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Let it be known right off the bat that I am not that big a fan of the series. I never picked up 3, but I did grab Vice City. While I certainly enjoyed the game it was by no means the best game around. Many people hailed it as being the definitive video game.

Because of this, I was skeptical about buying San Andreas. One downside of working at a video game store is when you see all of the promo stuff and get information on it as often as we do; you wind up buying into your own hype and I wound up buying a copy the day of release.

This game, quite simply, has blown me away.

If you've played the previous titles, you'll know what to expect in the graphics department. The character models are detailed, if are a bit polygonal. The houses and towns are pretty detailed on the inside, but fairly bland on the outside and the cars seem to be a tad worse graphically than in Vice City. While I personally don't have a problem with that, car enthusiasts might be a tad bit disappointed. However, the environments have improved ten-fold. It's no longer pitch-black at night time. Night looks much more realistic, and the rain effect has also changed. Things get a tad blurry and the light scatters a bit during a downpour, which highlights the attention to detail in terms of weather and environment which is simply fantastic and the cut-scene quality has also improved a bit.

The excellent sound production has returned, and with a vengeance! Some people were worried that, because of the nature of the game, only rap would be feature in San Andreas. That is simply not the case, and while you do have a very wide and eclectic selection of rap (I don't even like rap that much, but there are some great rap tunes in the game) but Rockstar also included some alternative rock stations, classic rock stations, and country stations. The game sports big-name rock bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Guns 'N Roses, Alice In Chains, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well as great rap/hip-hop artists are in the game, like Run DMC, Easy E, and Chuck D. There's something for everyone!

The voice acting is, once again, done to perfection. While the main character isn't played by a big-name actor, there are plenty of big celebrities in the game. Samuel L. Jackson's badassery points were knocked up quite a bit when I popped the game in, because he's in it. Same thing goes with Ice-T. Listen closely to one of the DJs on the classic rock station. Why, it sounds like its being voiced by Axl Rose!

The controls are basically the same as every other GTA game. The only major difference is now you can only move your character with the left control stick. The control pad is used for communication (talking to random people and recruiting gang members, mainly). Those familiar with the previous games will have no time picking up this game, and newbies to the series can figure out the controls in five minutes.

You might be worried that this game doesn't bring anything new to the table, and that was basically my main concern. This game however has so many new innovations that it leaves its predecessors in the dust.

For starters, the game is linear in terms of storyline. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I hardly ever played the storyline in Vice City. I just kinda ran around and killed things. While you still have that free roam aspect in this game, the storyline is much more straightforward than in previous GTA titles. The characters are great, in terms of giving them a personality. Smoke will have you laughing throughout the entire game, for instance.

There are many different attributes that you have to gain and lose throughout the game. You have to eat in the game, for instance; eat too much and you get fat, so you have to go to the gym to lose the weight. You have to go to the gym anyway to increase your strength and stamina, and you're in a gang where you'll need to show off your gang colors. So why not go to the clothes store and buy a green bandana and hoodie? And you look so scruffy now. To fix this, you can go to the barber and get a new haircut and facial hair

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

 

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

ESRB: Rating Pending - RP
Platform: PlayStation 2
Category: n/a
 
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Let it be known right off the bat that I am not that big a fan of the series. I never picked up 3, but I did grab Vice City. While I certainly enjoyed the game it was by no means the best game around. Many people hailed it as being the definitive video game. Because of this, I was skeptical about buying San Andreas. One downside of working at a video game store is when you see all of the promo stuff and get information on it as often as we do; you wind up buying into your own hype and I wound up buying a copy the day of release. This game, quite simply, has blown me away. If you've played the previous titles, you'll know what to expect in the graphics department. The character models are detailed, if are a bit polygonal. The houses and towns are pretty detailed on the inside, but fairly bland on the outside and the cars seem to be a tad worse graphically than in Vice City. While I personally don't have a problem with that, car enthusiasts might be a tad bit disappointed. However, the environments have improved ten-fold. It's no longer pitch-black at night time. Night looks much more realistic, and the rain effect has also changed. Things get a tad blurry and the light scatters a bit during a downpour, which highlights the attention to detail in terms of weather and environment which is simply fantastic and the cut-scene quality has also improved a bit. The excellent sound production has returned, and with a vengeance! Some people were worried that, because of the nature of the game, only rap would be feature in San Andreas. That is simply not the case, and while you do have a very wide and eclectic selection of rap (I don't even like rap that much, but there are some great rap tunes in the game) but Rockstar also included some alternative rock stations, classic rock stations, and country stations. The game sports big-name rock bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Guns 'N Roses, Alice In Chains, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well as great rap/hip-hop artists are in the game, like Run DMC, Easy E, and Chuck D. There's something for everyone! The voice acting is, once again, done to perfection. While the main character isn't played by a big-name actor, there are plenty of big celebrities in the game. Samuel L. Jackson's badassery points were knocked up quite a bit when I popped the game in, because he's in it. Same thing goes with Ice-T. Listen closely to one of the DJs on the classic rock station. Why, it sounds like its being voiced by Axl Rose! The controls are basically the same as every other GTA game. The only major difference is now you can only move your character with the left control stick. The control pad is used for communication (talking to random people and recruiting gang members, mainly). Those familiar with the previous games will have no time picking up this game, and newbies to the series can figure out the controls in five minutes. You might be worried that this game doesn't bring anything new to the table, and that was basically my main concern. This game however has so many new innovations that it leaves its predecessors in the dust. For starters, the game is linear in terms of storyline. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I hardly ever played the storyline in Vice City. I just kinda ran around and killed things. While you still have that free roam aspect in this game, the storyline is much more straightforward than in previous GTA titles. The characters are great, in terms of giving them a personality. Smoke will have you laughing throughout the entire game, for instance. There are many different attributes that you have to gain and lose throughout the game. You have to eat in the game, for instance; eat too much and you get fat, so you have to go to the gym to lose the weight. You have to go to the gym anyway to increase your strength and stamina, and you're in a gang where you'll need to show off your gang colors. So why not go to the clothes store and buy a green bandana and hoodie? And you look so scruffy now. To fix this, you can go to the barber and get a new haircut and facial hair…. The cars are also customizable, once you advance in the storyline far enough. Everything from nitro to hydraulics to paintjobs can be changed and added, for a price, of course. In conclusion, this is the pinnacle of the GTA series. The customization is endless, the storyline is great, the voice acting is great, and there are enough new features in the game to categorize it as a true sequel, not Vice City on steroids. If you enjoyed any of the previous GTA games, pick up this game.






 
 

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