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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS3/X360)

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-xbox-360-457211-MLM20509425828 122015-F.jpg
"This shit's real fucked up! Everything!"
— Sweet
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Platform(s): Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Release: Xbox 360
October 26, 2014
PlayStation 3
December 1, 2015
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): War Drum Studios (now Grove Street Games)
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Country: United States
Series: Grand Theft Auto
Predecessor: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Successor: Grand Theft Auto IV


"What the hell was this? I guess they wanted to do a remaster of San Andreas and just figured the mobile version was good enough, but, like I said, when you do a mobile-to-console conversion, at least change the menus! It's so obvious when menus were designed for mobile! This just doesn't feel right, you converted a game that used a controller to work with the touchscreen, but then converted that version back to work with just the controller. I don't know why, it just feels weird!"
Scott the Woz

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the fifth major installment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the game was originally released on PlayStation 2 in October 2004 and later ported to Microsoft Windows and Xbox in June 2005. The original release is hugely acclaimed and is widely considered to be one of the best Grand Theft Auto games ever made. The HD "remastered" port was outsourced to War Drum Studios, and it wasn't well-received at all.

With the official announcement of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition set for release on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in November of 2021, along with a mobile port in early 2022, Rockstar has announced that existing versions of their older games will be delisted from digital retailers from October 11 onwards.

