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Gameplay Features

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Game Features

The New Features list is a collection of all of the new features which will be in the game. It's generally for people who aren't particularly hardcore GTA fans, just to see what the next game will contain. We will not be posting every piece of confirmed information from magazine articles due to the fact magazines don't always provide truthful information, plus the fact that some stuff is not worth knowing anyway as players will pick up on it while playing the game in October.

General Information

The next GTA game will indeed be called Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and will, as far as we have been told, be Sony Playstation 2 exclusive. The game is said to be based on a number of recent films relating to the Californian gangster theme. The game will be produced on a dual layer DVD due to the enormous size and should take no less than 150 hours to complete for the average player.

The Story

Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas... a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where filmstars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it's the early 90s. Carl's got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.

The Cities And Locations

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas will not just be a single city like it was in the previous two games. This time it will be a full state, which includes not one, not two, but three main cities and a number of towns and villages throughout. The state of San Andreas is made up of the cities; Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas which will be named Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturras respectively. Word has it that each single city will be the same size as the whole of Vice City therefore resulting in the full game being in the region of four to six times the size of the previous game. Along side the cities are the countryside and desert regions along with a mountain known as Mt. Chiliad which happens to be the biggest single object in the entire game. These out of city locations will provide a very big change in experience and also include a further twelve small towns for exploring. A few sources have also stated that each City will have it's own airport where a Full Winged Dodo can be found and flown.

Buildings

We are promised that there will be a lot more buildings which are open to entry than in Vice City. Each of the interiors are amazingly detailed and there are a number of different things which can be done inside of buildings. We have also been told that the only loading times in the game will be a short pause when you enter buildings which will certainly be a change from previous games. Some of the more interesting buildings include Reece's Barber Shop, a Tattoo Parlor and some of the fast food restaurants.

Graphics

The graphics engine from Vice City has been tweaked and as a result the graphics are looking a lot better than before, although it still looks like a GTA game. Smog will be present in Los Santos, and alongside that will be reflective surfaces, realistic shadowing and other types of lighting techniques. Every model in the game will have an independent model for day and night to improve the visual effects and shadowing. GTA San Andreas will take ideas from Manhunt in the way it introduces the ability to sneak through shadows where you will be able to pick off unsuspecting enemies. Real sunlight will be simulated and shadows will be placed realistically across the map. Along with this comes an addition to the weather effects. Vehicles will now accumulate dirt and rust as you play through the game. The Draw Distance in the game has been greatly improved from that in Vice City and will now be four times better in the countryside and up to two times better in the cities. When climbing the altitude on Mt. Chiliad, clouds will start to appear and in addition to this, the foliage in the countryside will only be drawn when the player can see it which improves the frame rate and keeps the game feeling vibrant and alive.

Game Play

A number of magazine articles have informed us that rag doll physics, or rather 'impact animation' will play a part in the game. Rumours also state that players will be able to buy and build, then run a casino in Las Venturras. You can recruit gang members and use them to do four person drive-by’s. More importantly we're told that being a Gang Member only makes up about 15% of the total game. Carl and the Orange Grove Families can take over areas and generate money from them. This is just one of the many things which can add to the replay value even after the game has been 'completed'. There are parts of the game where you will work as a gang, and parts where you will work alone. The game is now very non-linear, and depending what choices are made, it will be rare for 2 players to have the same type of game. The missions will be the same, but so much can change depending on choices you make. The characters have more bones which results in numerous different facial expressions. With the additions of sneaking, there are now many more ways to complete missions. You could run straight in shooting, or sneak through the shadows and pick off the enemies one by one. When the player only has one wanted star, hiding in the shadows should be enough to throw police off your trail. The camera will automatically zoom behind the player at the touch of a button and the player then has the ability to freely target using the analogue stick. The auto-target will still be a part of the game though. The longer the player holds down the R1 button, the more chance there is of getting a headshot on an enemy. The player can adjust the camera angle with the right analog stick. Carjacking animations have improved. Rather than pulling the driver out of the vehicle, CJ opens the door, whacks him in the face, and throws him onto the road. When using a gun, the right analog stick lets you aim with any and all ranged weapons. You can look in any direction, even when you're driving. Cars get dirty (even rust), and in turn you can now take em' through the car wash. Gangs now sport their own "social" clique. Have a good enough relationship inside the gang and they'll always be watching your back. The Police chopper searchlight now serves a much more important purpose. When shining down on you, you'll find that the searchlight impairs your ability to see clearly, making it harder to drive and shoot.

