The 13 best games like GTA

Try these games out for size.

Image via Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto is one of the world’s most popular video game franchises in the world. While GTA Online continues to make profits for the company, many fans are eagerly awaiting Grand Theft Auto VI almost a decade after the release of Grand Theft Auto V. There’s no doubt that the series is not going away any time soon.

Over the years, many games have appeared that look similar to Grand Theft Auto. While we could argue that some are better than Grand Theft Auto in one way or another, the general term for these games is “GTA Clone.” The fact that everything similar to GTA that comes after it is immediately referred to as a clone is a testament to their success. Other games that have had the “clone” title given to games similar to them include Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Rainbow Moon, and Legend of Zelda.

Several of these so-called GTA clones gave Grand Theft Auto a run for its money, and many have even arguably outdone the series. Some games have just been less popular but more appreciated by fans because of their gameplay or narrative. Here are some of the best games like Grand Theft Auto.

Games to play while you wait for Grand Theft Auto 6 to release

13) The Simpsons Hit & Run

Image via Radical Entertainment

Although The Simpsons Hit And Run didn’t go nearly as far into mature territory as Grand Theft Auto, it was eerily similar to the game. Depending on the level, players could take on the role of a different Simpson and explore Springfield’s semi-open world. The HUD resembled Grand Theft Auto‘s, and while you couldn’t carjack anyone, you could still hitchhike and control the NPC driver. There was no need to drive recklessly, but it was a great way to get around faster, and you could ruin NPCs’ days by hitting them. It wasn’t the point of the game to be mean, but many players took that route when they realized they had complete freedom.

12) The Saboteur

Image via EA

The Saboteur places players as members of the French resistance in a black-and-white territory controlled by Nazis. It is only after the Nazis loosen their grip on areas that players begin to see color again. To help the French resistance retake their home, the player must harm Nazi influence by taking down radio towers and stealthfully killing Nazi party members. The goal of the game isn’t to cause as much damage as possible, but it is highly recommended that players harm Nazis as much as possible.

11) The Watch Dogs series

Image via Ubisoft

With Watch Dogs, Ubisoft explores the struggle of hackers against oppression in a society heading toward 1984 territory. Because the world is interconnected in many ways, like CCTV and WiFi, the player can hack into anything. Among other things, players can hack into phones to steal money, stop cars, change traffic lights, and hotwire vehicles. Although this is an ambitious series, it hasn’t gotten the fan base of other Ubisoft games, like FarCry and Assassin’s Creed. While each game has its own protagonist, they are all essentially about hackers fighting everything that’s evil. There are also many hints from Ubisoft that Watch Dogs takes place in the same world as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, like the CCO of Abstergo being killed by Aiden Pierce.

10) Rustler

Image via Jutsu Games

Rustler is proud that it’s essentially GTA in medieval times. If you look at its Steam page, it says “Rustler (Grand Theft Horse).” It has an older GTA-style look and puts players in the position of robbers and villains. Players are encouraged to kill heroes and guards, rob peasants, and steal horses to be a menace to society. Gameplay in Rustler is full of pop culture references and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not the kind of game you’d play if you wanted a narrative adventure, but it’s definitely the kind you’d play if you wanted to experience what it was like to be a thug from the Middle Ages.

9) Scarface: The World Is Yours

Image via Radical Entertainment

Tony Montana is shot by a hitman and falls into his pool at the end of Scarface. Scarface: The World Is Yours imagines a world where the hitman never slid behind Tony. Tony is able to escape his mansion and begin his empire from scratch. This is similar to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City since the player is trying to start a criminal enterprise in Miami (Vice City’s inspiration) and needs to handle the defense of their businesses. With Scarface: The World Is Yours, the player can order cars and use their gang members as protection, making them feel like a mob boss. The story and gameplay are great, and the game really deserves a remaster.

