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on October 27, 2004
This is more like a 4.5.

I've mostly just scratched the surface with this game so far, but it's pretty darn impressive.

It retains much of the engine of the previous two versions, so it isn't as mind-blowing as its earlier incarnations; this is mostly tweaks on a good thing that make it even better.

The list of things that you can do in the game is incredibly expansive, and you'll find yourself in some interesting positions thanks to additions like being able to swim, eat, work out, learn how to fight and shop for clothes. Even the first city is pretty huge and detailed, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

Graphically, it's about the same as what you're used to, and the character animations and skins are probably less than what they were in Vice City, but the game compensates by being so large, so much more involving, and offering so many more options to address your style of play. If you're the meticulous type who likes to look good and have people notice your new shoes, you can create a path that maintains such a lifestyle. By contrast, if you're a hoodie who likes to bum around and spend their time down at the local bar playing pool and video games, you can do that too (literally: I lost $50 on a pool game that I got to PLAY, but set the high score on a game down at the carry-out around the corner THAT I ALSO GOT TO PLAY).

Every version of this game has used racist and sexist imagery to varying degrees, so if you're suddenly offended by the material in this game, you're about 5 years late. At the same time, this game does up the ante on the negativity vibe, so to speak, and will -justifiably - raise questions about how offensive a game should be. For once, I'm not taken aback by the violence; this is pretty much par for the course for the series, and it isn't amplified significantly here graphically or otherwise. But I haven't been called a n!gger so much in my life, and I'm black.

So the gameplay is top-notch, the graphics about what you're used to, the replay value fairly high, and you really could make an almost Sims-like life in there.
11 comment273 of 300 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 2, 2004
To start out simply: Whatever your viewpoints on the value of this game, the problems with it, and the sometimes lack of inhibitions dealing with language and other factors, you almost have to admit that besides certain RPGs, Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas is one of the most engrossing and grandiose games that has ever been released.

There are many arguments here dealing with problems with the gameplay, or problems with the story. I'd like to get those out first, because then I can focus on the positives.

To start out, because the world of san andreas is so large, you may find yourself taking ten minutes to get from where your mission ended, to where you can start again. Even for the most Die-hard fan, this long trek can sometimes seem alittle tedious. Many of the Racing missions in this game cause you to travel across half the map to get to the finish. While this can be a good thing, if you screw up, you may have a problem finding your way back.

Car handling feels alittle "slippier" than in Vice City. If anything, the controls feel more similar to Liberty City but not wholly the same.

There are many parts in the story that include references to drugs (and the actual taking of these substances), sexual innuendo, Language, and violence. While these things can add up to a truly classic story (take scarface as an example) sometimes the story here overdoes itself. The game holds nothing back, and it uses language realistically. It doesn't sugarcoat everything, which seems to be the tendency of current american media.

There are minor graphical glitches (such as a unstable framerate when things get crazy) and sometimes you'll find yourself in a sea of building where only flat land existed a second or two before (due mainly in part to the speed which you travel at). There aren't too many of these though, so most problems dealing with this issue aren't all that bad.

Now, the good parts of this game are so numerous, i'd be hard to list everything. Im not going to tell you that this game is the best game ever, no matter what you think. This is merely my honest opinion of it.

One of the coolest features that has arisen from this game is the motion blur when your speed is up. This is such a small thing, but it makes such a difference for me. Not only does this occur in cars, but when you are falling a large distance this also occurs. Try going to the top of Chiliad, and jumping off. See if your feet don't tingle at the prospect of hitting the ground (which is still unrealistic if you are currently in a vehicle.) It can be a really interesting thing.

Another cool feature is that of gang wars. How to initiate a gang war attack on another gangs territory is to shoot and kill two to four gang members simultaneously (within 2 to 3 seconds of each kill, kill the next member). This will cause repeating waves of gang members to attack you. Without support, this can be a hard task indeed, but you can still accomplish this on your own due to the health and armor that the game feeds you. Still, even with the latest weapons, armor, and support it won't be a walk in the park to take things over.

The last feature that i'll speak on is the different odd jobs that you can perform. The most interesting (actually, the most original) is probably the ability to be a pimp. Imagine my suprise as I hopped into an old style hermes-like car, and the screen gave me a classic "push R3 to start" the pimp missions. I never actually tried these, but as an example this is something I hadn't heard about. Other Odd jobs like stealing things from houses at night, and lowrider challenges dot the world with things to do even if your not participating in the story at the time.

