San Andreas

It’s been a few weeks, but Sony is back up and running with the PlayStation 2 Classics line. This week it’s the big daddy of them all, the beloved console’s best-selling game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Even though Grand Theft Auto IV has certainly earned its fair share of followers over the years, many still consider San Andreas to be the perennial entry in Rockstar’s popular sandbox series.It’s hard to believe that the game is now eight years old. I was squeaking by through my sophomore year of college at the time.

San Andreas was the last game in the series to not be bogged down by Rockstar’s ambition of rooting all of its games in immersive realism. It put a higher emphasis on finding ways to have a good time with ridiculous weapons and vehicles rather than being spoon-fed scripted missions and boring bromantic dates.There’s also much more ground to cover, more alliances to maintain, and even the ability to completely change the protagonist from the ground up. Adjusting his body frame, hair style, and facial features radically effects his stats and how well he performs in the game.

In fact, San Andreas is the closest to an RPG the series has ever come.

As with all the PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Auto games, expect a difficulty curve when wrapping your hands around the antiquated control scheme, especially for the youngsters who weren’t around for the first time through. The ease of modern day control schemes have spoiled us all and pushed the aging process of these antiques into overdrive.

However, floaty cars and difficult targeting aren’t enough to derail San Andreas. There’s simply too much to see and too much fun to be had in this game. The sandbox genre has come a long way since its release, but at the time, nobody thought it could get any better. So far, I’d say that stays true for the Grand Theft Auto series at least.