The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise is one of the most popular video games in history. The first few games in the series were successful, but the release of the 80s themed Vice City and expansive San Andreas really catapulted the franchise to the top of the gaming world. The latest installment, GTA V, was released in 2013 but it still remains one of the most played games today.
Because of its success, players tend to look for other games with similar gameplay and quality to GTA that they can try out. If you’re one of them, check out our list of 10 games like Grand Theft Auto that will keep you entertained until the long-awaited GTA VI finally gets a release.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Released by Rockstar, the same company that created the GTA series, this 2018 instant hit has become one of the biggest games in the world. It has all the elements you love about GTA but with a whole new world and era to explore. Set in 1899, you play protagonist Arthur Morgan as he tries to make his way in the Wild West. You need to accomplish missions to further the story but can also explore the open-world environment as much as you want.
While it’s only been out for a few years, Red Dead Redemption 2 is considered one of the best video games ever. It had the most successful opening weekend in entertainment history, making $725 million within its first three days. As of March 2021, it has sold more than 37 million copies on all platforms.
RDR2 was given perfect or near-perfect ratings by many media outlets. Critics and players alike loved its storytelling, character design, musical score, and combat mechanics.
2. L.A. Noire
Another creation by Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire is a detective action-adventure game released in 2011. It’s set in Los Angeles, California, and adapts the neo-noir genre that brings you back to the era of 40s and 50s crime. Players love the combat, interrogations, gunfights, and chases that Rockstar incorporates into the game.
L.A. Noire follows the story of Detective Cole Phelps as he solves cases across five divisions while climbing the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). As you play through the story, Phelps eventually discovers a huge conspiracy among some of the biggest names in Los Angeles.
Much like Grand Theft Auto, L.A. Noire has an open-world design where you can walk or drive around, interacting with characters and the environment. As Phelps advances through the department, he is assigned to a different bureau with a unique partner every time. You can also investigate Street Crimes as a side quest, where some characters from past cases may appear again.
L.A. Noire was praised for its brilliant storytelling and immersive world. It sold almost 900,000 thousand copies in its first month and was awarded Best Original Score at the 2012 BAFTA Video Game Awards. Edge and Eurogamer both gave it an 8 out of 10 rating, while IGN gave it 8.5 out of 10. Fans of the crime aspect of GTA will definitely enjoy this game.
3. Yakuza 0
Sega is known as one of the biggest video game companies of all time, so naturally, most players will have high expectations for anything new from them. Their Yakuza series has been popular since its first release in 2005 but its sixth installment, Yakuza 0, brought it to the mainstream in the U.S.
Yakuza 0 is a prequel to the original game and was the last installment of the series before the remake games were released. It is set in an open-world environment in the fictional Japanese districts of Kamurocho and Sotenbori. You play as main protagonist Kazuma Kiryu most of the time, while you’ll be able to control side character Goro Majima for some parts of the story.
The story follows Kiryu as he is framed for murder and tries to clear his name. You’ll meet many characters throughout your journey who will help you further the story.
Yakuza 0 received mostly positive reviews from critics and was given a rating of 8 out of 10 by GameSpot and four stars from GamesRadar. It also charted at number one during its debut week in Japan.
4. Saints Row: The Third
Released in 2011, Saints Row: The Third was developed by Volition and published by THQ. Like the previous installments, you create your own character and have him inserted into the story. The Third takes place five years after the events of Saints Row 2.
Saints Row: The Third’s open-world environment allows players to explore and interact with different elements. It’s set in the fictional city of Steelport, ruled by three gangs (Morningstar, Luchadores, and Deckers) collectively called the Syndicate. The government has dispatched the Special Tactical Anti-Gang unit to take down both the Syndicate and your own Third Street Saints.
The series was always dubbed as a clone of Grand Theft Auto, so it’s no surprise that fans of GTA also enjoy all the Saints Row games. The game features a wide array of weapons, melee combat, and vehicles. It also introduces experience and upgrades to the franchise.
Saints Row: The Third received a rating of 83 percent from PC Gamer (US). Metacritic also gave the game a rating of more than 80% for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms. It sold more than 5.5 million copies within its first year.
5. Mafia III
2K Games is most famous for its NBA 2K franchise, but they also have a collection of great role-playing games. Their Mafia series is already a household name in gaming and Mafia III is one of its best installments. It follows the story of Vietnam War veteran Lincoln Clay after his family is murdered by the local mafia.
It is set in the fictional city of New Bordeaux in 1968, which is based on the real city of New Orleans. The city is divided into 10 districts made up of islands, industrial compounds, slums, urban districts, and historical areas. This makes Mafia III the largest world of the series so far, even bigger than Mafia I and II’s worlds combined.
For missions, you can choose between using weapons for killing enemies or stealth tactics to avoid being noticed altogether. You can interrogate characters after beating them up to learn more information and further the story. The game’s driving mechanics are also enjoyable and loved by fans for its realism given the era.