This game has almost infinate replay value. You experience will be different almost every time you play depending on what you are doing with the game.

Overall, this game is very large. It does have some downfalls, but it is generally a true first-rate game, and im sure that it will someday make it's way into the playstation classics category.
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on October 28, 2004
Once again Rockstar games has managed to add another landmark game in their already impressive aresnal. GTA San Andreas is the best game I have ever played. The whole city is so realistic you can practically smell the hot pavement cooking in the afternoon sun. The characters all seem to have been lifted off Boyz in the Hood or New Jack City but that doesnt matter, because the storyline is still intresting enough to keep you revited. The sheer variety of things to do is mind boggling, cut your hair, work out, get some tattoos, buy some clothes, get drunk, play video games..that is just a few of the things that keep you busy. This time around Rockstar seems to have added elements of role playing games into the mix. There are several meters determing strenght, endurance, skill and health. This meters can be worked on and filled up until you become the ultimate gangsta killing machine. The terrain is a lot more intresting this time too, more hills, more valleys, forests, mountains, lakes, rivers! I just enjoy driving around from the mountains down to the city, which is fun in itself. The people up in the mountains are heavily southern accented which is pretty funny. Anyways this is definiely worth the $50!!
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on June 26, 2004
Alright heres the stuff i read in the official Playstation 2 magazine (some of the stuff you may already know but oh well):
-The game is set in 90's San Andreas, which is a whole state that contains cities like Los Angelas, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and a bunch of country stuff in between like deserts, mountains, rivers, and lots and lots of interstate highways.
- You are CJ who decides to come back to his old Los Santos gang called the Orange Grove Family after spending a couple of years in Liberty City...
-YOU CAN: eat in restuarants (get fat), Work out in the gym and get buff( get too buff and you move slower), improve CJ's skills, get haircuts, ride a bicycle, wear lots of outfits, buy and build buildings (many more things to do with this than in Vice City), Gamble at casino's, break into houses and steal money, swim,dual wield mutliple guns, recruit your own gang to help you out, do 4 person drive by shootings.
The improvements: -five to six times the size of Vice City, game comes on a rare dual layer dvd, no more loading between cities, new graphics engine with 35-50% more polygons on screen, longer view distance, more realistic relections, shadows, and animation; every character has a "brain", a bunch of more detailed indoor locations, more mini games, man hunt style gun targeting, better hand to hand combat, each weapon is detailed and has its own realistic experience, rag doll physics, wider range of vehicles with improved physics, and the vehicles get rusty and dirty over time.
The average pedestrian in San Andreas will have up to six times more dialouge than in Vice City. Another thing is that the game will automatically adjust the level of difficulty if a player gets stuck on that impossible mission. However this doesnt mean you can fail and then it will be easy, the changes are supposed to practically invisible and very small. IF you get fat the insults will be pretty mean. You can ride a bicycle by pushing x real fast to go real fast. There is free aiming with any weapon. Also your rival gang are the Balla's and if you go in their territory you are dead meat. The cops provide a greater challenge and are very determined. I got all of this information from a very good magazine that is 100% Play Station 2 called PSM, I strongly recommend this magazine if you are interested in upcoming games and reviews on games. From what i read in the magazine this is going to be a great game and I am preordering it right now... you should too!
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on October 28, 2004
One of the first things you notice about GTA:SA is its size. The game feels enormous. Los Santos (only one of the 3 large cities in the game) feels roughly the size of all of Vice City. With so much ground to cover, and so much going on, this game will take a long time to complete if you are planning on doing more than just the main missions.

There are many new things to do in San Andreas. CJ can burglarize the neighborhood, ride a bike, customize his ride, dance, kiss, workout, date, get tattoos, get a haircut, and buy some fly threads. Many new gauges have been added as well. As you play, a gauge will pop us as you gain mastery of a skill. When CJ masters a skill, he usually gets a cool new ability. For example, last night I maximized my pimping meter, and now prostitutes pay me when I pick them up. CJ has a set of health gauges that include stamina, fat, muscle, and sex appeal (get high sex appeal by dressing sharp and getting a nice car) among others. The targeting has also changed. When a person is targeted the target will be green to indicate full health, but as the weapon is fired (or as your fists fly as the case may be) the target will turn colors to indicate failing health until the target turns black and your victim is dead.

