Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PC is out!
I had to get it...Vice City was such a wicked good time that I just had to pick this title up. This was one of the few games I had actually been waiting for.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadows of Chernobyl is another, and the new Unreal Tournament (2007!) has a spot on the short list, too.
Anyhow, this game is....different. Good, but different.
First of all, you play the part of a black gang-banger disliked by the cops and hated by over 90% of the other inhabitants of Los Santos (a gameified LA). Several other gang factions will shoot you on sight.
There are several new twists: first up are the controls. You can actually pan the camera while in a car--which is weird as you'll actually need to steer twice! Once to line up the camera over the car and again to line up the car on the road. Yes indeed, that takes some getting used to...
Another thing is that your character needs to go to the gym to get buff, thus giving him more stamina and resistance to damage. If that makes it sound like your character is a wimp in the beginning of the game, then I wrote this correctly.
You need to go to restaurants to eat to maintain stamina and strength, but eat too much and your Fat content goes up while your Respect and Sex Appeal scores plummet.
The damage system sucks in the beginning, too--several times I noticed that my character died after receiving three or four gunshot wounds but the BG I was popping still stood after six or eight shots. The 'Busted' and 'Wasted' systems are identical to earlier games.
The best part of the game so far is the city layout. This place is HUGE--it encompasses a fictional LA as well as a replica of both San Francisco and Las Vegas. There are large rural areas to be explored also.
Unfortunately, the cops have told your character not to leave town (Los Santos), so the other cities cannot be reached until you get further into the gameplay. The bridges are barricaded.
But you CAN ignore the missions and just go on joyrides for as long as you want, a'la Vice City, familiarizing yourself with the streets and neighborhoods.
The downside to this is that your tires will probably get shot out every few minutes whenever rival gangbangers spot you and take potshots at your vehicle. Don't be "representin'" when you go joyriding, in other words. Neutral colors will help some.
So for a gaming experience that is both much like GTA:VC in its theme and yet wildly different in almost every way gameplay-wise, this is >the< new PC game to buy.
But your PC's gotta have DVD-ROM capability, as the whole thing comes on ONE DVD DISK inside a hardcover book labelled "City Guides".
Once you get past the idea of bein' a Gang Banga in da Hood, it's pretty interesting. I can sum it up like this: it's like a GTA Expansion Pack for VC that takes you 3,000 miles away from Tommy Vercettiland and into the body of a black hoodlum in 1992 LA. Graphics are similar to GTA:VC but are subtly improved...DirectX 9.0c is required and included.
Keep in mind that most of the missions you'll be expected to complete are along those gangbanga lines as well, from tagging your sign over rival gangs' spraypainted graffiti to beating crack dealers with ball bats to doing hits and drive-bys.
If that sounds good to you, go for it!