To most people, two months may not seem like a big deal, but when you have to wait for a game like Grand Theft Auto V for that same period of time, the wait can seem excruciating. Unfortunately, time travel hasn’t been perfected yet, so the best we can do for you is recommend five similar games that you could bide your time with till GTA V releases this September.
You’ll notice we haven’t several popular included open-world gems like Batman: Arkham City, Red Dead Redemption, Infamous and many more, but that’s because we’re running with the urban theme, which is one of the hallmarks of the GTA franchise. And with that, here are our recommendations:
Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game done right. It has a fairly strong story, solid voice acting, and just about the right amount of collectibles and side missions peppered throughout a very well done rendition of Honk Kong. Plus, unlike most action games, you don’t get a weapon till around the halfway mark, leaving the player to fend for himself on the mean streets of Honk Kong using the game’s fairly robust (and not to mention satisfying), hand-to-hand combat system. Add some truly arcadey and responsive car controls into the mix and you have a game where merely driving around the city is an enjoyable experience.
Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
At first glance, Just Cause 2 seems like complete B-tier material with a rubbish plot, and the worst voice acting you’ll experience in a game, but then you gain control of the game’s protagonist and are floored with how much fun it actually is. Which other game allows you to jump off a cliff using a bike, free fall till you nearly hit the ground, pop your parachute at the last minute, land on a vehicle, tether it to a plane and then use it as a wrecking ball? And that’s just one of the many ways you can explore the gorgeous island of Panau.
Saint’s Row: The Third (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Saint’s Row has always fancied itself as direct competition to the GTA franchise, but while the GTA series has largely been rooted in some realm of reality, the Saint’s Row games have opted to go for a balls-to-wall, over-the-top approach. Fortunately for Volition, that approach worked for Saint’s Row: The Third, because there’s something about running around the city bludgeoning people to death with a giant purple dildo that just appeals to gamers. Add in a ton of diverse side-quests and you have a game you can sink a lot of time into.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles (Xbox 360, PS3, PSP)
Midnight Club: Los Angeles isn’t a conventional open-world game in the sense that you can’t really roam around the city on foot, but it does offer players the chance to race around, and explore Los Angeles in some of the fastest cars and bikes on the planet. The game holds up really well visually even today, and given that it gives you a chance to experience Rockstar’s rendition of the same city you’ll play in GTA V, we strongly suggest you give Midnight Club: Los Angeles a shot.
Mafia II (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
While Mafia II doesn’t have all the gameplay mechanics you’d normally associate with an open-world game, it does allow players to experience the life of a mobster during the forties (and a bit of the fifties). Besides the surprisingly engaging plot, complemented by some seriously good voice acting, Mafia’s crowning achievement is its visceral cover-based combat, as well as the attention to detail oozing from every part of the city. It may take you under twelve hours to beat Mafia II, but it’s one of those instances where quality trumps quantity.
Grand Theft Auto V arrives on 17th September to Xbox 360 and PS3.