GTA San Andreas vs GTA Vice City: How different are the two popular games in the Rockstar franchise?

(Image via David Games, YouTube)
(Image via David Games, YouTube)

GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas are two of the most successful titles by Rockstar Games. They are also considered to be some of the greatest video games in history.

GTA 3, released in 2001, was a genre-defining game. It was Rockstar's big breakthrough that paved the way for the series' success. GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas, released in a relatively short time span, solidified the position of the GTA franchise, eliminating all competition.

Both games were equally successful, and each has its own fanbase and community that continues to create mods and patches for the games. Keeping aside the obvious differences like map size and graphics, this article will highlight a few key distinctions between the games.

Differences between GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas

1) Setting

GTA Vice City is set in a fictionalized depiction of Miami in the 80s. Mob movies like Scarface heavily influence the storyline, and it follows a fast-paced movie-like structure.

GTA San Andreas, on the other hand, is mostly concerned with gang violence in the 90s. The L.A. riots of 1992, as well as rampant police corruption at the time, played a major role in the narrative.

2) Customization

A major change that GTA Vice City introduced was changing clothes. Tommy could choose between different outfits in the game, some of which were based on the fashion of the 80s.

GTA San Andreas took character customization to the next level, allowing players to buy not only multiple sorts of clothes and accessories for CJ but also get new haircuts and tattoos.

Another significant addition was the ability to customize vehicles, a much-appreciated feature that returned in GTA 5.

3) Gameplay

GTA San Andreas had another unique element that made it so revolutionary. For the first time in the GTA series, the gameplay was geared towards an RPG-like experience.

Players had different physical statistics and skills that could be improved with practice and time, affecting gameplay. This was not available in prior GTA games, including GTA Vice City.

The ability to ride bicycles, swim and climb over obstacles were also some new features in the GTA series.

4) Body type customization

In many RPG games, like the Elder Scrolls series, players can select the body type of their characters during character creation. However, it is merely a cosmetic feature in most games, and the fitness level doesn't change with it.

GTA San Andreas is perhaps the only game where one can develop muscle at the gym, get slim by fasting, and get fat by overeating all at the same time. This also affects gameplay as a muscular CJ hits harder while a fat one can't jump over certain obstacles.

Such a feature was not present in GTA Vice City, where Tommy remained the same throughout the game.

5) Game world

Before GTA San Andreas, most GTA games included a map based on one or more cities. In these games, there were no outskirts, villages, or countrysides.

GTA San Andreas was the only game in the 3D Universe, and one of two in the whole series, to have a massive geographical region as the game's setting. It introduced players to the state of San Andreas, where they may explore three main cities and the surrounding countryside.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.

Edited by Srijan Sen
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now