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TOP 20 best noir games: L.A. Noire, Disco Elysium, Heavy Rain and others

TOP 20 best noir games: L.A. Noire, Disco Elysium, Heavy Rain and others

The noir genre (French film noir, “black film”) still remains a curiosity in the world of video games, with a countless number of projects of varying quality and direction. Broadly interpreting the definition of the genre, we have collected 20 games exploring human nature in a depressive world, with an atmosphere of complete hopelessness, pessimism, or unpleasant mystery. Are you ready to dive into a world of dark aesthetics and stories full of drama and inevitable tragedy? Then quickly scroll through the article!

L.A. Noire

You should start getting acquainted with the noir genre with L.A. Noire is a legend considered the standard for the embodiment of “black cinema” in the world of video games. In the role of detective Cole Phelps, the player will visit Los Angeles in the 40s, every corner of which is saturated with dirty secrets. In search of the hard truth, Phelps finds himself in a complex network of police, mafia, drug trafficking, and bureaucratic corruption, which forms a fascinating criminal intrigue. And the efforts of designers and artists created a wonderful noir atmosphere.

A Case of Distrust

Noir for the really lazy and those who speak English perfectly. This is roughly how one can describe A Case of Distrust - an excellent indie for connoisseurs of classic pre-war noir. The game provides not only a fascinating investigation but also a test of the mind, where simple “understanding” is not enough - after all, all conclusions will have to be proven.

The Wolf Among Us

The visual novel The Wolf Among Us tells the story of the main character Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of the secret society Fabletown. It is home to fantastic characters from fairy tales and folklore, and has been rocked by a series of mysterious murders. Although the investigations here are not very complex, this is compensated by the unusual setting, harsh aesthetics, and an exciting narrative with unexpected plot twists. Every decision carries weight, and the character hides his own unique story.

This Is the Police

Neo-noir about a police chiefThis Is the Police asks you to manage a police department, making difficult decisions within the framework of moral dilemmas and corruption at all levels authorities. Interaction with various characters, including crime bosses and powerful politicians, adds elements of a dark setting to the gameplay. A thoroughly rotten world actively highlights the features of noir in this text detective story.

Empire of Sin

A strategy game set in the underworld of 1920s Chicago. The player leads a small gang with an eye on becoming the boss of a mafia empire, building his own criminal kingdom in the era of Prohibition and the active work of the FBI. The atmosphere is created through stylized characters, architectural elements, and period music. Corruption, intrigue, and the danger of being shot are your constant companions. Why not a noir, even if it's about the bad guys?

Heavy Rain

Interactive thriller Heavy Rain offers four heroes with a difficult fate, united by the investigation of the case of Master Origami - a cold-blooded serial killer who leaves mysterious figures at crime scenes -origami. Quantic Dream studio has masterfully created an atmosphere that can drag even the most persistent player into the depths of depression. By making decisions at each stage of the passage, the player has a significant influence on the outcome of events, which makes the production of Heavy Rain unique and makes you worry about each character until the very end.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The plotThe Vanishing of Ethan Carter is captivating from the first minutes - in the role of elderly detective Paul Prosero, the player arrives in the mysterious village of Red Creek to investigate the disappearance of a boy named Ethan Carter. Even from the very beginning, it becomes clear that this place is not what it seems. The main character has psychic abilities that allow him to reconstruct the picture of the crime based on the evidence found. The gloomy atmosphere and elements of horror encountered along the way give the game a noir feel, and a number of plot twists make its ending unpredictable. And this with excellent graphics!

Night Call (2019)

A thrilling noir detective story, whose action develops in the narrow and dark streets of Paris. In the role of a taxi driver who becomes an accidental witness to a crime, the player will have to uncover secrets and explore the dark corners of the city, as well as solve mystical mysteries. In dialogues with passengers you can find important clues, but the maniac will also become more careful. The streets and environmental elements are made in black and white style, enhancing the noir atmosphere of Night Call.

Blacksad: Under the Skin

Games based on comics also come in the noir genre! We're talking about Blacksad: Under the Skin - an adventure game in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The noir style pervades the local atmosphere, every corner or character is shrouded in a haze of mystery and mystery. Moving through dark areas, the player is faced with the harsh realities of the criminal world, where only the glare of street lamps sheds light on corruption, intrigue, and dirty secrets.

Max Payne

The Max Payne duology that Remedy released was very dark. Former police officer Max Payne faces corrupt colleagues who have grown up with the New York mafia. The gaming experience at that time amazed not only with its dynamic battles using Bullet Time (time dilation), but also with unexpected plot twists, uncharacteristic for a shooter, as well as emissions of Max’s unstable psyche, absorbed in his revenge.

