Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina
Russell Kidson

Russell Kidson

Matteo Messina Denaro made headlines earlier this year when Italian officials caught him after being on the run for 27 years. Denaro will most likely go down in history as the last great Sicilian mafioso. For anyone unfamiliar with Denaro’s background, he’s known as Diabolik and the white whale of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia. It’s like life from games we know.

The article below won’t focus on Denaro’s arrest or his time on the run. Instead, we’re going to give you a list of games that you should try if you want to experience what the legendary but largely unknown boss of bosses’ life was like. These are the best games to play if you want to live like Matteo Messina Denaro. 

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto is likely one of the most well-known crime-related gaming franchises. This game, Grand Theft Auto IV, kicked the franchise into high-gear by introducing an all-new city based on New York, a diverse mix of characters, and, of course, Niko Bellic. 

When Niko arrives in Liberty City, his intention is to start a new life with the help of his cousin Roman. However, things quickly take a turn for the worse as Niko becomes embroiled in Roman’s deceitful lifestyle and is forced to confront loan sharks and criminal activity. As he becomes more deeply entrenched in the criminal underworld of Liberty City, Niko must navigate through the dangerous landscape in order to find a way out.

Even though GTA IV takes a while to get to that point, you’re guaranteed to experience a taste of what it must feel like to be at the head of one of the most famous crime syndicates. Even if this one is completely fictional. If you have a fondness for fast cars, expensive homes, and gratuitous violence, you’re in for a treat, 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Red Dead Redemption 2

The story contained within RDR 2 is set in America during 1899 and centers around Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang, who are on the run from law enforcement and bounty hunters. To survive, the gang must engage in robbery and other illegal activities as they travel across the country. As internal conflicts arise and threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must decide between loyalty to the group that raised him and his own personal beliefs and principles. 

While this may be quite different to the Sicilian Mafia, you still get a feel for the deeper choices that people in such organizations must make in order to save themselves and those they care about most. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The story of GTA: San Andreas centers around CJ and a tight-knit group of his childhood friends. The game is set in a fictional version of California, where CJ returns to confront the person or group responsible for his mother’s death, which is deeply rooted in the gang troubles of the area. As the player, you will be tasked with completing illegal missions such as robbing banks, all while evading the efforts of corrupt police officers who are determined to capture CJ and his crew. 

There’s no better game to shed light on the importance of knowing who you surround yourself with better than you know yourself. You never know who has a green Sabre hiding in their past. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Yakuza Kiwami

Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the original Yakuza game, which features updated graphics and added side stories for characters such as Akira Nishikiyama and Goro Majima. The player takes on the role of Kazuma Kiryu, a man who has just been released from a 10-year prison sentence. Kiryu must search for a missing 10 million yen, form alliances, and protect a child who is central to the ongoing gang wars. 

The game follows Kiryu’s journey as he navigates the dangerous and unpredictable criminal underworld of Japan. While set in Japan, this is still one of the most compelling gang-related games on the market. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Mafia 2

Mafia 2 follows the story of Vito Scaletta as he becomes entrenched in the criminal underworld. The game is heavily inspired by iconic mafia dramas and offers a realistic portrayal of the lifestyle of the Mafia. It features gameplay similar to Grand Theft Auto, but the setting in the 1940s and the focus on the Mafia give it a more authentic and distinct feel. The game explores the darker side of criminal life and the high cost of the glamor associated therewith. 

Mafia: Definitive Edition

Mafia: Definitive Edition follows the story of Tommy Angelo, a cab driver who gets tangled up with the Italian Mafia. The game features beautiful visuals, an original orchestral score, and an expanded story compared to the original game, making it an immersive and enthralling experience. The visuals are stunning, the soundtrack is captivating, and the storyline is captivating and thought-provoking. The game also boasts a long single-player campaign and many side quests that allow players to immerse themselves in the world of organized crime. The game provides plenty of replay value and is a must-have for fans of action games. All in all, Mafia: Definitive Edition is an excellent remake of the original and perfectly captures the spirit of the original game.

The game is trending on PlayStation Plus as it is part of the February’s free PS Plus games. Whether you are an Essential, Extra, or Premium PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can get the game for no cost.

Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV begins a few years after the events of Saints Row: The Third. The game opens with a mission that leads to the player becoming the President of the United States in an over-the-top and unexpected way, which is consistent with the series’ style. However, shortly after the election, the Earth is attacked by aliens known as the Zin, who change the rules of the game by turning humans into slaves and trapping their minds in a computer-controlled virtual reality. 

While not really similar to the mafia storylines of other games, this game still holds quite a bit of wisdom about the difficulties of being controlled, whether by money, power, influence, or those who possess it. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs highlights the challenges that come with leading a double life. The main character, Wei Shen, must balance his roles as both a law enforcement officer and a member of a criminal organization. He must complete tasks that assist the police in their investigation while also performing duties as a rising member of the gang, such as escorting and collecting goods. 

As he rises through the ranks, his missions become more complex, and the tension between his undercover identity and his loyalty to the gang becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile with his responsibilities as a cop.

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

In Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, we are once again introduced to the story of characters belonging to the Assassin brotherhood, who are locked in a perpetual conflict with the Templars. For the first time in the franchise, players have the opportunity to control two characters, the brother-sister duo of Jacob and Evie Frye, as they progress through the story. This is a far older story than that of the mafia, but it portrays, quite well, how dangerous the criminal underworld and its conflicts can be. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina


In Scarface, the player takes on the role of Tony Montana as he aims to reclaim his position in Miami’s drug market, eliminate competing gangs, and rebuild his reputation in the criminal world through an open world action-adventure game viewed from a third-person perspective.This game rests firmly within the world of the Mafia, and so it’s a good way to familairize yourself with various aspects of a life spent in service to Cosa Nostra and it’s underworld interests. 

Top Mafia Video Games for Gaining Insight into the Life of Matteo Messina

L.A. Noire

This is the most iconic types of detective games where the player takes on the role of Cole Phelps, a WWII veteran and rising figure in the Los Angeles Police Department, as he investigates deeper into the criminal underworld of L.A. The game tasks the player with solving a series of increasingly violent crimes, many of which are inspired by real-life cases from the time period. If your interest in the Mafia is more aimed at the crimes that the organization has comitted, L.A. Noire might be a good game to try.

Russell Kidson

Russell Kidson

I hail from the awe-inspiring beauty of South Africa. Born and raised in Pretoria, I've always had a deep interest in local history, particularly conflicts, architecture, and our country's rich past of being a plaything for European aristocracy. 'Tis an attempt at humor. My interest in history has since translated into hours at a time researching everything from the many reasons the Titanic sank (really, it's a wonder she ever left Belfast) to why Minecraft is such a feat of human technological accomplishment. I am an avid video gamer (Sims 4 definitely counts as video gaming, I checked) and particularly enjoy playing the part of a relatively benign overlord in Minecraft. I enjoy the diverse experiences gaming offers the player. Within the space of a few hours, a player can go from having a career as an interior decorator in Sims, to training as an archer under Niruin in Skyrim. I believe video games have so much more to teach humanity about community, kindness, and loyalty, and I enjoy the opportunity to bring concepts of the like into literary pieces.

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