Universal acclaim - based on 80 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 80
  2. Negative: 0 out of 80
  1. 99
    In short, it's a terrific unending masterpiece of a game -- and one that will never fall victim to an over-exaggeration of its lofty status. It's the defining piece of software for Sony's successful sophomore system, and it's almost impossible to imagine a PlayStation 2 library without it.
  2. With its strong story, well-written dialogue, terrific voice cast, impressive graphics, great in-game sound, and extremely entertaining and varied gameplay, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a stupendous thrill ride that shouldn't be missed.
  3. The word “massive” doesn’t begin to describe the entire state of San Andreas and exploring it without any load times is like the cherry on top of an overly sweetened cake. Driving has been tightened to perfection and the changes to the targeting system makes popping caps on fools so much better.
  4. It's like 5 games in one: part RPG, part adventure, part action, part racer and part sim. And it does it just as well as the best games in any of those genres...One of the best games ever released on any system.
  5. San Andreas breaks the video game mold and emerges as something far greater. This is more than a game. This is entertainment at its best. [Dec 2004, p.170]
  6. 100
    There really is no other game like it, despite there being many imitators, and this is precisely the kind of experience that reminds why, exactly, we play games: to be liberated from the constraints of reality, and explore living, breathing worlds. Few games have come this close to realizing that promise.
  7. It's no exaggeration to say that you could be still be playing this when the next GTA game comes out, even if it takes Rockstar another two years to finish. It's not perfect then, but so much of it is so good that you won't care.
  8. 90
    San Andreas's chief advantage over "Vice City" is size. And for many players, that's good enough. But another group of fans will come to quietly understand that, at least for the time being, "Vice City" remains the high point of the GTA series.
  9. I have to subtract a point for what, in my opinion, is a total lack of overall upgrading. While there are hundreds of more things to do in San Andreas, I feel, in my heart of hearts, that the game looks and plays just like its two predecessors.
  10. I usually complain that many single player games these days do not have much in the way of "replayability". That is one aspect where San Andreas sets the bar so ridiculously high, that I can't imagine any non-GTA games coming anywhere near it for years to come.
  11. Freedom has always been the GTA hallmark, and in that regard, San Andreas piles on the features to ludicrous proportions. Comparing San Andreas to any other game is like comparing King Kong to the other monkeys; it is the Overgame.
  12. 90
    Enormous, diverse, engrossing, daring, liberating, sophisticated and -- most of all -- ambitious. Yet at the same time it can be restrictive, banal, childish, unpolished and -- most of all -- frustrating.
  13. No one should deny that San Andreas is a great storytelling game. It's just that, between gradually caring less and less about the main characters, and performing many game actions that are nearly identical to those of previous titles in the series, San Andreas could easily begin to wear a bit thin.
  14. What does make it great is that it actually delivers on nearly everything it promises while still being fun to just pick up and play.
  15. Thanks to the sheer level of detail and the amount of gameplay you'll be able to engage in during C.J.'s adventures, San Andreas surpasses just about any game that’s come along in the PS2’s history.
  16. 100
    Despite minor flaws, this is by far the most enjoyable game in the GTA series, and will eat well over 100 hours of your time.
  17. As with previous GTA games there's lots to criticise, but San Andreas survives, scathed but still walking tall, buoyed by the kind of ambition that sees most games crumble under the weight of it all. It's a multi-faceted, multi-achieving experience, a rough-edged but massively substantial landmark. [Christmas 2004, p.78]
  18. Your legacy will be as twisted, as exciting or as brutal as your imagination will allow... San Andreas is an experience as unique as you are. Sometimes, it’s okay to believe the hype. [Christmas 2004, p.98]
  19. 100
    The graphical effects in this title are far superior to anything GTA conjured up previously. On hot days you'll see an intense heat in front of you in the form of lots and lots of orange sunlight and heat waves in the distance. The sunsets and sunrises during hot times are absolutely blinding!
  20. Bigger and richer in every way - a near bottomless game painted end-to-end with stuff to do, or not. As far as free-form gaming goes, it remains the pinnacle. [Jan 2005, p.57]
  21. Holy f***ing s***. (Sorry...I'm swearing a lot more now because of San Andreas.) I can't wrap my head around how much stuff is packed into this one disc. It's grand, it's ambitious, and funny as this may sound, it's legendary. [Dan Hsu]
  22. What you have here is the most polished, feature-laden, action-packed Grand Theft Auto title to-date. I've had my qualms with the franchise in the past but this is the first time that I was able to sit back, shut off my brain and enjoy the experience.
  23. Only the graphical bugs, slow-down and other nit picks associated with the fact that the game is pushing the aging PS2 to its limits keeps this from being the first perfect entry into the series.
