Universal acclaim - based on 80 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 80
  2. Negative: 0 out of 80
  1. 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]
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Take a large measure of "GTA III"; add a sprinkle of "Vice City", freshly sliced sprigs of nineties gang culture; stir in dashes of "Manhunt", "Fable", and "Dance-Dance Revolution" to taste, then mix in a nitro-powered-blender from hell. Result? Ten out of ten.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. I can't express in words to do the game justice how large and well drawn out these cities are.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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]
  15. 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.
  16. 100
    Not only a masterpiece, it's the finest game currently available for the PS2. Buy it now, but don't make any plans for a couple months at least.
  17. 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]
  18. It's not just the best Grand Theft Auto to date, it's possibly the best game you'll ever play on PlayStation 2. It's simply that good.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Play mechanics, the movie-epic plot, the sheer scope of the landscape and the missions—all combine to create the most near-perfect experience that I have ever had with a game.
  24. 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.
  25. A stunning achievement for both Rockstar and Sony. It shows just how powerful the PS2 system is when used right. This game has the potential to last months and months on end, especially for the 100% target.
  26. The story to San Andreas is by far the best of any GTA game to date. As you progress, you will experience turning points to this story that drive you to see the next cutscene, something that has never been done in a GTA game before.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 410
  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 and the story surpasses any other game made during its time, 10/10 yes, grove street for life. Full Review »
  2. 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 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 »
  3. Jul 6, 2013
    GTA San Andreas is a masterpiece, I can easily say it is the best game I have ever played. If you have not played this game you must try it. Below I list why I would highly recommend this game.

    Story: This game has a huge and interesting story with excellent voice acting from some famous actors It also has great humour and shocking plot twists.

    Music: The music selection is excellent with amazing music from all genres but specificity 90s gangster rap.

    Gameplay: This is the biggest reason San Andreas is so highly rated, you will never get bored because the story missions never feel repetitive or boring and it includes a huge list of side activities which I cannot list in this review because their is just too much content in this game.
    Full Review »