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16 Games Like Grand Theft Auto (GTA): Open World Games
GTA Clones: 16 Games Similar To Grand Theft Auto (GTA)
Seeking open world games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) because you've finished the series more times than you can count? Then try this curated list of titles that offer a new open world adventure in a variety of settings.
The Grand Theft Auto series began in 1998 and is well-known for its free-roam style of gameplay. Players progress through the storyline by performing main missions and various side missions involving adventure, driving, stealth, and role-playing.
On this page you'll find 16 of my favourite options that I have played over and over again throughout the years. Ever since I started playing the original Grand Theft Auto I've been hooked on the gameplay that the series offers.
This led to my search for great alternatives which I've put together on this page for future reference and for others to enjoy. If you know of another game like GTA that isn't on this page, please share it in the comment section.
Which GTA Is Your Favourite? - (Main Titles Only)
Vote For Your Favourite Grand Theft Auto Experience
All images on this page have been provided by publisher media departments for the purpose of critique.
1. GTA Mods: Get New Skins and Improve Gameplay
While GTA alternatives are great there is also a countless number of Grand Theft Auto Mods available that either build on the gameplay or offer new cars and skins to give the series new life. If you are looking for a game like GTA, the best place to start is with modification of your favourite title.
While mods for the earlier games are quite rare the rise of mod tools and mod communities has made altering your favourite game a common past time. All the AAA titles like Fallout 4, GTA V and Skyrim have a wealth of modifications that continues to grow each day.
The best mod for you will depend heavily on the features that you enjoy, your platform, and the particular GTA release that you are playing. I think that I have nearly spent just as much time playing mods of GTA as playing the actual games themselves, simply because the potential of mods is limited only to the minds of their creators (which is endless).
With current mod tools making installation very easy there is now very little barrier to modding your favourite GTA game. For those looking to learn more I recommend checking out the mod communities on reddit, Nexus Mods and Moddb.
Whether you want game improvements, additional missions or a new look for your favourite in game character the GTA mod community has a mod for you.
Games Like GTA
Enjoy These Massive Open World Adventures
2. Saints Row (Series)
Saints Row is published by THQ and features an open-world style. It is generally considered the best series like GTA available, receiving positive reviews and averaging a score of mid 80's on Metacritic.
The series takes itself much less seriously, however, and has a very comical and light-hearted approach to gameplay, which makes for a very refreshing experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and had some good laughs at just how crazy some of the missions were.
The Saints Row series has a strong emphasis on open-world gameplay and allows players to roam its massive open world and complete the storyline at their own pace.
The Saints Row series offers a wide variety of vehicles to explore the world, along with a vast array of weapons (including melee). You have great freedom in terms of how you adventure through the series and how you approach combat situations.
Visual customisation of your character is also a large focus of the series, allowing you to plant yourself within the game world and helping create a more realistic experience.
Fans of the GTA series will feel right at home with the style of gameplay offered by the Saints Row series. They games are loosely connected but not required to be played in any particular order. I recommend starting with number 2 or 3 and playing onwards from there if you want to experience the series. Alternatively if you're only looking for a single game, try the intense and crazy gameplay of Saints Row IV.
My Favourite From the Saints Row Series: Available on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3
Of all the games in the series, I felt that Saint's Row: The Third struck the perfect balance of game mechanics and features. It was also what I considered to be the most polished of the series.
Saints Row has plenty of crazy scenarios that will have you saying "they want me to do what?" which I really loved.
The game does incorporate some story elements from the previous games, but not knowing them doesn't diminish the great experience. If you're willing to invest the time in 3 games (and have the means) though I do recommend starting with the very second game and following the series through to the fourth game.
Saints Row: The Third Gameplay
3. Sleeping Dogs: A Game Set In Hong Kong
Sleeping Dogs follows the open world adventure formula closely and was released in 2012 for all the major platforms.
Sleeping Dogs was originally going to be developed as the third addition to the True Crime series (one that I loved), so if you have previously played True Crime and liked what was on offer then Sleeping Dogs is a great option. The experience moves away from the many other US-based games like GTA and instead takes players to the streets to Hong Kong.
The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs is very similar to GTA (and True Crime) with a third person perspective and open-world environment. The player controls Wei Shen, an undercover police officer who infiltrates the Sun On Yee Triad organization (definitely not something that is an easy task).
