Genre: Action Developer: Rockstar North Publisher: Rockstar Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 29th Oct 2004 Platforms:PS2
Login to submit your review score
The Good bits
One of the greatest games ever made
Massive playing area + so much to do = superb longevity
Outstanding storyline and excellent voice talent/acting
The Bad stuff
Nothing that should stop you from buying this game now. THAT MEANS YOU.
Let me be upfront and say this – if this game was any less brilliant or deserving, the time taken in covering it would almost not have been worth the effort of saying anything over a terse ‘buy it’. For reasons best known to Rockstar and the company that owns them, Take 2, it’s been easier for Aussies to moonwalk across the Pacific in a pair of lead clogs than it has been to get any meaningful information or access to this game barring the (admittedly excellent) information features issued by Rockstar.
The 'Free Kobe' jerseys sold out
That attitude is right up there with “why do some girls think that any chick wearing white pants is a skank” in the inexplicable stakes, given that there's about a gazillion people who have been promising to sell their mothers to play this game. Then again, Rockstar didn’t even bother showing up to the big E3 game show in LA this year.
Are they a bunch of Hollywood pussies or is there a different reason? Maybe the Rockstar North crew – the makers of GTA – decided to show solidarity for those busy bees at Rockstar Toronto, furiously working on The Warriors (out 2005). Or perhaps a meteorite crashed into GTA honcho Sam Houser’s humvee (okay, I’m taking a wild stab here in saying he has one) so they couldn’t drive to LA. Who knows.
Despite the existence of multiple Rockstar offices, when we use that name in this review, we’ll be referring to the boys and girls at Rockstar North. They have always been game developers with a difference. How many developers have the chutzpah to call themselves a name like that anyway? Even the most over-the-top cocky outfits normally opt for a safe name like “Ion Storm” or “Valve”. Perhaps that’s a hint of their subversive edge, the kind of outfit that cornier people might say “they write their own rules”. We won’t go that far, but without a doubt, Rockstar have a talent for producing games with a unique style and attitude, a mature vision that is acknowledged as an industry leader.
CJ wouldn’t be a hood king if he couldn’t roll in some blinged up wheels. And when I say ‘bling’ I don’t mean in that embarrassing Mark Holden-from-Australian Idol way, I mean in the embarrassing “Malibu’s Most Wanted spinning rims” way.
By taking certain cars into a garage – and yes, certain garages have better gear than others – you can do everything from changing the bumpers, the rims, the car's paint job, hype up the exhaust, even chop the roof on some cars. And for all those people who have a soft spot for LL Cool J’s The Booming System lyrics, you can even mod up the bass output of the car audio.
The option to slouch down like an idiot until you can’t see over the dash - and subsequently enrich the gene pool by crashing - is sadly not present. Neither is the domestic dispute arising from when one of CJ’s girlfriends gouges his 21” rims on the kerb while trying to park.
The Rockstar Edge is largely rooted in perception. It’s not always about being the first into a genre, but it is about making sure your game does more than slavishly follow in the lines of other people's offerings. It’s about carving an identity in the oft gray sludgy mass that is the games industry. It’s about tapping into popular culture and picking not what is popular right now, but what will be popular a couple of years down the track, when a given game project reaches stores. And above all it’s developing that air of credibility that goes beyond gaming and into household recognition territory.
“In San Andreas, we finally have a true work of interactive fiction”
It all begins with the story. And Rockstar more than any other western games outfit knows how to tell one. Not the pitiful excuses that normally comprise game storylines, but a proper, cinematic type story, with focus on character and setting. This emphasis on people and places is something anyone who has played Vice City will tell you all about, and something that those of you about to play San Andreas will joyously discover.
Here more than anywhere else is where you see how progressive this developer is. When it comes to telling a tale, Rockstar aren’t selfconscious like many game companies. They don’t descend to self satire as a way of avoiding risk. They don’t do geeky in-jokes that only people who speak in hexadecimal understand. They have enough confidence and conviction to play their story straight up, rather than giving them the false modesty driven safety net offered by irony.
Another way of putting it… you know the type of online gamer who gets furious when they get beaten, despite telling all in advance how laughably bad they are? Lessening expectation in the hope of getting lucky - that’s the other man approach. Rockstar's gaming output marks them as the brotha man. No false modesty, no comedic artifice – except where the story demands it – what you see is what you get. As CJ would say, no half-stepping. It’s that sure footedness that let’s them get away with the Hollywood precious routine, as opposed to their industry peers. In San Andreas, we finally have a true work of interactive fiction that you can boldly walk into a video store and pick out, and not look like a total dork in front of that counter jockey you’ve been eyeing off for months. Try feeling that confident with your hands on a Final Fantasy box, sucker.
This is the greatest game of all time! Do not miss this game! The fact that you can change CJ's clothes is wicked. You can climb fences and there is new wicked aiming. The gang teritories is the best thing ever!
I think SA is the best thing since sliced bread but the radio stations are nothing compared to those of Vice City. There is also an unneeded amount of swearing in the game. Apart from those factors SA is great well worth the buy.. Back to mowing people down on the ride-on
Only problem with the game so far is the in game map. Its kind of dodgy and hard to read.... always have to press start and open the big map to navigate where i am going... other than that the comment "would sell my own mother to get one" is fully justified.