  24. A masterpiece; the outstanding gameplay from the first two games has been extended, tweaked and applied to a fresh, original and fascinating setting. There's more than enough meat to keep you going for months, and the sheer variety of gameplay is bewildering.
  25. A masterful blend of storyline, exciting action, and freeform gameplay that will keep you hooked for hours on end.
  26. It has such an enormous amount to offer (did I even mention the two player option?) and carries everything off with such confidence and style that it's hard to fault.
  27. 90
    The seamless way in which the DJs react to the in-game environment, and from an intertextual standpoint, merge better with the player's situation far more effectively than in the previous games is just inspiring.
  28. I can't express in words to do the game justice how large and well drawn out these cities are.
  29. It's about being in one long and deeply worthwhile experience that manages to do the impossible and improve on what has gone before, and then has the confidence to expand itself to a size that defies belief. Pack some sandwiches, it's going to be a long trip.
  30. This is arguably the most important videogame this year - yes, even more important than "Halo 2" - not only because it's a superbly crafted videogame, but because it's also a bona fide sociological artifact, one that manages to effectively evoke a specific time and place in American history—in this case, a hot and hazy California during the nascent days of hip-hop culture.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1336 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 432
  1. Nov 25, 2010
    This is one of my favourite games of all time, it really capture los angeles and the california area i reckon, the gameplay was awesome andThis is one of my favourite games of all time, it really capture los angeles and the california area i reckon, the gameplay was awesome and the story surpasses any other game made during its time, 10/10 yes, grove street for life. Full Review »
  2. Bolo
    Dec 5, 2004
    This game is really fun... u can swim !
  3. Dec 17, 2011
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has several flaws that are hard to overlook. The basic idea of the Grand Theft Auto Series is to complete taskGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas has several flaws that are hard to overlook. The basic idea of the Grand Theft Auto Series is to complete task for different people that for the most part are illegal. You have to kill, steal, and commit other crimes to make more money all while avoiding the cops. Past games have been very successful but San Andreas is not. First off, the City of San Andreas is simply too big. Bigger is not always better. It takes ridiculous lengths to travel to some parts of the city, and there really is no actual reason to have such a big city. There is an actual highway system which is basically the developers saying "Our city is too big and boring to drive through, so we make this nice highway to speed up going through all the horrible travel times." Why not just make a smaller city that you actually enjoyed driving through? It may seem not like a big deal, but really it blows my mind that players have to sit there and hop on an express way to their next objective. Going on the same theme of the massive city, there is simply too many pointless things in this game. One feature is having to eat food or else you get thin and weak. This doesn't add anything to the game, just giving players an annoying task to go find food every so often. Also buying food actually take an absurd time, walking up and taking your order. Why have this? All this is doing is wasting my time when I want to be driving the express way for 10 minutes. Every skill has a level feature. The more you use something or do something, the higher your skill becomes. Yet again this adds no strategy or use to the game. A better feature would have been having to pick and choose which gun skills to increase, like pick the shotgun skill and you can do amazing damage up close, but are penalized for far range shots. You know, make the player actually have to decide something. Not just driving around and leveling up your driving skill randomly. Its like "oh thats cool I guess." One feature is the ability to swim, which actually is useful simply because you don't instantly die if you fall in water. Most others are gimmicky nothings. You can have a girlfriend and go on dates, which is completely retarded. Would you rather get into a high speed police chase, or go out with an npc to a hamburger joint? What is the point besides "Hey look at ANOTHER thing you can do besides play the actual game." There are bars where you can play a badly implemented pool game. You can literally ride a bicycle faster then most cars. You can buy houses, which is useful because you will need many places to save or else you are spending 7 minutes driving down Los Santos Freeway to save. You can go try and find all 100 graffiti points, or the 50 oysters in the ocean, or the 50 horseshoes hidden in the game. Isn't that great? Over 200 collectables that you are expected to find in a city that takes a good 20 minutes to drive from one end to another. Basically the developers way of saying "Here is something for you to look up online." Hiding 100 packages in GTA3 was feasible because you could spend 15 minutes and have checked a decent portion of the map off. If they literally expected players to find 200 small items in San Andreas then I truly don't know what to think. ANOTHER feature is the ability to fight rival gangs in turf battles, which is great because your turfs will be attacked and taken over when you're stuck on the freeway 10 minutes away. If you like Dance Dance Revolution type games, then don't worry because you can load up GTA:SA, drive to a certain location, then play the dancing mini game. Why? As the developers must have thought, why the hell not? More and more is better. With all this added nonsense, there IS a GTA game in there, but its hard to find. GTA: SA is not good. All the extra features are irrelevant, and the map size alone is enough to ruin the game. Don't buy this game even if it's on sale for 50% off at the dollar store. Full Review »