Rahul is a video game addict. Some of his favorite games are "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "The Witcher 3."
What Games Are Like the GTA Series?
If you like wandering around in an open world, shooting people, or walking over them for fun, the GTA series is your best bet. There is a reason that millions of copies are sold as soon as any new game from the series comes out. It’s about time we admitted that people love creating mayhem, playing havoc, and being reckless without bearing any consequences.
This is one of the main reasons GTA V continues to sell well, despite being over five years old now. It’s unbelievable how well the game has aged. Many people are still playing GTA Online and they’re having a lot of fun with it. The game is updated with new things to do and new vehicles to acquire. You will always have something fun to do here.
It’s understandable if you have gotten tired of roaming around the same streets. You probably remember all of them by heart by now. There is nothing wrong with trying something new. Take a look at my compilation of some games similar to the GTA series with similar aesthetics and gameplay.
1. Saints Row 4
Any game from this series would have fit into this list, but Saints Row 4 holds a special place in my heart. This open-world action-adventure game never shies away from being goofy and outlandish. From becoming the president of The United States to fighting back against an alien invasion, this game makes you feel powerful.
While giving you all the tools in the beginning works initially, it gradually becomes monotonous as nothing in this game has the guts to challenge you.
If you want to have a good time shooting, smashing, and just blasting off random things and peoples, Saints Row 4 won’t disappoint you. As long as you’re not expecting the serious tone of GTA games, you’ll love what Saints Row 4 brings to the table.
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar doesn’t mess around. These guys know how to create a living, breathing world that’ll then take your breath away. In more ways than one, they have over-delivered with Red Dead Redemption 2.
No matter how hyped and prepared you are for Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s going to stun you with its beauty and depth. The stunning graphics combined with some stellar gameplay makes for one of the best games of this decade. There, I said it.
At the time of writing, only the campaign mode is available for playing, which lasts around 60–80 hours, depending upon your playstyle. Apart from the story, you’re welcomed to partake in side-activities like fishing, playing poker and hunting. The gameplay can be stretched to over 100 hours if you are a completionist and planning on doing and seeing everything.
I plan on updating this piece as soon as I put some hours in Red Dead Online, the multiplayer counterpart of Red Dead Redemption 2.
3. Sleeping Dogs
Developed by United Front Games and Published by Square Enix, Sleeping Dogs is one of the most underrated open-world games to release to this date. Given its similarity to games like GTA, it was blown off as a GTA clone. It’s fair to say this game deserved a better fate.
Sure, driving can feel a little arcadey at times, and some areas can feel a little too constricted, but you’ll be hard-pressed to pinpoint any other flaws in this game.
Bashing people with your hands is so much fun, and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to do just that in the streets of Hong Kong swarming with people ready to be beaten up and dance to the tunes of your fists. It’s hard to walk in any direction for a few minutes and not come across anything interesting. The world is so detailed and crammed with so much to do that you'll be overwhelmed.
A good story works as a solid exterior to wrap all the violence and mayhem. They have struck a perfect balance between telling a good linear story and not restricting the players too much. Even if you’re churning through the missions without paying much attention to the side activities, you’ll easily be spending around 15–20 hours in this game. The main questline is very lengthy, but it’s an intriguing one that will keep you hooked till the end. You’ll be invested in the story.
If you’re looking for a GTA alternative, give Sleeping Dogs a shot.
4. Watch Dogs 2
Developed and published by Ubisoft for PS4, Xbox One and PC, Watch Dogs 2 is an open-world, action-adventure game set in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Watch Dogs 2 expands on everything the first game got right and serves the tried and tested formula refreshingly. Sneaking your way into an area and showing off your hacking prowess is more fun than the original game. It encourages you to explore more as there is usually more than one way to complete objectives. You can go all guns blazing, or complete the missions in the good old-fashioned non-lethal way. It’s all up to you.
I was surprised when I discovered that enemy AI is up to the mark. It can be frustratingly dumb in most of the Ubisoft games. Here, however, they’re very preceptive of their surroundings. They’ll notice if something is amiss. It’s very difficult to sneak around if you’re not vigilant.
If you’re in a gunfight, enemies will try to flank you and use cover to their advantage. It’s challenging enough if you push the difficulty bar a notch. I recommend you play on “hard” difficulty to see if you can take on the challenge.
