Games Like GTA: Best Open World Games Like Grand Theft Auto
If you are looking for free roam games, Games Like GTA are the first place to start. The much heralded Grand Theft Auto series set a clear benchmark in video gaming history as the first massively popular 3D open world action adventure game. It quite literally revolutionized the industry. The thrill of interacting in a vibrant world where personal choice is paramount, broke down the traditional linear boundaries games were thought to inhabit.
Today we have a multitude of games similar to GTA, all trying to catch some of the same magic. Many try, only some succeed. Only some games are actually executed properly and can compare to GTA. If you can’t get enough of the GTA series, this article will suggest some other games that will provide a similar gaming experience.
Saints Row (Series)
The Saints Row series has long emulated the recipe of GTA. While the bold face copying of many features is not exactly authentic, it really doesn’t matter from the perspective of the gamer. For fans of GTA, especially the earlier versions, Saints Row is an excellent diversion. It is familiar enough so that it is easy to learn, but different enough so that the player gets a completely different flavor experience than GTA.
Open world mayhem might be the best way to describe Saints Row: The Third. Saints Row takes on an even more tongue in cheek attitude than GTA, but is also even more wild and – some say – less “realistic”. Saints Row does not try and be something it is not. Imagine a game with all the outrageous explosions, gunfights, car chases, and crazy characters of GTA and multiply it by 10.
Customization is what Saints Row is all about. From ridiculous zombie grunting character voice options, to animal mascot suits, or sexy cowgirl outfits, the Saints Row series is outrageously politically incorrect and – dare we say it – downright fun! You can pick the game up at Amazon for cheapest price at roughly $30 (with free shipping).
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption was the much touted “Wild West” version of Grand Theft Auto. It is probably one of the closest games like GTA, just not in the same setting. The only major difference is that instead of cars, the trusted method of travel is by horse (trains and stage coach can also be used, but not controlled directly). With impressive landscapes, epic gun battles, and free roam to do pretty much anything, RDR will keep you busy for a while.
The open world environment of Red Dead Redemption is brimming with authenticity and realism. Taking you back to place where the edge of civilization meets the wild frontier, the player immediately gets the sense of an uncompromising harsh world. Other characters come alive as you put together bits and pieces of the world through various conversations.
Much like in the GTA series, the lead character John Marston starts out as a virtual nobody with everything to prove. Fortunately, Marston has a variety of tools at his disposal to make his fortune in the territory of New Austin. Between picking wild flowers in the grassland, hunting a variety of game on the plains, or hunting down wanted criminals for a bounty, RDR is full of lucrative side hobbies besides following the main story lines.
The game of the year edition also includes a zombie apocalypse (western style) expansion pack along with a number of crucial patches and game updates. Amazon generally sells lower than retail, you can pick this version of the game up for less than $30 with FREE shipping (both Xbox 360 and PS3). A good value for the bonus content.
Based off of the award winning original Mafia video game, Mafia 2 explores the world of early to mid 20th century organized crime within an open world environment. If you like the Mafia genre and open world games, Mafia 2 is definitely the best game out there right now.
While set in a free roam environment, Mafia 2 also boasts a well developed story line. The game plays more like a movie (think The Godfather) than GTA. You play Vito Scaletta, just returned home from war in 1945. Like in Grand Theft Auto, you start small as a virtual nobody. No one cares who your are and you have everything to prove. Starting of with small time heists and intimidation missions, Vito begins to make a name for himself and the plot thickens appropriately.
One of the most interesting parts of Mafia 2 is the portrayal of the passage of time. The story line is divided into different epochs, ending in the 1950s. When Vito returns from World War II in 1945 it is Winter time and snow bedecks the city like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The cars and the way people dress is appropriately conservative for the time period. As the post-war boom picks up and prosperity ushers in the 1950s, the city begins to change. The game world subtly adjusts, but by the 50s women are wearing more vibrant colors and new “muscle” sports cars begin to make an appearance.
You can pick up Mafia 2 for less than $20 at Amazon which is a great value for the money. When Mafia 2 was released it was almost $60 a pop. It’s available for all the major console platforms (just click the link below).
Sleeping Dogs has largely flown under the radar, but it is perhaps the most like GTA in spirit. The first difference is that the game is set in Hong Kong. It pays homage to the True Crime series, but adds plenty of its own flavor to the mix. In fact, Sleeping Dogs was originally planned as the the third sequel in the True Crime series.
Whereas in GTA you essentially play as a criminal, Sleeping Dogs puts you in the shoes of an undercover police officer attempting to infiltrate the notorious Sun On Yee Triad organized crime group. Much like GTA, everything is entirely free roam. There are also numerous side missions, dating functionality, and street racing to partake in.
The game was released to generally positive reviews. The game is noted for not trying to be anything other than a solid open world game. It certainly does not re-invent the wheel with any new features, but all the game concepts are executed well. Fans of GTA will be very comfortable playing Sleeping Dogs.
