What are your underrated games of the GTA-sandbox genre?

#1
All the hype about Sleeping Dogs release, GTA V screens, and confirmation a new Saints Row (instead of the planned expansion) is underway recently means the GTA "city sandox" type genre has a lot of gas in the tank.

It seems a lot have gone fairly under the radar over the years, in the shadow of GTA, Red Dead, and Saints Row for example.

Anyone have any cult favorites that are in the group among the rest?

I played this one years ago, and thought it was pretty good, even though there wasn't much to do on foot:



It was released like 9 years ago, so who knows how it holds up today (probably not well in GTA game land) - but for a Simpsons game it's probably among the cream of the crop and I wonder why more companies haven't tried to put popular licenses in a GTA type universe (never played Godfather or Scarface to comment on those.)
 
#2
I had a bit of fun with Godfather II. I liked choosing your family members and their different skills. Like taking over the family's "rackets" and making them my own.
 
#4
Simpsons Hit and Run was great.
I bet it still holds up pretty well to be honest.


Anyway for me since i'm really just going to go for this gen i'll say
The Saboteur

I bought the game out of the bargain bin for no real reason, but was honestly surprised with just how much fun I had with it. Everything about it was just fun and fresh.
 
#5
Crackdown is not underrated. Everybody shits their pants over it despite its generic mission design. I admit that it does many things well though.

Truly underrated open world game: Bully. Bully is Rockstar's second best game to date behind Red Dead Redemption in my opinion. There is an intimacy and a personal connection to that world and that down that GTA games totally lack.
 
#6
True Crime Streets of LA was pretty fun, haven't played it in years though. Hulk: Ultimate Destruction would also be on top of the sandbox genre.
 

ezekial45

I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last.
#7
Simpsons Hit and Run was great.
I bet it still holds up pretty well to be honest.


Anyway for me since i'm really just going to go for this gen i'll say
The Saboteur

I bought the game out of the bargain bin for no real reason, but was honestly surprised with just how much fun I had with it. Everything about it was just fun and fresh.
Yeah, this gets my vote too. It was a really enjoyable game.
 
#8
I enjoyed the original Mercenaries game a huge amount.

Also recently I just played and finished Prototype 2, that was a pretty fun if janky game.
 
#10
Simpsons Hit and Run was great.
I bet it still holds up pretty well to be honest.


Anyway for me since i'm really just going to go for this gen i'll say
The Saboteur

I bought the game out of the bargain bin for no real reason, but was honestly surprised with just how much fun I had with it. Everything about it was just fun and fresh.
Oooh yes, this one too.

Love love loved it.
 
#11
Has anyone played Destroy All Humans BTW?

I remember when it came out a long time ago it got pretty good reviews. A 50's UFO game seemed like a good idea for the genre, I would like to see companies go in that sort of direction.
 
#16
My favorite was Viking: The Battle For Asgard. Does not get nearly the love it deserves.

I would've also added Saint's Row 2, but apparently, that series isn't underrated anymore. So I'll add The Godfather, Part 2 and Scarface. First Godfather was pretty good on the Wii too.
 

SMT

this show is not Breaking Bad why is it not Breaking Bad? it should be Breaking Bad dammit Breaking Bad
#17
Sleeping Dogs, The Saboteur, but remember Sleeping Dogs > The Saboteur.
 
#18
The first two Destroy All Humans! games are amazing. The levels in them are more a series of mini-open worlds than a proper GTA-like game though.
Ah, ok, thanks.

I thought when this generation started there would be a lot more variety and quality of the sandbox genre with games like that and other ideas, than have actually occured. It's somewhat disappointing.
 
#19
Driver. I spent hours just driving around aimlessly. I do the same in GTA games too, but Driver was the first in 3D.

Edit: I guess it's not really underrated. Maybe forgotten, especially because Driv3r turned out to be a piece of crap.
 
#20
Nothing but the ones mentioned in the OP have really done it for me until Sleeping Dogs.

The Saboteur, huh? I might have to give that one a try. How long is the story? I've been itching for another sandbox game.
 

ezekial45

I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last.
#22
Nothing but the ones mentioned in the OP have really done it for me until Sleeping Dogs.

The Saboteur, huh? I might have to give that one a try. How long is the story? I've been itching for another sandbox game.
It took me about 15-20 hours to finish. It was pretty awesome, there's a lot of missions to take on and shit to blow up in this game. It was a blast.
 