5. Yakuza 0
From singing karaoke to beating up thugs in the streets, you can do tons of outlandish stuff to do in Yakuza 0, the sixth entry in the Yakuza franchise. You can stay focused on the main questline and ignore everything else.
I’ll recommend you to take your time with this game and compete in all the side activities. If you have never played a game like this before, it might seem absurd at first, but the side activities can hook you for hours and you can easily lose track of what you were doing.
In contrast to games like GTA and Saints Row, you’ll rarely have any sort of encounter with pedestrians as the Yakuza series doesn’t allow you to go on a murder spree. It wants you to be outlandish and violent, but only on those who deserve it. You can’t unleash your awesome combos on anyone you want. Beat up drunkards and thugs all you want. There are plenty of them.
The basics of combat are easy. If you’re a casual player playing on easy difficulty, you can get through the whole game with ease. If you want to dig deeper, there is a lot more to learn. The arcade-like combat style is a lot of fun and hard to get bored of, even after over 50–60 hours in.
6. Mafia 2
Released back in 2010, Mafia 2 is an action-adventure game available for PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac. Mafia 3, the latest entry in the franchise, didn’t make the cut. Although I liked it, it just wasn’t polished enough. It felt as if it was launched in a rushed state.
But I derail. Let’s talk about Mafia 2 instead. Unlike the GTA series, you won’t be doing chores for someone else here. It’s your story. There are no side missions to take or mini-games to play. While this approach gets you emotionally invested in the story, it makes an otherwise huge, beautiful world feel kind of empty. Most of the time will be spent driving from one place to another with nothing to distract you from your job.
If you’re coming on the heels of the GTA series, be prepared for some significant changes in quest designing and gameplay style. The world is huge and gorgeous to look at, but there is little to no reason to explore it. You’ll be going from one point to another and then repeat the same until the nemesis of our protagonist.
If you’re looking for a story-focused game like GTA, Mafia 2 won’t disappoint you.
7. Far Cry 5
The Far Cry series has changed little since the launch of the revolutionary Far Cry 3, a game that took this series to an exciting new direction. In the latest installment of this franchise, you‘re a one-man army, taking on dozens of bad guys at once. In the end, you’ll escape unscathed against all odds.
Ubisoft has tweaked a few things here and there, improved a few mechanics, introduced more interesting elements in the game, but fundamentals remain the same. You have a huge open world with a bunch of bad dudes waiting to be killed.
Far Cry 5 has undergone some welcome changes since the last iteration of this franchise. You don’t need to climb towers to reveal interesting locations on the maps anymore. You’ll need to explore every nook and cranny and talk to people to get quests. It’s quite a possibility that you might not come across some content just because you didn’t talk to a certain group of people. It’s an interesting approach that makes the game more appealing.
You go from one place to another, one outpost at a time and ultimately eliminate the whole group of cultists almost one-handed. I’m not going to dive deep into the story as it will spoil things for you.
After the first few minutes of introduction, you’ll have three huge chunks of land to explore. Although the game suggests you to start with a particular area, you can ignore the warnings and start with the more difficult regions instead.
You can find similar freedom of choice in its combat as well. If you want to be loud, there are plenty of lethal weapons at your disposal. If the stealth approach is your favorite, pick up one of the many silent weapons and go hunting. You’ll come here for a good story and stay for solid gunplay.
Stealth is a hit or miss as AI acts dumb for the most part. That’s why the stealth approach isn’t much fun. Gameplay can get repetitive as the enemy and mission lacks variety, but it’s an enjoyable experience nonetheless
8. L.A. Noire
Developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, L.A Noire is an open-world action-adventure game that takes a different route to exploration and investigation than the other games on this list. Unlike the GTA series, you can’t run amok, killing everyone and everything under the sun. You’re allowed to spill blood, but only of bad guys.
More than your shooting and driving skills, your face reading prowess matters here. If you can’t judge suspects based upon their facial expressions, they’ll lead you in the wrong direction, and the real perpetrators will get away.
The game never holds your hand and tells you whom to accuse, doubt, or apprehend. You are the judge of the character here. Do you believe the evidence? If yes, let them go. If not, press them further and see if they break. You can’t be reckless here. If you’re not careful with your questions, you will not get to the bottom of the matter. These interrogations will determine your success. The sooner you get the hang of it, the better you’ll be.
