19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Go on, roll the dice..., 23 Jun 2005
The graphics are nothing special compared to many recent games, the sountrack is alarmingly rap-heavy, the script is littered with obscenities that would make Eminem blush, the gameplay fiercely immoral, and most of the game's characters utterly reprehensible. In short, San Andreas ROCKS. Once you're in, you're in. There is simply no way on earth you can stop playing this game once you've started. There's just so much to do, so much to see, so many people to kill...
I'll freely admit that I've not yet unlocked most of the game, as I've spent far too much time exploring Los Santos (where you'll start), but that just points to the sheer depth of the experience. Even the very first mission is cleverly designed to showcase the sheer immensity of the game. You hit the ground running (well, cycling), and after a few breathless minutes you've dashed halfway across the city, dodging hoods and catching blink-and-you'll-miss-'em glimpses of the streets you'll soon call home (and fingers crossed own, one day). After this, your exploits will get progressively more outrageous/violent/imaginative/all of the above, but it's the little things that make the game most rewarding. Go play a game of pool, spar in the gym, bet on the horses, take out a nice lady, get that 'Mum' tattoo you always wanted, or just go for a drive(-by) to ease the strain of taking over a city. There's just so much more going on in Los Santos than there ever was in Vice City, and it's all your playground - from the ghetto to the stars.
Indeed, SA is so much larger than any of the previous games, that it all seems a little daunting at first. Fortunately, it's also much more tightly scripted and the game world unfolds at a pace which never feels rushed - you're introduced to both town and country through a series of missions that allow you to appreciate the finer gameplay points of each habitat. After a while, you'll find there's nothing more satisfying (after a tough day's smokin' the hood) than taking a leisurely cruise through the mountains, and finding some large-eared hillbillies to punish for their sins. You can almost feel the fresh air screaming past you, and imagine the bugs/locals (delete as appropriate) hitting the windshield.
I loaded this up with a fair degree of apprehension after hearing all of the worries re. sound/glitches, etc, but have not had any problems that the technical support line were not able to fix in a jiffy. Now, I know that's not ideal, but it is good to know that there is quality support there should you need it. I can appreciate why a few people are waiting for patches and so on, and I'd be mighty fed up had I not been able to run the game properly. It's the trade-off we PC gamers have against console jockeys - we certainly have the better game (by the time it hits us), but they don't have any worries with compatability/performance and so on. It's a gamble really, but I promise you that if it comes off, you'll be grinning from ear to ear for months.
I'm only ditching the game a star because I've not got far enough into it to award it 'legendary' status. Perhaps it all goes downhill as the game goes on? I doubt it. Fans of GTA, rejoice - this is the one to rule them all. If you're new to the series, what took you so long, fool?
Anyway, enough of this - I'm off to do a little set trippin'...