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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

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Developer: Rockstar North Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: June 6, 2005 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox

We have all heard of the scandal and controversy behind Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2005. Even through all the problems, this GTA game remains on the shelves in an edited version. San Andreas on the Xbox came out about a year after it did on the PlayStation 2. After all this time, is San Andreas really worth the time? I’d have to say yes. With all the added RPG elements, San Andreas is taking steps to build into the next generation titles.

Okay, so we know the GTA franchise was never known for its visual presentation. San Andreas still is no exception to this rule. Though given a minor upgrade from the PS2, it still is nothing you would expect to see on the Xbox’s hardware. Character models are horrendous and the frame rate chugs a lot while driving fast through the city. The map in my mind is what stands out the most. The backgrounds you are engulfed in look nice for it being the size that it is. The area you will be playing in is larger than GTA 3 and Vice City combined with so many areas that you may never get to explore them all. Cut scenes are well below average. They only look a little bit better than the actual gameplay, but are sufficient.

The big area that has stood out since GTA 3 is the music and voice acting. The large array of radio stations keeps you amused while driving from point to point. Each station brings an anchor and different genres of music. This helps you find what you want to hear easier and makes driving a lot more exciting experience; trust me, you do a lot of it. The voice talent again draws from the pool of Hollywood greats. The biggest name on the roster is Samuel L. Jackson who plays the role of Tenpenny, the corrupt cop trying to get you to do all his dirty work. There is nothing better than having an A-list of voice talent to help progress a storyline.

Warning: Explicit language!

A lot has been added into GTA since Vice City. Sure, the majority of the gameplay is still driving and shooting, but there are many side RPG elements that create a more life-like scenario. You are able to talk with people on the street and go inside most buildings. Head down to the store to buy some new clothes or head down to the gym to increase your endurance or build up some muscle. Getting hungry will lessen your health, so choose one of the many restaurants throughout the game to fill up your belly. Careful with how much you eat though, your character also gains fat. This is naturally burned off through exercising, but still can hurt you if you need to run away in a hurry.

Looking for a fun time? Picking up hookers isn’t the only way anymore. You can now have girlfriends in the game that you can take on dates. Sometimes, you will go to a restaurant or maybe head to the club to dance. Be a good boyfriend and you will be “rewarded� (see Hot Coffee). The addition of some new jobs into the game changes things up a bit. You now have the opportunity to become a valet, a casino dealer or even a pimp. With the new parachute, you can now travel up to the farthest reaches of the level and go skydiving. Tired of drowning? Well, now you are able to swim anywhere you want, meaning there’s no need to worry about driving your car into the water anymore. Pick up a low rider and head down to the garage where you can trick it out and make a sweet ride to enter races or just to drive around for show. There is so much to do and it’s packed on just one disc.

Alright, we have seen most of San Andreas in the previous two GTA titles. But there is just much more you can do that just makes the game much more enjoyable. With this many things to do, San Andreas could remain in your console for months to come. If you have yet to play it on the PS2, go out to the store now. Even through all the controversy, there is a lot to love about San Andreas.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 8.6
Written by Shawn Review Guide