Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is one of the most influential open-world games of all time. Steal cars, fight rival gangs, go to driving school, fly RC helicopters, date women, exercise, and more in this massive sandbox game, but don't forget to play through the ambitious, well-written story while you're at it.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released in late 2004 for the PlayStation 2 game console. It was a sequel to Grand Theft Auto 3 and GTA3: Vice City, highly successful open-world games that focused on freedom and hijinks. San Andreas improved on the mechanics of the previous games, tightened the controls, added a plethora of minigames and side activities, and featured what was probably the biggest map at the time in an open-world game.
In San Andreas, you're allowed to freely travel between three cities based on Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and Los Vegas. These cities all have their own distinct feel, whether it's the desert and casinos of Las Venturas, the urban sprawl of Los Santos, or the winding hills of San Fierro. The game's throwback 90's vibe helps it remain relevant today, allowing it to feel nostalgic instead of dated.
San Andreas' re-release on phones and tablets isn't perfect, but it captures all of what made the original game great. Today, playing the game on a PlayStation or other game console might lead you to criticize the graphics. While it looked great for 2004, these days San Andreas looks like a phone game. On your phone, that's not a problem. In fact, San Andreas looks better than a lot of the modern mobile clones that it's inspired. The game's AAA development team took asset optimization and art design quite seriously when they made the game, and the PS2 was far less powerful than your phone. This means that San Andreas actually looks better on phones than it ever did on the PlayStation, and it'll run great on just about any hardware.
In terms of activities, San Andreas almost has too much stuff to do. CJ, the game's protagonist, can be leveled up like an RPG character. This means that you can go to the gym to get buff, build up your breath control to swim longer, and even learn a plethora of unarmed fighting styles. You can steal cars, get into shootouts, fight off cops (or just run away), and roam around the world however you'd like. Over the course of the story, CJ works with his childhood gang to fight against other factions and increase their control. You can engage in voluntary gang turf wars to expand your territory, participate in an almost endless variety of side missions, and embark on challenges like stunt jumps, driving school, and more. There are literally hundreds of hours of content in San Andreas if you choose to complete everything. You definitely don't need to, but it's nice to know that it's there.
In addition to the cornucopia of activities and the fantastically fun sandbox content, San Andreas has an ambitious, engaging, and fully-voiced story. The story helps to expose you to just a little bit of all of the fun mechanics while weaving a compelling narrative about gangs, corruption, and family. The game manages to blend serious elements with its almost cartoonish, over-the-top tone masterfully, creating characters that you'll actually miss after you finish the game. It's an experience that's definitely worth checking out, even if the concept of stealing cars doesn't appeal to you.
San Andreas is a massive game that's about form exploration and fun. While there are difficult missions, most of these are frustrating due to their difficulty, not because there's a secret you don't know about. In a lot of cases, your best bet is going to be to just retry the mission until things click and you finally beat the challenge.
Just like console and PC releases of the game, you can input a variety of cheats for GTA: San Andreas on mobile to help you get past a hard mission or to just have more fun while roaming around. Unfortunately, you'll need an external keyboard in order to use these cheats. With a Bluetooth or USB keyboard plugged into your phone, simply type in one of the following sequences to get a big benefit - but be sure to save first! Using cheats will disable achievements on your save, so if you want to get achievements for bragging rights you'll want to reload your cheatless save and continue from there.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Cheat Codes
Invincibility - GONPXWR
Minigun - BIEUHQY
Skip 4 Hours - YACKMWS
Complete Current Mission - BYIXZIY
If you're not into cheating, here are a few handy tips for playing the game.
First, while San Andreas is a "Grand Theft Auto" game, you won't want to drive much in the later stages of the game. As soon as you have access to planes, helicopters, jetpacks, and other flying vehicles you'll want to use these as much as possible. The game's map is big. Flying over buildings allows you to traverse the terrain much more quickly.
In the early game, getting weapons and armor can be hard. Try to remember where each weapon spawns when you pick it up. These spawns stay fixed, so you can always run back to the location and grab it again should you die. Additionally, when you enter a cop car, you'll always emerge with a pump-action shotgun. In Los Santos, look for the AK-47 and body armor in the Ocean Docks, in the warehouse closest to the airport. In San Fiero, look for a pump-action shotgun, a flamethrower, and body armor near CJ's auto shop. In Las Venturas, find a sniper rifle on the roof of the Four Dragons Casino or a combat shotgun in the LVA Freight Depot.
As far as gang wars go, try not to get too invested in these turf battles until you've completed the story. As you progress, the game will occasionally reset your progress, forcing you to go back and fight rival gangs all over again. If you're having fun mowing down enemy gangs, there's nothing wrong with doing a few of these challenges early, but bear in mind that the progress you make won't stick.
Finally, don't feel compelled to complete everything. San Andreas is a massive game, almost prohibitively so. There are so many challenges, side-quests, and activities that you probably don't want to actually do them all. Instead, focus on the parts of the game that are fun to you. If you're not sure about what to do next, try just finishing the main story. This will give you a good balance of activities to try while allowing you to experience a well-written and well-acted narrative.
Are you a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas expert? Which parts of the game were your favorite? Which of the one-stoplight towns did you like the most? Did we miss any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments below!
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