Grand Theft Auto remains one of the most popular franchises of all time. Despite not having a mainline release for a decade now, gamers keep returning to Rockstar’s open-world crime series for their hit of chaos. While there are plenty of competitors out there, none have come close to fully capturing the essence of Grand Theft Auto.
You might have heard of a few of the paid competitors. Saints Row, Watch Dogs, and Sleeping Dogs to name a few. But that’s not what we’re here for. Today, we’re going to show you the best free alternatives to Grand Theft Auto that you can grab right now.
Easily the most well-known game here, APB Reloaded is the closest thing to a free Grand Theft Auto alternative. The game is an MMO where you choose between Enforcer or Criminal, so you can be on both sides of the law here. You enter the city of San Paro, which has essentially been turned into a warzone.
After customizing your character, you’re tossed into the city alongside 100 other players. There, you’re tasked with either causing chaos or stopping it. There are dozens of vehicles to drive, and a huge arsenal of weapons to use. It really is the closest thing we have to a Grand Theft Auto Online clone at the moment.
Gangstar Vegas: World of Crime
With even a cursory glance at Gangstar Vegas: World of Crime, the similarities to Grand Theft Auto are obvious. In this game, you play as a character looking to take over Las Vegas as the leader of a gang. With different missions to complete and chaos to be wrought, it no doubt resembles Grand Theft Auto in its core gameplay loop. You can steal cars, buy weapons, kill civilians – all classic GTA fare.
The main problem with Gangstar Vegas: World of Crime is that it’s missing that final level of polish that truly great games have. After all, it’s a mobile game, which can be known to skimp on the details. Even still, it’s a fun sandbox to explore, in a city that’s instantly recognizable. If causing chaos is the reason you play Grand Theft Auto, then this could be the right alternative for you.
Gangstar Vegas: World of Crime is available on mobile devices, on both Android and iOS.
Payback 2 – The Battle Sandbox
Mayhem. Silly. Just plain fun. These are all terms you could use to aptly describe Payback 2 – The Battle Sandbox. The game offers a campaign with over fifty missions to complete, but that’s not the star attraction here. Instead, it’s the multiplayer, with high-octane races and explosive deathmatch lobbies providing the most fun. Ever wanted to blow up your friends in a tank? Payback 2 – The Battle Sandbox allows you to do just that.
It’s not as structured as a Grand Theft Auto game, but it’s certainly got the spirit. You can download Payback 2 – The Battle Sandbox for free now on Android and iOS.
MadOut2 Big City Online
This one is perhaps a rogue choice. MadOut2 Big City Online places you in Eastern Europe, where no Grand Theft Auto game has gone before. As a consequence, the game has a unique aesthetic that really separates it from the crowd. At its core, it’s extremely similar to Grand Theft Auto, and most of your time is spent driving around the wide open world completing the 30 missions on offer.
There’s even an online mode too, with jobs to complete with your friends to become a career criminal. The online features a bunch of different modes, such as Free Roam, Role Play, and even Cops vs Bandits. It’s certainly one of the games closest to the GTA experience on this list.
MadOut2 Big City Online can be found on both Android and iOS.
Guns and Spurs 2
If you’re a fan of Rockstar titles, you might think that Guns and Spurs 2 is visually closer to Red Dead Redemption than Grand Theft Auto. And you’d be right! It’s a Western open-world title, where you take on the role of a bounty hunter looking to make his way in the world. Protagonist Jack Lane certainly has a little more in common with John Marston than any of Grand Theft Auto‘s main characters.
However, Guns and Spurs 2 is so similar to Red Dead Redemption that it still follows the Grand Theft Auto formula. Sure, the game drops you in as a bounty hunter, but it offers you the choice to play however you’d like. There’s a ton of replayability in this sort of freedom. With a bunch of activities to take part in and various quests to complete, Guns and Spurs 2 is a great alternative to both GTA and Red Dead Redemption.
You can find Guns and Spurs 2 on both Android and iOS, with a Steam release planned in the future.
Grand Theft Auto 1 + 2
We know, we know. We’re kind of cheating with this one. But if you want your hit of official Grand Theft Auto action, you don’t actually have to go elsewhere! Most people won’t be aware of this, but the original game and its sequel have been distributed for years by Rockstar Games, entirely for free on PC.
These games don’t boast the 3D graphics from later iterations of the franchise, but the gameplay loop remains largely the same. You play as a criminal in a wide-open city, where you can kill and steal your way through various missions as you desperately try to avoid the law. Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2 may be played from a top-down perspective, but make no mistake – you can have just as much with these as the modern releases.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Rockstar.