Playstation 2 : Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Reviews

Gas Gauge: 97
Gas Gauge 97
Below are user reviews of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and on the right are links to professionally written reviews. The summary of review scores shows the distribution of scores given by the professional reviewers for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Column height indicates the number of reviews with a score within the range shown at the bottom of the column. Higher scores (columns further towards the right) are better.

Summary of Review Scores

Game Spot 96
Game FAQs
GamesRadar 100
IGN 99
GameSpy 100
GameZone 99
Game Revolution 90
1UP 95

User Reviews (1 - 11 of 521)

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Tweaked what works, then expanded everything

4 Rating: 4, Useful: 245 / 280
Date: October 27, 2004
Author: Amazon User

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.

The Best Game Ever!

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 109 / 134
Date: October 29, 2004
Author: Amazon User

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!!

This game is the best of them all!!!!!!!!

4 Rating: 4, Useful: 265 / 399
Date: May 14, 2004
Author: Amazon User

The following features have been confirmed for GTA: San Andreas:
* Tweaked Vice City
* Entire state of San Andreas included, meaning three cities will be present in the game, each connected by countryside. Los Santos, a fictional Los Angeles, San Fierro, a rendition of San Francisco, and La Venturra, which is the Grand Theft Auto version of Las Vegas.
* Larger map, which is much more interesting and "alive" than Vice City. Hills have been confirmed, and even a mountain is to be included.
* Smog will be present in Los Santos to give it a "real life" feeling.
* "Characters from the past" will return.
* Ragdoll physics, aka "Impact Animation" similar to that seen in recent PC titles like Far Cry, Half Life 2 and Max Payne 2.
* In La Venturra, set up a casino, or gamble in those owned by others.
* Recruit gang members and perform four person drive by's. (Screenshot)
* Pedal Bicycles (Screenshot)
* House robberies will take place but require skill and planning.
* Stamina Meter. Carl will have to consume food on his journey across San Andreas, and will gain weight if he eats too much. Gyms will be available to work out in.

PSM Stuff

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 45 / 51
Date: June 27, 2004
Author: Amazon User

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!


5 Rating: 5, Useful: 30 / 37
Date: May 24, 2004
Author: Amazon User

The new GTA game will be called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
The new GTA game will be released on October 19th in USA and October 22nd in the UK and Europe.
The new GTA game will be Sony PlayStation2 Exclusive. Confirmed - R*
The Official Game Description can be read here. Confirmed - R*
In the new GTA game you play as Carl Johnson. [This Guy] Confirmed - R*
Characters from the past will return. Confirmed - GI
The City / Map
The game will take place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Dertroit, New York, Millwaki

The three cities from above will be named Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Ventura in the game.

The entire game will be about 10 to 16 times bigger than Vice City! Confirmed - GI
San Fierro will contain hills and will be more driving based. Confirmed - GI
You can drive from Los Santos, through the countryside, up a mountain and into San Fierro, then onto Las Ventura. Confirmed - GI
Driving through the desert will be vibrant and alive with weird things to see. Confirmed - GI
There will be a lot more buildings with open interiors. Confirmed - GI
The graphics engine has been tweaked. Smog will be present in LA, and real-time reflections on cars, windows, and mirrors, as well as new techniques like radial lighting, which allows for more realistic shadowing, and soft-shadow lighting for interior levels will be present. Confirmed - GI
Everything in the game now has independent models for day and night to give better lighting and shadowing. Confirmed - GI
The game will have rag-doll physics, or "impact animation" in Rockstar's words Confirmed - GI
In the Las Ventura city, you will be able to buy and build a casino and then run it. Confirmed - GI
You can then gamble your money in the casino. Confirmed - GI
You need to eat to retain your stamina. If you eat too much fast food, you become fat and pedestrians mock you for being fat. You also run slower. To remedy this, you can go to a gym to exercise. Confirmed - GI
You can now rob homes. The robberies will require skill and planning, however. Confirmed - GI
You can recruit gang members and use them to do four person drive-by's. Confirmed - GI
Your character can dual wield pistols and potentially other weapons. Confirmed - GI
The choice of weapons will match the weapons of the early 90's. Confirmed - GI
There will be pimped-out lowriders, and 90's versions of some GTA3/VC cars will return as. Confirmed - GI
There will be bicycles. Confirmed - GI
Artificial Intelligence
Enemy/pedestrian AI will be greatly revamped and they will think more logically. You can't beat someone to death in broad daylight and not have people notice and react. Confirmed - GI
Your enemies will be smarter, which will make robbing houses take a lot of skill. Confirmed - GI
There will be a rap station, but there

Too Gimmicky and Frustrating for the GTA Label.

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 33 / 43
Date: November 01, 2004
Author: Amazon User

To tell you where I'm coming from, I'll should just say this - GTA 3 is the greatest console game ever - when I first got on a Friday afternoon, I didn't do anything until I completed it Sunday night. I even liked GTA Vice City, and I completed in a more casual manner, in a matter of a few weeks. Needless to say that I was looking forward to this game. I even finished about two thirds of the before I had to abandon it as unplayable and frustrating.

First, the pros. This has got to be the most impressive game engine ever. The immensity of this game is huge. It's more like three games combined into one. There are three distinct cities (an LA, San Francisco, and a Las Vegas clone). By far the most expansive game to hit the consoles, ever. It's at least twice as big as Liberty City in GTA 3, but without any of the loading time when traversing the terrain. All the cities capture the unique feel of the city in terms of atmosphere and geography. Just amazing. In fact, that warm glowing feeling I got when I first played the original GTA 3 returned when I played the San Francisco cloned city.

