GTA is bigger and better, must have for any game fan.
play_hardstyle wrote this review on .
Ill first start buy saying that this is the forth installment to the now legendary GTA series. This year Rockstar have produced a brand new area (San Andreas) that is about 4 times as big as the original Vice City. They have introduced a few new concepts to the series and have changed the environment from an up-city kind of place, to a more gang related one. Like a ghetto thing. The basic story follows Carl Johnson. Who five years ago escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas... a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Now, it's the early 90s. Carl's got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.
Once you pick up on the story line, you start controlling CJ. The first couple of missions you do are a sort of tutorial which also gives you a chance to get some guns and money. The missions throughout the game are varied a lot which is good and should keep you entertained for a long while. The missions include the old drive to the checkpoint style ones to a big gang turf war in the later part of the game. Also San Andreas offers a good amount of side missions to do which can benefit you in different ways. For an example you end up getting girlfriends and if you max out there likeness for CJ, you can unlock stuff like different suits and clothes.
The graphics of San Andreas is what I think lets it down, and although it is PS2, I think Rockstar could have done a better job of it. If you have a look at the pedestrians, there are times were you will see the same models walking next to each other. The facial features are represented well but are like printed on in 2D rather then modeled. Explosions in the game aren't too bad but are very similar to the ones found in Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. The backgrounds and design of things is pretty average with everything having colour but is bland and has minimal textures. Car wheels seem to be more of a decagon than a circle.
Although the models are limited, they do have a good AI. (Well sort of) If you punch one of them, sometimes they may stand and fight, it's funny to fight old bag ladies, and other time they will run off screaming. Bystanders will call for help and stuff and sometimes get involved. Pull out a gun and everyone flees like a pack of wildebeests. The cops AI is a bit bad with them most of the time standing behind nothing and can easily get shot or a to stupid to find you. The only way you can really die is when you get six stars and tanks start to roll in. But probably the worst AI in the game are the gang models. You recruit gang members easy but hop in a car and only some get in. You drive off to another gang, you fight. But that's it only YOU fight. The gang members you recruit don't seem to do anything. They either hide, or shoot out in the open and die.
This year Rockstar have added some new ideas. The first one is being able to recruit fellow gang members and run around as a unit. Another great thing is to finally be able to swim. Were as in previous games, falling in water meant death. Another cool idea is being able to customize CJ's appearance with different clothes and hair styles and to actually be able customize some of the cars in the game. Also the new stats screen is good as well. Your stats range from stamina to attractiveness. Each one can be raised and lowered in attributes. So say if I wanted to become stronger, I'd go to the gym and do some weight mini-games, or if I wanted to get fatter I could go to a fast food store and eat. I think this adds a cool concept on appearance but also impacts how you can play the game. The best addition is the multiplayer mode thrown in. Little icons can be found around San Andreas. It is basic but it's so sick to just drive around and shoot stuff or fight or other. But no co-op. But still probably the best thing about this game.
Rockstar have kept with tradition and have thrown in a good amount of vehicles to use including vertical tack off jets. You will use a fair amount of these to get around San Andreas. Rockstar have even put in driving, flying and boating schools in the form of events. Examples – in driving school 1 event may ask you to go up a ramp and barrel role or another may ask you to go to the end of town and back with in a time limit. These events are marked with medals. The better you did the better the rating. All this has a purpose to. As you complete more and more of the schools more and more vehicles will be unlocked.
The controls of the game feel like a natural third person shooter adventure games, and any GTA fan would be able to pick up and play easily. Shooting is a pain sometimes but is made easier for you with a target mode. This helps greatly when in a turf war with ten gang members shooting at you. Running is easy with you only having to tap the X button fast then hold it. Its pretty much the same controls as Vice City. The only problem is the camera at close range. It can get in the way sometimes and also leave you blind when trying to sneak around a corner.
The sound in San Andreas is pretty good with good voice acting for the main characters and funny dialog for cops and regular pedestrians. Explosions sound like them but aren't convincing due to the fact they just don't look that good. The sound of the guns is probably the best in the series with all the different weapons sounding as they should. I'm disappointed with the cars though with them all sounding alike just a bit deeper. The soundtrack isn't that bad with songs on the radio to suite the 90's style. The only problem is that you can here the same song over and over.
Over all this is one huge and fun game. It gives you your money's worth with a huge sandbox to play in. You can do missions at your own pace, or just muck around. And you and a friend can play. Its every thing Vice City did with a bigger better world.