Top 13 Best Games Like GTA You Can Play

After more than a decade, you might feel like you’ve seen everything GTA V/GTA Online has to offer. So. we’re running down the top 15 best games like GTA, from chaotic shooters to forgotten jewels.

Open-world, third-person shooting, questing, driving, side activities, money, crime, and fame. All of these elements are the DNA of the GTA series. They combine to offer two things, mostly: the joy of creating mayhem without consequences, and the thrills of playing an anti-hero in a realistic scenario.

Selecting Games like GTA

games like gta
Games like GTA should offer open-world chaos, shooting, and driving.

We’re bringing you the top 15 best games like GTA. Some of these rely on similar chaotic experiences; others revolve around open-world stories with shooting and driving.

But finding games like GTA required us to understand the coveted Rockstar formula. To that end, we pinpointed the core elements in GTA V, as many consider it as the best entry in the saga.

In summary, our selections feature a blend of the following elements:

  • Open-world city: Rockstar’s open-world cities are fictional versions of real-life places.
  • Driving: the driving mechanics on GTA are stellar, rivaling driving-only games like Need For Speed. Overall, it’s fluid and simple,thriving on a wide catalog of vehicles and damage mechanics.
  • Shooting: via simple third-shooting mechanics, the characters can engage in battle with rifles, SMGs, pistols, shotguns, knives, swords, bats, and more. Players can jump, run, crawl, and take cover.
  • Questing: there’s the main story of all GTA games. Each mission has a cinematic cut and proceeds on increasingly complex and crazy heist-like scenarios.  
  • Multi protagonist: GTA V uses three protagonists, each one featuring their friends, personalities, and stories. You can swap the main trio characters at any time.
  • Choices: with a limited number of key choices, the player may lead the story to three different endings.
  • Side activities & free-roam: you can skip the quests for as long as you want for side activities. You can rob people in the streets, drive an ambulance for work, buy houses, buy clothes, play golf, play tennis, go to triathlons, and much more. 
  • Police response: the police response to your criminal activities. They pursue the player with increasing intensity depending on the severity of the crimes.
  • Satire: GTA V is often a satirical commentary against capitalism.
  • Ragdoll physics: bodies, cars, and any object in GTA V can crash, fall, hit walls, and similar without premade animations. Simply put, the game engine handles all physical interactions for hilarious results.
  • Chaos: you can create chaos on the streets. Destroy cars, run-over people, blow up things, escape from the police, fire your assault rifle randomly. The possibilities are endless.

Games Like GTA

Saints Row Series – Saints Row IV

saints row iv
You can get a remastered version of Saints Row: The Third.
  • Developer: Volition, Inc
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Release Date: August 2013
  • Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Linux.

An alien invasion? Yes, an alien invasion. You’re the USA President, the silly super-patriot who will save the Earth from overlord Zinyak. To your aid comes an insane array of pew-pew powers and guns. It’s a wild experience.

See, any game in the Saints Row series would fit our list. These games started as GTA imitations, freely taking elements from the Rockstar elements. When Saints Row: The Third came out in 2011, it found its own personality: full-steam silly.

The fourth entry expanded the formula to deliver an open/world action-adventure sci-fi shooter. It’s goofy, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it doesn’t shy away from being outlandish.

Initially, it presents an open-world setting. You can explore it and do side activities at your own will, and you can drive as well. As the main story moves on, the game challenges you with tough action set pieces, good-time shooting segments, and a whole lot of random and absurd elements there to make you laugh.

Watch Dogs Series – Watch_Dogs: Legion

watch dogs legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is only available via the Ubisoft store.
  • Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: October 2020
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS5, Google Stadia.

Legion stays true to the series formula. It offers similar free-roam gameplay, choice mechanics, and chaotic hacking powers. That said, you could check prior games in the series, like Watch Dogs 2. The older title is also a satire; thus it captures the tone GTA V offers. 