SMT

this show is not Breaking Bad why is it not Breaking Bad? it should be Breaking Bad dammit Breaking Bad
#25
Sleeping Dogs isn't underrated.
My brothers think it's just another GTA clone. GTA games < Sleeping Dogs.

Didn't that game just come out?
Yeah, but it's still underrated, I don't see a spotlight being placed on it, not many people know about. Everyone I talked to about it was like : 'Whuzzat?'
 
#27
My brothers think it's just another GTA clone.



Yeah, but it's still underrated, I don't see a spotlight being placed on it, not many people know about. Everyone I talked to about it was like : 'Whuzzat?'
Rubbish. It's getting a lot of praise, reports of it being sold out and it was just released. That is not the definition of underrated.
 
#28
The Saboteur

I bought the game out of the bargain bin for no real reason, but was honestly surprised with just how much fun I had with it. Everything about it was just fun and fresh.
Wow...The Saboteur was open-world?? Time for me to look out for it in the bargain bins.

My vote goes to Deadly Premonition, where eavesdropping on (stalking) all the people in town didn't feel as creepy as it sounds thanks to that maniacal smile on Francis York Morgan's face. That sort of behaviour suited him, even.

The game had a hopelessly useless map as well, so you really had to memorise the main roads too. So much great personality in that game, with different events occurring at different times of the day if you just wanted to roam around. Would love to see sequel with proper graphics.
 
#29
Saboteur for sure.
Some real fun to be had there. Driving out into the countryside to do some missions was relaxing. I loved the bridge destroying ones. You need to some planning and recon for those. The perk system really lent itself to the sandbox genre too.
 
#30
Yeah, but it's still underrated, I don't see a spotlight being placed on it, not many people know about. Everyone I talked to about it was like : 'Whuzzat?'
Same here. No one I know has picked it up.

Though, I guess you could say that it's...



...a sleeper hit.
 
#31
I thought when this generation started there would be a lot more variety and quality of the sandbox genre with games like that and other ideas, than have actually occured. It's somewhat disappointing.
This gen has been sandbox heaven!

The Saboteur
Just Cause 2
Prototype 1 + 2
Red Faction Guerrilla
GTA 4
Saint's Row 1-3
Mercenaries 2
Godfather 1-2
Scarface
Red Dead Redemption
Crackdown 1-2
Viking
Mafia 2 (sort of)
L.A. Noire (sort of)
Yakuza 3-4, Dead Souls
inFamous 1-2
Assassin's Creed 1-1,700
Brutal Legend
Dead Island
Dead Rising 1-2
Incredible Hulk
A couple Spider-man games
Sleeping Dogs
LEGO Batman 2 (maybe the Harry Potter ones and Indy 2, soon to be LEGO City and Lord of the Rings)
Burnout Paradise
Borderlands

...Probably a few others I forgot about. Still, there's been some good sandbox games this gen that really take the genre into unique directions.
 
#33
This gen has been sandbox heaven!

The Saboteur
Just Cause 2
Prototype 1 + 2
Red Faction Guerrilla
GTA 4
Saint's Row 1-3
Mercenaries 2
Godfather 1-2
Scarface
Red Dead Redemption
Crackdown 1-2
Viking
Mafia 2 (sort of)
L.A. Noire (sort of)
Yakuza 3-4, Dead Souls
inFamous 1-2
Assassin's Creed 1-1,700
Brutal Legend
Dead Island
Dead Rising 1-2
Incredible Hulk
A couple Spider-man games
Sleeping Dogs
LEGO Batman 2 (maybe the Harry Potter ones and Indy 2, soon to be LEGO City and Lord of the Rings)
Burnout Paradise
Borderlands

...Probably a few others I forgot about. Still, there's been some good sandbox games this gen that really take the genre into unique directions.
I really don't consider many of those to be GTA sandbox genre. Assassins Creed, Burnout, and Borderlands for example are way outside the type of game I'm referring to.

A lot of people use the term open world and sandbox loosely, to mean everything from a Need for Speed game, to Elder Scrolls, to Fallout. I try to keep it simple and call it the GTA-sandbox genre, because there's a very specific style between what Rockstar has done with those games (and others) and ones other companies have made very similar to them.
 