Unlike other GTA-inspired games though the focus is on hand-to-hand combat and relies on a cover system when the player chooses to use a weapon (although I found it more enjoyable to always go for hand-to-hand as the control scheme really shines when you use it). As the game is of the free-roam genre players can progress at their own pace through the storyline.
Activities that players can participate in on the side include karaoke, street racing, stealing, dating, and fighting. All of these activities feel very connected to the game world rather than separate add-ons, which is always a hard thing to pull off with a large scale game.
Sleeping Dogs does not feature multiplayer but does allow friends to compare a number of stats through online leader boards. This still creates some competition between your friends and other gamers (which is something I have always liked).
Sleeping Dogs: GTA In Hong Kong!
Get your hands dirty with Sleeping Dogs a melee focused free-roam game that explores the streets of Hong Kong. With one of the most well constructed game worlds I've experienced to date every corner of the game world is buzzing with life, opportunities and activities.
Playing as an undercover cop makes this adventure slightly different to that of GTA but the action, car chases and game world all have a similar vibe. They all come together in spectacular fashion making it one of my favourite GTA alternatives.
In addition to the addictive and action packed single player you'll find a healthy dose of competition within the multiplayer which allows you to compare stats and scores to your friends, making it one of the few games on this list with a multiplayer component.
Sleeping Dogs Review (GameSpot)
4. Red Dead Redemption: A Highly Rated Western-Style Game
Red Dead Redemption is an open-world adventure set in the Wild West, with the majority of gameplay taking place in the year 1911. Players play as John Marston, who is a former outlaw but after his wife and son are held hostage he is required to bring his former gang members to justice.
Alongside the main storyline players will experience many random events as they explore the open world. These random events can include public hangings, ambushes, hostage situations, travellers in need of assistance, shoot outs, and even animal attacks.
Players also have access to a number of optional activities including bounty hunting, herb collecting, hunting, duels, and gambling. This wide range of extras in the game add so much atmosphere and realism that I fond myself getting lost in it for hours on end.
Red Dead Redemption uses a morality system where players gain honour throughout the game (either positive or negative) which effects how people interact with you.
After its release, Red Dead Redemption received critical acclaim with an average score of over 95% from the various review websites (such as Metacritic and GameRankings). This makes it one of the highest-rated videos games that is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Red Dead Redemption also scooped up several Game of the Year awards and continues to be a game that is constantly recommended on forums as a must-play. I definitely support that idea.
Red Dead Redemption: Get The Game of the Year Edition
From the creators of the GTA game series comes Red Dead Redemption. Don't be tricked into thinking this is simply Grand Theft Auto with a western skin over the top though.
Ask any gamer about their favourite open world game and most of them will remember Red Dead, a game that was well before it's time. Before the likes of Skyrim, The Witcher and GTA V Red Dead Redemption was the king of the genre.
Few games have captured the thrill of jumping on the back of your horse, walking into a crowded town and standing off in the main street with a gang leader as Red Dead Redemption. The story in particular was a real tear jerker for me, giving an amazing sense of connection that few games have created.
Red Dead Redemption has countless Game of the Year awards and will not disappoint any fan of the free-roam game genre. Play it on your Xbox 360 or PS3 console today.
Red Dead Redemption Introduction
5. Mafia (Series): Play As A Member of the Mafia
The Mafia series features two games (Mafia and Mafia II), which are available on varying platforms. Mafia II is available on the latest generation and is the game that most people reading this will want to play. The gameplay of the Mafia series is very similar to GTA but instead focuses on the early- to mid-1900s.
The original Mafia was highly rated as a more realistic and serious version of Grand Theft Auto, which originally attracted me to the series as I was in the mood for something deeper and more realistic.
It was also highly praised for containing one of the biggest cities to appear in a video game for its time (2002), including a variety of transportation types. Unfortunately the console ports for Xbox and PlayStation didn't live up to expectations, and as such console users will want to avoid the original game and look into Mafia II.
Mafia II met similar reviews from critics, receiving scores varying from 7/10 all the way up to 8.5/10 from varying gaming sites. The PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 versions all received similar scores, unlike the original game.
Mafia II offers a deep and engaging storyline that is definitely one of the best mob-inspired games available. It is also the proud holder of the title "video game with the most profanity," (so be careful if you buy it as a gift).
Mafia II is my favourite in the Mafia series by far and I recommend it to people new to the franchise (available for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3).
The immersive experience that you can expect from the game really captures the feeling of the 1930s in America (not that I lived then). I also really enjoyed the mixture between weapon combat, melee combat, and even vehicle combat since I'm always a player who loves the more direct approach.