Sleeping Dogs is on sale for about $40 with free shipping at Amazon. Most people in the U.S. don’t know this game exists, but everyone who tries it, loves it. Sleeping Dogs is also available on the major gaming platforms.
Prototype 2 is a bit of a different experience than GTA. Based off of the well received original Prototype, this second iteration expands on the open world environment full of free roaming consequence free mayhem.
In Prototype 2, New York is ground zero for a viral outbreak with many of its citizens, including the protagonist, infected. The story line is remarkably developed for a game within this genre. A military force has quarantined the city, ostensibly for the public good, but as it turns out there are more sinister designs in play. Under the guise of protection, the military is actually undertaking biological weapons testing with, using the population of the city as lab rats. You play SGT James Heller – a soldier left to die – with a wife and son already dead.
The game play is largely without consequences and definitely easier than most games. This leads to an immense amount of chaos and fun, much like in Saints Row 2. However, for those looking for a deeper role playing experience with a steeper learning curve Prototype might not be a good fit.
Prototype 2 is available over at Amazon for less than $40 and free shipping! It’s definitely worth a try if you are looking for something a bit different, but with the same fun free roam aspects.
The Godfather – like the title suggests – is based off of the movie by the same name. The game itself is much more than a tired replaying of the movie, however. It features many unique design features, successfully merging a first person shooter with a business simulation game. The Godfather is a must own for fans of organized crime based open world games like GTA.
Like in Mafia 2, players in The Godfather will start off on the bottom rung of the Family as a mere associate. Eventually you can work your way up into the top echelons of power. While many of the characters in the game will be recognizable from the movie, your character is a well thought out and implemented character.
While the central stories drive the the game forward, the territory management sequence will keep you occupied and on your feet for a while. Rival families will vie for your territory and you will have to fight off their incursions. Similarly, you can go on the offensive and snatch up lucrative rackets for your family. The game features a masterful intimidation meter that allows you to influence local business owners into turning to you for protection. This is followed-up by weekly collections of the “protection” money that must be made.
Fortunately, The Godfather is relatively cheap if you get it through Amazon. It is hard to find in retail stores. The game was not as mass produced for the new console systems, so it can get sold out (or have the price fluctuate) on occasion. There are a number of different versions available on Amazon, but if you check out the link below and select the Xbox 360 version you can get all the updates, patches, and bonus content.
Driver: San Francisco
Driver is another great entry in the open world genre of games. It places more of an emphasis (as the title suggests) on vehicles, more so than any other open world game. Set in the iconic San Francisco, Driver is built for incredible feats, stunts, and thrilling car chases.
In Driver, you play as an undercover cop behind the wheel taking down dangerous criminal organizations. As this game is driving focused, maneuvering on foot is pretty useless. Fortunately, the game features a unique “shift” feature which allows you to instantly switch to other nearby vehicles. While this is not very realistic, it is well implemented and makes the game much more fast paced and fun.
When it comes to driving missions, there is tons to choose from. The sprawling city offers all kinds of races, tracking down criminals, and stunt missions. This is all in addition to the main story line missions which are quite in depth. If you loved the driving aspect of GTA, you will love Driver: San Francisco.
It is available on Amazon for about $22-30. The Playstation 3 version is bout $5-10 cheaper than the Xbox version, but you can also pick up the PC version or about $10.
Assassins Creed III
Assassins Creed III is built on exploiting the open world environment to your advantage. This third version of Assassins Creed is created on a strong story. Without giving too much away, the story line plays like a movie saga. The best way to think about Assassins Creed is as a deep story wrapped up in a magnificent open world environment.
The American Revolution is a nice change of pace from the Italian cities which dominated the previous entries in the series. Through the cities of Boston, New York, and the small towns and villages in between, Connor plays out his lineage battling Red Coats and Templars. Perhaps the most unique aspect of AC3 is the relatively untamed American frontier. Hunting wild game or tending to the homestead brings the frontier to life in a way previously un-imagined in video games.
The stealth and assassin kills are probably way fans of the series keep coming back. If you like open world games, but want to experience something a little bit different, then AC3 is the right mix of assassin and free roam fun.
Assassins 3 is still relatively new so it is a bit pricey, but it is well worth the money. It is available for all the major platforms, including the Wii U. You can pick it up at Amazon for about $60 with free shipping.
L.A. Noire is made by the same folks at Rockstar Games who are behind the GTA series. L.A. Noire has a different feel from GTA. Rather than tearing up the streets as a criminal, you play a detective keen on solving the biggest Hollywood murders.
L.A. Noire oozes style and substance. In post war Los Angeles your job ranges from investigating seemingly inconspicuous morphine related drug deaths to the ritz and glamour of Hollywood tragedy. As a detective, you will be examining the crime scene for the smallest details in an attempt to solve murders. Fortunately, the city is beautifully rendered which makes finding clues a fun (not tedious) task.