8) The Godfather 1 & 2

Image via EA

In both games, the player controls a minor character with their own story, but the movie’s events are followed. The first game requires players to rise through the ranks and do jobs, while the second allows players to build their own family loyal to the Corleones. As players grow their money, they must also deal with the law stopping their jobs and committing crimes. It will remind players a lot of Grand Theft Auto just from the HUD and crimes they need to commit in the story. It’s a great game, even if you haven’t seen the movies, and it still holds up today.

7) The Just Cause series

Image via Square Enix

There may be a lot of destruction and rampaging in Grand Theft Auto, but Just Cause has done it better. As Rico Rodriguez, players are tasked with causing as much trouble as possible to dictatorships and killing anyone in charge. Each game in the series takes place on a different island, but Rico’s damage increases with each entry. Even though the stories are always good, the gameplay makes the games the most enjoyable. Playing Just Cause is like playing in a sandbox of destruction and mayhem, but it’s for a just cause. While freeing an oppressed country, players will demonstrate how easily they can harm its tyrannous leaders.

6) Sleeping Dogs

Image via Square Enix

Sleeping Dogs puts players in the role of an undercover detective who is taking down the Triads in Hong Kong. While players need to observe and uphold the law as much as they can in their situation, it’s easy to go overboard and let the Triad style take over. The game uses the open world and carjacking of Grand Theft Auto while mixing in combat made famous by the Batman Arkham series. The story is heartbreaking, and players will feel bad for tricking criminals, but good for keeping Hong Kong safe by doing their duty.

5) The Saints Row series

Image via Volition

The original Saints Row came out before GTA IV but after Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It was much more customizable than any Grand Theft Auto game of the time and told a much deeper story than many Grand Theft Auto games. Throughout the game, players fought three different gangs and rose through the ranks of the Third Street Saints. While the game had a great storyline when it was serious, it suffered as it became sillier. Throughout the games, the formula repeated itself, with three different storylines meeting at the end. After it turned into a completely ridiculous series, it lost a few fans but gained far more thanks to it becoming a playground for players to unleash destruction in.

4) Bully

Image via Rockstar Games

As Rockstar made Bully, they were able to give it the beloved Grand Theft Auto formula while creating a whole new IP. The game puts players in the role of a new student at a prestigious boarding school. The goal is to stop the bullies and mean kids from making the school worse for everyone. There is some violence, but it is very watered down to look like schoolyard shenanigans. It’s one of Rockstar’s most popular games, and there are constant requests for a remaster.

3) The Yakuza Series

Image via SEGA

Even though Yakuza is like a watered-down Grand Theft Auto without cars, it is an incredibly fun brawler. The combat alone makes the game shine, and the open world feels more immersive than Grand Theft Auto. The citizens in Yakuza behave more realistically and feel like they can potentially be NPCs that you can interact with, as they usually are, unlike those in GTA. There’s also an incredible storyline that spans six games and will leave you teary-eyed. Its criminal-style gameplay will appeal to players, but they will learn about Kazuma Kiryu’s conflict as they progress through the games.

2) The Mafia series

Screengrab by Hangar 13

Mafia has never disappointed in the storyline, and while the third game differs greatly from the other two, it’s still an unforgettable experience. Players assume the role of a member of a crime family and watch their loved ones suffer as a result of this world. Rather than glorifying crime, the Mafia series shows how unfair that world is and how easily criminals betray each other. Compared with Grand Theft Auto, there are far more consequences for committing crimes in the Mafia series, but it’s also much more immersive.

1) Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2

Image via Rockstar Games

Red Dead Redemption is arguably better than the Grand Theft Auto series. The story is much better, the characters behave more realistically, and the player feels that their actions have consequences. Currently, this old west series has two of the most liked main characters in all of gaming, and that won’t change anytime soon. We’d love to see a third game in the series, but we won’t see it anytime soon. Although it looks like Grand Theft Auto in the Old West, it is actually a realistic simulation of old west outlaws.