#34
Rubbish. It's getting a lot of praise, reports of it being sold out and it was just released. That is not the definition of underrated.
Other than GAF, nobody is really talking about it positively. Or really at all.

There's a tiny bit of release-week podcast "buzz", which is mostly all criticism rather than praise from what I've hard so far.
 
#35
I remember completing Total Overdose for PS2. It was pretty cool at the timing having far better shooting than GTA and a combo scoring system.

Oh, yeah, and you had special moves (LOCO moves) as well, such as El Mariachi, where your dude pulls out double machine guns in guitar cases and starts shooting the fuck out of everything. You could also summon a masked wrestler who'd run around and assault people.

I also remember being able to start fights by stealing peoples' hats.

Story and world was kinda meh, but game did some things right. Did anyone else play this?
 

ezekial45

I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last.
#36
Might have to stop by a store and dig around for this, then. Thanks.

It doesn't need any kind of pass does it?
I do recall it need some sort of pass for DLC, but I think that won't apply anymore since EA shutdown the online servers for the game.
 
#37
I remember completing Total Overdose for PS2. It was pretty cool at the timing having far better shooting than GTA and a combo scoring system.

Story and world was kinda meh. Did anyone else play this?
I played Chili Con Carnage on the PSP. Was rather decent, actually.

I don't know how different the two version were, though.
 
#38
Simpsons Hit and Run was great.
I bet it still holds up pretty well to be honest.


Anyway for me since i'm really just going to go for this gen i'll say
The Saboteur

I bought the game out of the bargain bin for no real reason, but was honestly surprised with just how much fun I had with it. Everything about it was just fun and fresh.
Came here to post this. A great, great game. I wish they'd release it on Steam.
 
#40
I do recall it need some sort of pass for DLC, but I think that won't apply anymore since EA shutdown the online servers for the game.
THe only pass it had was for acess to a brothel and I think a car.
Something that is totally absolutely not needed and affects the game in no way.
 

SMT

this show is not Breaking Bad why is it not Breaking Bad? it should be Breaking Bad dammit Breaking Bad
#41
Same here. No one I know has picked it up.

Though, I guess you could say that it's...



...a sleeper hit.
I can only hope it does extremely well so that we can get a sequel, I've already tweeted UnitedFront and Square-Enix London.
 
#42
Driver:SF was fantastic, although you don't get as much freedom as GTA since you're in a car.

I guess in the western parts, the Persona series is underrated.
 

ezekial45

I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last.
#43
THe only pass it had was for acess to a brothel and I think a car.
Something that is totally absolutely not needed and affects the game in no way.
Yeah, I didn't use it either. The game itself is pretty meaty as it is, so I didn't mind.
 
#46
Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Because blowing shit up never gets old. More I think about it, I consider it one of my favorite games of the gen. I've replayed it several times, I think the last time may have been at the beginning of this year actually. And I'm already wanting to replay it again. It's just super fun.
 
#47
Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Because blowing shit up never gets old. More I think about it, I consider it one of my favorite games of the gen. I've replayed it several times, I think the last time may have been at the beginning of this year actually. And I'm already wanting to replay it again. It's just super fun.
I bought that one at release and put in maybe 5-6 hours but I just couldn't get into it. It seemed decent, but I had a hell of a time trying to find the fun.

I know my opinion is in the minority on that one, because people were raving about it at the time.
 
#48
Totally Red Faction Guerilla for the gameplay and missions.

Deadly Premonition for the story and characters.

I wish more people played them.
 
#49
I bought that one at release and put in maybe 5-6 hours but I just couldn't get into it. It seemed decent, but I had a hell of a time trying to find the fun.

I know my opinion is in the minority on that one, because people were raving about it at the time.
Don't worry I with you on the minority boat.
I loved RF1 and 2 and stepped into Guerilla knowing it was different from that.
While I beat it, I couldn't grasp what everyone else was raving about the game.
It had it's moments but I just wasnt very impressed.
 
#50
I bought that one at release and put in maybe 5-6 hours but I just couldn't get into it. It seemed decent, but I had a hell of a time trying to find the fun.

I know my opinion is in the minority on that one, because people were raving about it at the time.
The fun was in picking out the crucial foundations of a building and smashing it as if you were playing Jenga like a troll so that it'd all come toppling down.

I'm sure everyone who did enjoy that game came out of it appreciating architecture.