11 games like GTA 5 to play in 2023: Mafia, Watch Dogs & more

11 games like GTA 5 to play in 2023: Mafia, Watch Dogs & more
Credit: Rockstar, 2K, Sega, Square Enix, Deep SIlver, Starbreeze, Ubisoft, Activision

Written by 

Dave McAdam


4th May 2023 10:39


GTA 6 is clearly still very far away, so we have compiled a list of all the things you can play whilst you wait for it to finally appear. There are plenty of other fun options to pass the time if Grand Theft Auto 5 just isn't doing it for you anymore.

Here are eleven games that will give you some more of what GTA gives you, in a variety of different ways.

11 Games like GTA V

11 - Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 key art
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Cyberpunk 2077 is certainly one of the more unique picks on this list with it being set in a dystopian future where you hang out with Keanu Reeves, drive around in fast cars and try and take down the establishment. Admittedly that is an oversimplification of the game, but few titles compare to the writing and storytelling we have come to expect from a GTA game. However, Cyberpunk 2077 comes very close.

The performance issues the game was plagued with at launch are long gone, so maybe it is time for a revisited ride through Night City.

  • Publisher: CD Projekt RED 
  • Developer: CD Projekt RED
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Microsoft Windows

  • Be sure to check out all of our Cyberpunk 2077 guides so you can complete V's journey in style. 

10 - Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion key art
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The Watch Dogs series has taken cues from Grand Theft Auto since day one. Modern open worlds with guns and cars, the freedom to go where you want. Throw in all kinds of fancy gadgets and hacking abilities, and you have a pretty incredible setting for madness.

The most recent entry, Watch Dogs Legionis as open a world as can be. It gives you the City of London to explore, and all of its people to do it with. If driving narrow streets isn't your thing, you can fly over them on a drone. There are nearly no limits on what you can do here.

Now, if you're more interested in an interesting story with good characters than unbridled open-world chaos, maybe jump back to Watch Dogs 2. This previous entry is a more character-centric story that closely tackles real-world tech issues. Both games are great, and either will take you in a particular direction you prefer.

9 - Payday 2

PayDay 2 key art
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This one is for those of you who enjoy the heists of GTA 5. The heist genre is a classic of cinema, which was clearly an influence on GTA. The heists of GTA 5 were such a tentpole feature that they became a heavily requested feature for GTA Online. For online heisters who want to keep the robberies going, Payday 2 is the game for you.

Payday 2 is a first-person shooter, a co-op game where you and your team must pull off various heists as cleanly as you can. Armoured trucks, businesses, banks and more, each mission has different challenges and objectives. Much like pulling off heists in GTA 5, these heists can have multiple tiers and require various skills. An absolute must-play for any heisters out there.

  • Publisher: 505 Games 
  • Developer: Starbreeze Studios, Overkill Software, Sumo Digital 
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

8 - Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4 key art
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Square Enix

Okay, let's swing back in the other direction. Do you come to Grand Theft Auto for the pure chaos? Car chases, explosions, inexplicable amounts of tanks and fighter jets? Well then, Just Cause 4 might be your new favourite game.

The Just Cause series has you play as Rico Rodríguez, a super-agent turned freedom fighter who uses his talent for destruction and his James Bond-esque resources to liberate countries ruled by dictators. Just Cause 4 is almost a perfectly pure video game. It is non-stop action, with little to no regard for realism.

It will have you driving tanks into tornadoes, attaching statues to rockets, and causing the kind of destruction that would make a Michael Bay film look tame. That's really the best way to explain it, if you ever wanted to play a Michael Bay film, this is your chance.

  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Avalanche Studios Group 
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), Microsoft Windows

7 - Saints Row 

Saints Row Key art
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The Saints Row reboot from 2022 is a new entry on this list, and much like GTA V, the secret ingredient is a crime. Although in this case, it's over a top crime. Saints Row may not have been the return to form that many of the series fans had been hoping for, but it still takes a lot of its DNA from GTA, so it scratches a similar itch.

  • Publisher: THQ
  • Developer: Deep Silver Volition
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Microsoft Windows

6 - LEGO City Undercover

LEGO City Undercover key art
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LEGO City Undercover may not be the most obvious choice, but it is the only game on this list that captures the open exploration of a GTA game but in a child-friendly setting. So if you want a GTA-style game, but for a child, then this is the best pick for you.

