Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 26 October 2004 for the PlayStation 2 console, and on 7 June 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox. It is the seventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and was the first main entry since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002. It was released on the same day as the handheld game Grand Theft Auto Advance.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within the fictional state of San Andreas, which is heavily based on California and Nevada.[a] The state of San Andreas consists of three metropolitan cities: Los Santos, based on Los Angeles; San Fierro, based on San Francisco; and Las Venturas, based on Las Vegas. The single-player story follows Carl “CJ” Johnson, who returns home to Los Santos after learning of his mother’s murder. CJ finds his old friends and family in disarray, and over the course of the game he attempts to re-establish his old gang, clashes with corrupt cops, and gradually unravels the truth behind his mother’s murder. The plot is based on multiple real-life events in Los Angeles, including the rivalry between the Bloods and Crips street gangs, the crack epidemic, the Rampart scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Upon its release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the music, story and gameplay. It became the best-selling video game of 2004, and has sold over 27 million copies as of 2011; it remains the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. The game is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. The violence and sexual content of San Andreas has been the source of public concern and controversy. In particular, a player-made software patch, dubbed the “Hot Coffee mod”, unlocked a previously hidden sexual mini-game.
The next main entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released on 29 April 2008 to critical acclaim. San Andreas has been ported to various other platforms and services, such as Mac OS X, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Amazon Kindle).
San Andreas is structured similarly to the previous two games in the series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open world environment in which to move around. On foot, the player’s character is capable of walking, eating, running, sprinting, swimming, climbing (the first GTA game in which swimming and climbing are possible) and jumping as well as using weapons and various forms of hand to hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, buses, semis, boats, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles and bikes. Players may also import vehicles rather than steal them.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain cities and content, they are not required as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and look around the cities, eat from the restaurant, or cause havoc by attacking people and causing destruction. Creating havoc can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle “minor” infractions (attacking pedestrians, pointing guns at people, stealing vehicles, manslaughter, etc.), whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.
The player can partake in a variety of optional side missions that can boost their character’s attributes or provide another source of income. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital and fighting crime as a vigilante. New additions include burglary missions, pimping missions, truck and train driving missions requiring players to make deliveries on time, and driving/flying/boating/biking schools, which help players learn skills and techniques to use in their corresponding vehicles.
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