Universal acclaim - based on 80 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 80
  2. Negative: 0 out of 80
  1. San Andreas is shocking, not necessarily because of its typically contentious subject matter (though there's plenty in it to rub those of a conservative disposition the wrong way) but because of the sheer scale of the experience...Is it really the best game ever made? Quite possibly, yes.
  2. A true platform defining title; in 20 years time gamers will look back at the Playstation2 and hold GTA: San Andreas as the true epoch-making title of the times. Nothing can be understated, RockStar North have truly delivered beyond everybody’s expectations.
  3. Somehow, Rockstar keeps the same old ingredients, adds a handful of new ones, and manages to create a great new recipe. [Feb 2005, p.NP-9]
  4. A game that surpasses its genre-defining predecessors in every respect, not just in terms of gameplay, but also in terms of story, characters, and overall fun. It pops many caps in many asses. [Jan 2005, p.58]
  5. When you take the scope of the entire game into considerations, San Andreas is a real technical feat.
  6. This game has so many new innovations that it leaves its predecessors in the dust.
  7. But don’t forget we’re gamers, and you can be sure that if we get on two knees and kiss some ass, it’s not because we’re paid to, it’s because we’ve just played the kind of game that reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place.
  8. Without a doubt the greatest game every created on the Playstation 2 videogame system. It is the best hands-down. No other game can come even close to this one...The possibilities of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas are endless.
  9. A weaker soundtrack and nagging problems with the interface take the game down just shy of getting a full 10, but this is the digital embodiment of a killer app.
  10. The amount of things to do in the cities of Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas is absolutely staggering... In my opinion there’s no excuse to not have a “save anywhere” feature included.
  11. San Andreas' greatest success is that it gives us more space for our imaginations than most other games do, and ties together the edges neatly with a well-crafted story and missions, adding up to a whole that few games can compare to.
  12. A manifesto for every future video game. Now we've seen what can be done when truly brilliant people get to make a world brimming with variety, music, humour and sheer scale, very few other games are going to be able to live up to it. [PSW]
  13. Shudderingly comprehensive, divinely paced and - despite the million of words already written in feverish anticipation - it has the ability to surprise at every turn. This is PS2's defining masterpiece – a sunspot of rare polished magic from experienced developers working at the peak of their powers. [PSM2]
  14. 100
    Once again, Rockstar Games and Rockstar North have changed gaming as we know it...The variety of missions in San Andreas is staggering, as there's literally hundreds of varied tasks that will help you gain respect.
  15. 92
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is to the gaming world what "The Matrix" was to the film industry: it breaks so much ground and introduces so many significant things that it will no doubt have an impact on how games are made for a long time to come.
  16. The game’s targeting system has been improved and is very reminiscent of the developer’s "Manhunt," which overall makes it more cohesive. The game allows you to get better with guns and you’ll have different phases, which will give you more control over your shooting abilities.
  17. 91
    GTA may be looking its age and some of its more favoured structural ideas are beginning to feel a little dated, but Rockstar continue to revel in the mastery of presenting a consuming environment to the player and inviting them to do within it what they wish.
  18. There is also a distinct lack of overall polish, mostly noticeable in the smallest ways: ugly character models, cluttered maps (the custom waypoint is a welcomed and downright necessary addition), unnecessarily complex wardrobe management, odd misspellings ("Cobra Marital Arts"), and even repeated references to Los Angeles instead of Los Santos.
  19. Non-linear, absolutely packed with things to do, entertaining radio stations, great missions, great story, great characters, enough diversions to keep you playing for months, so much diversity in the cities that you may never stop discovering new aspects of town.
  20. Calling this game huge is an understatement...All told, San Andreas is about four times the size of any previous GTA game.
  21. The game's targeting system has also been adjusted. Using triggers and both analog sticks (a la "Manhunt"), players take more complete control of C.J., and can have him run and strafe, change targets, and shoot in almost any direction, even while moving in another.
  22. While I can't say that GTA: San Andreas is another revolution in gaming like GTA3 was, it is an evolution that goes light years beyond what we saw with the last two titles in the series.
  23. It is, in my opinion, the best single player experience available right now.
  24. The minor control problems, reoccurring graphical bugs, and the generally similar core gameplay as before keep the game's score down a tad from what it could be, but the ridiculous amount of content and pure value available here is second to none. It doesn’t completely redefine the series.
  25. Massively expansive, even over "Vice City." The biggest game ever. [Jan 2007, p.106]
  26. This could very well be remembered as the PlayStation 2's best game ever.
  27. 90
    Between its towering mountains and vast waters there are surprises, in-jokes and events in San Andreas to fill at least a hundred hours. Should "GTA4" be any more involving, there’ll be no one left to see how GTA5 turns out. Half of us will no longer have the jobs to afford it; the other half will be motoring back and forth in the neighbours’ stolen car, endlessly prowling for prostitutes.
  28. So good that it even drew Axl Rose out of hiding (he’s the DJ on the classic rock station, one of 11 listening formats), San Andreas cranks out even more action than "Vice City" as you engage in those wacky gang-related adventures you've grown to love in disconcertingly authentic versions of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
  29. 90
    The fact that you can do whatever you want, gunning down rival gang members, impressing the girls, robbing the rich, breaking into the Army Depot, whether it is flying a plane, or pimping out your car, playing some pool, riding across country, the game play is endless.
  30. One of the game's biggest achievements, however, is that it actually gets you to care about Carl and his friends - the other gang members who ride and fight with you on most missions. They all seem to have their own personalities and come across as being fully-realized characters.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1345 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 433
  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 »