Critics praised Mafia III for its immersive storyline and well-written characters. The soundtrack and environment were also some of the best in recent years. Mafia III sold more than 4.5 million copies in its first week and had sold more than 7 million copies by March 2020.
6. Watch Dogs 2
Developed and published by Ubisoft, Watch Dogs 2 is the highly-touted sequel to the 2014 hit, Watch Dogs. This third-person, open-world game follows a hacker named Marcus Holloway on multiple storylines throughout the city. It was released for Windows, the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 in 2016. Then, it became available to Stadia in December 2020.
Watch Dogs 2 is set in a fictionalized version of the Bay Area, which was created to be much bigger than the first installment’s Chicagoland. Just like Grand Theft Auto, you can explore the city on foot or using the many vehicles available in the game. The improved driving mechanics now allows you to drive better than in the previous game. Combat and acrobatics are also important elements in completing missions.
You’ll need to accomplish your missions without alerting local law enforcement or simply avoid being arrested. Like Mafia III, you can choose to do your missions aggressively or stealthily. There are different items and weapons you can use for each option.
Watch Dogs 2 was hailed as one of the best games of 2016, receiving high ratings from multiple media outlets, including an 8.5 out of 10 from IGN. The multiple main storylines and character design were praised by players and critics alike. The game was also the second best-selling video game in the U.S. in its first week and has sold more than 10 million copies as of March 2020.
7. Sleeping Dogs
Sleeping Dogs is another law enforcement role-playing game that was released in 2012. You play Wei Shen, an undercover police officer who was transferred from San Francisco to Hong Kong to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad group.
Wei Shen explores Hong Kong as he tries to keep his cover while accomplishing a variety of missions to take down the organization he has infiltrated. You need to do both police and criminal missions to keep appearances with the Triad.
Like most third-person, open-world RPGs, Sleeping Dogs features a HUD that shows your health, mini-map, and face meter, which is how you unlock abilities and other upgrades. You can run around the map or steal vehicles to get around faster. Hand-to-hand combat is also a big part of the gameplay.
Sleeping Dogs was nominated for the Action Game of the Year award at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards. It also received high ratings across multiple outlets, including 9 out of 10 from OPM (UK) and Destructoid.
8. Just Cause 4
Developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Square Enix Limited, Just Cause 4 was released in 2018 as part of the Just Cause franchise. In continuation with the series, you play as the main protagonist and one-man army Rico Rodriguez.
This open-world adventure game puts Rico in the fictional country of Solis, which he will have to explore as he tries to take down the paramilitary group called The Black Hand. Rico owns a wingsuit that allows him to travel large distances quickly, depending on the weather.
There are many weapons and vehicles you can use to fight the enemies. Just Cause 4 also features a constant frontline system where The Black Hand and local rebels are fighting at territorial borders which you can join anytime.
Just Cause 4 was given a rating of 8 out of 10 by Game Informer. Its gameplay and designs were praised by critics and players but its story and cutscenes were deemed as disappointing. Despite that, it sold almost 400,000 copies in its first week.
9. Cyberpunk 2077
From the creators of the Witcher series, Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most hyped games in recent years. This action RPG is set in the fictional Cyberpunk universe based on the classic tabletop game.
Unlike the other games on our list, Cyberpunk 2077 uses first-person perspective gameplay. You play V, whose physical appearance and wardrobe are all customizable. You can also choose which character class you wish to play. Each class provides a unique combination of player stats.
The game is set in the fictional Free City of Night City, California. This dystopian city is controlled by mega-corporations while its streets are ruled by different gangs all constantly fighting among each other. Melee and ranged combat, hacking, and driving are all useful skills to learn in the game. Choosing your Life Path at the start of the game dictates which storyline you will be playing.
Cyberpunk 2077 was so hyped before its release that it won more than a hundred awards at E3 2018, including Best Game and Best RPG. It sold more than eight million copies through pre-orders alone. While it experienced multiple bugs and performance issues shortly after its release, it’s still considered one of the best games of 2020.
10. Scarface: The World Is Yours
This is one of the older games on our list. Scarface: The World Is Yours was released in 2006 by Radical Entertainment. Inspired by the classic film Scarface, the game follows the story of Tony Montana, whose likeness (but not his voice) is still that of Al Pacino. Other cast members also reprised their characters through voice acting.
Featuring a third-person perspective, this open-world action’s gameplay is very similar to that of the GTA franchise. Like GTA, you can run or drive around the city and interact with the non-playable characters. There are different weapons you can use to kill your enemies, but you cannot harm innocent civilians.
The objective of the game is to take control of the four main regions. You will have to accomplish each region before moving on to the next. You must also finish different missions that all revolve around Tony’s cocaine business while improving your Reputation level. Make sure to avoid getting killed or arrested so you do not lose all your money.
Scarface received positive reviews across the board despite its similarity to the GTA series. While it did not sell as well for the PC version, the game still sold a total of more than two million copies in its first year.