With the next generation of consoles on the market and in full swing, it might surprise some people to know that a game that was released nearly 10 years ago is still very relevant. On one hand, there are even older games that still retain a lot of their popularity, but on the other hand, one common question amongst gamers after the release of the PS4 and the Xbox One was, “Are you still going to play last generation games?” A lot of players still have PS3/Xbox 360 games to play, but others have moved on entirely. Therefore, it’s interesting to look at the relevance of a game that was created even further back.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is still a popular game played by many gamers, but it was first released in October 2004 for the PlayStation 2, believe it or not. In 2005 it reached the PC and the original Xbox. When we talk about the early days of San Andreas, we’re not talking about the generation we just moved out of, but the one before that.
However, San Andreas received excellent reviews and was hugely popular. It was so popular, it moved out of its generation and into the next. In 2008, it was brought to the Xbox 360, and less than two years ago, in December 2012, it hit the PlayStation 3. It’s even made it to mobile devices as recently as this January. And unlike the communities for many older games, there are still active forums filled with conversations about San Andreas, with some fans playing the game for the first time and others returning to it time and time again.
This says something. Despite all the GTA expansions and games that have released in the years since then, San Andreas remains one of the strongest titles in the series. It is the best-selling PS2 game ever, and despite the wild success of GTA V, some fans still consider San Andreas to be the best of the series, citing Carl “CJ” Johnson’s storyline and the supporting characters as some of the strongest they’ve seen from GTA. Others can’t even give a specific reason, merely saying that there is something about the game that makes it stand out as special. It was the first game in the series to include swimming, and it encouraged the personalization of the main character. It also added multiplayer features to the series, and games with a multiplayer component often outlive those without one.
The controversy surrounding it might have added to its popularity, to some degree, as well. While all GTA games have been controversial, San Andreas had the notorious “Hot Coffee” mod scandal, which probably contributed to keeping the name in people’s memories, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. As they say, even bad press is good press.
Additionally, there are many cheats for GTA San Andreas, alongside the game’s content, which provides replay value that draws players back for more. While not the most expansive of the Grand Theft Auto games, and not even the one with the highest sales numbers, San Andreas is definitely one of the most enduring. So if you’re a fan of the series, but have never checked out this title, it might be well worth your time to give it a try, no matter what generation of consoles we’re in.