Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the single best PlayStation 2 title I have ever played. It's larger than the biggest RPG, has more story than the heftiest adventure game, and has almost as many mini-games as Nintendo's Mario Party.
Additionally, it has a production value that's second to none, boasts a faithfulness to '90s source material with an eerie accuracy, and provides more hours of entertainment than all the previous Grand Theft Autos combined. In short, it's a terrific unending masterpiece of a game -- and one that will never fall victim to an over-exaggeration of its lofty status. It's the defining piece of software for Sony's successful sophomore system, and it's almost impossible to imagine a PlayStation 2 library without it.
Even more importantly, though, no one has mentioned the number one reason that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is so amazing to begin with: as it's the first game I can ever remember that asks its players to wonder "What can't you do" as opposed to "What can you?"
There's even an unparalleled selection of mini-games to undertake in your spare time -- including a Dance Dance Revolution-type rhythm game to play when in clubs, a small collection of arcade games that play exactly like Tempest, Asteroids, and Defender, and a fully-realized pool game that has its own physics system and betting option. And don't forget, you can also travel into town and bet on horse races, gamble at practically every known game inside the Las Venturas casinos, and even team up with second player for two-person rampages.
Players can finally move, fire, and zoom in on their opponents all at the same time with deadly accuracy. The optional manual targeting camera (which can be activated at any time with the right analog stick) feels terrific and enables players to pinpoint specific locations on their victims.
I've spent the last six pages making my case for why Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is best game I've played on the PS2 thus far, and I still haven't even begun to touch on how much it really has to offer. I've spent almost every waking moment of last week doing nothing else but playing this massive beast and have put well over 60+ hours into it. And yet despite that fact, I'm only barely hovering over the 50% finished mark (which is all you really need to complete the story), and I still have a ways to go. Hidden horseshoes, graffiti tags, special photographs, and a myriad of other hidden items still elude my grasp (nearly 300 of them), while a huge assortment of things I can't even tell you about make me wish that I wasn't so protective about spoilers -- there's some seriously cool secret stuff in here.
But that's why San Andreas is so awesome: it's a world that can offer different people different things. If a solid storyline and some incredibly tough missions are all that you're looking for, then you can have them. If you'd rather spend your time doing nothing but exploring the city and finding new ways to make money, destroy property, and dress like a pimp, then you can do that too. Live the life you want to live; do the things you want to do, it's entirely up to you. But however you choose to do it, do it now. Drop everything and do it right now.It's the best PlayStation 2 game ever made.