Grand Theft Auto 5 set a new standard for open world action games when it launched in 2013. Its huge, detailed world, engaging storyline, over-the-top action, and incredible graphics made it an instant classic. 10 years later, it still stands as one of the best and most successful video games of all time.
For PC gamers looking for something similar that pushes graphics to the bleeding edge, there are some great options available today. Here are some of the top GTA 5-like games with stunning, realistic graphics that are must-plays for PC:
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s follow-up to their seminal open world Western hit all the same high notes that made GTA 5 so well received. It has a massive, picturesque open world, an immersive storyline spanning an epic 60+ hours, a lived-in wild west setting and an incredible level of detail that immerses you fully into its gritty depiction of the dying days of the outlaw age.
While GTA 5 impressed on PS3 and Xbox 360, Red Dead 2 shows what Rockstar can do with more powerful modern hardware. The PC version offers gorgeous 4K graphics, incredible draw distances, dense forests and landscapes, cinematic lighting and plenty of advanced graphics options to tailor the experience. With so much eye candy on display, it is easily one of the best looking open world games ever created.
CD Projekt Red’s opus might have been controversial at launch for its glitches and poor last-gen console performance, but one thing was never in doubt – Night City itself looks incredible, especially on a beefy PC. The dystopian future setting is brought to life with unparalleled detail and visual splendor that really makes you feel immersed in the dark, moody, rain-slicked streets.
Cyberpunk 2077’s world is not as large as Rockstar’s creations, but it makes up for it by being astonishingly dense with content and eye candy. From the cluttered apartments to ripperdoc clinics with gory visuals to the mind-blowing graphics options for PC, Cyberpunk 2077 checks every box for realistic graphics and immersive environment design. The recent updates and patches have also smoothed out most of the bugs. With ray tracing support and advanced graphics options, Cyberpunk 2077 is the new benchmark for open world visuals.
Forza Horizon 5
For realistic graphics and environmental design, it’s hard to beat the latest entry in Playground Games’ arcade racing series. Set across a luscious, diverse depiction of Mexico, Forza Horizon 5 impresses with its absolutely stunning renditions of tropical beaches, lush rainforests, picturesque towns, desert canyons and more.
The photorealistic graphics are heightened by genre-leading car models, real-time weather effects and a dynamic day/night cycle. Combined with speedy performance even on mid-range PCs, Forza Horizon 5 shows how good optimized PC games can look and run. While not officially a GTA-style game, its excellent open world and graphics make Forza Horizon 5 a must for PC gamers who appreciate visual splendor.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Ubisoft’s hacker-themed open world franchise had a fresh lease on life with Watch Dogs: Legion and its unique play as anyone mechanic. Set in a stunningly realized near-future London, Watch Dogs: Legion renders the city with an amazing level of detail and visual touchstones that will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the city.
From Trafalgar Square to Camden Market’s punk zone, the city comes alive with dense urban detail. And the ray tracing enabled graphics make things like puddles, glass, metal and lights look incredible. With a strong core story and fun hacking-centric gameplay, Watch Dogs: Legion is a great choice for PC gamers looking for realistic urban graphics coupled with engaging gameplay.
Mafia: Definitive Edition
A remake of the 2002 classic, Mafia: Definitive Edition recaptures the magic of the original while giving it a modern overhaul. The city of Lost Heaven is brought to life with an impressive level of detail that makes it feel like a real and lived-in setting for the mob tale. Interiors are richly decorated and exteriors capture 1930s Americana perfectly from storefronts to slick vintage cars.
The gunplay, driving and gameplay have all been updated for modern tastes while keeping the strong cinematic story intact. With Nvidia DLSS and ray tracing support on PC, high framerates can be achieved even at 4K allowing you to soak in the nostalgic atmosphere. For a GTA-like open world that really nails the period atmosphere, Mafia: Definitive Edition is a great choice.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games’ hit action RPG offers an incredible vision of a post-apocalyptic world overrun by robot dinosaurs that you get to hunt down. The graphics are simply breathtaking, bringing the diverse biomes to life whether it’s lush forests, snowy mountains or red rock deserts. Even on mid-range hardware, Horizon Zero Dawn runs well and looks stunning.
While the PC port had some teething troubles at launch, the latest patches have smoothed out the issues. With its captivating open world, strategic combat and jaw-dropping vistas, Horizon Zero Dawn is easy to recommend for its combination of aesthetics and gameplay. A sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, is also slated for release on PS5 and PC in the future.
This Hong Kong-set open world crime thriller came out in 2012 but more than holds up today with its engaging mix of hand-to-hand combat, gunplay, driving and undercover cop drama set against vibrant urban backdrops. The island of Hong Kong and city of Hong Kong are impressively recreated here with an authentic ambiance.
While limited by technology of its time, Sleeping Dogs still looks great, especially in its nighttime neon-soaked urban environments. The satisfying combat and driving also set it apart from the usual GTA clone fare. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition bundles in all the DLC and improves graphics making it an easy recommendation for PC gamers seeking GTA-style gameplay in an exotic setting.
The long-running Japanese crime drama series made its PC debut with the prequel Yakuza 0 in 2017. And it was an awesome entry point for PC gamers to jump into the acclaimed franchise. Set across impressively detailed and lively depictions of 1980s Tokyo and Osaka, Yakuza 0 offers a heady mixture of hard-hitting combat, zany side activities and a riveting drama.
From buzzing city streets to quiet shrines and everything in between, Yakuza 0 does an amazing job bringing its slice of Japan to life. And the wacky side activities like disco dancing, karaoke, arcade games and more are perfectly suited for the eccentric, larger-than-life nature of the series. Yakuza 0’s story serves as a great introduction to the expansive saga as well.
Saints Row IV
The Saints Row franchise started off as a straight GTA clone but evolved into something entirely its own with the fourth game’s alien invasion storyline. With superpowers to play around with in its open world sandbox of Steelport, Saints Row IV is an absolute blast of over-the-top insanity.
The PC version offers gorgeous visuals and smooth performance with all of its advanced graphics options. Steelport looks great, especially at night with the neon lights, reflections and particles. And using super-speed and super-jump to travel the city never gets old. For a ludicrously fun sandbox with solid graphics, Saints Row IV is the perfect blend of GTA-style gameplay with its own brand of craziness.
For gritty first-person parkour and brutal melee combat against zombies, Dying Light is an underrated gem. Traversing the dense open world with freedom and speed feels great and the day and night cycle, which makes zombies more dangerous at night, adds to the tension and strategy. A sequel is also slated for release soon.
The graphics do a great job of bringing the zombie apocalypse to life with detailed crumbling architecture, bleak urban environments and the general sense of decay. Advanced settings like contact shadows, SSAO, depth of field effects and more help immerse you into the world. Dying Light still looks fantastic despite being a 7 year old game, and is a must for fans of zombie and open world games.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear game remains one of the best stealth action sandbox games. The huge open world levels offer an incredible number of tactical options to complete objectives. Scout enemy bases with binoculars, sneak in undetected, call in helicopter support, go guns blazing – the freedom is exhilarating and supported by stellar graphics.
Detailed character models, smooth animations, realistic weather effects and richly detailed environments come together to make Metal Gear Solid V shine on PC. The gameplay also has incredible depth with the Mother Base management aspect and intense action. Its story may end somewhat abruptly, but the journey through the massive, detailed maps is incredibly fun and rewarding throughout.