There is a noticeable increase in vulgarity in this installment, but it is appropriate for the setting and characters. In my opinion, children should NOT play this game. This is clearly entertainment for adults.

Run out and get this game. It is highly enjoyable and satisfying. I would also recommend purchasing the strategy guide so that you don't miss anything that San Andreas offers.
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on October 28, 2004
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is by far the most amazing videogame I have ever seen or played. It raises the bar of excellence, size, scope, fun and involving game play so incredibly high that I doubt any other game will come close to it for a very long time.

But parents beware! This game is rated Mature for good reason. It is extremely adult oriented with excessive language and violence that make even GTA III and Vice City seem tame in comparison. The F-bomb is dropped every few moments, and African Americans are frequently called the N-word. Profanities of all kinds are prevalent and constant throughout the game. All of the violent and sexual adult content of the previous games is back, but ramped up to new levels of intensity. The prostitues are back, but this time the main character not only employs their services, but also acts as pimp, delivering the hookers to others. The improved graphics and motion-capture add a great sense of realism to the violence. Make no mistake: THIS IS AN ADULT GAME AND SHOULD NOT BE PURCHASED FOR CHILDREN!

Having said that, let me say again what a great, fun game GTA: San Andreas is. It is a marvelous advance in the world of videogames, and as an adult, I find it to be a very deep, involving form of escapist entertainment. No doubt, we'll all be hearing from the politicians and others who want to censor forms of entertainment they find offensive. And this new game, like the previous entries in the series, will likely become a center of controversy. We'll hear the same old arguments about how this and other violent videogames are the source of all evil in the world. I'm sorry, but that is just so simplistic and untrue. Videogames are entertainment, plain and simple, just like movies, books, music and television. And certain videogames, just like certain movies, books or TV programs, are not intended for children. Responsible parents should not allow their children to play GTA: San Andreas, any more than they would allow them to watch Pulp Fiction or The Sopranos. But just like other forms of mature entertainment, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has every right to exist for an audience mature enough to understand and enjoy it.

Enough of my soapbox editorializing. If you are an older teen or an adult, get this game, play it and enjoy it. It really is an amazing achievement. If you are a parent whose younger teen or child wants this game, find another more appropriate title. There are a lot of good ones out this fall.
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on October 30, 2004
This game has now opened up a whole new breed of videogames. Grand Theft Auto III did it, Vice City continued it and now San Andreas is adding. This game is a combination of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, The Sims, Friday and Boyz in the Hood.

Okay, you don't need a story but this is a brief summary. You are a guy named CJ Johnson who moved to Libery City and came back to bury his dead mother, andhe decides to stay because he is framed for murdering a cop by two losers and to "help out the community". You are apart of a gang called the Grove Street OJ's.

So, you could do anything. This is somewhat an RPG, because you can improve your stats by going to the gym, swimming (finally), and riding bikes. This is no Final Fantasy crap RPG like that, it is a The Sims: Illegal Style along with the Rockstar touch.

So, what can you do? You can do anything in the past Grand Theft Auto games, with it a little tweaked and better. They made it more realistic. First your character. You can have him get a haircut from a barber, and I got a fro :). You can go to the gym, and use different machines like lifting weights, dumb-bells, the power bike to improve your stamina and the tredmill. Swimming loses your fat, and you can swim underwater. You can change clothes like in Def Jam Vendetta, by having different combinations.

For the other stuff, you got new weapons. You can use a spray can to "tag up turf", which is sort of like a hidden-package side mission. There is a fire extinguisher that you can use for both ways, a satchel explosive like from SOCOM, heat-seeking rocket launchers and new melee weapons like a cane, and a shovel. But the newest and coolest addition is the James Bond silenced pistol.

You can also play little side games. You can play basketball, videogames in your original house (the best is "They Came From Uranus"), recruit gang members and have them peform drive-by's. Did you ever waqnt to dance in the Malibu in Vice City instead of turning around in circles or doing the chainsaw dance? Now you can finally DANCE!!! This comes later int eh game, and I am pretty sure of it.

