where does one even start a review about this game?

at the time of writing this review, i have over fifty hours of gameplay in this game, and i have just completed all the story missions. yet, according to the game, i'm only a little bit over halfway done with everything there is to do in this game. how the hell did they put so much content in a 2004 game?

GTA:SA is so many things at once
firstly, it's a driving simulator of 212 individual vehicles: various cars, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, aeroplanes, trucks with or without trailers, harvesters, tractors, tanks, helicopters, so on and so forth... each vehicle has its own personality and feel, and feels different to drive.

it's an excellent single-player FPS, which often feels very similar to games like Goldeneye 007. the firearms feel great and shoot out missions can be very challenging, requiring great strategy, practice and planning

it's an endless adventure game. the giant map has so much to see and discover that, even with dozens of hours in the game, you continuously find new stuff you've never seen before

it's an open-world game. you can do whatever the hell you want and you genuinely feel like you're even more than the main character.

it has phenomenal writing and some of the greatest cutscenes i've had the chance to watch in gaming. the game is written much like an extravagant hollywood action film, and with how self-aware it is, it succeeds at doing that much better than a vast majority of hollywood films. each character has an immense depth, sensibilities and the player gets attached. let me just say that the ending left me completely jawdropped.

it is such a perfect satire of everything that is wrong with american society, and while its absurdism gives it a certain step back from reality, now that i've visited some of the worst ghettos in the american south, and the more knowledgeable i get about american culture and politics, i feel like GTA:SA got a whole lot right about sociocultural issues in america.

it's truly a masterpiece. it's challenging, it makes you think, and it is phenomenally written. a must play. will definitely get through the rest of this game to 100% it.

Reviewed on Jan 26, 2023