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Top 10 Intense Video Game Heist Missions

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Kurt Hvorup
Believe it or not Grand Theft Auto does not completely dominate this list! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our list of the top 10 Intense Video Game Heist Missions. Believe it or not Grand Theft Auto does not completely dominate this list! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our list of the top 10 Intense Video Game Heist Missions.

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Top 10 Intense Video Game Heist Missions

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a digital heist gone so very right... or horribly wrong. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our list of the top 10 Intense Video Game Heist Missions.

For this list, we’re looking at missions that best encapsulate the highs and lows of a carefully plotted theft. Whether they stick to familiar tropes or subvert them with brutal efficiency, these deliver on tense moments of careful planning and split-second action.

#10: Three Leaf Clover

“Grand Theft Auto IV” (2008)

As a series “Grand Theft Auto” isn’t shy about borrowing from classic crime drama stories for material, though this mission shows how that approach can work out for the best. Beginning when Niko Bellic is drafted for a bank heist by the McReary brothers, the mission Three Leaf Clover soon segues into an out-and-out homage to the likes of “Heat” and “Point Break”. Befitting the deconstructive parody angle of “Grand Theft Auto IV”, though, it’s not long before the plan goes awry and bullets start flying. It walks a fine line between paying tribute to its sources of inspiration and breaking from the mould to deliver exciting action.

#9: When Good Heists Go Bad

“Saints Row: The Third” (2011)

With heists like these, who needs enemies? Not keen on waiting long to set its tone, “Saints Row: The Third” instead starts off by dropping the player right into the middle of a bank robbery. Specifically, it’s a robbery where all of the culprits are wearing Johnny Gat disguises... and one is a committed method actor. The absurdity of the scenario only gets more amusing as the heist turns sour, throwing the Third Street Saints into a series of pitched gunfights with SWAT teams and alarmingly well-stocked bank tellers. Hearing the Saints bicker and crack wise amid the chaos is fun enough, but it’s the extra touch of the voice modulators distorting the dialogue that seals the deal.

#8: Heist of the Centuries

“Fallout: New Vegas” (2010)

Throughout the expansion “Dead Money”, the theme of moving on from one’s obsessions is continually emphasized. In this last quest to break into the vault beneath the Sierra Madre casino, the player is shown exactly how far the developers intended to go with this idea. Getting into the fabled vault is no easy task, guarded as it is by advanced security holograms and explosive collar-detonating speakers. Once the player breaks in, however, a new issue arises: the sheer amount of gold and currency is simply too heavy to safely carry away. Combined with revelations about the expansion’s unhinged villain Father Elijah and the casino owner Fredrick Sinclair, it hammers home the human cost of valuing greed over personal happiness.

#7: Heist

“Conker’s Bad Fur Day” (2001)

If nothing else, this is an unforgettable way to close out a game. Much of the runtime of “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” is spent skewering the entire notion of kid-friendly mascot platformers, intercut with a litany of pop culture references. However, it reaches its peak right at the game’s conclusion, with the titular squirrel sent to rob a bank for the shifty Don Weaso. What follows is an extended parody of the lobby shootout from “The Matrix”, complete with slow-motion shooting. Then things take a turn for the truly bizarre as the heist gives way to fourth-wall breaking humour and an extended “Aliens” reference. We certainly didn’t see that coming.

#6: The Ultimate Heist

“The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” (2006)

This climax to the Thieves Guild questline opens with one hell of a premise: you’re sent by the Guild’s leader to infiltrate the Imperial City Palace and steal an Elder Scroll. Already notable for integrating the series’ enigmatic namesake, The Ultimate Heist also excels at setting up a variety of tasks and challenges to overcome. There’s the matter of finding an escape route in the City’s sewers, dealing with vampires on the prowl, and managing the difficult feat of sneaking through said aforementioned heavily-monitored palace. It’s all quite splendid and plays out in immensely satisfying fashion, both narratively and in terms of general player progression.

#5: The Bank Job

“Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” (2017)

Deviating from expectations for heist fiction and for the “Dishonored” games, this mission sees Billie Lurk seeking to steal a lone knife from the Dolores Michaels Deposit & Loan Bank. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good heist if there weren’t complications... like the bank itself being extremely well-guarded and elaborate in scope. Breaking into the bank proves a fun endeavour, though, thanks to exquisite environmental design and the “Dishonored” series’ love of open-ended level exploration. Whether entering via the rooftop entrance or infiltrating the bank by way of the garbage disposal, be it a stealthy or loud playthrough, there’s no shortage of clever approaches to take.

#4: First City Bank and Trust

“Thief II: The Metal Age” (2000)

Leave it to the old guard to teach us about the art of theft. The sixth mission of “Thief II”, First City Bank and Trust has dry-witted thief Garrett electing not to target the eponymous bank’s plentiful riches. Instead, his aim is to break into a vault to obtain blackmail material on a corrupt sheriff, an intriguing break from routine that is matched by an utterly engrossing setting. The bank’s four levels feature plenty of ornate halls and passages to admire, even as Garrett strives to duck around the various guards and mechanized sentries. There’s also elements of randomization at play, too, with the enemy and civilian layout changing every time the level’s restarted.

#3: Kasumi: Stealing Memory

“Mass Effect 2” (2010)

Once players of “Mass Effect 2” managed to employ the services of the slick thief Kasumi Goto, they got the chance to aid in one of gaming’s finest sci-fi heists. Kasumi’s loyalty mission, necessary for ensuring her survival in the endgame, takes her and space-faring hero Commander Shepherd to a fancy party at the home of an intergalactic arms dealer. There, the player must set about investigating the house, sabotaging security measures and slowly preparing for the actual theft. The heist is filled with tense conversations and detail-rich rooms, punctuated by a few close-quarters shootouts and quite the entertaining clash with a gunship. Plus, it’s always fun to hear Kasumi banter and lust after the finest of loot.

#2: The Big Score

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

It takes a lot of setup and effort, but man is the payoff worth it. “Grand Theft Auto V” saves one of its best heists for last: a daring raid of Los Santos’ highly secure Union Depository in order to steal millions of dollars in gold reserves. Whether opting for a quiet extraction of the gold or a loud and obvious operation, players still get to prepare every facet of the robbery. The actual heist itself delivers on fast-paced gunfights and desperate escapes, with the choice of crew members impacting how smoothly the plan turns out. And when all is said and done, you end up with quite the cash pile for your troubles.

#1: The Big Bank

“Payday 2” (2013)

In a game all about the thrill of partaking in heists, this might well be a standout. The Big Bank was introduced in a DLC expansion of the same name, sending the masked criminals of “Payday 2” to scope out and strike the Benevolent Bank. Calling it the Big Bank is fitting, since it’s a multi-level building with plenty of security measures, guards and wandering civilians to account for. Tackling this heist can be incredibly entertaining thanks to the variety of options for getting in and getting out. Blowing open an escape route with C4, fighting off police until a helicopter arrives – whatever the route there’s always the chance for chaotic fun to be had.

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