While the game is set in an open world environment with vehicles and weapons like in GTA, it is much more story and character driven. As Phelps (your character) works his way up the Police Department ladder, the murders and plots get more intense. In the end, you become engrossed as if reading a hit detective thriller or watching a hit movie.
L.A. Noire is hands down the best open world detective game on the market. You can find it at Amazon for less than $20, available for all major console systems including instant download for PC.
Borderlands 2 is a bit of a wacky take on open world games. That said, it is also incredibly fun and addictive. If you played the original Borderlands and were not impressed, Borderlands 2 is hands down a superior game and well worth the money.
First things first, Borderlands is an extremely diverse planet, full of wacky characters and creatures. If realism is your thing, Borderlands does not try to be “realistic” in the sense that Mafia II or GTA do. There are four playable characters, each with their own unique set of craziness.
While the story missions will keep you busy, exploring is probably the most interesting aspect of Borderlands. Getting new weapons upgrades and finding cool vehicles makes life much easier. Borderlands 2 is a polished game that only builds on the success of the first Borderlands. The game is bursting with content and is sure to wile away hours of otherwise productive time.
If you want to check out Borderlands, head on over to Amazon to get it for about $40 with free shipping. You can get it for all the major console platforms. Mac users will be happy to know that you can pick up the game for instant download as well.
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Skyrim may be the most popular open world game in recent memory. While it has nothing to do with hijacking cars, it does boast a massive open world environment with dozens of quests to choose from (in no particular order).
The game world is beautifully rendered which is something you will immediately notice when you fire up Skyrim for the first time. You can choose from a number of character “classes” much like a traditional RPG. Each class set provides certain benefits, but no matter what class you choose your character builds skills with experience, training, and/or reading any number of skill books that can be found in the game.
While the “Dragon Born” character you play has a general story to unravel, you can take any approach you want to the game. Almost every person you meet in game offers a new quest, task, or side mission to undertake. It is quite easy to get side tracked exploring some distant city or hunting for a special item in a dark cavern network.
Even if you never thought you would like fantasy based games, Skyrim is well worth the money. It is truly awe inspiring and completely open ended. If you buy on Amazon you can save about 13% and get FREE SHIPPING. You can get it for Xbox 360, PS3 or PC.
Fallout: New Vegas
The Fallout series has become one of the mainstays of the open world game genre. It is extremely original with a post-apocalyptic setting and a multitude of things to do, places to see, and creatures (both human and “other”) to hunt. Fallout also happens to be one of the most successful/popular gaming series in recent memory.
One of the most successful and intriguing aspects of Fallout: New Vegas is the ability to craft useful tools and various weapons out of scrap materials scavenged from the detailed game world universe. In many ways New Vegas feels like the Wild West. It is the post-apocalyptic version of Red Dead Redemption mixed with the crafting science of Skyrim.
If a game could be called “completely open world” then New Vegas fits the bill. While many open world games have a central story that drives the mission, Fallout could care less. It is all about survival. It is about improving your station in life in a harsh new world order.
Fallout: New Vegas is most affordable if you order on Amazon right now (it is on sale for less than $25). You can pick up the Xbox 360, PS3 or PC version. If you liked Skyrim and enjoy GTA, then New Vegas will be an enjoyable experience, opening you up to a complex free roam game.
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 is a simply massive and magnificent game, larger by far than almost any other open world game. This game was built for open world gamers. At times it seems this fact comes almost at the expense of the main story line, but nonetheless the game is a treat to play.
Air, land, and water. These are the ways you can travel in Just Cause 2, using almost every vehicle imaginable. The game boasts over 100 vehicles of various caliber for the player to enjoy while they embark on James Bond style missions with incredible feats. Using over 600 square miles of in game world and up to 5oo feet above ground and 50 feat below water, Just Cause 2 is a world that will be hard to fully explore.
Missions vary from deep fleshed out epic adventures to one off side jobs, complete with destructable environments and a full arsenal of explosives, automatic weapons, and vehicle mounted weapons.
Just Cause 2 is a steal on Amazon for under $20. If you love big and beautiful open world games, this one is a must have. Just Cause is available for all of the major console systems.
Far Cry (Series)
Far Cry 3 is arguably one of the best received recent releases in the open world gaming genre. Far Cry is an extremely entertaining open world take on the tropical environment. Like Grand Theft Auto, it has its own unique flavor and feel.
At times it is hard to tell the difference between the wild life, the drug smugglers, and modern day pirates. Amid drug fueled binges, you must navigate this chaotic environment to find out what happened to your friends. But, let’s be clear, finding your friends is not nearly as fun as taking out enemy compounds with automatic weapons and explosives.
You can choose to do pretty much anything on this lush tropical island, including unleashing lions on your unsuspecting opponents, raiding ammo supply outposts, and driving various rickety vehicles with wild abandon.
Far Cry is one of those unique games you have to experience to truly understand. Far Cry 3 is available for PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and also available to download directly to your computer. Just make sure your computer can handle the specs. You can pick it up for less than $60 with free shipping included.
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