Let’s face it, most of us find open-world settings extremely engrossing. There’s something about being in a living, breathing city that makes sandbox games hard to put down. Undeniably, the Grand Theft Auto series is one of the best series when it comes to open-world settings, after all Rockstar was the first company to start that trend. But what if you would like to play games that are similar to Grand Theft Auto? There are a myriad of games that adopt open-world environments and choosing some of the best ones is quite difficult.
Below, you’ll find a list with five of the best Grand Theft Auto clones, GTA-like titles or simply, five of the best games that are similar to GTA. Since there are literally dozens of games that fall into this category, reducing that number to just five is hard and is likely to make some people angry. So if you disagree with any of the titles that were included in this list, feel free to share ideas and opinions in the comments down below. Oh, I almost forgot. For obvious reasons, I decided to omit Rockstar-developed games. This is what I came up with:
5. The Simpsons: Hit & Run (PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC)
What would you say if I told you that there’s a video game that allows you to visit a meticulous recreation of Springfield? The Simpsons: Hit & Run features that and much more. In the game, you can play as some of the most beloved characters in The Simpsons universe (Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Apu.) So you control those characters from a third-person perspective, drive carelessly, attack pedestrians, blow up vehicles, destroy signs and so on and so forth. But if the “hit and run” meter fills up, police will start following you and the meter will only decrease if you stop committing crimes. Grand Theft Auto set in The Simpsons universe? Sign me up!
4. Crackdown (Xbox 360)
Crackdown is a third-person action game that puts in control of an agent with super powers, so apart from using melee attacks, guns and vehicles, you can jump from rooftop to rooftop. At its core, Crackdown is a superhero game disguised as a GTA clone, but who could have predicted that this concoction was going to work as well as it did?
3. Driver: San Francisco (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Driver: San Francisco combines elements proper of the open-world, action-adventure and driving genres. But apart from incorporating these elements, the game has a feature that makes it quite unique: the shift mechanic. At almost any point during the game, the main character can teleport to another car and continue the mission as if nothing happened. It’s worth mentioning that the game’s recreation of San Francisco is really meticulous and detailed: the game has around 200 miles of roads and landmarks such as the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate.
2. Sleeping Dogs (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
For many, Sleeping Dogs was a pleasant surprise. After all, this game started as a follow-up to a True Crime title, a series that not many players remember fondly. The traditional elements are all here: you move in an open-world setting, the camera follows you from an over-the-shoulder perspective and role-playing elements also come into play. The hand-to-hand combat has often been compared to Batman: Arkham Asylum and the driving sequences to the Need for Speed series. In other words, Sleeping Dogs seems to adopt elements from some of the best games in the market and uses those elements to create something unique and worth playing.
1. Saints Row: The Third (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Once again, the template to create this game is that of Grand Theft Auto. Now everything else about this game is completely different to GTA: the arsenal of weapons is ridiculous, the melee attacks are insane, the plot is nonsensical and the action sequences are extremely over-the-top. Unless you don’t like the game’s juvenile sense of humor, Saints Row: The Third is one of the most memorable and downright ridiculous open-world titles you can play.
These are some of the games that didn’t make the cut: Mafia 2, Just Cause 2, Prototype, The Godfather, Gun, Lego City Undercover, Mercenaries, Scarface: The World is Yours, The Getaway and Total Overdose.