Due to the Mafia inspired theme the game is obviously similar to Grand Theft Auto with players rising through the criminal underworld. This gives you plenty of freedom and makes the adventure feel like a historical GTA.
Mafia II Review (IGN)
6. Just Cause (Series): Play As An Agent On A Vast Island
Just Cause is an open-world action adventure game where players play as Agent Rico Rodriguez.
Both Just Cause (2006), Just Cause 2 (2010) and Just Case 3 (2015) take place on tropical-style islands that the player can completely explore. This means it's very easy to get lost exploring, which is a feature I've always enjoyed in games.
The core gameplay of the Just Cause series is similar to GTA, offering third-person shooting and many driving elements. Players will feel like they are part of an action film, with over-the-top action scenes and many explosions.
The second in the series (Just Cause 2) offered improved AI and a grappling hook that allows players to tether various objects together, adding a somewhat strategic element to gameplay and firefighters.
The PlayStation 3 version also allows players to record their gameplay and upload it which allows you to share your favourite game aspects with others. This proved very popular but the feature has obviously declined in popularity over the life of the game (it's still a fun idea though).
All of these features were blown out of the water with Just Cause 3 though that offered a massive boost to graphics, freedom and physics. With minimal connection to the games of the past newcomers to the Just Cause series will be best serviced by Just Cause 3.
Just Cause 3 Gameplay
7. Bully: GTA In A High School Setting
Bully was also developed by Rockstar Games and was originally developed for the PlayStation 2 (but is now also available on PC, Xbox 360 and Wii).
Bully is another action adventure that takes place in a school environment. The player plays as James "Jimmy" Hopkins, a rebel student at the fictional boarding school of Bullworth Academy. Players are free to explore the campus and eventually the town as they complete a number of missions, side adventures, and mini-games.
Through school classes, players can increase Jimmy's abilities and unlock new items. Practicing English for example allows Jimmy to talk his way in and out of situations better, while chemistry unlocks stick bombs and firecrackers.
Bully is split into five chapters in which Jimmy must defeat a leader of certain clique (nerds, preps etc.). Combat is mostly fighting orientated but Jimmy does gain access to some school-boy type weapons including slingshots and itching powder.
The gameplay in Bully is both unique and full of freedom, appealing to any GTA fan.
Bully is available on Xbox 360, Wii and PC. The game offers a decent length campaign which took me around 40 hours to complete but could easily expand beyond that if you take your time to explore the game.
The scholarship edition of the game added a lot of new content, which built up an already packed game and is a must buy for both new players and returning Bully fans.
The setting of Bully is very unique which is what originally attracted me to it, it's a nice break from the more mature city based free roaming games with the school being central the game. The slight touch of RPG features (training your stats within the school grounds) was also a great touch that really got me hooked.
8. Gun: A Western Themed Game
Gun is a Western-themed game developed by Neversoft, with releases that cover a large number of platforms. It is very easy to get your hands on Gun regardless of your preferred gaming platform.
Gun features an open-world environment and many side missions just like the GTA series. It also includes plenty of activities on the side such a poker, bounty-hunting, and cattle-herding. The environments you will visit are also extremely varied despite the Western focus, it isn't all sand and deserts.
Money earned from these activities and side missions can be used to purchase and upgrade equipment, giving the game some RPG-depth ahead of what the GTA series has generally offered. Combat variety is also plentiful, with sneaking, shooting, and even dynamite playing a role in your adventure.
In the game you take on the role of Colton White who loses everything and decides to take vengeance against the people who turned his life upside down. This adventure really captures just how brutal the Wild West was, which is definitely the most attractive aspect of Gun.
Gun PlayStation 2 Review
9. The Godfather (Series): Play as the Godfather
The Godfather is a series of two action-adventure games published by Electronic Arts which are based on The Godfather series and films. The first game is often considered one of the best movie-to-video game adaptations (and I definitely agree).
The Godfather game even features some of the original actors from The Godfather film and follows the film and series quite closely, so fans of the series will feel right at home.
You won't feel left out if you haven't seen the movies, although I definitely recommend you do (either before or after you play the game).
Reviews of The Godfather game are mixed (but mostly positive). Critics praised the game for staying true and faithful to the roots of The Godfather, but the recycling of textures and graphics prevented the game from receiving top ratings.
The sequel (The Godfather II) unfortunately did not live up to expectations. The main issues plaguing the game include poor AI, easy difficulty, and excessive bugs. But it is still a decent game experience, especially for Godfather fans.
