ByNicholas Montegriffo, writer at
NowLoading's Lucky Office Goth. Tweets: @unstabledweomer
Nicholas Montegriffo

#GrandTheftAuto dominates the charts on all platforms when it comes to the open world action genre, outclassing similar games that have tried to imitate it. Whether you play on console or PC, #GTAV is still one of the top rated games out there, with tons of secrets and mods keeping players interested in the years since its release.

Still, even a wide open sandbox has its limits if you spend enough time in it. For those of us who've played GTA V to death, here's my rundown of the best games like Grand Theft Auto.

Red Dead Redemption

  • Developer - Rockstar San Diego
  • Publisher - Rockstar Games
  • Platforms - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

#RedDeadRedemption, affectionately known as Grand Theft Horsey, is made by Rockstar, the creators behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise. The hero (kind of) John Marston is on a long term quest to save his family, but it's a long, winding road to redemption, letting you wander the Wild West, messing around and doing pretty much whatever you want. There's a highly anticipated sequel coming up next year, too.

Play this if... You wanna be a cowboy, baby.

Saints Row IV

  • Developer - Volition
  • Publisher - Deep Silver
  • Platforms - PC, PS4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The #SaintsRow series is a gangster sandbox similar to Grand Theft Auto. You commit countless crimes, including stealing cars, but it's crazier and more tongue-in-cheek. In Saints Row IV your gang leader becomes the POTUS during an alien invasion!

Play this if... You would rather run over old people with a golf cart while wearing a hot dog costume than have to sit through another dramatic cutscene.

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate

  • Developer - Ubisoft Quebec
  • Publisher - Ubisoft
  • Platforms - PC, PS4, Xbox One

The #AssassinsCreed games, like GTA V, provide a city-sized sandbox for the player to wreak havoc in. In Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, that sandbox is Victorian London. The player can use both protagonists, Jacob and Evie — twins, assassins and gang members — to explore a gritty version of London with plenty of opportunities for free roaming hijinks and bloody mayhem.

Play this if... You're into British accents.

Just Cause 3

  • Developer - Avalanche Studios
  • Publisher - Square Enix
  • Platforms - PC, PS4, Xbox One

The Just Cause series is perfect for that GTA fan who loves to cause explosion-based chaos and have a cheeky laugh while doing it. In Just Cause 3, wise-cracking protagonist Rico Rodriguez is outfitted with a bunch of cool toys to sow mayhem all over the island of Medici, all for the...just cause...of removing their corrupt dictator.

Play this if... you want to make war, not crime.

Skyrim Special Edition

  • Developer - Bethesda Game Studios
  • Publisher - Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms - PC, PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

#Skyrim's back baby, it's good again. Now, some GTA fans may balk at swapping out guns for bows, but wait 'til you see the insane enchantments you can put on those arrows. If you relish the criminal element of GTA, rest assured that Skyrim has you covered, with plenty of opportunities for crime ranging from sweetroll theft to mass murder (and more grand theft horse to boot!).

Play this if... you don't mind jacking dragons instead of cars.

Sleeping Dogs

  • Developer - United Front Games
  • Publisher - Square Enix
  • Platforms - PC, OSX, PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Sleeping Dogs can actually seem too much like GTA for its own good, as it was criticized for being a GTA clone at the expense of highlighting its own unique strengths. Inspired by punch-happy Hong Kong crime flicks, Sleeping Dogs has a much better melee combat system than GTA, plus a well developed vehicular combat system.

Play this if... you want to re-visit a criminal underworld sandbox but crave a more tense, scrappy experience.

Watch Dogs 2

  • Developer - Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher - Ubisoft
  • Platforms - PC, OSX, PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Like GTA, #WatchDogs2 offers a city-wide sandbox full of NPCs, buildings and vehicles for your criminal protagonist to screw around with. This time, however, it's a pretty different type of crime. The player has the freedom to approach the game with vastly different play-styles. Go in all guns blazing, keep it quiet with a stealth based run, or use your hacking skills to solve what bullets can't.

Play this if... you want something newer, shinier and geekier than GTA.

Living in a Gangsta's Paradise

Ah, GrandTheftAuto. How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Is it for your over-the-top ultraviolence? The story balance between humor and grit? But what I really love about games like GTA is freedom. More freedom than a bald eagle with a nest full of freedom fries. More freedom than Scotland under the reign of Mel Gibson. More friggin' freedom than George Michael in 1990.

GTAV's popularity comes from the open world design philosophy combined with support for a wide variety of gameplay mechanics and styles. The player has a ton of agency to go where they want to, and interact with what they want to without being confined to a strictly linear story progression. All the games on this list let you wander off the beaten path, whether it's to find secrets, or to wreak senseless destruction. If you've had the chance to play them, be sure to comment and let other gamers know which gets your recommendation!


Which of these would you most recommend for fans of GTA?