"Grand Theft Auto V," the latest entry in Rockstar's long-running, open-world crime series, has hit shelves to stunning accolades. If you've already picked up the game, you're probably knee-deep in the immense city of Los Santos, planning heists, jacking cars and taking yoga classes. If you lack a PS3 or Xbox 360, however, you're out of luck: the PC version of "Grand Theft Auto V" has no solid release-date yet.
Not to worry: While "Grand Theft Auto V" for PC may still be a speck on the horizon, there are plenty of similar games to indulge your inner criminal until that game arrives. If you want to cause some digital mayhem without leaving the comfort of your mouse and keyboard, check out these five games to pass the time until "Grand Theft Auto V" pulls into the PC garage.
If your open-world adventure absolutely, positively must come by way of Rockstar and take place in Los Angeles, then look no further than "L.A. Noire." This title follows the adventures of Cole Phelps, an up-and-coming detective on the sleazy streets of 1940s LA. Cole starts off as a traffic investigator, but soon finds himself wrapped up in a hardboiled world of glitzy starlets, systemic racism, grisly murders, adulterous sex and crooked cops. Although you, playing as Cole, uphold the law rather than break it, you'll still be able to drive around LA, taking on side missions to foil bank heists and chase down lawbreakers. The investigations take center stage, however, challenging Cole to register subtle facial tics and vocal quavers to determine whether a suspect is lying, telling the truth or hiding something important.
"Grand Theft Auto V" follows the adventures of three moral degenerates as they pull off a series of complex heists; "Payday 2" ups that number: you and your friends get to control four criminals instead. Hoxton, Chains, Dallas and Wolf are four career criminals who each bring something unique to the table. "Payday 2" is primarily a multiplayer experience (think "Left 4 Dead," but without zombies), and as you pull off more-complex robberies and earn more money, you can invest in skills that help you coordinate a heist, take out enemies, sneak past the opposition or disable security systems. If you've ever dreamed of acting out your own "Ocean's Eleven" scenario, you can do it here: plan an elaborate scenario in which you sneak past the guards, spoof the security system, distract the bystanders and get out unseen with the goods. Or you could just run and gun your way through employees, civilians and cops alike. Your call.
"Hotline Miami" looks and plays like a Super Nintendo game. It doesn't have a vast, explorable world, and its storyline is so trippy and experimental that you need to squint really hard before it makes even a tiny bit of sense. That said, if you enjoy the madcap violence, satisfying weaponry and top-down perspective of some of the earlier "Grand Theft Auto" games, "Hotline Miami" is about the closest thing to those worlds. Putting you in the role of a morally ambiguous hitman who is almost certainly high on something, "Hotline Miami" challenges you to clear out entire buildings full of enemies, using knives, swords, guns and explosives. There's only one catch: while all of your enemies die in one hit, so do you. The game is more akin to an incredibly gory puzzle game than an action title, but its gripping, psychedelic narrative and slick gameplay provide one of the more unusual takes on the crime-game genre in recent memory.
It's a little glib to say that "Sleeping Dogs" is "Grand Theft Auto: Hong Kong," but if you're looking for a game that hews fairly close to the familiar template, look no further. That isn't to say that "Sleeping Dogs" lacks creativity or charm: far from it. You'll take control of Wei Shin, a detective who goes undercover in Hong Kong to investigate a dangerous gang called the Triad. Like a "Grand Theft Auto" protagonist, Wei Shin can run-and-gun, steal cars, engage in side activities like karaoke, and customize his wardrobe. However, "Sleeping Dogs" also allows Wei Shin to earn experience points that he can use to improve his combat and driving abilities. In addition to a surprisingly robust melee combat system, "Sleeping Dogs" also challenges players to uphold the law by earning "Police XP," or sink deeper into the gang by earning "Triad XP."
Saints Row IV
The "Saints Row" series started off as a light parody of the "Grand Theft Auto" series. The violence was zanier, and the script was a little more irreverent, but you were still generally just shooting people, driving around a big city and fighting off cops. Over the years, though, "Saints Row" has gone off the rails entirely. "Saints Row IV" casts you as the president of the United States, who has been kidnapped by aliens and locked into a VR simulation that gives you superpowers. There's still an open world to explore, rival gangs to conquer and a plethora of optional missions to complete, but you can also shoot fire from your hands, fly a spaceship or make enemies dance with your very own Dubstep Gun. Creating and customizing your own protagonist is half the fun in "Saints Row"; the other half is beating aliens to death with oversized sex toys.