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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Rockstar Games
developer: Rockstar North
genre: Action

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PIII 1000, 256MB RAM, 3.6GB HDD, 64MB video card
ESRB rating: M
homepage:
www.rockstargames.com/sanandreas/

release date: Jun 07, 05
» All About Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on ActionTrip


As far as graphics go, it looks alright. We've been over this a thousand times, and say what you will, there's not a whole lot new here. Personally, the graphics don't bother me, and the environments are so huge that the draw distance more than makes up for any shortcomings you might find. This, however, is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm going to let you make your own mind up here. I think it looks loads and loads better than past Grand Theft Autos, and especially good for having just come off of the PS2, which is notorious for looking dated. Everything about this game is improved from the original and the last sequel, including very effective usage of pixel shaders, dynamic reflections, and improved physics.

There's a bunch of new gameplay mechanics. Basically everything that you could want to do, the ability to run a gang (get gang members to follow you, and help perform drive-bys and all of that), and there's gang wars over turf now, you have to both attack and defend, and you get money for holding more territories. There's even more buildings you can enter, they took the stealth from Manhunt so you can even play like that, slinking in the shadows. There's an RPG element that not only forces you to work out, and eat food, but also using certain guns makes you better with them and unlocks new features. If you get good enough with pistols or micro SMGs, you can dual wield. Cars have gas tanks that will explode with one shot. You can change your clothes, haircut, and tattoos. Basically, anything that you could want in this game, Rockstar has added it. The sheer number of additions to already amazing gameplay makes past Grand Theft Autos feel like betas.

And now you can swim, too!

Another thing of note is that the controls are very intuitive, so there's not even a hint of this being a crude console port. You'd expect no less from Rockstar North. The loading times are virtually non-existent, and that seems to be one of the problems that the Xbox version is suffering from. On the PC, everything seems to work very, very smoothly.

However, I did notice some problems with the AI code in the game. While for the most part, the NPCs in the environment will react the way they're supposed to, occasionally, they will fail to recognize the gravity of their situation (like when they're being shot at), or exhibit some minor path finding issues (like in one of the earlier missions where some of your gang members are supposed to follow you around on foot). Also, while the physics have obviously been greatly improved over what we saw in Vice City, kicking, say an empty cardboard box still doesn't appear entirely believable. Of course, these are just minor technical gripes and they will in no way hinder your enjoyment of the game, but they are still worth mentioning.

Basically, what we have here is Grand Theft Auto on speed. It's about ten times what the original, groundbreaking game was, in every way. More importantly, the additions and improvements that have been introduced in this latest installment in the series do make a huge difference on the gameplay. They are not just cosmetic changes, they make the entire game experience a whole lot better. That's what good sequels should be all about.

I can't not recommend this game to fans of the series, and basically anyone that has ever wanted to vent out a little by committing virtual crimes. It is the perfect crime game.

Even the packaging for the game is a work of art.

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9.4   Excellent


HIGHS
Everything. The perfect crime game. Everything you could want is in here. A true work of art;

LOWS
The content is going to have the Senate in an uproar, some AI and minor physics issues.

RATINGS GUIDE




1 post(s)
Reader Comments
uk_john May 02 2010, 09:58 am EDT
Spot on....!!
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