The number of missions is impressive as well. It takes about 90 missions to complete the whole storyline. It's a great value.

Also worth nothing is the radio. It's got all the rap and rock associated with GTA type destruction from the early nineties. Some include, N.W.A, Easy E, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Guns N' Roses, Rage Against the Machine, along with some older music, CCR, Skynard, and some R & B like Boys 2 Men and En Vouge. A huge lineup full of famous songs.

There are other improvements as well. The motorbikes are more controllable, and the AI of your friends is designed so they don't jump into gunfire or do something else that is incredibly stupid like they did in Vice City.

So what's wrong? It all sounds great, right? Nope. Rockstar paid scant attention to gameplay. Sure, when you have over 100 missions total, not everyone can be a winner, but when you're struggling because one out of every 10 missions are long, tedious, or annoying, it just generates a huge headache. A good rule of thumb would be is that 10% of the missions will take about 60% of your time.

First off, many missions are multi-part, where if you fail in one part, you got to do the beginning all over again. Now this would be cool if the missions didn't consist of long drives or other such banalities or if this was 1985 and it was the NES, but it's not, and it's unacceptable. They tried to fix this with an option to skip a drive, but it only works in rare instances, and it requires you to drive back after you failed a mission, meaning that you're still driving the same distance. In other words, out of the 61 missions I passed, I was able to use it once.

Secondly, there are gimmicks instead of gameplay. What I mean is that they decided to throw everything at you, despite the fact that most of it is unwanted, unneeded, and unintuitive. Now you can swim, cycle, workout, get a girlfriend (no joke), use a camera, etc. Okay, some of these are optional, but many of them are forced upon you in order to advance, and those are annoying and are part of the majority of missions I struggled with. I was waiting for other useless missions like selling girl scout cookies or more idiotic things like that.

For example, there is a mission that requires twenty minutes of driving before you can use a camera. The mission and camera are not very well programmed, and the drive is way too long, so it took me about two hours to complete one of the simplest missions of all. I was fuming after this.

Now the worst thing are the flying levels. I really have no idea what they were thinking here. The planes are insanely sensitive and uncontrollable. I invested over 30 hours into the game, got two-thirds the way through the game, only to hit the 62nd mission. Now all I had to was pass a few flying lessons. For two hours, I tried to circle an airfield and land - that's' it, and that's only one of the lessons I had to do. I just couldn't do it, and this was one of the first lessons too, which meant that the other ones are probably harder. I just gave up. My time, like yours, is just too valuable battling bad gameplay. This is really frustrating because I have never abandoned a game when I was so far into it. I completed the other GTAs with no cheats or guides, and I've been playing games for 18 years, so it's not like I'm a newbie.

No matter how good a game's engine, graphics, voice acting, or music is, gameplay is still king, and Rockstar failed miserably. Sure this will sell 5 million or so copies, but Rockstar pretty much is slowing killing a great franchise.

Huge game with tons of missions
San Fierro (San Francisco clone) felt just right
Great graphics
Best gaming engine ever made
Improved AI, controls for bike
Unbelievable musical selection

Flying is beyond terrible - I cannot stress this enough
Repeat the same things in multiple part missions over and over again.
Too many unintuitive gimmicks.
Cannot skip most missions, so if you're stuck, you're stuck
Useless driving.

Hours to complete (if you can) - 50 hours

Difficulty level: Medium/High

Frustration level: Very high

A massive immersive game that lives up to the hype

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 19 / 20
Date: October 28, 2004
Author: Amazon User

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.

An Epic Classic

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 18 / 19
Date: November 03, 2004
Author: Amazon User

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.

Do Not Buy This Game for Your Child!

4 Rating: 4, Useful: 34 / 47
Date: October 26, 2004
Author: Amazon User

First, let me say that this game is a technical achievement and merits game of the year, game of the decade, and game of the century. What Rockstar Games is able to cram onto this CD for a system on its way out is a miracle. I will be playing this game as much as I can until I complete it.

The thing that concerns me is the brutal amount of F-bombs and N-words interlaced in the game. The previous two games had little to no cussing in it, but every other word in this game is a cuss word. I actually had to take a break from doing the missions and explore the game because the swearing was getting to be much. Now, I'm not a prude and I cuss like a sailor every now and then, but this game goes a little overboard in that category.

My biggest fear is that this game will perpetuate the stereotype that all black folks are from the hood and we disrespect our women and we don't know how to talk to each other unless it is interlaced with N and F words. Plus, it may give people of all races an excuse to think that it is acceptable to use the N word which I think is an ugly word that gives nobody any empowerment whoever says it. I mean, if you are playing this game for 4-5 hours straight, you ARE going to be influenced by it; influenced by a stereotype that was most likely created by non-black people.

So, if you have children, think twice before you buy this game for them or for yourself. It's a very fun game and I'm glad that a black man is a lead character, but maybe it should be played with the volume down.

This game is bound to be the best.

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 25 / 31
Date: June 01, 2004
Author: Amazon User

I read in Game Informer today about this game.

The info they gave was 10 pages long. And after reading it, It's easy to say this game is going to be GREAT.

New features like robbing homes, 4 people drive-bys, the ability to eat and work out and keep your body in shape, the ability to ride bikes, AND you have a crew.

Plus there's much more, but I can't fit it all in here. Just know that this game will be GREAT.

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