GTA San Andreas is a timeless classic, and its legions of fans can attest to that fact.
It is important to note that while a timeless classic can have flaws, its overall gameplay experience significantly outshines that. In GTA San Andreas's case, its graphics are terrible. However, its core gameplay makes the title exciting to play, and that's not even mentioning how easy it is to download mods to improve its biggest flaw.
Most modern GTA titles can be considered timeless classics, as they often incorporate a similar design philosophy to GTA San Andreas. Excellent music, memorable stories, and entertaining characters are just a part of what makes the GTA franchise so exciting for players.
Why GTA San Andreas remains a timeless classic in 2021
#5 - Amazing audio
If players blindly listened to one of GTA San Andreas's radio stations for the first time, they would likely acknowledge how professional it sounds. It isn't just real music that makes GTA San Andreas seem amazing; it's also the commercials and DJs that breathe life into the game.
Both of those features are further complemented by an outstanding cast of voice actors that are simply timeless in terms of quality. Every character feels like they belong in the world of GTA San Andreas, and players can feel the emotions resonating from them when they speak.
Even minor features like grunts in combat are pretty good. It might not be as in-depth as later GTA titles, but it's good enough to make players aware of what's going on around them. This kind of clarity is an underrated aspect of why GTA San Andreas is so good.
#4 - Memorable characters
Whether it's iconic memes like Big Smoke or beloved protagonists like Carl Johnson, GTA San Andreas is home to some of the most memorable characters, not just in the GTA franchise but in gaming as a whole. The characterization isn't as strong as other AAA titles, but it's still far above most regular games.
In GTA San Andreas, players can easily understand the motives of each character. It's a minor detail, but it goes a long way in remembering the game long after one plays it. Anybody who has extensively played GTA San Andreas is bound to remember Big Smoke's betrayal, The Truth's wacky jetpack missions, and the heist at Caligula's.
These three events have nothing to do with one another, either. GTA San Andreas isn't as linear as some other games within the series, and that's a strength that enhances the scenes that these characters are in.
#3 - Many side activities
GTA San Andreas isn't a one-and-done kind of game. Players don't just play the title for its story and then move on to another game. There are so many side activities that players can also take part in.
The three major cities of Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas all feel distinct from one another, and that's not counting the countrysides of every location.
A place as simple as a bar can have many uses. Not only is it a place to take one's girlfriend for a drink, but players can also use the pool table to gamble money. There are even arcade machines of different games for players to mess around with, and all of this is just in the bar.
There are numerous side-quests, vehicle-based missions, and even safehouses to purchase. There's often something for everybody to enjoy in GTA San Andreas, which truly makes it a timeless classic as far as gameplay goes.
#2 - Outstanding customization
GTA San Andreas innovated customization in the GTA series. Past games like GTA Vice City laid in the groundwork, but GTA San Andreas took it to the next level. First, players could put on any individual piece of clothing (meaning that they aren't limited to just costumes anymore). Second, players could put on tattoos, facial hair, and any hairstyle they fancied in-game. It's so simple yet delightful to see.
There's also vehicle customization. As a first within the series, players can change the color of their vehicle to whatever they want, change the type of tires the vehicles use, and so much more. It isn't as robust as GTA 5's version, but it's still something worth noting.
Finally, there's the topic of fat and muscles. In GTA San Andreas, players could be skinny, fat, muscular, or a mix of some of these attributes. Each "form" of CJ had their own unique stats. For example, skinny CJ can punch fast, but muscular CJ hits harder. It's a novelty that sadly never returned in another GTA title.
#1 - Insane amount of mods
Normally, one shouldn't consider mods as a band-aid for a game's quality. However, it's worth noting that GTA San Andreas is one of the most modded games of all time (partially thanks to "Hot Coffee").
This means that almost anything a player wants is available on the internet. There's DYOM for creative players who wish to make their own missions, there are various character models for players to import, and there are even new maps to explore.
The amount of mods in GTA San Andreas is insane. The only other GTA title on its level in terms of mods is GTA 5, and that's also a timeless classic. With such good company, a player can find whatever they want to enhance their gameplay however they want.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.