Top 9 Games That Are Similar to "Grand Theft Auto"
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 like the GTA series with similar aesthetics and gameplay.
Games Similar to the GTA Series
- Saints Row 4
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Sleeping Dogs
- Watch Dogs 2
- Yakuza 0
- Mafia 2
- Far Cry 5
- L.A. Noire
- Just Cause 4
1. Saints Row 4
Any game from this series would have fit into this list, but 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. Saints Row 4
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 , 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. Red Dead Redemption 2
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
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 , the sixth entry in the Yakuza franchise. You can stay focused on the main questline and ignore everything else. Yakuza 0
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.
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!