I personally really liked The Godfather II as more of a casual GTA. It won't push you to your limits in terms of difficulty, and none of the bugs I ran into were game-breaking. Most were just small glitches. Of course this might not be the case for everyone.
The Godfather II: My Favourite From the Series
The second game in the Godfather series is available on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
My favourite aspect from the game was the ability to create your own family and promote members as you see fit. You can then pick family members to use for each mission, which added a layer of strategic depth that most other open world games lack.
I enjoyed the second game much more than the original despite what critics have said and thus recommend it here. Although if you have the consoles available to play both the second game and the original that will make the experience all the better.
The Godfather 2 - Intro & Mission
10. True Crime: Streets of LA
True Crime: Streets of LA is one of the original games like GTA and was released in 2003. There is also a second release in the series (True Crime: New York) but the game is very lack-lustre compared to the original and best avoided.
True Crime is well known for its highly accurate GPS recreations of locations and its random street crime-orientated missions. Unlike GTA, True Crime focuses on the justice side of the law, with players playing as a police officer tasked with catching criminals and other police-orientated missions.
This different type of experience (playing on the good side rather than the bad) has proven very popular and is one of the biggest draws to the series over other options.
Players must complete various missions to move up the ranks of the police force while questionable acts will see the player fall down the ranks and eventually be exiled by the police. I really liked the scope of choice that True Crime offered for its time and the ability to play as a cop has always been a feature that has set it apart.
True Crime: Streets of LA Gameplay
11. Crackdown (Series): From The Person That Brought You GTA
Crackdown is another open-world, third-person-shooter video game available for Xbox 360. The Crackdown series has two games available in the series, released in 2007 and 2010. The idea was conceived by the creator behind Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings.
The original Crackdown features a large sandbox environment that players are free to explore after selecting one of the agents available.
From here the player is tasked with defeating the head of various gangs but can do so in any order or by any means that they want. Various actions can increase your chances of successfully taking them down, such as removing bodyguards or high-level associates to reduce their protection further.
Crackdown 2 follows a similar style of gameplay but offers a larger variety of customisation options (both visual and skill sets). Driving has also been introduced into Crackdown 2, allowing for a larger map and more modes (such as racing).
Both Crackdown games are rated highly, however the sequel has received some heat for playing too much like the original.
Crackdown 2: My Favourite Crackdown Game
Crackdown 2 is the sequel to the original, popular, open-ended world game and is only available on Xbox 360. The game allows you the freedom to accept and reject any objectives at any time and in any order, you decide how the story plays out.
Crackdown 2 offers complete freedom to explore and destroy the world around you as you see fit. The game also features an action-packed multi-player experience, featuring tonnes of levels and game modes.
The freedom of the game is it's greatest asset and the ability to tackle the core missions in any order is what really sold me on Crackdown 2. This mechanic also gives you some control over the difficulty with a large time commitment allowing you to weaken your main objective while players that want a faster playthrough can accept the extra challenge by facing them early on.
Crackdown 2 Review
12. Scarface the World Is Yours: A Game Based on the Scarface Movie
Scarface: The World is Yours is a video game that is intended as sequel to the 1983 movie Scarface. So if you've seen the movie and want to become a part of the world that the movie portrayed, you'll love this experience.
If you haven't seen the movie you might find that the intriguing storyline and underground setting will make you interested in seeing it.
Scarface is available on PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Wii. There is also a Scarface spin-off titled Scarface: Money, Power, Respect for the PSP.
The Scarface video game has received many favourable reviews, with the majority around the 85% range (for consoles).
Unfortunately the PC port was filled with bugs and control system issues, so I only recommend this game to those of you who are looking for a console game. The PC port version is best avoided (as it truly is awful and unplayable).
Scarface the World Is Yours Gameplay
13. Infamous (Series): An Electric Open World Game for PlayStation
Infamous (InFamous/inFAMOUS) is a popular open-world action adventure that is available on PlayStation 3. The series has two games available that were released in 2009 and 2011, both of which received strong reviews which were well deserved.
In both games the player has control of a human with various special abilities. InFamous allows the players to choose their own path through the storyline, creating plenty of options and even varied endings.
The original Infamous was highly acclaimed by reviewers and is often considered on of the best PS3 games available. The series was praised for its simple core mechanics, varied missions, and strong story. Infamous 2 received similar praise and holds a score of 83 on Metacritic.