It has all the heart and fun we expect from a LEGO game, with countless collectables and things to do, all while you get to know Chase McCain and follow the surprisingly good story. It also has a split-screen so you and your child/friends can play it together.

  • Publisher: Nintendo, Warner Bros. 
  • Developer: TT Fusion
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Microsoft Windows
  • Why not take a look at our preview of the next big LEGO game: LEGO 2K Drive? 

5 - Yakuza 0

Kakuza 0 key art featuring two main characters
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This may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. Grand Theft Auto is a series of crime stories heavily inspired by cinema. They tell serious, often dark, stories but aren't afraid to throw some levity in there too. So much, so they can come across as comedy games, though they cover so much more than that. Well, the Yakuza series is that but in Japan.

There have been a lot of Yakuza games, seven main-line games with several spin-offs and now a soft reboot in Like A Dragon. For new players, your best port of entry is Yakuza 0. This prequel set in the late 80s sets the main characters on their paths and is a perfect way to get to know them. It also happens to be one of the best games in the series. With the entire series available on modern systems, it is a perfect time to throw yourself into this legendary series.

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku
  • Platforms: PS, PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), Microsoft Windows

4 - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs gameplay screenshot of a man getting into a car
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Square Enix

From one iconic Asian city to another, Sleeping Dogs takes us to bustling Hong Kong. This one is more of a direct simulacrum of GTA, with similar driving and gunplay. It is another open-world game where you go from one story mission to the next while managing side jobs and collectables along the way.

One of the key differences here is that you play as Wei Shen, an undercover detective infiltrating Hong Kong's criminal world. You have to actively balance your performance as a cop while maintaining your standing among the criminals. It is up to you, should you choose to waiver one direction or the other.

What is also different here, is that Wei Shen can fight. I don't mean he can throw a punch, I mean playing as Wei is like playing as Bruce Lee. More combat in Sleeping Dogs is hand-to-hand than with guns, and the combat is so satisfying. Playing Sleeping Dogs is like playing a Police Story game, and you get to be Jackie Chan. What more could you ask for? 

  • Publisher: Square Enix 
  • Developer: Feral Interactive 
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), macOS, Microsoft Windows 

3 - LA Noire

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This one certainly ticks a lot of our previous boxes, while also being quite far from Grand Theft Auto itself. LA Noire is an open-world detective game set in the late 1940s. You play Cole Phelps, a new cop who has recently returned from the war and is quickly on the rise.

This game's strongest connections to GTA are of course its open-world design and its theme of crime. It is also a Rockstar-published game, so certainly one for the completionists.

LA Noire is a great game that skirts the feel of a GTA game just enough to feel the influence. 

  • Publisher: Rockstar 
  • Developer: Rockstar 
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series( backwards compatible), Microsoft Windows

2 - Mafia Trilogy

Mafia Trilogy key art featuring all three protagonists
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Including the Mafia Trilogy on this list may be cheating a little because they're three games, but if the thing you enjoy most about Grand Theft Auto is committing crimes, then the Mafia Trilogy is for you. Now that the original two Mafia games have been remastered, they are a stunning collection of games with their own unique stories.

The first game is set during the 1930s, while the second game is set during the 50s/60s. The most recent Mafia game follows Lincoln Clay after he returns from Vietnam and joins the mob. They all boast incredibly atmospheric takes on the cities they are based in while also capturing the essence of the time they are set. 

  • Publisher: 2K 
  • Developer: Hangar 13 
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible), Microsoft Windows

What is the best game like GTA 5?

1 - Red Dead Redemption 2

Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2
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Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the finest open-world games ever made. Arguably this is the direct follow-up to Grand Theft Auto 5, being the next game from Rockstar North. This cowboy adventure with Arthur Morgan is as captivating as it is heartbreaking. It is a story of honour and showcases everything that is great about games from the storytelling to the gameplay itself.

Truly, anyone looking for more GTA has to play Red Dead 2. As a mid-point between Grand Theft Auto 5 and (touch wood) GTA 6, this game paints a bright picture for the future of the GTA series.

  • Publisher: Rockstar 
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5 (backwards compatible), Xbox One, Xbox Series (backwards compatible) 

So there you have it - 11 games to tie you over until Grand Theft Auto 6 starts to become a reality. We hope you found your next obsession, but if you're feeling something a little more suspicious, check out our list of ten games similar to Among Us.

Dave McAdam
About the author
Dave McAdam
Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.
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