Nevertheless, the newer game offers new elements to spice up the game. Within a dystopian London setting, you can recruit any NPC in the world as part of your team. Every NPC has a particular set of skills, giving you options for the quests. As a result, you get an endless amount of supporters for the ongoing war against the city’s corruption. 

It’s not a perfect game, though. The multi-protagonist approach lacks depth and can fall flat quickly. For example, the way the game handles voices and cinematic cuts with multiple characters is weird.

It’s not a perfect game, though. The muti-protagonist approach lacks depth and can fall flat quickly. For example, the way the game handles voices and cinematic cuts with multiple characters is weird.

Red Dead Redemption 2

red dead redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 has an unpopular online version.
  • Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: October 2020
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Google Stadia.

Rockstar has lost plenty of fan credibility in recent years. However, they know how to create masterpieces. If you’re looking for games like GTA, Red Dead Redemption 2 is so much more than that. In many ways, it’s Rockstar over-delivering and standing way above its competitors.

RDR 2 is a massive RPG in a living, breathing, cowboy world. It’s gorgeous, deep, full of details, and realistic aspects. The title combines stunning graphics with stellar playtime and a memorable story to stand as one of the most iconic games in recent history. And even if you don’t like it, you must recognize its prowess.

So, the game has a campaign mode that goes for 80 to 100 hours. You play as Arthur Morgan, a member of a notorious gang currently declining. The plot revolves around the rivalries against law enforcers, other bands, and Pinkerton agents.

Along the way, you’ll find yourself doing a plethora of activities to pass the time. These include taking care of your guns, hunting, learning new skills, getting a new barber cut, fish, playing poker, and interacting with other NPCs. Overall, it gets most of the GTA V elements: open-world, driving (on horses), shooting, a chaotic lifestyle, a riveting plot, free-roam, and whatnot.

Mafia III

mafia 3
Hangar 13 studio has only made Mafia games so far.
  • Developer: Hangar 13
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Release Date: October 2016
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One

Most games like GTA would include an all-guns-blazing conflict with some gang or Mafia. That element takes us to the best entry of the 2K’s series, Mafia III. 

This is an open-world game where you play as a member of a criminal organization. It’s a grounded take on the GTA formula, with a darker tone and a serious storyline. However, some of its topics will remind you of GTA 4 and San Andreas’ themes of redemption, revenge, betrayal, and temptation. 

Mafia 3 also has a stronger focus on free-roam and side activities. The studio Hangar 13 wanted to make it closer to a Rockstar title. So, the story focuses on a war veteran trying to escape from his past. It sounds like GTA 4’s main character Niko Bellic, but Lincoln Clay has a strong personality and motivation. 

The narrative is a slow-burn, but it takes its cues from legends like The Godfather and even The Sopranos. Naturally, the writing is outstanding, capable of making you enjoy Mafia 3 as a series, as well as a video game. 

Yakuza Series – Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon changed the main protagonist after several entries following Kazuma Kiryu.
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: January 2020
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series

The Yakuza series is an obvious choice as well. In summary, these games revolve around characters going in and out of criminal life. That means dealing with the gang rivalries, the law, and betrayal. 

Yakuza: Like a Dragon adds something to the formula. These are open-world games playing in third-person perspective and featuring an arcade-like battle system. However, the latest game swapped the arcade for a classic JRPG, turn-based combat. As a result, it is one of the best-reviewed games in recent times. 

But this is not enough to convince you, so what else does Yakuza offer? Well, the series is quite popular for its side activities. Instead of helping random NPCs, you can just have fun. Sing karaoke, watch illicit content, manage a bar for adults, date escorts, or participate in go-kart races. On top of that, if you want to, you can complete over 50 substories.

Lastly, the open-world city is a real-life recreation of Japanese cities and towns. You play as Ichiban Kasuha, a bold new character introducing a new storyline. He’s a low-ranking Yakuza member who went to prison for 18 years after a betrayal. Once he gets out, he embarks on a bold journey to get his life back. 

L.A. Noire

LA Noirse
L.A. Noire might not be available in your region due to its old age.
  • Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar
  • Publisher: Rockstar
  • Release Date: May 2011
  • Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.