You’re not only limited to these interrogation missions, though. You can do more action-oriented random missions painstakingly placed everywhere in this 1940s recreated Los Angeles.
Whatever you come across in this game, will be well worth getting into. From wild chases in treacherous streets to being a hero and stopping an on-going robbery, there are intriguing quests galore.
9. Just Cause 4
Developed and published by Square Enix, Just Cause 4 is the latest entry into this open-world action-adventure franchise. JC4 has the hooks of every open-world game. It has gotten weirder but smarter with the tools it gives its players, prodding you to be creative and come out with new and innovative ways to wreak havoc. It provides you every chance to defy psychics rules. Be absurd and the game will reward you for it.
Set in a fictional tropical country of South America, Just Cause 4 features the biggest and deadliest map in the history of this franchise. Your job is to eliminate a faction called Black Hand who has taken over this whole country. It’s ironic how you’re supposed to be the savior here. In reality, you’ll do more damage to this country than an army of these goons can even contemplate. In your quest to solve this country’s crisis, you’ll recruit your own members and take this seemingly insurmountable challenge head-on.
Divided into four regions with different terrains, every area comes with its own set of challenges. Each of these areas has its own set of gangs running operations. Take them down, liberate that area, and move on to the next. Go crazy with all the weapon combinations. See which one works best for you, and then come back for some more. It’s one addicting experience!
The only thing missing here is co-op and multiplayer. Imagine how amazing it will be to bring a few friends with you and have them as your partner-in-crime. Despite a clear demand from the community, they didn’t include these modes in Just Cause 4. Here is hoping that 5th iteration is a complete package, whenever it comes out.
10. Yakuza Series
While Yakuza 0 has already been mentioned above in this listicles, its only fitting to mention other games in the series, especially with the recent re-releases of this iconic Playstation action franchise across PC and Xbox.
A fascinating amalgamation of heavy-handed Japanese crime sagas and light-hearted mini-games, the Yakuza series is not your typical humdrum action-adventure. Even though harassing people and robbing them are two mainstays, this series places more emphasis on its wacky side-content—something you should consider engaging in. As you'll find out, life as a Yakuza can be hard, even if you happen to be one of the most skilled fighters capable of handling oodles of plebs.
This action-brawler can be daunting to get into, especially if you're new to the series. Take your time. It's going to be a long haul, but one you'll love.
The order you should play in:-
1. Yakuza 0 (2015)
2. Yakuza Kiwami (2016)
3. Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2017)
4. Yakuza 3 (2009)
5. Yakuza 4 (2010)
6. Yakuza 5 (2012)
7. Yakuza 6 (2016)
8. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2020)
11. Watch Dogs: Legion
Staying true to the series' trademark freedom in gameplay and choices, Watch Dogs: Legion offers a whole new dystopian London to dabble in. This time around, however. the open-world franchise takes one more innovative step forward, going for GTA V's multi-protagonist formula. Except, the number of protagonists is not limited to 3.
You can pick and choose any inhabitant of London to be your next soldier in a never-ending tussle with corrupt bodies of the city. The lack of any depth to this new mechanic, however, falls flat after a while. The loop of picking a random person, doing a personal favor for them (missions), and eventually having them join the ranks gets repetitive.
As of the time of writing, however, Ubisoft has come to the fore, improving every aspect of this game with constant updates and fixes. Since the initial launch, tonnes of single-player and co-op missions have been released, including 2 enjoyable DLCs.
Legion has its flaws. From its bland, AI-generated dialogues to canned animations, there are improvements to be made. One can't deny, however, that Watch Dogs Legion is a wildly ambitious game. Simulating an entire population is no easy feat, so even a floundering attempt should be applauded.
12. Hitman Series (Reboot)
Hitman series might not be an open-world shoot-em-up like the GTA series, but if you're looking for the unbridled freedom the latter offers, the rebooted Hitman series should be right up your alley.
You play as Agent 47, a bald, menacing killer, who knows how to dispatch his targets, even in large gatherings, and then disappear in thin air. Primed for stealth-action, you can go all guns blazing if action-oriented gameplay is your preference, but if you're not sneaking around and devising plans to covertly take out your targets, you're missing the point.
