Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has finally arrived on Android. The game was highly anticipated, especially after its release on iOS. The release day went pretty badly but Rockstar eventually straightened things out. If you’d like to watch our review, click the video above.
If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto before then you know what kind of game play you’re in for. For those unfamiliar with San Andreas, it’s an open world game where you play as an ex-gang banger named Carl who returns home after the death of his mom to get some vengeance on the people who killed her.
The game is mission based and it is open world so you essentially just cruise around until you’re ready to do things, and then you go do them. You’ll have cars, bicycles, motorcycles, guns, and sometimes some NPCs at your disposal as you go through the game. You can also buy houses, visit businesses, pick up hookers, and all the other things that give GTA its unique charm.
In the Android version, nothing has really changed. The graphics were given a slight bump to suit the resolution of newer displays and, of course, the controls have been adapted for touch screens but we’ll touch more on that momentarily. Aside from the adaptation to mobile, this is the same game everyone enjoyed in 2004.
The touch screen controls take a little bit to get used to and they are a tad clunky. You can choose between analog, flick controls, and on-screen buttons if you so choose. Eventually, you get used to the touch screen controls but it never quite loses that clunky feel.
The left side of the screen is dedicated to movement while the right side is dedicated to action buttons. You can also control the camera with the right side if need be. According to the support page, any Bluetooth or HID-compliant controller, including the Moga controller, should also work fine.
If you’re experiencing frame rate issues or if you want to really push your device, you can also tweak things like resolution, frame limiter, targeting mode, visual effects, draw distance, shadows, reflections, and more to either help boost the performance or make the game look better. It’s your call.
So here’s what we liked.
- The game itself is long and huge. It is open world with a lot of side missions along with the regular story so there is a whole bunch to do. Way more than your average Android game.
- We really liked the flexibility with the game controls and settings. Having three kinds of on-screen controls plus full controller support is nice and giving the gamer the ability to tweak settings to their taste is always preferable.
- The mobile specific tweaks really help make the game more enjoyable. Things like the updated graphics and cloud save support hit most of the required marks for what makes a mobile game good.
- There are no actual in app purchases in this title. Some speculate that the reason it carries the tag in the Google Play Store is because it takes you to Rockstar’s website where you can buy merchandise but we assure you, there are no in app purchases in this game.
And here’s what we didn’t like so much.
- There are no Play Games achievements or any Play Games support at all. It doesn’t hinder the game all that much but it is a big name Android game and we would’ve liked to have seen it more integrated with the growing Android gaming culture.
- There are points where the game loses frame rate even on the latest flagship devices so you will likely have to play this game on something other than max settings to keep it running smooth all the time.
- The on screen controls are clunky and while you do eventually get used to them, there’s never that 100% totally comfortable feeling. If you have a controller, we recommend you use it.
Rockstar really put a lot of work into this port. With the graphical settings, all the various control settings, the updated graphics, and more, they’ve done pretty much everything a developer can do to make a console game look and play great on mobile. It has a few problems, but nothing we would consider to be a deal breaker.
We’ve seen people balk at the idea of spending $7 but you have to remember that this isn’t 200 levels of Angry Birds, it’s a full console title with side missions, a long campaign, and a full, open world for you to explore. It’s the kinda stuff we’ve been asking for since gaming started being a thing on Android. This game was once $60 brand new and all they’re asking for now is $7. We simply can’t imagine a scenario where that isn’t a good deal. Have you played the game yet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments. If you want to get it, use the button!