Instead of just being taxi, ambulance and fire missions, you can do extra stuff. The funnest is burglarly. You can go into people's houses and take away their stuff, and get some cash for it. Along with the original stuff like taxi, you can pimp (not sure about that), and be a trucker. Gambling is in the game in Las Vegas, and you can do anything in the casinos.

This is just the little things you can do. The missions are great, and there are codes, so don't listen to some of these other people. All the weapon sounds were tweaked, and it sounds better. There are 3 times the amount of cars then in Vice City, and you can do low-rider missions, and a lot of cars trigger different things. You can go into most stores, and you can actually hold up stores without cops storming in. Little things added like shooting in the air and scaring people and other combinations of things like with the melee weapons makes this game much different then any other game out there.

But, people, including MAVV, are trying to invade our living rooms. The language went up, but the violence is getting less and less. That doesn't mean it isn't like Vice City, but to nervous parents, this game can be fun for you. This game ain't racist, either. If you don;t want your kids to play violent games, don't let them, but don't drag other people into it. People should just mind their own business.
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on August 16, 2004
All right, I'm here to confirm a few things about San Andreas. First of all, you CAN and WILL swim. You can even dive under water! You see, you have a "Breath-O-Meter" which shows your oxygen level when you dive. And you also have a stamina meter telling how long you can stay afloat, this decreases with how you swim (e.g. you breast-stroke No stamina usage, you "crawl-swim" stamina goes Way down). Oh, and if you run your car into the water, you have a little while to excape, or you can sink with it. Second, you HAVE to eat, or else you'll die. You must eat when the game sends out a "help" signal saying CJ is hungry. Now you can either eat, or continue what you were doing. If you decide to continue, you energy bar will decrease and you will get a little skinnier. This is not good! You will get weaker and your punches will not do much damage, (unless you work out a lot, then you can hit like a tank). This also goes oppositly, if you eat too much you will get fat, or throw up. Oh, don't get overly buff, you will be powerful, yet slow, m'kay? Third, jacking cars is harder! The people will put ukp a fight, so you will have to "persuade" him or her to get out, either by pistol whippin' 'em, bashing their head into the dashboard, or a variety of other painful ways. Fifth, you can rob houses (finally!). You normally should start with poor, fairly defensless houses, and work your way up. It takes a lot of time to know when to rob, you should stalk your victim first, know when he goes to bed, goes out. Then, jack almost all he's got! (FYI: you can only rob at night, duh, and you must be in a truck. You can sell the stuff you steal, like tvs, stereos, etc. to your local fence.) Finally, your character is a black guy named Carl "CJ" Jonhson. Who has a variety of weapons, from silenced pistols, to military assault rifles. And he can attack people from behing after hiding in the shadows (just like manhunt). And aiming is also like Manhunt's, with a few twists, as in if you aim a one guy for a long time you have more of a chance to get a head shot.

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on November 3, 2004
Grand Theft Auto San Andreeas is, for many reasons the best GTA to come out.

-Nice Graphics(Hands arent deformed claws anymore)
-Unlimited gameplay
-good sound effects
-A Destructive aresonal(And some new additions)
-Nice voice acting(Even Samuel L. Jackson did a part)
-Great controls
-Swimming(No more frakin drowning. Just don't be on the cops bad side or the coast gaurd will ice ya)
-Climbing(No more finding a diffrent route when running, when you can climb over walls)
-I love the aiming system! (You can aim regular style, or you can blast around Splinter Cell style without the stealth. Because of the aiming system I took out a helicopter with a shotgun. Pretty cool huh?)
-New looks(you can customize the way C.J. looks(Clothes and hair). The only game I spent as long costomizing characters was DOA Extreeme Vollyball)
-Revamped cars(You can cousomize your car with a lot of features on it, and you can get nitros to blast around town faster than midnight club 2)
-Riding bikes has never been so cool
-Breaking in houses is pretty cool
-Realistic(You have to eat, and exersize, to improve your stats. And improving your weapons can make you movie while shooting with weapons you couldn't use before)
-You can jack and control trains. Oh yea!
-With enough respect you can roll with a 4 man crew. Down for a 187?
-Not only is this game excellent on it's own, it has the absolute freedom a game could ever offer.
-I still can't do jack without cheats
-Missions are pretty tough
-When you hold up a store you don't get money anymore. Dang!(Well like I care. I'm just trying so hard to find a bad thing in this game, and a game this good it's hard)
-I hate wreking my costmized car(All that time and money)
-A game that is definitly not for kids
-Music: Since I love ol' school hip-hop R&B and some good ol' James Brown, This wasdefinitly the right calling for me. But some will hate it or like it.(I hated the Vice City soundtrack)
-Being a gangsta: I got sick and tired of people saying they don't wanna be a black guy in the game in school, and on the internet. People have their opinions. I'm hispanic and none of it bothers me.
-Story:Since I got the game yesterday, I completed about maybe 11 or 12 missions, so I'm not deep enough in it yet to determine the story, altho it's allright so far.

