Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within the fictional US state of San Andreas, which is heavily based on California and Nevada. The state of San Andreas consists of three metropolitan cities: Los Santos, based on Los Angeles; San Fierro, based on San Francisco; and Las Venturas, based on Las Vegas.
Upon Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the music, story and gameplay. It became the best-selling video game of 2004, and has sold over 27 million copies; it remains the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. The game, like its predecessors, is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. The violence content of San Andreas has been the source of public concern and controversy. In particular, a player-made software patch, dubbed the “Hot Coffee mod”, unlocked a previously hidden mini-game.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas The next main entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released on 29 April 2008 to critical acclaim. San Andreas has been ported to various other platforms and services, such as OS X, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Fire OS). In October 2014, the game was taken off the Xbox Live Store. It was later announced that the game would be re-released and enhanced to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain cities and content, they are not required as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and look around the cities, eat from the restaurant, or cause havoc by attacking people and causing destruction. Creating havoc can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle “minor” infractions (attacking pedestrians, pointing guns at people, stealing vehicles, manslaughter, etc.), whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas player can partake in a variety of optional side missions that can boost their character’s attributes or provide another source of income. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital and fighting crime as a vigilante. New additions include burglary missions, pimping missions, truck and train driving missions requiring players to make deliveries on time, and driving/flying/boating/biking schools, which help players learn skills and techniques to use in their corresponding vehicles.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Not all locations are open to the player at the start of the game. Some locales, such as mod garages, restaurants, gyms, and shops, become available only after completing certain missions. Likewise, for the first portion of the game, only Los Santos and its immediate suburbs are available for exploration; unlocking the other cities and rural areas again requires the completion of certain missions. If the player were to try travel in locked locations they would end up attracting the attention of SWAT teams.
Unlike Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, which needed loading screens when the player moved between different districts of the city, San Andreas has no load times when the player is in transit. The only loading screens in the game are for cut-scenes and interiors. Other differences between San Andreas and its predecessors include the switch from single-player to multiplayer Rampage missions (albeit not in the PC version), and the replacement of the ‘hidden packages’ with spray paint tags, hidden camera shots, horseshoes, and oysters to discover.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas camera, fighting, and targeting controls were reworked to incorporate concepts from another Rockstar game, Manhunt, including various stealth elements, as well as improved target crosshairs and a target health indicator which changes from green to red to black depending on the target’s health. The PC version of the game implements mouse chording; the player has to hold the right mouse button to activate the crosshairs, and then click or hold at the left mouse button to shoot or use an item, such as a camera.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas In addition, players can swim and climb walls for the first time in the series. The ability to swim has a great effect on the player as well, since water is no longer an impassable barrier that kills the player (although it is possible to drown). For greater firepower, players can also wield dual firearms or perform a drive-by shooting with multiple gang members. Due to the size of San Andreas, a waypoint reticle on the HUD map can be set, aiding the player in reaching a destination