Throughout my gaming career, there’s been one series of games that stood the test of time. One series that has survived controversies left and right and stood tall when angry surban soccer moms tried to protest against it’s sale in the early 2000s. I’m talking about none other than the one and only Grand Theft Auto.
No other R-rated franchise has been able to dominate the open-world crime genre quite like this and it seems like success is immenent with every release. Grand Theft Auto V was released all the way back in 2013 and it is still dominating sales charts to this day.
Out of all the titles in this series, none give me more nostalgia than Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I remember being too young to play it in front of my parents and being forced to hide it whenever they were around. Fast Forward a decade or so and this Titan of the PlayStation 2 era is back and available on the Google Play Store for most Android devices.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this classic and I’ve already sunk a good chunk of time into reconnecting with CJ and the rest of the Grove Street Families but is it still worth it in 2020? Let me share with you my first impressions of this dope Android port.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The Story Begins…
The year is 1992 and Carl Johnson, a.k.a. “CJ” has just arrived fresh off the plane from Liberty City. A former resident of Los Santos, CJ moved away to try and start a new life but has been forced to return after the death of his mother. But, before CJ is able to re-unite with his family, trouble comes knocking.
Less than a few minutes after leaving the airport, CJ’s taxi is pulled over by police that agressively usher him out of the car and on the ground. Without resistance, CJ does as he is told and, before we know it, our hero is handcuffed, stripped of all his cash and thrown into the back of a police cruiser.
After shouting at the unsuspecting taxi driver to “get lost”, the shady Officer Tenpenny and his goons inform CJ that, despite only arriving in the city minutes ago, he’s resonsible for the death of one of their colleagues and that they have the murder weapon to prove it.
Officer Tenpenny wants CJ in his back pocket and framing him for this murder is the perfect way to make sure CJ does exactly as he’s told. It’s the perfect setup and Carl knows there’s nothing he can do to fight these corrupt cops right now. After agreeing to their terms, CJ is ejected from the car and our adventure begins…
The fictional state of San Andreas is a massive open world and it’s easy to get initmidated by the sheer size of the map you’ll be playing on. Los Santos may be CJ’s home but there are 3 major cities on the map that slowly become accesible as you make progress through the game.
Despite this fact, I spent the majority of my play time so far in just this one city alone, exploring the city and taking part in all the in-game activities that are on offer. Especially since I started this playthrough during quarantine. It’s amazing just how much of a social life you can have in a game like this.
Unlike previous Grand Theft Auto titles, San Andreas features many RPG elements as well that further fuel the experience and let’s players play game in a way that best suits them. Everything, from clothing customisation to Cj’s various physical attributes and stats, can be changed and developed however you see fit.
The early nineties was an infamous time for gang-warfare in Los Angeles and Rockstar did their best to capture that gritty violence in this 3-D animated setting. Being a member of the Grove Street families means repping your set’s colors and rolling with da homies to take over rival turf and expand your territory and profit
You MUST Use A Controller!
For this playthrough of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I am using an iPega Ninja mobile gaming controller and it has truly taken the experience to the next level for me. I spent a few minutes playing on the original touch screen controls and it is as bad as I thought it would be.
As much as I enjoy mobile gaming, touch screen controls are still a long way off from being perfect and, on a game like this, it’s simply too much of a headache to trying to familiarize yourself with all the button positions. I often found myself furiously pressing buttons and getting nowhere because my finger was slightly off from where the actual on-screen button was.
Not to mention the driving too! I cannot put into words just how frustrating it is to drive using the touch screen controls. Especially when you take into consideration how much driving has to be done in the game. It put me off exploring the city and made missions intolerable since many of them need you to drive to a specific location.
One of the earliest missions sees you chasing someone on a motorcycle and I failed it repeatedly because of how hard it is to control any vehicle without a controller. Once I had my controller connected, driving instantly became my favourite thing to do and I was a lot more open to the idea of getting to know the city.
Even shootouts became 100x more satisfying and CJ himself was far easier to control. Overall, I highly recommend using a mobile gaming controller like these to get the best possible experience out of San Andreas.
Worth It So Far?
Absolutely! Personally, I’d stay away from it if you don’t have a mobile gaming controller but, if you’re an avid mobile gamer like me and you’ve got one of these bad boys in your arsenal, then you cannot go wrong with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It is the ultimate single-player experience and I can’t wait to tear up the streets of Los Santos one more time.
This game is about as classic as classic can get and there’s never been a better time to get aquainted with the game that gave birth to one of the most popular genres in gaming history. Discover your inner gangsta and start your journey with CJ today, you won’t be dissapointed.
Have you played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on Android? What were your first impressions after playing for a few hours? Let me know in the comments section below.