My Take on GTA: San Andreas

Jul 21, 2005

Although I disagree with the ESRB's revocation of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas rating, I can plainly see that Rockstar Games is at fault. If you aren't going to make use of some material, why leave it in the game? That was data I spent time installing, wasting a few seconds of my oh-so-precious time. But perhaps we are pawns in their grand, evil scheme. Rockstar might have known all along that this would happen, that it would create incredible controversy, and would therefore increase sales. Whatever their reasoning, I think Tycho and Gabe hit the nail on the head about this story. It's fairly clear that the guys at Rockstar aren't thinking at all.

I picked up a copy of the game last weekend, and have been playing it sporadically ever since (I just don't have the time I'd like to devote to it). All I can say is that this is, by far, the best game in the GTA series. Although the graphics don't touch games like Half-Life 2 or Far Cry, the environment is highly detailed. And it's the little things that make the game so interesting. You can play a full game of pool (8-ball) in a number of locations, placing bets on whether you will win or not. Or drop by one of the arcades in town, and play the video games inside (this is one of the weirdest levels of recursion ever: having your video game character play a video game). Or shoot some basketball over at your friends house.

I should also mention that the game map is way bigger than GTA 3 or GTA: Vice City. I have yet to leave the first city (there are a total of 3), and I've barely even scratched the surface in exploring it. Los Santos is the name of the first city and, whether it's inner city slums, high-priced villas in the mountains, or a farm out in the country side, the level of detail of each is incredible. You could quite literally spend hundreds of hours exploring this game. And that's exactly what I plan on doing over the next several weeks.

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