Weapons

Weapons can now be dual wielded in GTA San Andreas. This means you can be running along a street firing two Uzi's as the same time. We are also told that the choice of weapons will match the weapon selections of the early nineties. An accuracy meter will be displayed at the top left of the screen and the more enemies who are hit, the better the players accuracy will become. Crosshairs are also different and now more like those seen in Manhunt. They will turn Green if the targeted person has high health, yellow if the person has medium health and red if the character will die in the next shot.

Vehicles

A number of vehicles from GTA3 and GTA Vice City will reappear with slight modifications from their original models along with a huge selection of new vehicles including a BMX Bicycle, Mountain Bike, Police Motorbike, Monster Truck, Combine Harvester, Gas Tanker, Quad Bike and Full Winged Dodo to name a few. Some vehicles are made specifically for the countryside, while others are for the streets of the city. It is now possible to attach and detach the trailer on the back of large trucks. The Monster Truck does not have a hand brake, but rather the ability to switch to 4x4 steering mode, which gives the vehicle an extremely small turning circle which is great for navigating through the trees in the country side. Players will have to be very careful when driving the Gas Tanker as it will Jack-Knife very easily.

Artificial Intelligence

Enemy and pedestrian AI will be greatly revamped and they will think more logically. You can't beat someone to death in broad daylight and not have people notice and react. Your enemies will also be a lot smarter, which will make robbing houses and passing missions take a lot of skill. Each pedestrian has his or her own actions and animations based on where they live, and where they're at in the city or the country. It won't be uncommon to see two pedestrians walking down the street, holding hands. They will react it you walk between them, then hold hands again. Pedestrians have around an hour of dialogue each, as opposed to Vice City's 10 minutes. Pedestrians also have an independent existence in the game. You can follow them as they go through their daily routine (e.g. leaving their house, going to work, going to the store, meeting someone). Gang member AI is very advanced now. Gang members no longer stand around doing nothing during their downtime, they'll be chilling out with each other, smoking, drinking, greeting each other, and throwing gang signs. They'll even have conversations, too. Gang members also have different tactics to get you out of their territory. They may come at you at full force, or sit silently back waiting for you to get close and ambush you with a surprise attack.

Music

There will be a large number of radio stations in GTA San Andreas which will contain over three times the amount of licensed music than Vice City. Some of the new Radio stations include: SF-UR, Flash FM, Hit Radio and K-Jah West FM which will be playing a selection of Country, Rock, Funk/Soul, Reggae House, Alternative and Hip Hop with more expected.

New Features In Detail

House Robbery

One of the new features which we have heard about in GTA San Andreas is the ability to rob peoples homes. It seems this will be triggered like other R3 missions but can only be activated at night. It will involve sneaking into a pedestrians home, moving through their house and picking up objects to steal. They can then be placed in a truck and taken to a fence where they can be pawned for cash. Due to pedestrians living their own lives, players can expect to sneak up on sleeping victims and have the ability to hold them up with a shotgun or whatever other weapon they like. Be warned though that some pedestrians may be expecting a break in or have security defences in place which will make the robbery a bit harder, especially if you want to come away with your head intact.

Statistics And Ratings

Every previous GTA game in the series has contained scoring and statistics in some ways or others, and in a differing level of detail, however San Andreas aims to push this a lot further. No longer will statistics be used simply for score, but they will now effect the way your character changes. For example the more time you spend perfecting your skills on Motorbikes, the better you will become, and you will eventually 'level up' your skills which will increase certain attributes such as balance on the bikes, speed, handling and a variety of other things. This goes for everything too, the more you run, the longer you will be able to go for without getting tired, the more you shoot, the better accuracy you will have. The list goes on. Rockstar Games have also stated that some missions will require you to be skilled in a certain way before they can be completed successfully, although we have been assured that stats will be for the benefit of the player, but not required. Hardcore GTA fans can spend the time to level up all of their skills and make the strongest, toughest, most skilled character in the game whereas smaller players may just wish to keep everything simple. This is sure to increase the replay value after the game has been completed.

