the 1950s with Blacksad: Under the Skin. The game is based around the world of boxing, with you being a detective who has to figure out what’s going on when a fighter disappears.

There is a lot of complexity to the story, with multiple characters being the focal point of the story at different times. The characters are anthropomorphic, meaning that your character is basically a cat. This adds another layer of detail to the game, as you can use your feline senses to help you in your investigations.

Of course, since all the characters are anthropomorphic, other characters can use their special senses too. This means that you will need to be extra careful as you maneuver the corrupt world of boxing in the 1950s.

Lastly, the game is almost completely open-ended. It is up to you in which order you decide to tackle the investigation, and there are multiple pathways to ending the game.

Beat Cop

Beat Cop is one of our favorite games from our list of the best detective games for Xbox. It is insane how the game manages to combine a story that almost everyone will find relatable in some way with intriguing detective gameplay.

Not only are you a beat cop, but you are a cop who is beaten about by the world. Your name is Jack Kelly, and you are a former detective who has been demoted down to a cop. Your job now involves writing tickets and doing standard cop stuff. Oh, and you are being framed for murder, and it is entirely up to you to absolve yourself.

Your friends have left you, your wife does not care about you, and there is a price on your head. As you work alone to try and find who the real culprit behind the murder is, you will also need to keep an eye out for anyone who does not want the truth to be known.

Just like many other games on this list, Beat Cop has a unique art style that is based on life in New York City. That, combined with a story that is long enough for the game to be worth its price, make Beat Cop a great detective adventure.

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One

Chapter One is the second Sherlock Holmes game to make this list. In this game, you get to play the role of Sherlock Holmes long before he became famous and 221B Baker Street became a symbol for truth.

You have yet to prove yourself. As you go to the place where you lost your mother, you soon find yourself at a place where nothing is as it seems, and it is up to you to find out what is going on in the city.

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is an open-world game and plays a bit like L.A Noire rather than other games in the Sherlock Holmes series. if you are a fan of the detective, then you will find this to be a completely unique Sherlock Holmes experience. While John Watson is not present in the game, you do have Jon, a sidekick almost equally as worthy.

Although detached from the lore of the books, Chapter One still provides an alternative reality for the fans of Sherlock Holmes that is bound to be an entertaining experience.

The Darkside Detective

We have already discussed the sequel of the game, known as Fumble in the Dark. Overall, Fumble in the Dark is a much better game than the original. It has a lot of new mechanics that make the overall experience of the game much better.

That said, the original game is also not bad. In fact, if the series seems like something that you may want to try, we would recommend that you play the original game first. The Darkside Detective is tasked with investigating demons and the occults. However, he soon discovers that the depth of the problem is much greater than it initially seemed. There isn’t just a single occult to deal with, but rather multiple.

Thankfully, the humorous tinge present in the sequel is also present in The Darkside Detective. You should expect a few laughs as you slowly move towards the end of the game.

AI: The Somnium Files

AI: The Somnium Files is the last game on our list of the best detective games for Xbox Series X / S. If you are looking for a detective game that is inspired by the Japanese culture, you will like The Somnium Files.

The story revolves around a woman who has been stabbed to death and a little girl that was found at the scene of the crime. You are the detective who is tasked with solving the crime. The twist is that you knew the woman, and this leads to complications in the case. With numerous mini-games that can have different outcomes, the game allows for multiple endings.

Overall, the developers claim that there are over 30 hours of gameplay in The Somnium Files. Of course, you can also go through the story multiple times to play all of the endings. With sci-fi elements, The Somnium Files is not purely a detective game but has enough elements of mystery and intrigue to keep you hooked.

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