Metascore
93

Universal acclaim - based on 58 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 58
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 58
  3. Negative: 0 out of 58
  1. 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.
  2. 100
    How can Rockstar follow this? San Andreas is 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.
  3. 100
    This is arguably the biggest game ever made, and if you were to complete it 100%, it would take you several hundred hours, I'd estimate 400 to 500 at least.
  4. 100
    How do you improve on perfection? We'll tell you how: Take the same genius game that you played last fall on the PS2 and give everything a fresh coat of pixel paint... Then, remove the long load times, allow us to save 30-second replays to the hard drive for those you-won't-believe-this-booshiz moments and create personalized radio stations by ripping your CD collection to the hard drive.
  5. This is still a four-star title, though definitely not for children. Just don't expect it to be something you can wave in front of your PS2-playing friends' faces.
  6. 100
    Like Vice City before it, San Andreas features a superb, period-specific selection of licensed music on its many radio stations. And just like Vice City, said selection does a fantastic job of setting the mood.
  7. 100
    It looks and sounds better than ever, which more than makes up for the minor control issues. If you've been searching for the best Grand Theft Auto experience around, look no further: San Andreas is the real deal.
  8. But unlike the PS2 and PC versions, the Xbox port comes with that rarest of GTA treasures - a replay feature.
  9. In regards to the gameplay, I'd have to give the overall advantage to the Xbox version, again, mostly due to the better framerate. Being able to smoothly spin around the camera, in the vehicles and on foot, makes a big difference in how the game plays.
  10. The guys at Rockstar have really honed their ability to keep the missions fresh. They've managed to make each mission varied and complex without making them brutally hard.
  11. A fantastic port of a stellar game. [Aug 2005, p.98]
  12. Music and sound are probably the best of any of the GTA series. As much as the 80's tunes in "Vice City" were awesome, the sheer number of tunes and the variety of them are incredible in San Andreas.
  13. The sheer scope of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is mind blowing.
  14. The game is incredibly fun. It will surely take up hundreds of hours to even the most casual of gamers.
  15. Not only is it bigger and better, but it looks and feels so good on the Xbox so if you haven't already bought this game this is the definitive version to own.
  16. I cannot think of a game series that does a better job in the sound department. The voice talent is tremendous.
  17. Gamers will see that the load times are fast, the cut-scenes are well done, and the story is filled with twists that you won't see coming.
  18. It's still quite possibly the best game ever made, and Rockstar's done pretty much all they could to make San Andreas the best it could be on the Xbox.
  19. 95
    No competitor comes close in content, story, or style to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  20. It's just that brilliant. [Aug 2005, p.76]
  21. Individually, the components of GTA San Andreas are very strong. When combined, though, the total package makes for one of the best gameplay experiences that has been seen in the gaming world in years.
  22. One of the most incredibly engrossing adventures on any system.
  23. With its almost unbelievable length, incredible depth, fantastic audio, and just about everything else a good game needs, this game is incontestably worth every penny it costs.
  24. It's not perfect – there's still the odd gripe here and there, and wheeling the same game engine out for the next instalment would be unforgivable – but SA is easily the most polished instalment of the series to date.
  25. With its strong story, well-written dialogue, terrific voice cast, impressive graphics, and extremely entertaining and varied gameplay, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a stupendous thrill ride that shouldn't be missed.
  26. Another major failing of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the Xbox is the unnatural controller layout, and it's a fault that can't be too heavily attributed to the developers.
  27. But the move to Xbox feels like more of a formality-you don't really notice the slightly nicer environments, and if ever a game didn't need custom soundtracks, this is the one.
  28. 92
    Not everything is so perfect with San Andreas though. First and foremost, the graphics aren't really Xbox quality.
  29. This is the definitive chapter in arguably one of the most popular game series of all time. If you haven't ever played a Grand Theft Auto game… well, first of all, shame on you, but more importantly, this is the one to get you hooked.
  30. Literally one of the biggest games ever created and it will take you weeks or even months just to see everything it has to offer.
  31. By far the biggest game in the series. Gamers who aren't turned off by the nefarious and illegal activities will find this to be one of the most engrossing games ever produced.
  32. Divisive though its hip-hop ideology may be, and under-furnished some areas may feel, it still edges close enough often enough to be worthy of one of our highest marks.
  33. San Andreas is still San Andreas, and although the visuals failed to impress the gameplay is still as solid and engaging as ever.
  34. What San Andreas does is take every element from the previous two games and amplifies it. Everything good about the series has become even better, while the bad aspects have become mind-numbingly dire.