Eating

One of the stranger new addition to GTA San Andreas is the ability and requirement to eat food to stay fit. GTA Vice City introduced the ability to purchase food to regain health, however GTA San Andreas has actually implemented this as what could be considered a major part of the game. The player will have to head to one of the many restaurants and order a meal every few days or Carl will start to lose weight and become skinny and weak. Alternatively, eating too much food will result in Carl becoming overweight and moving extremely slowly. It will be up to the player to work out the perfect balanced diet for CJ. Rumours also have it that Carl will vomit should he be fed too much food in a short space of time.

Staying Fit

The eating section of San Andreas is undoubtedly a big factor in the gameplay, however one which is possibly bigger is the Staying Fit idea of the game. Previous games rewarded the player for the work they did. If they ran a lot, they would be able to sprint for longer before getting tired, but San Andreas will introduce a whole new set of objectives. The physical work that players put in while playing the game will have visual and physical effects on Carl and the gameplay. It will be very important to keep Carl in shape and the best way to remedy too many pizzas from the well stacked pizza company is the treadmill at the gym. Yeah, that's right, you can go to the gym to work out. We have seen such things as a treadmill, punch bag and a boxing ring so far and we've also been told that in each of the three gyms around the cities, different fighting techniques will be learned. In Los Santos we'll learn the basics of hand to hand combat, in San Fierro we'll be learning martial art kick combo's and in Las Venturras we'll be learning more rough and tough moves. Some missions require Carl to be in physical shape before they can be accomplished, however players will actually be building up his physique as they play through the game, sometimes without realising it.

Swimming

Another hugely requested new feature has been placed in the game by Rockstar. Once recorded as saying "Gangsters who swim are not cool", Rockstar have given in to the fans and allowed Carl to swim in San Andreas. This is great news for the reckless drivers who head straight off bridges and into water because as soon as you hit the water you'll have to option to escape the car and swim to shore. By default Carl will tread water however the player has the option to swim underwater where they have a limited supply of breath, or swim faster on the surface. It's unclear whether there'll be anything special under the water, although we can be pretty sure that there will be.

Haircuts

This is another new feature, however not exactly one which will add a great deal to the gameplay. The player now has the ability to get a haircut and wear a new style on his head. From what we have seen this is relatively simply done however it has been well documented so it was worth a mention. You walk into Reece's Barber Shop, sit in a chair and choose a new haircut, then pay for it, providing you have enough cash. The benefits of changing your hair adds to the uniqueness of each players character in game, but will also draw different reactions from pedestrians and gang members alike. If you want to be popular with the chicks, you're going to need a cool looking hairstyle. It seems that apart from the visual benefits and a few new pedestrian comments, haircuts will not be a massively important feature in the game, although good to have anyway.

Tattoos

Another new feature similar to Haircuts is the ability to get tattoos. Very much like the haircut feature you will walk into a tattoo parlour, sit in a chair and choose a tattoo and presumably a location you would like it done, then pay for it and watch the tattoo artist do his work. It is currently unknown if tattoo's will do anything in game apart from changing the look of your character, however gang respect may increase with more ink on your chest. We have also heard that you will be able to get a different selection of tattoos in each of the different cities, so they could become something of a collectors item. Tattoos could also be the prize of unlock able missions or side objectives.

Car Modifications

One of the latest new features we've heard about is the ability to modify your vehicle. Apparently any vehicle you take to Fender Bender will allow you to make changes to it, such as Exhausts, Front Bumper, Rear Bumper, Roof, Spoilers, Wings and the Colour. Obviously the prices are not cheap, and the changes will not effect physical vehicle performance, however it is what the fans asked for and once again Rockstar Games have provided. More information is certain to be released about this in the future, but this is pretty much all we know for now.

Side Missions

There are always side missions in GTA games, however San Andreas will have a huge number for players to entertain themselves with. We have only heard of a few, however these include Truck Driving where you must transport cargo in a time limit, Valet Parking where you are rewarded for parking a car in style and sources have it that you can make money by farming. There will of course be more side missions which we'll post when we hear about them.

Stay tuned for more updates on the new features of GTA San Andreas.

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