Carl Johnson is back in Los Santos just in time to help the Grove Street Families get back on their feet.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the third in the GTA Trilogy and by far the largest game in the series. You follow the story of Carl Johnson, a Grove Street gang member who has been in Liberty City for the past 5 years while his gang and the family he left behind have fallen to pieces. Returning to attend the funeral of his mother Beverly who was killed in a gang related shooting, he discovers everything has gone wrong and his remaining family need his help to get back to where they once were. Being dragged into the criminal underworld by two corrupt cops, Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski, he's forced on a journey across the whole state of San Andreas to make some money, start some businesses and take down those who oppose him and his family.
The state of San Andreas is made up of three cities, Los Santos (based on Los Angeles), San Fierro (based on San Francisco) and Las Venturas (based on Las Vegas) with a huge mountain named Mount Chiliad, expansive countryside and desert landscapes in between.
There are an incredible number of new features in San Andreas from previous games including but nowhere near limited to:
- Riding Bicycles - with the ability to bunny hop which gets higher each time your skill increases.
- You can swim! Including diving under the water.
- RPG-style stat system allowing you to increase various skills including driving, bike & flying skill, weapon proficiency and stamina.
- Visit fast food restaurants to eat and regain health, or eat too much and visibly see Carl getting fatter.
- Visit the gym to exercise and increase your muscle and stamina or burn off those extra pizzas you didn't really need.
- Shop for hundreds of different clothing items to customise Carl's appearance.
- Head to the barbers and change your hair and beard.
- Parachute out of planes and helicopters.
- New vehicles including a hovercraft, go karts, combine harvesters & tractors, dumper trucks and even a helicopter with a magnet used to pick up vehicles.
- New collectable types including spray painting over gang tags, taking photos of landmarks, collecting oysters found in water and horseshoes found around Las Venturas.
- Mod shops to customise cars and add nitro and hydraulics.
- Driving, Bike, Boat and Flying School challenges to complete.
- 6 girlfriends to meet and date.
- Gambling in betting shops and casinos.
- New gun range challenges.
- Trucking missions where you'll deliver delicate or illegal goods as quickly or carefully as possible.
- Run a gang who can hang out of your car windows and help to drive-by shoot at rival gangs.
- Gang wars allowing you to take over territories and make extra money while you wipe your opponents off the map.
- Steal a train and perform freight missions, or jump in a vehicle and work as a pimp to have hoes pay you for your time.
For the Platinum trophy, you're going to need to gain 100% completion which means almost everything in the game must be done including emergency vehicle sub-missions, collectables (100 spray tags, 50 oysters, 50 horseshoes, 50 snapshots), side missions, races, import export car collecting, the whole story and plenty of other objectives so you'll be looking at around 50+ hours of gameplay depending on how lucky you get with crashes and bugs. Not everything in the game is actually required, notably Unique Jumps which for the first time aren't necessary so can be completely ignored.
- Release Date: 11th November, 2021
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Developer: Rockstar Games, adapted by Grove Street Games
- Date Started: 24th November, 2021
- Date Completed: 10th December, 2021
- Version Played: Digital
- Price: £54.99 (GTA Trilogy PS4 & PS5 Bundle)
- If you buy the digital version, you'll get 6 games for your £55 - GTA III (PS4 & PS5), GTA: VC (PS4 & PS5) and GTA: SA (PS4 & PS5) which means there are 6 Platinums up for grabs if you've got the time to earn them.
- San Andreas is a massive game with so much content to work through. This game can easily keep you busy for months without finishing everything.
- The lighting effects and reflections look great while still keeping the overall style of the original.
- Other improvements follow those seen in the other Definitive Edition games with improved controls and auto-saving when starting/completing a mission. San Andreas also has mid-mission checkpoints which helps to make things easier.
- Thanks to a few patches which had been released before I started San Andreas, there weren't too many problems however the game did occasionally crash and there were a few glitches which blocked my gameplay and caused me to reload an earlier save.
- The lock on functionality in the game, particularly during gang wars, was awful. The game ended up targetting a random stranger in a car in the distance instead of any of the three gang members shooting me in the face from 3 feet away which caused a lot of frustrating deaths.
- A few glitches in the gameplay, some of which are funny. Occasionally cars will randomly explode or planes will fly into the ground but usually it doesn't affect gameplay too much.
- Remastered - Earn 100% completion.
