Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review
- Visual upgrades make this the best-looking version of the game to date.
- Tweaked control options and new auto-lock system are welcome.
- New checkpoints reduce restart frustration.
- It's GTA: San Andreas on your iPhone.
- Controls are still inferior to those of the console version.
- Some of the missions feel a little dated and poorly paced.
Though the controls are never going to match those of the console versions, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is as reverent and respectful an iOS port as you could realistically hope for.
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With both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City already available on the App Store, it was only a matter of time before Rockstar's first journey to San Andreas got the touchscreen treatment.
Completing the PS2-era trilogy, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the biggest and most ambitious sandbox Rockstar had ever created. This '90s flavoured tale of street gangs and turf warfare was an enormous game, both in terms of geography and scope. It offered players the chance to explore three separate cities over one epic world map, and featured missions which took protagonist CJ from land to air to sea.
Fans will be pleased to hear that everything the original game offered has been faithfully recreated for the iOS version. If your device can handle it, you'll also notice visual improvements like dynamic lighting and real time reflections. Importantly, a checkpointing system has been introduced, making it possible to complete some of the longer missions without having to repeat a 10 minute commute every time you die.
The touchscreen control model used for the previous GTA ports has also been tweaked, with San Andreas' menu offering three preset button configurations, and the option to move and resize each button individually. In truth, none of these touchscreen overlays is a satisfying replacement for a physical controller, but the freedom to mix and match between virtual sticks, gestures, and arrow buttons is welcome.
Shooting is also much easier than in previous iOS GTA games. The dev has created an enthusiastic auto-lock system which make gunplay a bit less fiddly. You can tap to aim, but it's often more efficient just to open fire and cycle between targets automatically, especially on the smaller iPhone screen.
Though it's been nearly ten years since it was designed, most of the missions are still fun after all these years. Some feel a little undercooked and padded, and keeping your character fit is as enjoyable as the love interest mini game in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Still, though the controls are never going to match those of the console versions, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is as reverent and respectful an iOS port as you could realistically hope for. The ride isn't as smooth, but the classic bodywork is shinier than ever.
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*** PLEASE NOTE: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is only supported on the following devices: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPhone 6/6+, iPad 2, 3rd and 4th generation, iPad Air/Air2, iPad Mini/2/3 ***
Five years ago, Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas, a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where filmstars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers.
Now, it’s the early 90’s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster.
On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.
Rockstar Games brings its biggest release to mobile yet with a vast open-world covering the state of San Andreas and its three major cities – Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas – with enhanced visual fidelity and over 70 hours of gameplay.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features:
• Remastered, high-resolution graphics built specifically for mobile including lighting enhancements, an enriched color palette and improved character models.
• Enhanced for the iPhone 5 series and iPad 4th Gen and above with dynamic detailed shadows and real-time environmental reflections.
• Physical controller support for all Made for iOS controllers.
• Cloud save support for playing across all your iOS devices for Rockstar Social Club Members.
• Dual analog stick controls for full camera and movement control.
• Three different control schemes and customizable controls with contextual options to display buttons only when you need them.
Languages Supported: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.
*To listen to your custom playlist, simply create a playlist titled “GTASA”, launch the game, and select the radio station “MIXTAPE”.
Mobile Version developed by War Drum Studios
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