May 8, 2022

GTA San Andreas: End of the Line... it's review time!

 With CJ's Return to Los Santos, problems follow him home. Sweet, his brother, thinks CJ is another Big Smoke for trying to improve himself and moving beyond the Hood. Tenpenny is still on the loose, Smoke is holed up somewhere, and CJ still has to deal with his non-Hood business. 

Before I get into the review part, I need to complete the story revew on this chapter... I summed it up a bit too much in the previous paragraph. I want to bring up the fact that Sweet is FULL OF SHIT AND SUCKS ASS.
First: He's all about Homies and Hood bullshit, but at the same time, he dismissed Jeffrey OG Loc, who was eager to become a gangbanger. Sweet Literally tells him to go to college and make something out of himself and not commit the mistakes he and Smoke did. But when CJ becomes a rap manager, Car Dealership owner, Stakeholder at a Casino, oh no! CJ's a busta who does things for himself and not the Hood. While ignoring that HE HIMSELF acknowledged that CJ basically turned Grove Street Families into a serious gang all by himself.

I mean, let's analyze Sweet's "leadership".
After Carl left for Liberty City, GSF went to shit.
Smoke recruited Ryder for his coup. Bear became an addict. Sweet's Mom was killed by the Ballas riding the Green Sabre. Seville Boulevard Families separated from Grove Street. Temple Drive Families lost their territory to the Ballas. Kendl began dating a Mexican!! 
Grove Street became a shithole with drug dealers moving in. 

The Gang Life killed both Sweet's little brother Brian, and his Mom. If Sweet hadn't been a gangbanger, his Mom and Brother would still be alive. But let's talk CJ for a moment:

He left Los Santos after his brother Brian died. Details are scarce, but it seems that it was gang related with Brian being collateral damage and CJ couldn't save his brother. After finding out that his mom died, Carl returns home and gets berated by Sweet. By trying to please Sweet, Carl turns Grove Street Families back to a badass gang instead of the joke they had become under Sweet's leadership. He also had to do Tenpenny's dirty jobs to protect himself and his family. After Sweet got wounded in an ambush by the Ballas and CRASH, Sweet is incarcerated and Carl is tossed by Tenpenny in the middle of nowhere to do more dirty jobs for the corrupt cop, lest Sweet end up in a cell block full of Ballas or White Supremacists that would kill him or worse.

Once CJ reaches San Fierro, he's still bound by Tenpenny to do more dirty jobs. On the side, CJ begins to dismantle the Loco Syndicate, who supply Smoke with drugs. But CJ does nothing for the Hood or his family. With The Truth, Kendl and Cesar's help, CJ turns the abandoned garage at San Fierro into a real business, which allows CJ to buy some legitimate properties like the Car dealership across the street and Zero's RC shop. Again, CJ is helping his sister by allowing her to pursue some entrepreneurial leads which allow her to have a life without any relation to gangbanging. (Aside her brothers and her boyfriend being gangbangers for GSF and VLA.) 

Same thing with the Casino in Venturas. CJ is making sure that his family will be well-off and won't NEED to rely on criminal activities to survive. He keptdoing Tenpenny's dirty jobs to protect Sweet, while he did Classified stuff with the man codenamed Mike Toreno in order to get Sweet released from jail... but CJ did nothing for his family or The Hood. Yes, CJ got riches and power outside the Hood, but he was also helping his family along the way. The only thing we can say he did for himself was becoming Madd Dog's manager. (Since it was CJ who, unbeknownst to Madd Dog, sent the rapper in a downward spiral.) 

CJ is NOTHING LIKE Big Smoke, who rose to power for himself and ended up cooped up in his drug den as an apathetic kingpin after beating his paranoia.

Now let's get in with the entire review:

As the previous 2 games (III and VC) the graphics were upscaled, but the results are a mixed bag. Again, this is a PS2 game upscaled to PS4/PS5 so, it will be noticeable.

Music and sounds
We know that a lot of songs were lost in legal limbo, won't go deep into that. The voice acting is hit or miss. On the better side of the equation you've got guys like James Woods or Samuel Motherfucking L. Jackson that knock their performances out of the park. On the other hand you got Young Maylay, who is inexperienced in the voice acting game... and it shows at times.

They're an improvement over Vice City, but there is something off with the aeroplanes. Bikes also have some wheelie issues and the Burglary missions are messed up with not quote as responsive controls.

This game has the most improvements in the 3D era. Actual mini games (sadly some of them have been messed up here) multiple side missions in addition to the standard GTA stuff. The Heist from Vice City has been beaten with the Ocean's Eleven styled heist. We can even swim!

You're Carl Johnson, CJ, a former member of the Grove Street Families gang from Los Santos. You return home from Liberty City after the death of your mom. A series of unfortunate and crazy events send you rolling through 3 cities within the state of San Andreas, Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas. Across them you have to deal with new alliances, betrayals, the war on drugs, Loyalty to your roots vs Spreading your wings. You deal with all of this as you traverse the criminal underbelly of the State of San Andreas in a Twisted Caricature of The US West Coast in 1992.

Fun Factor 
The game might be Bigger and Longer, but it's on the easier side with a bit of more unfair deaths than the original PS2 game. With a lot of the side missions botched, except Supply Lines. That one finally got fixed... the game can feel a bit annoying at times. Sadly, the game loses steam halfway through the san Fierro chapter, But regains it in Las Venturas.

The game gets a 7.67 as its final score. The PS2 version is still the superior version and it's sad that Grove Street Games botched this game so badly.

The question y'all have is: is this game worth $60? Hell no! Let's do the math:
GTA3: 7.8
GTA VC: 8.17
GTA SA: 7.67
That gives us an overall score of 7.88 for the trilogy. I have to say that the lower score stems mostly from Grove Street Games botching the conversion. Using Mobile Ports as a base game instead of the original PS2 games is the biggest reason of why the games are messed up. Sure it's "convenient" to have all 3 games, but it sucks that they're inferior to their PS2 games...

Have these 3 games been a much better port, I would've asked for a Stories 2 pack...

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