Glockstar Armani presents this game with 5 *GLOCKIE* awards for:
*BEST GAME OF 2004*
*BIGGEST ALL-STAR VOICE CAST*
*BEST VILLAINS: OFFICER TENPENNY & BIG SMOKE*
*FUNNIEST CHARACTER: CATALINA*
This is my favourite game of the GTA series, beating out Vice City and GTA IV by a Kate Moss-thin margin. Why does it win? Because this game is the bizarro-world alternate of Seinfeld: it has EVERYTHING. Everything. Deserts. Jetpacks. Oil tankers. Casinos. Hippie vans. Military stealth jets. Samuel L. Jackson. Parachutes. Lowriders. Tattoos. Haircuts. Alien goo. Commercial airliners. Clothing options coming out the wazoo. BMX bikes with little bells on them. James Woods. A gimp costume. Flying lessons. Boating lessons. Driving lessons. Chris Penn. Car customization. Country music.
Everything about this game just continuously blew me away, over and over and over again, even on second & third playthroughs. You have so much freedom to do whatever you so choose. I don't know WHY Rockstar felt they had to pull everything back when they made GTA IV, but I really hope future games bring back the absurd fun that was San Andreas.
Being a hopeless nostalgic, I'm also in love with the setting: L.A. circa early 1990s brings back childhood memories of classic hip-hop, gang warfare, the riots, and Boyz N the Hood (my childhood was complicated like that). Even CJ -the main protagonist -reminisces about his innocent years, since the game begins not in a strange new town (like every other GTA title) but literally in the house where he grew up. He even comments during one particularly violent mission that he recalls a certain tunnel scaring him when he was little, as he now drives through that very same tunnel, gunning down rival kids just like him. If that doesn't make you get shivers of nostalgia, nothing will.
The music is excellent, too. Even the country station, naysayers be damned. I could go on for hours about, this, but I'll stop here. San Andreas...you complete me. I'm having your babies as we speak.