L.A. Noire is another Rockstar title. As before, it’s an open-world action-adventure with a different tone from its in-house competitors.

As the name suggests, L.A. Noire tells a cynic, ambiguous, and obscure detective story. However, the gameplay revolves around investigation and exploration rather than action. That means you can’t go on chaotic rampages; you can only shoot at your enemies. 

Nevertheless, aside from shooting and driving, you’ll face engaging puzzles. You’ll need to judge suspects based on facial expressions and clues you’ve gathered. Your conclusions may lead you to the right, wrong, or neutral directions. Yet, there’re no branching paths and no multiple endings.

That said, the game won’t be holding your hand. You’re to pursue or abandon clues and suspects. And outside of interrogation missions, you can also free-roam the streets of a 1940s L.A. alongside your partner. Along the ride, you can find collectibles and Landmarks, collect vehicles, and solve street crimes. 

Just Cause 4

jusr cause 4
Hust Cause 4 is about sky-high chaotic fun.
  • Developer: Avalanche Studios
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: December 2018
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One.

Just Cause 4 is chaotic and explosive. On top of that, it gives players a ludicrous amount of freedom (and DLCs). This game has wingsuit, grappling hooks, vehicles, surfing boards, tornadoes lifting your bike up in the air, and more. In essence, it works with a ragdoll physics engine for the same amusing results as GTA V. 

Just Cause 4 is an open-world action-adventure game. It gives players the tools to be creative for traversal and combat. In every sense of the word, players can make absurd choices and break the rules of nature. 

The story happens on a fictional tropical South American island. Here, your job is eliminating the Black Hand faction, a criminal organization that took over the country. During your quest, you’ll recruit soldiers and cause a ludicrous amount of damage and chaos for your “heroic” task. 

That said, Just Cause 4 works akin to a Far Cry game. The maps have different areas, and you’d have to defeat the leaders of each site to liberate the region. Then, you move to the next, where enemies will meet you with increased challenges. As you’re probably thinking, the story is not very good.

Payday 2

Payday 2
Payday 2 is an online-only game. However, you can join random matches.
  • Developer: Overkill Software
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Release Date: August 2013
  • Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.

If you enjoy GTA heist missions, Payday 2 is the kind of experience you’re looking for. Not only is it one of the best games like GTA, but it’s also a co-op FPS that gathers players on a series of high-stakes robberies

Players have to strategize to complete the missions. The idea is to think about the details of the heist and then play them out with extreme precision. GTA Online also added a similar feature after Payday 2, Heists.

The gameplay is about a four-player squad on a crime spree in Washington DC. Players can get the contracts on the CRIMENET network and freely choose anything, from small stores to massive banks, cyber-crime, or kidnappings. 

Overall, it’s a rewarding game with a simple gameplay loop. You go on missions, earn money, buy and craft better gear, learn new skills, and slowly become a criminal legend. Lastly, the game features a hefty character progression system for a dangerously addictive experience.

Mad Max

  • Developer: Avalanche Studios
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
  • Release Date: September 2015
  • Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.

Mad Max is loosely connected with the movie franchise, but it’s not nearly as popular as the movies. While the 2015 movie starring Tom Hardy was a massive hit, the companion title became an underdog.

We’re here to recommend it as one of the best games like GTA. While borrowing most of its mechanics from the Batman: Arkham Knight games, Mad Max has its own sense of Valhalla. It features arcade melee combat, robust driving mechanics, and beaten psychos for an overall chaotic experience. 

Naturally, you play as Mad Max. You’re a lone warrior in a deserted post-apocalyptic world where cars and gasoline are key to survival. The setting opens up an action-packed third-person open-world game

Your goal is staying alive in the wasteland by brutal vehicle and ground combat. Ultimately you want to find the “Plains of Silence.” But the journey is vicious and challenging. You go on scavenging missions for treacherous NPCs on a dangerous land. Lastly, there’s a character progression system, a crafting system, and scarce resources.