Getting 100% completion is going to take almost the full time of the Platinum as you'll need to complete the full story and an extensive list of other objectives, although They Can't Stop All of Us - Sneak into the underground base without setting off the alarm above ground during "Black Project" and Assassin - Stealth kill all enemies in the mission "Madd Dogg's Rhymes" can both be quite time consuming as you rely on a fair bit of luck and can be missable if you don't do them on your first playthrough or make a tactical save beforehand.
Helpful Tips / Bugs / Glitches / Exploits
Easy Money in GTA San Andreas
Earn as much money as you can at the start of the game by any means necessary (taxi missions, robberies etc) - ideally over $10,000 then make a save. Head to the betting shop in downtown Los Santos and gamble all of your money on the horse with the highest odds (usually 11/1 or 12/1). The high odds make the horse unlikely to win, but ultimately it's just random luck so if you try this over and over (loading your save if you lose), eventually you'll win and end up with over $100,000. Save the game and then head back and gamble all of your money again until you win which should put you on over $10,000,000 which is enough money to buy whatever you want during the rest of game. Start with all of the safehouses in Los Santos.
Infinite Stamina (Sprinting, Cycling & Swimming) in GTA San Andreas
I strongly recommend completing the Burglary missions as soon as possible. You'll learn how to do it in one of the first batch of missions, but if you know where to find the van (parked near the Los Santos gym) and what to do, you can complete them right at the start of the game. Steal over $10,000 worth of stuff to unlock Unlimited Stamina which is incredibly useful throughout the rest of the game as it allows you to sprint or cycle without getting tired. It'll probably take 2 or 3 different nights of burglaries to hit the $10,000 target but once you do, unlimited stamina will make a huge difference in the remainder of the game.
Easy Weapon Skill Upgrades in GTA San Andreas
To max out your weapon skills early in the game, simply park a car in your garage and shoot it until it catches fire, then run away and let the door close. It'll fully heal then you can open the door and shoot it again. It takes awhile but you can max out most of your weapons at the start of the game which helps with the gun range challenges and most of the combat.
Easy Emergency (Paramedic, Firefighter, Vigilante) Missions in GTA San Andreas
Save the Paramedic and Firefighter missions until you're in the countryside near Mt. Chilliad as the town is very small meaning all of the patients or flaming cars will spawn very close by making it much quicker and easier. Also save the Vigilante missions until you've completed the flying school, then use the Hunter (apache helicopter) to complete them easily in a matter of minutes.
Easy Way To Impress Girlfriends in GTA San Andreas
Don't worry about the girlfriends too much, they all have quite different requirements for you to impress them which will require you to change your body type quite a lot, so just wait until you've collected all 50 Oysters and they'll all fall for you no matter what. You should try to meet Katie Zhan in San Fierro as she will get you out of hospital with your weapons however the rest can wait until after you have access to Las Venturas and the remaining Oysters.
Platinum Difficulty Rating - 3/10
The missions in San Andreas are a bit more complicated than some of the previous games and you'll often fail because of reasons out of your control, for example Sweet being run over by a random car while you're shooting Ballas, however the checkpoints help to make it quicker to replay any parts you mess up. It's time consuming and the gang wars can be a bit tricky with the bad auto-aim however it's not too difficult if you take your time and learn what needs to be done.
Platinum Time - 50+ Hours
There is so much to do in the game that anything below 50 hours is only likely if you know exactly what you're doing. It could easily take 100 hours if you're playing casually with gang wars, collectables and import/export car collection adding around 10 hours on their own. My in-game stats suggest it took me 50 hours and 3 minutes to hit 100%, however with crashes, save reloads and other wasted time I estimate I actually spent closer to 60 hours on it.
Platinum Enjoyment Rating - 10/10
There's such a variety of things to do and a great story to play through so grabbing the Platinum is a lot of fun, albeit time consuming. I must admit after completing it MANY times before, I did find parts of it a bit of a grind but with the upgraded graphics and draw distance, it was a joy to play through again.
Overall Game Rating - 10/10
San Andreas is quite rightly one of the greatest games ever made, with a huge map to explore and a ridiculous number of things to do. It's quite time consuming but if I had to recommend any one of the GTA Trilogy to a new player, it'd definitely be this one. It's incredible how much Rockstar Games managed to squash into this game only a few years after GTA III's release. Enjoy a selection of my remaining screenshots below!
Here are my most recent Platinum Trophies up to and including this game.
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