Treat its multiple maps as a trial and error playground. With a plethora of options at your disposal, no playthrough will be the same as the last one. Go with different load-outs, approach targets differently, and see where things lead you. If things get hairy, Agent 47 is no slouch in heavy-handed combat, either.
This is not a game you play for the story anyway. At this point, the consulted story doesn't make much sense as the closest allies turn on each other, only to reconcile again. As long you're not expecting a grandiose storyline with meaningful choices, you'll love what Hitman's eccentricity brings to the table.
13. Mad Max
Loosely connected with the titular movie franchise, Mad Max is still an undiscovered gem. While the 2015's blockbuster release (movie) was a critical hit, the video game release was somewhat overlooked.
A glance at its trailers would suggest that it's just another generic movie-to-game adaptation—a desperate attempt to grab more eyeballs, milking the blockbuster franchise dry. I personally was reasonably skeptical, but my preconceived notions were proved wrong in the first few hours.
Despite generously borrowing most of its gameplay elements from other popular franchises (Batman series), Mad Max does enough on its own to deserve a place in this listicle. Its punchy melee combat is robust and reactive. Md Max is at its best when you're surrounded by a bunch of about-to-be-beaten-to-the-pulp deformed psychos. If you've played the Batman series before, Mad Max's combat will feel familiar.
Also, Max has his trusty sawn-off Antique 20-gauge ready when things get a little rough. Of course, that thing blows heads off gruesomely—something Batman wouldn't endorse.
14. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
Despite its unfulfilled and rushed ending, thanks to the developer's tussle with Konami (the publisher), Phantom Pain still remains one of the best sandbox stealth action adventure to grace the last generation of consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) and PCs.
If you're not a die-heard fan of the franchise, it's best not to get too much into its convulted storylines-a long-running overarching plot even the veterans have hard time making sense of. Kojima, the mastermind helming the franchise, has a panchant for delivering movie-esque, story-heavy blockbusters, something that often muddles with an otherwise smooth gameplay. Despite being well-produced, I found cutscenses to be a bit intrusive, especially when I had to endure them back to back.
All its shortcomings are, however, mitigated with a metaculously crafted stealth-oriented gameplay. Go all guns blazing if that's what you want, but taking a stealthy approach is always more fun and creative. With an assortment of tools at your disposal, it's pretty tempting to try different things out to satiate the morbid curiosity. Light the enemy on fire, sneak behind them with the help of a cardbox, or simply distract them by hurling a rock in their vicinity; its your game. Approach it your way.
15. Fallout Series
If you're looking for games like GTA, skip the first 2 antiquated entries of the franchise. Start with the third one-a staple entry in this iconic franchise. Since it launched back in 2009, you'll likey want to install a few mods before giving it a shot. Thanks to an active modding community, Fallout 3 is still thriving, even after being over a decade old.
Once you've had your way with it, move on to Fallout:New Vegas, a spin-off that takes you to a near-future irradiated New Vegas. Thanks to the nuclear bombings, everything has been decimated. Surprisingly, New Vegas still remains a mostly-unaffected city. Don't worry; the outskirts of the city is in rough shape. You'll come across ramshackled homes, outlaws, bandits, addicts, and nightmarish creatures to keep your trigger-happy hands busy.
Unfortunately, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, the two recent entries, are not as riveting as its predecessors. Former is billed as a story-driven adventure with consequences for your choices, which is untrue. Fallout 76, the MMORPG, on the other hand, suffers from the traditional limitations of being an online game. The shared world is not your alone anymore. Its difficult to take an NPC's dialogues and qieates seriously when others players are simultaneously completing the same quest. With numerous updates and patches and expansions, 76 is barely up to the par. I'd suggest you wait a bit more before commiting to this MMORPG.
Did I Miss Anything?
This list includes plenty of games with action-packed missions and cinematic cutscenes. But if I've missed any other games like GTA, let me know in the comments section!
Rahul Pandey (author) from Delhi, India on July 27, 2020:
The Desperados series is something you might wanna try.
ddd on July 17, 2020:
I want games like GTA 1 and 2 :(
Aditya on June 24, 2020:
Scarface The world is yours
true crime series
emilyyi on June 12, 2020:
GTAV on May 23, 2020:
Yash rana on April 17, 2020:
Gta 5 dounlode
gtav on August 26, 2019: