Reviewed on PS2

GTA: San Andreas

Reviewed By: Elon Hall
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox
Produced by: Rockstar Games
Price Range: $30-40
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Adults Only
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Overall Rating:
Genre: Action
Christian Rating: 1 of 5
   (awful)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
   (excellent )
Violence: 1 of 5
   (extreme)
Adult Content: 1 of 5
   (extreme)

GTA: San Andreas.  Illustration copyrighted.

San Andreas…

San Andreas is Rockstar north's newest addition to the highly acclaimed - and extremely controversial - Grand Theft Auto series. San Andreas's urban 90's feel (explained below) is realistically conveyed by the talented staff at Rockstar, complete with drive-by shootings and massive gang wars. San Andreas leading character Carl Johnson (CJ) no longer wishes to involve himself in such events however and has been laying low in (Peaceful?) liberty city for the past several years of his life. This respite is unfortunately interrupted however when Carl receives word that his mother - residing in San Andreas - has passed away. Carl returning to San Andreas in order to pay homage, is unfortunately met their by two corrupt S.A. police officers - one of which is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson - who are quick to expertly frame Carl for the murder of… somebody.

This event forces Carl to flee from the open and into the less respectable suburbs of San Andreas where he meets an old friend of his, who is still running his old gang 'The Orange Groove Families'. At this point Carl has effectively joined back up with his old crew and the gang lifestyle in which he had been hiding from in liberty city.

San Andreas delivers nearly 200 hours of gameplay if one were to include the hundreds of mini-games, side missions, and exploring involved. It however would most likely take considerably less time to get 100% on the games stats, even though the stats involve these missions. there are also several hundred hours of radio station music and character talk, which adds yet more scope and realism to the game. The mini-games and world in itself would make San Andreas an incredible game, drive trains, fly airplanes, race cars, have karaoke style singing contests, eat, plow fields, you can do it all in what is rumored to be the largest game world ever created.

The missions however add a functionality to many (but not all) of these features, one goal may be to assassinate somebody using a remote controlled airplane, while another may be to eliminate a rival gang by getting into a car with several fellow gang members and performing the games so-called 'fun' 'drive-by shooting' feature on the rival gang. The story could take up to 120 hours to complete for some, and includes hundreds of upgrades from the previous games in the series including a new Manhunt style combat and targeting system.

Regarding Content…

San Andreas borrows heavily from older films such as boyz N the hood and Menace II Society an action purposely taken by Rockstar north in order to give San Andreas the distinct style and feel that it alone caries. Sometimes this style does San Andreas great justice providing a more personal touch to the series and a less emotionally hardened main character then the previous GTA title 'Vice City'. Overall however, it only does it harm. A most noteworthy example is the option of not doing the missions: On the games GTA: III and GTA: Vice City you are never forced to play the games storyline or missions, and if you chose not to perform the missions or engage in the story (same thing) you could effectively bypass much of the games offensive content. But thanks to San Andreas's new 'urban feel' this option is somewhat nullified. Although refusing to play the games missions does make it considerably less offensive, there is still plenty of forced content in the game, in order to remain true to urban 90s America. Just strolling in the cities you will hear a considerable amount of profanity and most likely not be able to escape all violence due to gang wars and such. The bottom line is, if you choose not to play the games story, you will be playing a much tamer game then those engaging in the missions, but the game will still have considerable profanity and violence even when not playing the story, the violence - however -not necessarily performed against police or any other innocent person.

Addressing a comment…

Somebody commented on their review of this game that CJ was not like the cruel character in which you must play in Vice City and 'cares about his family'. While this may be true I thought it should be known that CJ is still in fact a mass murderer according to the stories standards and cares little about anybody he doesn't know. On a mission fairly early on in the game, CJ's brother 'Sweet' is trapped in a building being stormed by the police and SWAT team officers. CJ is outside the building and near a car and could easily escape but instead risks his own life in a desperate attempt to rescue sweet. This however, is not very noble considering the method used. Retrieving a Shotgun and directions from a wounded and most likely dying gang member, CJ proceeds to blast away cop after cop after cop on his way to rescue Sweet, retrieving a terrifying body count at the end of the mission, which ends in a sequence of spectacular gore involving helicopter blades and a cop. The fact that CJ cares about what happens to those that he is close to is rather irrelevant, considering that nearly everybody does, secular gaming magazines have already bragged the point that CJ is not afraid to murder innocent people both on video and required gameplay sequences.

On July 15, 2005, Gamepot.com exposed a sexually-graphic minigame hidden within the PlayStation 2 edition of this game. The appearance of this minigame seems to contradict Rockstar Studios' carefully-worded statement blaming hackers for the existence of this so-called "Hot Coffee mod". (Editor's Note: Under pressure from retailers and Washington politicians, Rockstar Studios pulled the offending copies of San Andreas from store shelves and reissued a new batch of discs that had the hidden content deleted. Pre-played copies containing the “Hot Coffee” material are still readily available.)

Bottomline…

Even a great deal of secular people find this game highly disturbing. Murdering someone with a chainsaw while they plead for mercy is just not right, real or not. I beg you: Please don't let your mind become desensitized to this kind of stuff, and if it already has… Pray, and then look very, very, very closely at exactly what you're playing or watching and think to yourself, "Jesus died for me, and this is how I repay him." Just a humble suggestion. I would not recommend Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to anybody no matter how old, mature, or mentally tough. There are many other things to do and many other games to play. I strongly advise you go do one of those things or play one of those other games. There is one thing that you should make sure you NEVER do, and that's play GTA: San Andreas. Simply put; STAY AWAY FROM THIS GAME.

Year of Release—2005


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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