I never played the original game (it is still on my to-play list) but I can vouch for the amazing experience of the second one. It brought some unique mechanics to what at the time was a stale genre.
Infamous: The Second (and Best) Game in the Series
Experience what it is like to be a true superhero in this popular PS3 exclusive game. Roam around the vibrant and dynamic city completing the story as you please in this open-ended action adventure game.
The karma system lets you be in control of the story. Will you give into darkness or stand against it? This system is my favourite aspect of the Infamous series and encourages at least 2 playthroughs as you explore the abilities on both sides of the karma spectrum.
Infamous is one of those franchises that I recommend starting at the beginning as both games build up the world, lore and story and are best enjoyed together.
Infamous 2 Official Trailer
14. Prototype: Explore A City Torn By A Virus
Prototype is another popular open-world sandbox video game. The game was released in 2009 and a sequel (Prototype 2) was released in 2012. The game takes place in New York City just as a plague is taking over and spreading throughout the city.
Once infected, diseased creatures only have one purpose which is to kill any uninfected life form. In the midst of this chaos we find Alex Mercer who has no memory of his past but has the ability to shape-shift.
Players are free to roam the open-game world and solve the main storyline as they please, similar to the gameplay of Infamous and the GTA series. Prototype is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and through Steam for PC. The game averages scores of 80% on Metacritic across its available platforms.
This is a game series that I strongly recommend if you're a fan of open world games that are packed full of story and lore, especially if you prefer them with an out of this world feel.
Starting with the original Prototype game is the ideal way to start your virus driven journey. The massive world that Prototype offers paired with the destructive abilities that you possess make it great for those that just want to run wild.
Personally I find the game is much more enjoyable on a console (Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) but if you don't own either it is still a decent adventure on Windows.
Prototype 2 Gameplay
15. Hitman (Series): A Stealth Focused Game Franchise
If you are a fan of the stealth aspects in the GTA games, then Hitman is the game for you. The game series is heavily focused on stealth and revolves around Agent 47, an assassin/hitman for hire.
The core objectives around each level involve the player killing an assigned target (with some levels containing optional bonus targets). While the game does reward a subtle approach to each level, the player is allowed to go Rambo style to achieve the mission goals.
The entire Hitman series has received positive reviews, making it a great, reliable game. While it lacks the open-world environment, many of the missions feel like assassination side missions of GTA.
The pick from the series for me is definitely Hitman: Absolution since it finally got a few of the core gameplay mechanics perfectly balanced, making it the highest polished game from the series yet.
Alternatively, if you want to try one of the older games then Hitman Contracts is my favourite from the older era titles. If instead you want to go all out the Himan Collection is a convenient way to get every game in a bundle.
My Favourite Hitman Title
Hitman: Absolution is my favourite game from the Hitman series. Just looking at the game preview below it is easy to see why. While the game series is slightly more stealth based than the GTA series many of the mechanics feel the same and the wealth of Hitman games ensures hours of gameplay.
Not only did this release polish some of the core aspects, it also introduced a number of new features that enhance the already successful series and bring it to new levels.
In particular, you'll find great freedom of choice in Absolution combined with a great AI to create a realistic game world. One that has many assassination targets to complete by combining stealth and more direct approaches.
Hitman: Absolution Gameplay
16. Simpsons Hit and Run: The Perfect Option for Simpsons Fans and Those That Love to Drive
The Simpsons Hit & Run is a unique option on this page and appeals to people who are more interested in the driving elements of the GTA series.
The game is available on Xbox, PS2, and PC with the story, dialogue, and voices by the same people behind The Simpsons. You will feel like you are entering the world of Springfield.
The game heavily features the citizens of Springfield, the Simpson family, and Springfield itself. It will definitely not disappoint fans of the series, often being considered the best Simpsons game to be produced and I couldn't agree more.
Gameplay is mainly focused on the driving aspect, which draws heavily from the GTA franchise. However players can also explore the world on foot when required. If you like The Simpsons or just prefer the driving elements of Grand Theft Auto, you will enjoy this option.
The Simpsons: Hit and Run
Play as your favourite Simpsons character in this open world driving orientated game. Every character within the game is complete with voice, supplied by The Simpsons cast.
The game features a unique storyline and dialogue along with 56 missions split over 7 massive levels. It also features various multi-player modes.
Before I was hooked on Grand Theft Auto I was obsessed with The Simpsons: Hit and Run, despite its age the quality of the game still makes it a viable choice in the current day. It's also the perfect game to play with friends or even younger family members thanks to the age appropriate content.