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The last two decades in the world of gaming and adventure have been spearheaded by a genre called ‘Open World Games’ with developer Rockstar Games at the forefront. 

The recipe behind every brilliant Rockstar Games production has been quite simple – let the user be as rebellious as they want to be and to make sure it’s a platform for creative freedom. Which is why they allow players to exploit cheats and mods. In a traditional sense, one might ask ‘Why would a developer allow their game to be spoiled with cheats?’ The answer is simple: Digital freedom mustn’t come with restrictions. This thesis is what turned Rockstar games a force to be reckoned with in today’s gigantic gaming industry. 

If you’d like a slice of fun from Rockstar Games’ archive, here’s a holy grail line-up of Rockstar productions over the years.  

Bully 

In 2006, this one was an odd card to play. Apart from all the guns, explosions and borderline erotic themes Rockstar have been acclaimed for, they proved to us that their web of creative spins much wider. Bully, is all about the high school troublemaker, James “Jimmy” Hopkins. His teenage armoury consists of marbles, stink bombs, a ton of pranks that make for a very amusing storyline about adolescence, social groups, and rebelling against authority. 

Platforms: Android, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Wii

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne 

This was a game all about a cop avenging the murder of his wife, at least that was the plot. In terms of gameplay and aesthetics, it’s somewhere between a Neo from the Matrix meets John Wick. Pure passion, rage, and a nothing-to-loose attitude. The game made a debut in 2003 taking after the raging success of its predecessor. Interestingly, this was the first game in history to incorporate a ‘Physics Engine’ where the movement of the character is much more interactive with the surrounding elements. Like bumping into a table and spilling over a pint of beer. Oh, you must try out ‘Bullet-time’ mode, it lets you shoot bad guys in slow-motion.

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Los Angeles has been one of the best games from the Midnight Club series. They’ve added a day/night cycle, realism tweaks, gorgeous visuals, and a police force that will hunt you down in this open-world version of Los Angeles if you so much as speed or run a red light. Los Angeles may have shrunk down the multi-city focus of III, but that doesn’t mean its setting is any less compelling or impressive. 

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

GTA San Andreas 

This isn’t just a great open-world game or just a great Rockstar Games production, it’s one of the most prolific games of all time. As the 21st century began, 3D games united with Open World games were considered an absolute winning combination, back that up with a great gangster storyline and you gave GTA San Andreas. Even to date, this game has play value, despite being nearly two decades old. Set in Los Santos, Carl Johnson returns back home only to realise that it’s been turned into a gangland and a hub for criminal activities. With drug dealers and crooked cops, his mission is to win his precious neighbourhood back and protect it.  

Platform: PlayStation 2, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, MacOS, Windows Phone

Max Payne 3 

A succession from Max Payne 2 – same grunge, same fearlessness of death, and the hope to revive from a dark past. Max finds himself in Brazil trying to start a new chapter in his life. But that’s just the storyline, there’s so much more that adds to the game’s allure. For starters, Rockstar has wonderfully scored not just the characters but also the gunplay here. The sound of a shotgun reloading to explosions, it’s an aural masterpiece. They took a decade-old classic added 10 years worth of R&D onto it, it had to make an impact. 

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems

Red Dead Redemption II 

You might be stuck at home as a responsible and law-abiding citizen, but here’s your ticket to turning into an American outlaw. Red Dead Redemption 2 is packed with activities to keep you busy as soon as you step foot in its world. Its tale of a gradually disappearing age of outlaws as civilisation comes to the Wild West means there’s plenty of people who need your help. But that’s just the secondary objective. The story tells the tale of Dutch Van Der Linde’s efforts to keep his gang afloat while trying not to succumb to his ego. You can ride a horse through evergreen forests, deserts, and blizzards.

 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows

GTA 5 

When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber, and a terrifying psychopath land themselves in trouble. They must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other. Which that sounds like a dysfunctional match, they’re also the perfect trio for all things menace. Making its debut in 2013, GTA 5 has a been a magnum opus for Rockstar games for 7 straight years. It was a perfect reflection of their style of gaming. Rebellious, explosives, plot twists, and above all, digital freedom.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

All images: Courtesy brand

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.