GTA San Andreas was ahead of its time for its amazing customization features.
The GTA series is well-known for the good customization they have in their most recent games. All of this started with GTA San Andreas, which introduced several of these key features, ranging from a variety of hairstyles to the character's clothing. The games preceding GTA San Andreas had limited to no customization features, which makes it impressive that GTA San Andreas was able to introduce all of these new features in a single game.
In terms of GTA pioneers, some fans could argue that GTA San Andreas is one of the most innovative GTA games out there. It didn't just introduce good customization features, it also introduced a bevy of other good features that players enjoy to this day. This list will only focus on the customization features found in GTA San Andreas.
The best customization features from GTA San Andreas
#5 - Individual clothing apparel
The character clothing customization went on to become a mainstay in the series after being introduced in GTA San Andreas. This feature was added to provide the player with a more immersive experience. With this feature players can create a unique style for their character.
It also helps that GTA San Andreas allows players to purchase outfits individually. So if a player likes the top of an outfit, but not the bottom, they can always just buy the top. The previous game, GTA Vice City, only had full costumes a player could equip. Hence, GTA San Andreas knocked this feature out of the ballpark in terms of convenience and innovation.
#4 - Hairstyles
GTA San Andreas allows players to customize both CJ's hairstyle and his facial hair. As a result, the player can mix and match several hairstyles and facial hair combinations to make their character stand out. There's a large variety of different styles too, so a player can easily complement most of the individual clothing apparel in the game.
It should be noted that facial hair is only available in conjunction with certain hairstyles. Still, it did allow players to change up CJ's appearance quite significantly. Hairstyles were one of the cheaper customization features in terms of price, which helped poorer players change up how CJ looked on a more frequent basis.
#3 - Tattoos
GTA San Andreas introduced tattoo parlors, which meant that CJ could now get inked as well. The Idlewood and El Corona tattoo parlors were identical (except in location), but that didn't mean that all parlors offered the same selection. The Hemlock tattoo parlor offered a different variety of tattoos from those two, and the Redsands East tattoo parlor offered its own unique selection.
Players could walk around without a shirt in GTA San Andreas, allowing them to show off their tattoos. This allowed some players to play the game looking wildly different than what other players CJ might look like. Comparing the default CJ to one with tattoos is almost like the difference between night and day.
#2 - Vehicle customization
Customization within GTA San Andreas doesn't only extend to characters. Vehicle customization is surprisingly in-depth in the game, as players can change wheel types, body colors, add nitro, and a slew of other minor modifications. Some vehicles even had unique paint jobs, which made them stand out from their vehicular contemporaries.
All a player had to do to customize their vehicle was drive the vehicle into a TransFender. From there, they could select from a variety of options to customize the look of their vehicle. It seems surprisingly simple, but it added a whole new layer of customization that no prior GTA game ever attempted.
#1 - Body Shape
Many of the features above are staples within the series, but the player having the ability to influence the protagonist's body shape is only found in GTA San Andreas. To do so, the player either had to work out (for a more muscular frame) or eat a lot more (for a fatter frame). It was a simple mechanic, but its uniqueness is still fondly remembered by GTA San Andreas fans around the world.
What really helped make this feature stand out more in GTA San Andreas was the fact that it was more than just a visual thing. A player's body type would influence how fast they could run, how hard they could hit, and more. It even influenced certain dates CJ could go on, as his potential girlfriends all had varying desires regarding their ideal body type.
Plus, CJ would also have unique quotes if he was really fat. No other protagonist can share this minor feat.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.