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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review - PC

9.5
Gameplay: 9 stars 9
Graphics: 7 stars 7
Audio: 7 stars 7
Innovation: 8 stars 8
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Introduction

  

For all the car stealing, pedestrian mashing and hot coffee drinking maniacs out there, you can't go past Rockstar's extremely successful Grand Theft Auto series. San Andreas is the latest instalment (let's disregard the handheld versions for the time being) in the series. Does it stack up to the pure brilliance that was Vice City?

Gameplay


For the three or so people out there who've yet to fully grasp the concept of the GTA series, you take control of a character and proceed to complete a series of missions within a large cityscape. These missions vary from assassinations to theft and other wild endeavours as you forge pacts with gangs, various Mafia groups and a general ragtag bunch of whimsical and entertaining characters.

For the first time in the GTA series, your character, CJ, is black, so Rockstar have gone the route of the urban gangster for the story. Expect a flurry of rather, well, colourful language as you progress through the game, not only from other characters, but from CJ himself. CJ even drops some bombs outside missions, commenting when other cars hit him, and when punching drivers to steal their cars. Yes, it's amusing to hear "Gimme yo vehicle!" while watching CJ punch someone in the face, it really is.

Although the leap from GTA3 and Vice City was not a large one in terms of mission structure, San Andreas' range of missions has been greatly extended. There's nothing like creeping up behind someone to give them a taste of the old knife blade (or perhaps I've become too violent for my own good). Before delving into the missions, it's time to explain some of the other key elements of San Andreas.

All the staples of the series have returned, including car stealing, high-octane police chases and a general disregard for any notions of moral behaviour. As previously mentioned, San Andreas introduces a new 'sneak' move that allows you to creep up slowly behind someone in order to silence them. Right-clicking while your cursor is over someone will allow you to lock onto them, which also puts a green triangle over their head, indicating their current health status. From here, you can use melee attacks to deal with your opponent, including the aforementioned knife, police batons and your fists. Unlike the previous games, CJ now has a range of attacks that you can dish out to your enemies (or to the general public), including martial arts. Your range of moves can also be expanded, but more on that later.

If you prefer to charge in with a more 'gun-ho' attitude, you can always pull out your trusty arsenal of weapons. Like Vice City, you cannot carry every single gun you come across, so the replacement system has returned (similar guns are grouped, so you can only carry one of each kind, forcing you to drop weapons in order to pick up another one in the same group). Thankfully, gun control in San Andreas has ...

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