Deadly Premonition

A unique game that later became a cult one. There are pieces of L.A. Noire and early Max Payne, a combination of noir, thriller, and a kind of horror. The player in the role of an FBI agent travels to the quiet town of Greenvale to solve a series of mysterious murders. Deadly Premonition's unusual narrative is made up of strange events, shocking plot twists, and unexpected revelations. Dark streets and mysterious characters create a frightening devilry. But the main character slightly dispels it through frequent conversations with his imaginary friend.

Murdered: Soul Suspect

Let's add another pinch of paranormality to our top. InMurdered: Soul Suspect the main character O'Connor is faced with his own murder, but categorically refuses to accept death. Reincarnated as a ghostly detective, he is forced to blend into the shadows, avoid mystical spirits, and investigate sinister mysteries. In addition to this interweaving of noir elements, the “black film” manifests itself in every corner of Salem and its atmosphere of quiet horror.

Disco Elysium

The basis for the text RPG Disco Elysium was a world saturated with life's difficulties and poverty, which allows us to classify it as a real noir work. The main character, Detective Harry DuBois, arrives in the town of Martinez on a murder case, suddenly faces a life crisis, and plunges into a deep binge. By the time he wins over the glass, Dubois completely forgets everything he did and is forced to start over - to investigate the crime, restore his memories, and, of course, figure out the devilry going on around him. Spoiler: everything is so realistic that Disco Elysium can drive a real player to the bottom of the bottle.


The reality of the mystical thriller Pentiment is formed from artistic illustrations, in which every character, every detail, is inscribed, like strokes of a brush. Solving the mysteries of the inhabitants of the Bavarian Alps, whose existence seems to be filled with hopelessness, the player leaves drops of ink on the canvas, forming a noir guidebook projection of this dark story for centuries to come.

Danganronpa series

Let's say right away that the Danganronpa series of visual novels is a Japanese take on the genre and how it can be played. With a touch of detective and thriller. To their misfortune, a group of high school students find themselves in prison, the way out of which is to kill one of their classmates and go through a kind of trial. Each game in the series contains many different mini-games and dialogues that will affect the outcome of the game, as well as the characters dating each other to reveal their personal traits. The latest game in the series - DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - has a Steam rating of 97%, although it does not support the Russian language.

Grim Fandango

Manny Calavera, a travel agent, is trying to solve a murder mystery. Grim Fandango Remastered has a dark atmosphere and narrative that is reminiscent of film noir but also contains elements of Mexican culture and folklore. Here she breaks the mold, cleverly adding cool humor, making the adventure funny rather than serious. The constant stream of laughter from the main character distinguishes the project from the canonical embodiment of the genre.

Deus Ex

If you don’t focus on the futuristic future, then Deus Ex also falls well into the noir genre. Let's say that almost its entire global plot actively exploits the theme of a conspiracy of those in power that are intertwined into a single tangle of nepotism and permissiveness. There are no clearly defined heroes or villains, which leaves the player with difficult moral choices. Following the visual incarnation of noir, Deus Ex contains numerous cityscapes, with dark alleys occasionally punctuated by neon signs.

The Saboteur

Despite its WWII setting and third-person shooter slant, The Saboteur deftly weaves in elements of noir style. The action takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris, where the player becomes part of a partisan movement, fighting against the invaders. The Nazi-occupied areas of Paris are painted in black and white, giving the game a true noir feel, as if it came straight out of an old movie. Liberated areas, on the other hand, take on all sorts of colors, allowing you to enjoy the aesthetics of the 40s.


BioShock meets the gloomy, destroyed city of Rapture and a society of decadence, in which not so long ago power and permissiveness were closely intertwined, and now everything around is engulfed in madness. The atmosphere of the era is created by many elements emphasizing the inner world of the characters who are captive of their own dark passions. Moral dilemmas and ambiguous characters, especially antagonist Andrew Ryan, add to the gameplay a touch of noir.

DEX (2015)

A side-scroller that easily fits into the neo-noir style due to its rich world and plot, and the game's dark atmosphere and narrative are reminiscent of noir. Starring a young woman who joins the ranks of the resistance fighting against Complex, a secret organization that controls the world. Each mission leads to one of several possible endings.

Lacuna - A Sci-Fi Noir Adventure

A fascinating journey into the world of science fiction, cyberpunk, and noir, where, in the role of detective Neil Conrad, the player faces complex moral choices that determine the development of the plot and the ending. Not a step back - every decision has consequences, and it is impossible to roll them back. You must carefully examine crime scenes, carefully ask questions, collect evidence, and build theories to uncover the disgusting truth.


In our top 20 games of the genre, we took a variety of projects - from detective quests and horror to adventure sagas and third-person shooters. What they have in common is that they open the gates to the player into an abyss of intrigue and emotional tension. Or not? We are waiting for your opinion in the comments!