Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is part of the Grand Theft Auto series of video games and released on the PlayStation 2 in 2004 and Windows and Xbox in 2005. It was ported to mobile devices, Xbox Live and PSN (though it was removed in 2014 from Xbox Live and PSN). The game was re-released for the Xbox 360 to mark its ten year anniversary.
Taking place in 1992, the game focuses on a professional criminal named Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home to Los Santos, San Andreas after his brother informs him that their mother has been murdered in a drive-by shooting. He is soon visited by Frank Tenpenny, the extremely corrupt leader of the LSPD CRASH unit, and framed for the murder of police officer Ralph Pendlebury, with Tenpenny forcing CJ to do his dirty work for him. In addition, CJ's gang, the Grove Street Families is on the losing end of a gang war with their sworn enemies, the Ballas. CJ must now find a way to defeat Tenpenny and restore his gang to its former glory.
Why It Rocks
- This is the first game in the series that you can swim in the water.
- One of the largest open-world games ever made, with CJ being able to travel to a total of three cities in the state of San Andreas, Los Santos, Las Venturas and San Fierro. The cities are also massive by mid-2000's standards.
- Tons and tons of missions, some with more unique styles of completing them such as a show-off with a customized lowrider, and sneaking to rapper Madd Dogg's house to steal his rhyme book, which requires a small amount of stealth to avoid alerting his bodyguards. Netting $10,000 from burglaries will allow CJ to sprint infinitely.
- In addition to money, completing missions also nets CJ respect, which allows him to form a small army of up to seven gang members.
- The game adds RPG elements to improve stats, such as health, stamina, strength, lung capacity and weapon skills. Increasing CJ's skill with weapons will make him be able to shoot more accurately, fire more rapidly, move while shooting, and for some types of pistols, SMGs and the Sawed-off Shotgun, even allow him to dual wield the weapons after reaching the maximum level of skill.
- You can make CJ work out at a gym and improve his stamina and strength, and also change his fighting style by participating in boxing matches. You can also customize his appearance by going to a barber shop and changing his hairstyle, going to a clothing shop and changing his outfit, and also give him tattoos in a tattoo parlour.
- 861 credited voice actors, including Samuel L. Jackson and James Woods. This earned GTA: SA a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the game with the largest voice cast. This makes the voice of most of the pedestrians unique. Some pedestrians can even have a conversation with CJ.
- Partaking in Gang Wars allows CJ to expand the Grove Street Families' turf.
- Gang Wars start with three waves. Surviving a wave will cause health and armor refills to appear. After completing all three waves, you take over the territory if the Grove Street Families don't already own it.
- Awesome music on the radio. You can even add your own music in the PC version, and in the Xbox version of the game you can choose a station on the radio which plays the music on the hard disk.
- 248 vehicles in the game (compared to GTA III which only had 60). You can also customize the vehicles by going into certain garages, where you can change the paint job, apply nitro boosts and add hydraulics that you can actually control.
- While CJ automatically aims his guns towards the nearest target, he can also manually aim as well. This enables CJ to aim at a car's gas tank and blow it up with a single bullet.
- Saving a game in a safehouse allows six in-game hours to fly by and removes all your wanted levels
- A lot of playable content and minigames. For example, there's a Racing minigame, a Casino minigame, a Snooker minigame and a Dancing minigame. There's also the scrapped "Hot Coffee" minigame that was re-enabled by Dutch modder "PatrickW".
- Up to 8 save slots are available.
- A lot of bonus content and Easter eggs in the game that are hidden everywhere in the game.
- 100,000+ mods that you can use to customize your game. You can turn San Andreas into Anime World or a first-person shooter. You can also add new minigames and missions.
- Awesome community that still makes mods, videos and memes about the game and its characters (especially Big Smoke) even today.
- The HD Remastered version released for the PS3, Steam and Xbox 360 is a shockingly bad port. Thankfully, the PS4 version averted this by porting the PS2 version of the game instead. As for Steam version, fortunately, you can downgrade the game to the retail version to bring back some of the content that was in the original PC release.
- There's an infamous glitch that makes the mission where you have to stop Madd Dogg from committing suicide unwinnable. If you activate the "Pedestrian Riot" cheat, Madd Dogg will jump to his death after the cutscene.
- There are some extremely difficult missions for beginners, such as the notorious "Wrong Side of the Tracks" where CJ has to drive a motorbike next to a moving train whilst Big Smoke attempts to shoot a group of Vagos who are attempting to escape on it. There's also "Supply Lines...", in which CJ has to destroy a fleet of couriers with an RC plane which is constantly losing fuel (Even worse, the PS2 and Xbox versions have a bug where the fuel bar decreases faster than on the PC and Xbox 360 versions).
- The patch that removed the "Hot Coffee" minigame from the PC version also completely removed mod support. Fortunately, there's a downgrader available that reverts the game to its original form, re-enabling mod support as well as adding some new community bug fixes.
- Some of the on-screen subtitles don't match the spoken dialogue.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the best selling game for the PlayStation 2, selling over 27 million units.
Metacritic rated GTA: San Andreas 93/100 based on 47 reviewers.