Far Cry Series – Far Cry 6

far cry 6
Far Cry 6’s crafting system works via the “Resolver” workbenches. “Resolver” means “to solve” or “to sort out.”
  • Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: October 2021
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series.

Chaotic combat? Check. Open-world and free-roam? Yes. Ragdoll physics? At its best. Thrilling storyline? Well…maybe? But if you don’t want to play the sixth main entry in the franchise, we welcome you to try Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 3.

Everyone knows what to expect from Far Cry games. Even though the first three entries were unique and different from each other, subsequent titles have offered more of the same. And that’s exactly what Far Cry 6 is: more of the same, but better. 

The setting is Yara, a fictional tropical island in South America. President Antón Castillo is leading the country with an iron fist. Giancarlo Esposito played the part to deliver the best character in the game. 

You play as Dani Rojas, a guerrilla fighter aiming to free the island from its oppressors. As before, you must liberate different regions until facing Antón Castillo in Esperanza city (also open-world). The game offers a massive open-world, a crazy amount of weapons, bullet types, weapon crafting, and high-stakes quests. 

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

sleeping dogs
Sleeping Dogs is a forgotten jewel.
  • Developer: United Front Games
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: August 2012
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4.

Sleeping Dogs is an older title that blends Blockbuster action, stunts, and martial arts with an open-world crime setting. The result is like a GTA game meets a Bruce Lee classic film. And it’s great, so we’re sad its sequel never came out.

Currently, you can play the Definitive Edition, which packs all of its DLCs plus significant visual and audio improvements. It’s a great way to enter the craze of the 2012 masterpiece you may have missed.

The setting is Hong Kong, filled with neon lights and exotic locations. The city looks busy, brimming with life, and full of lifelike NPCs. Here, you play Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to defeat the Triads mafia gangs from the inside. However, you have to fight yourself to the top of the gang, which means going to brutal criminal activities without blowing your identity.

This opens up various gameplay mechanics. There’s hand-to-hand combat with an excellent martial arts mechanic. There’s free-roam driving, illegal street races, firearms, karaoke, gambles, cock fights, and more. Overall, Sleeping Dogs is explosive, high-speed, and features many activities.

Lego City: Undercover

Lego City: Unvercover
Lego City: Undercover is the only game like GTA for kids on our list.
  • Developer: Traveller’s Tales
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Release Date: March 2013
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS.

Most games like GTA are for mature audiences. That’s because they feature deep themes, violence, cops, robbers, and other night-time luxuries.

But Lego makes games for kids, and their Undercover title is exactly that. It’s a cute open-world platformer that takes elements from the GTA series for a unique story.

The game follows Chase McCain in a story full of pop culture references. He’s an undercover cop on a quest to catch Rex Fury. The plot comes with the classical wit and sense of humor Lego tends to offer.

Players co complete the game alone or with a two-player co-op. Either way, the gameplay is about exploring a cute Lego City, a metropolis with 20 districts. Players can drive, find collectibles, and live through hilarious movie references.

Max Payne 3

max payne 3
Max Payne 3 is a non-open-world Rockstar game.
  • Developer: Rockstar Studios
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Release Date: May 2012
  • Platform: Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

Max Payne 3 is not open-world, and it has no driving mechanics. It’s also not chaotic and has no ragdoll physics. Is this forgotten jewel really a game like GTA?

Yes, it is, but we left it last because of its lack of features. See, series fans realize GTA V uses a similar combat system to Max Payne 3. Both games have identical cover, shooting, movement, and damage mechanics. Even down to the little crosshair dots, it looks like GTA V took the Max Payne 3 shooting for itself. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Rockstar’s game looks like a combination of all good things in the video-game industry. That said, Max Payne 3 is different. It’s a linear third-person shooter where you play as New York detective Max Payne. 

Aside from its revolutionary shooting mechanics, the game added another sweat element many developers have copied. The “Bullet Time” skill allows players to slow-down time to aim shots and evade enemy shots. Moreover, enemy NPCs suffer different wounds and have different death animations depending on their weapons. 

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