  35. Of course there are improvements, the draw distance and lighting models have received subtle enhancements, more importantly the frame-rate maintains a smoother pace throughout.
  36. As you can see, the improvements are basically cosmetic and do not affect the gameplay other than to make it look and sound better. If there was ever a reason to replay the game one more time this is it.
  37. While I still prefer "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" to this title, I will say that this is in no way a lesser offering.
  38. To award a 10 on this well-crafted but by no means revolutionary game would be a disservice to titles that are out there really trying to rewrite our preconceived notions of videogames, but to go for a 9 also seems like lowballing a title that should be a must-own for so many.
  39. It's way more savvy than most movies about gang violence.
  40. I like San Andreas as it offers so much to mess around with on an unprecedented level.
  41. It's not perfect, and it certainly is beginning to show its age, but the latest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series is well worth breaking a few laws to acquire!
  42. 90
    It can't quite capture the flavor of the previous two. While nothing could be done with the Xbox version to remedy that, the attempts to add new features to the port like instant replay and custom radio stations fall completely flat.
  43. If you already have the PS2 version or you can find the PS2 version for cheaper, your probably better off buying that, as the game doesn't really take much advantage of the Xbox hardware.
  44. Rockstar have captured the lifestyle of the streets perfectly, adding a few colourful characters along the way, humour, plenty of cars and things to do, making this a must have title.
  45. A great game made even greater through its translation to two more powerful platforms. But Xbox owners might be miffed that the long-anticipated improvements are in reality so minimal.
  46. 90
    The most balanced version, combining the best qualities of the PC and PS2 games into one well-rounded offering. [Sept 2005, p.53]
  47. Although the modifications are great, the game just seems to have some signs of wear and tear with its shift to Xbox. But don't let the minor downgrade fool you. This is still a gangster's paradise.
  48. Despite the niggles and the fact that the game could be so much more expansive and technically improved on the new platforms, Carl Johnson and his homeboys epic odyssey is something everyone interested in games should check out. [July 2005, p.74]
  49. 88
    With only the control system as a let-down, San Andreas still delivers a quality experience you simply can't find anywhere else.
  50. Xbox owners will always be left with the bitter feeling that this game should have been so much more on their console.
  51. 85
    The experience is still amazing... and that the gameplay is still really, really broken in many areas. Each new port brings with it a handful of new features, yet none of them are anything more than mere tweaks.
  52. 85
    There is the slight hint that it may need a bit of a fresh direction if the GTA series is not to become just another set of endless and ever-increasingly bland sequels.
  53. 85
    The best GTA experience and the best open-ended console gameplay experience you can have offline.
  54. It's good, and will hold your interest, but with some slightly frustrating controls that aren't customisable, driving Duke owners to desperation, or a new controller S (effectively making it into a £55 game) it's only really slightly improved over the PS2 version.
  55. An absolute blast to play, if you can forgive it for not offering anything especially new to the franchise, and only if you can truly invest the time that it requires.
  56. There's a ton of mission variety, but whatever your pleasure, you're going to be doing a lot of driving to specified points on the map and entering a lot of red circles to initiate a lot of scripted events. [Aug 2005, p.48]
User Score
8.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Jul 11, 2013
    9
    Holy I love this game I cant wait for the new one coming out and taking place in san andreas Omg.......This game is a masterpiece the cops are so fun to screw with as well. This is one of those hard games to come by these days when ever you can command gang members or your crew like socom it makes a great game. Full Review »
  2. Aug 29, 2011
    10
    What is there to say? This game is a beast.
    Even today, the amount of content it offers rivals many full fledged releases- and much of it
    rates highly- perhaps not in finesse, but definitely in the fun factor. If you don't like the shooting, you'll probably like the driving, if you don't like the main missions: be a taxi driver, race motorbikes, put out fires, play dress-up...
    If you can't find something fun to do in GTA:SA, something's wrong. And not with the game.
    Fine, some of the controls are less than intuitive, some of the missions are pretty tedious, and Carl takes some getting used to. But it will be a long time before you can't just pick up this game, jack something fast, and feel like you're really going somewhere. And this transcends demographics- from hard-core gamers, to lazy stoners, this game has plenty of appeal.
    Impressive.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 23, 2011
    10
    Learn to fly Carl, learn to fly... Grove Street for life... The sunset as you drive that beat up old VW over the hill, the smell of burning weed filling your senses as you cruise to Freebird... Something special was injected into every copy of this game... Full Review »