Why It Is a Straight Busta

  1. Addressing the elephant in the room, this version is nothing but a shameless port of the mobile version which was a good effort despite having many bugs, but this port was worse in terms of bugs, lacking some original features, and is more expensive.
  2. Many songs were removed due to copyright issues and expired licenses. Most notably, Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine and Hellraiser - Ozzy Osbourne were removed from Radio X, Ring My Bell from K-Jah West, I Don't Give a Fuck - 2Pac and Express Yourself - N.W.A. from Radio Los Santos. The only radio stations still retaining all music are CSR 103.9, K-Rose and SF-UR.
    • Worse still is that the cut tracks were removed in perhaps the crudest ways possible, as while a song is playing on the radio, it will occasionally cut off and then skip to another track, or randomly stop, then rewind or go forward.
    • Due to the aforementioned song Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine, which is plays whenever Carl has a bad date with his girlfriends being removed of the game due to the aforementioned copyright issues and expired licenses, the romantic music plays for whatever reason during a bad date which is unfitting for an unhappy/disastrous situation.
  3. The controls in this version are now worsened from the original (due to directly porting mobile to consoles without properly changing the controls). Jumping, for example, requires holding and release the jump button instead of tapping, and the fighting has been reduced to just holding the attack button. Also, when you're using a jetpack, the mechanic for bailing out is usable for some reason and you can fall to your death, which was not possible in the original.
  4. Many new bugs and glitches were introduced, and some were even in the mobile port, such as clouds teleporting when you move the camera (though moving the clouds is normal in the original game, they do not teleport).
  5. The camera in the cutscenes is now zoomed out, which leads to problems because it shows things not meant to be seen. The issues include seeing characters freeze in place, objects teleporting to character's hands, misplaced objects, vehicles' movements freaking out (such as Big Smoke's car bouncing like a lowrider in "Wrong Side of the Tracks"), and more.
    • The PS3 version eventually fixed this problem.
  6. False advertising: The back of the box uses the screenshots from the original version, tricking people into thinking they're buying the original version and not the remaster.
  7. Many of the minigames and game mechanics, such as weightlifting, bike riding, robbery, etc., have been simplified or outright broken in this version:
    • Instead of working your way up to heavy weights in the gyms like in the original, you can just skip to the heaviest dumbbell and have no problems lifting it, even if CJ is basically skinny.
    • The speed of the bikes is no longer changeable, as the bike would just gain max speed instantly by holding the button instead of tapping.
    • Burglary missions are problematic, as CJ now always automatically picks up a valuable item, instead of the player choosing to do so. This also results in CJ getting stuck on various objects resulting in controller input being lost, causing the daytime timer to run down and failing the mission.
    • Bailing out of a vehicle is busted in this port, and instead of jumping out of it in the original, you'll just stop and get out normally, even when the car is on fire, which will soon after blow up and kill the player.
  8. Sometimes, there are lag and framerate issues because of poor emulation; the game may even freeze and crash for the aforementioned reason.
  9. Save games may become corrupt and, upon loading, will never progress past the initial loading screen.
  10. Despite being a remaster, the graphics look worse compared to the original:
    • The character models look downgraded, and their facial expressions are now broken. CJ's broken face in the scene where he flees from an explosion in "End of the Line" is so bad it must be seen to be believed.
      • Most of the models now shine, even in water or dark environments, thus making them look as though they were dipped in wax, somewhat like the updated character models in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
      • Some characters seem to have almost no visible eyes when they originally did, especially Dwayne, who has one eye closed.
      • Carl Johnson's model, however, is even worse due to having broken eyebrows in cutscenes (making him look oddly sad), and narrow eyes in gameplay. Plus, it depends on the player's weight and clothing, as being fat fixes his eye lashes, and changing clothes fixes his narrow eyes.
      • Kendl's character model now has two skin tones, making her skin look strange and unnatural.
      • The new character models also appear to be much blockier than the original, this can easily be spotted with Eddie Pulaski's eyelids. Made worse by the shiny character models which only made their blocky appearance look more obvious.
      • The issues with the character models are because during the porting process, War Drum Studios used a one-byte value skin weight instead of a 2 byte, which broke vertex elasticity. Because of this, an unofficial fix from a user named IFarBod was created.
    • Much of the vegetation has been removed from various places of the map such as forests and deserts, making them look lifeless and empty.
    • Various effects have been completely removed, including the weather effects such as fog, screen distortion when underwater, and a blur effect when driving cars at high speed.
    • The "enhanced" vehicles are broken. Many of the cars have lots of unrendered holes in them, and the Rhino's sixth set of wheels are missing just like in the mobile version of the game. This is due to the developers using forward culling instead of backward culling for vehicles, whereas the vehicle reflection is the reason for the Rhino's sixth wheels vanishing.
    • The reason for some of the graphics being downgraded was to optimize the mobile port of the game, but somehow, War Drum Studios didn't bother improving them for the console ports of the game.
  11. Cars wobble and stutter at max speed for no apparent reason due to broken gear ratios. This was a bug that existed in the mobile version, but it was eventually fixed. Thankfully this bug doesn't seem to affect vehicle performance in anyway.
  12. Sometimes, the skybox will disappear, leaving the world in darkness.
  13. The waterfalls in some places are now flat textures in the PS3 version.
  14. Auto-jump was brought over from the mobile version. This means that when you run near a wall, roof, or other obstacle, CJ will climb it, whether you want him to or not (though in the PS3 version, you can turn it off).
  15. The analog camera controls have very poor range. If you set the sensitivity too low, you can't look around.
    • Also, if you set camera control sensitivity too high, you can't fine aim and will miss your shots constantly. If you set the sensitivity in the middle, you can't look around or aim.
  16. Another huge problem carried over from the mobile version is the inability to move the camera while flying.
  17. The audio quality is even worse in these versions due to all sound effects being compressed to 22.5 khz. The worst sound quality of all is in the PS3 version, where there are some extremely noticeable sound artifacts.
  18. Despite Microsoft adding support for certain original Xbox games in the Xbox One's backwards compatibility program, there is no option to play that version on the Xbox One, and in fact, inserting an original San Andreas disc will cause the system to download the HD version.
  19. The Xbox 360 version has a bug that crashes or soft locks the game when selecting a test in Pilot School, this is particularly problematic as the Pilot School is mandatory in the storyline. To prevent this, the player has to spam the "A" button.
  20. The PS3 version also has a bug that makes the dancing minigame much harder than before. Even if the player presses the correct button with perfect timing, it doesn't grant a perfect score bonus, resulting in the player not getting enough score to pass the minigame, thus making the storyline unfairly unbeatable because the "Life's a Beach" mission is mandatory.
    • Unless, that is, you find out that you'll have to delay the timing slightly and press the correct button a bit later than you're prompted to. This will yield a perfect score even when the game is giving you a "Bad" rating.
  21. During Michelle's date, specifically the "letting her drive" part, it is completely broken and will always end up as a failed date. For some reason, CJ will exit the vehicle and instead of letting him get in the passenger's seat, Michelle just drives off without him. Leaving the player completely stuck in the cinematic camera angle.
  22. The PS3 version has a confusing save system where normally saving a game from the top slot which on most PS3 games would overwrite the newest save will actually be overwriting the oldest save. This can lead to disastrous accidental overwrites.
  23. In some missions during cutscenes, the audio may randomly cut out. This makes it hard for players to understand what characters are saying.
  24. CJ swims much slower for some inexplicable reason, which makes the triathlon side mission, "Beat the Cock!", much harder to complete. It can also hinder missions where swimming and diving are mandatory, like "Amphibious Assault".
  25. The map looks a lot more barren due to having less objects and trees around the map. While this may have been acceptable for the mobile version to make the game more optimized, it doesn't make much sense to downgrade the map for consoles.
  26. And just like how Sega didn't learn from Sonic 06, doing the same thing 8 years later, it seems Rockstar learned almost NOTHING from this, as they hired War Drum Studios (now Grove Street Games) again and did almost the exact same thing 7 years later, just with graphical improvements, and very few bugs fixed, and it clearly shows.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Like the mobile version, this port adds checkpoints to missions which will save you a lot of time and annoyance if you die or get busted.
  2. The Xbox One release does at least fix most of the performance issues, other than one or two very minor frame rate stutters, and also fixes a couple of other glitches.
  3. The PS3 version fixes some bugs from the Xbox 360 version, especially the graphical corruption glitch.
  4. This remaster included a feature in where if you die in the game and respawn in a hospital, your weapons will be kept. In which is pretty useful, if you don't want to grind all over again.

Trivia

  • Similar to the PC port of GTA: Vice City, there is a glitch in the Windows Store version (which may technically also work with the X360/PS3/mobile port) of the remaster, in which it skips the entire game and you even get 100% completion.

Videos

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