All three cities in the first Grand Theft Auto have been completed and finished. GTA 3 is second best, GTA Vice city is my least favorite(It was still good), But San Andreas took home the gold and is a definite landmark in the GTA series. I hope this isn't the last GTA(But with the money rockstar is making off this, I doubt it). The GTA series on th PS2 is a exellent way to begin and end a trilogy(Wachowski Brothers take notes). This game is for those who love viocenc, freedom, cars, and the other GTA games. I you can't stand any of those, you're missing out my friend.

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on November 4, 2004
I am one of the GTA addicts, who bought the game flat out (it's a big thing for me cause usually I rent first.) I've always been a devotee to GTA, and more importantly to Rockstar. they are hands down the most aggressive game label I've encountered. Every game they make is fearless in it's execution.

and now GTA: San Andreas solidifies that.

Now for those new to the GTA world, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME FIRST! Start from scratch with GTA:3, through Vice City because you'll be needing all the skills you can muster to survive the tumluts of the state of San Andreas. If you're one of the ones whining about the Analog, THAT IS YOUR FAULT you should have been using the Analog from the start!!! The Analog is necessary for San Andreas because to really drive these vehicles it requires a subtle touch (which is ironic considering the game.)

In regards to the graphics, frankly the point is moot due to the fact that the game was meant to have cartoony undertones, but nevertheless the detail on the scenery is still finely tuned, and I am surprised they were able to cram it all on one disc, because San Andreas is not just 3 cities, it's also a series of small towns in between., not to mention as a surprising addition an Area 51 spoof Area 69. In the beginning the Cities are very difficult to navigate but this was true in all of the games, one thing I did before I started missions in each city was to go on tour and get an idea of the layout. (Also the fact that sometimes the picture got dark was tedious at first but I got used to it. It's just a necessary lighting effect for the sake of realism.) another thing which is quite exciting is the inventory of vehicles to drive, the BMX bike in all honesty is the least exciting, I mean come one you get to fly with a hoverpack, you can also skydive!!!

And to add to the brilliance of it's realism you have to maintenance your character because what you look like affects how people look at you, and it also affects your mission progression, and your abitlity to move in any given situation,

I can tell that Rockstar took a cue from "Manhunt" in regards to it's targeting system, and also stealth kills, because they're both present here, and I'm glad cause they have helped me survive on numerous occasions.

And as usual my favorite part of the GTA world is present here. the story. But a big surprise here is the route the story goes. It begins merely as a spat between two rival gangs until it evolves into something far more sinister, (Kinda like a season of 24, minusing the gang part.) But an even bigger joy are the characters you run into from both GTA 3 and Vice City. I leave that for you all to be surpised. That is actually another reason why I recommend the novices to play the predecessors first. Also the voice over work is as usual top notch, the actor playing CJ delivers a performance straight out of a John Singleton movie, and some of the celebrity apperances are equally enjoyable. (honorable mentions include Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, Peter Fonda, David Cross, and James Woods to name a few, just expect to hear more.)

I could go on all day talking about this but I can't. However I will add that another perk is the innovative missions you have to embark on. They are as usual original and entertaining, sure you'll fail A LOT!!! (The flying levels are the most aggravating) but when you conquered them you're left with a sense of relief like you just climbed K2. but look at it like this, after you beat the game, when you replay it it'll be a breeze.

And I can definitely vouch that you WILL be playing it over again. Now I only sctratched the surface on all the stuff you can do in this game buti don't wanna give it all away just go play it!!!
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