Review by ZappaWappa
"aka: The "Gangsta" Simulator"
Intro: Circa 2001, Grand Theft Auto III is released. GTA 3 revolutionizes the gaming community, and the way soccer moms look at games. Vice City is released the following year, with more blood and action. Its GTA 3 with a Miami-based setting. Then comes San Andreas. Grand Theft Auto III was considered the greatest PS2 game of all time...until last Tuesday. San Andreas takes the GTA franchise into a whole new level never explored. San Andreas is 6 times the size of Vice City. Yes, SIX TIMES the size of Vice City. More land, more cars, deeper storyline...and more chaos then ever before.
Storyline: You take the role of a whole new character. Carl Johnson is a black 20-something. He escaped the hardships of gang wars and city trouble. He hung around Liberty City (of GTA3 fame) until his mother dies. Carl, or "CJ" comes back 5 years later for the funeral, only to discover the gang, the family, friends, and the 'hood has changed ever since his departure. I won't spoil the the details. Thats for you to find out. Despite the "cheeziness", it gets deeper. But I can't state it without spoiling it ;)
Graphics: The graphics have improved tremendously. Remember the days of GTA3 where the player's hands were blocky, and the game wasn't "smooth"? All changed. There is great detail from CJ's facial hair to the cracks on a car window. This game uses every little bit of the PS2's capabilities. The game doesn't slow down, nor is it ever blurry. (Unless your speeding down a straightaway on a PCJ motorbike, but thats another story :) Overall, the graphics will blow your mind away. It has improved from the past GTA games.
Gameplay: This is where the game takes a roller coaster climb. The gameplay is so deep...that ...I'm speechless. Where to start? San Andreas is basically a state. Mixed with features from Nevada and California. San Andreas has everything from the state mountian, to a complete desert. The cars are blocky and 90s-ish style, which I prefer for some odd reason ;) Some of your favorite "3" and Vice City cars make a return, but in an old-school or updated version, depending on what game they were in. Rockstar also hid some hidden eater eggs, like "ghosts" and many are talking about a "Big Foot" roaming the backwoods of San Andreas. Plane crashes also occur, and can harm or kill CJ if he is caught in the wreckage. There are three big cities in San Andreas. Los Santos is a mock of Los Angeles, San Fierro is a mock of San Francisco, and Las Venturas is a mock of...you guess it, Las Vegas. The game is so big, i'll describe each city in a small summary.
Los Santos - The LA of the game. Composed of a busy downtown, and it's own ghetto. Not to mention a spoof of the famous Hollywood sign. (Vinewood, as it's called in LS)
San Fierro - The mock of San Francisco. Its own Golden State bridge. Not to mention the mock of the strong "***" community San Fran has. Nothing too offensive. Fierro also has a few car modding garages, where you can put your own cool touch to a few personal vehicles.
Las Venturas - The glitz and glamor of the game. At night, the neon signs are on (and a few characters from Vice City fame make cameos on these flashy neon signs. I won't tell you, don't worry) with some casinos in which you can gamble in. At day, it turns into a violent little city. Watch your back...
The police AI has also improved. Smarter, bigger quantity, and not to mention some black cops. No complaining about racism this time around :P.
Controls: The controls we all got used to in "3" and Vice City have been thrown out of the window. The D-Pad is no longer used to steer with, which was a major setback with me. I don't like the idea of using the analog stick, but thats just me. D-Pad is used to change radio stations. (Lazlow, Fernando, and a few favorites return) Pressing up and down is used to change the radio stations, while the left analog stick is used to steer cars and control Carl. The R and L buttons are used to control the camera angles while in a vehicle. R1 is to target. The Triangle, Circle, Square, and "X" button vary on what your doing or what situation you are currently in.
Zappa's Final Thought: Buy it if you can. It is rated M for mature, which means basically people 17 and over can only buy it. But if yor mature enough and you know reality from gaming, you should have no trouble convincing your parents.
Final Score: 10/10 (Amazing)
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/02/04
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