Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the eighth chronological instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the second best selling game in the entire franchise, behind Grand Theft Auto IV. San Andreas revolves around Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home to San Andreas from Liberty City after learning that his mother was killed in a violent gang shootout. Throughout the game, Carl tries to uncover the truth behind his mother's death.
The gameplay is definitely a major improvement when compared to Vice City - there are more side questions, missions, and definitely more fun. Rockstar included new features to the game, such as going to the gym to build up muscle and burn fat, improve stamina and learn new fighting moves. They've also included fast food restaurants where you must go to eat to maintain energy, and clothing stores to purchase new threads. There are a wide array of new missions relating to the story and optional side missions as well, to earn respect and money. You can unlock new vehicles through races and customize them at auto body shops.
The graphics are decent for a game of its age, but seem to be improved slightly on the Xbox 360 if purchased through the marketplace. The graphics overall seem to be a re-run of Vice City's, but with some improvements. Vehicle damage hasn't been improved much, but it's still impressive for its time. There's not much else to mention when it comes down to it.
The audio in the game is fantastic, from the conversations on the streets to the great soundtrack. In Vice City, a lot of the music was music I heard in my childhood, and in San Andreas, they took some oldies as well as songs of the same era, so you'll definitely hear something you know and love. The talk-show stations are wildly amusing, so you'll definitely spend a lot of the time in a parked car just listening in. As you can expect, the game is riddled with swears from the F word to the N word and back around the block, but that's why the game is rated M for mature. If you're avid against vulgarity, then it's best you either mute the television or take it all with a grain of salt.
As a whole, the game has its flaws and some of them will get on your nerves - like cars spinning out when making a simple turn or drift - but others, you won't really notice unless you play the game with a critique-mindset. The story will make you want to play the game until the end and the side quests, freedom and excitement will keep you playing even after you finish the game. In a graphical sense, it's nothing special like Heavy Rain or Uncharted, but it looks great given its time period. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is definitely a game that everyone needs to play.