The Top 10 Reasons Why San Andreas is Better Than GTA 4

When Grand Theft Auto 4 was released, it seems that everybody quickly forgot about it's predecessor GTA San Andreas. While there was certainly still strong support out there for San Andreas, a large majority of people seemed to favor GTA 4. I own both games, one for the Playstation 2, and the other on the Xbox 360 console. After a few years of owning and avidly playing both games, I have to say that I think San Andreas was far superior even though it was released first. Majority of GTA 4 supporters cite the improved graphics and ability to play live in multiplayer mode as reasons for preferring GTA 4. While I agree that those were definite improvements, I feel that many other things were compromised and left out of the new game that made it less competetive. If they had included some of the aspects of San Andreas into GTA 4, with the improved graphics, it would have made a far more superior game than the one that was released. Here's a quick list of some of the things that were missing from GTA 4 that should not have been abandoned.

No Flying Planes
One of the things I absolutely loved about San Andreas was the ability to fly planes. Sure GTA 4 has helicopters just like S.A. did, but the exclusion of planes was a big gripe of mine from the minute I realized that they had been excluded. I think it's strange how a gangster like Carl Johnson was going to flight school and learning how to fly planes, but not a Russian immigrant like Nico Bellic, who seems much more advanced and educated than Carl. But maybe this is why they they left them out of the game, because GTA 4 takes place in New York. I know Rockstar Games has always had a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to controversial material, but maybe they were worried about an uproar from the public. They probably figured that people would be upset at the concept of a newly arrived immigrant in New York flying planes around the city, since it could be reminiscent of the events of 9/11 for some people. Then again, maybe they thought it wouldn't be realistic for planes to be flying around the city (they could have at least put a cheat code in to acquire them though). Regardless, I think it was a dumb move by Rockstar, and I sure miss flying the fighter jet around.

No Parachutes
One of my favorite things to do in S.A. was to fly helicopters to the tops of buildings, land of the rooves, and them jump off and use a parachute to slow my fall. Well of this fun has been left behind in the new game. There are no more parachutes, which basically means, a lot less fun. Another fun thing I did was avoided the rooves all together and just jumped right out of a helicopter or plane. Well GTA 4 definitely has helicopters, but yet, there's still no parachutes for some reason. I don't think they intentionally did this. No way, they couldn't purposely have left them out. They must have just forgot.

No Commercial Flights
In the previous game, you could jump from city to city by purchasing a ticket at the airport to board a commercial airline. Once you were on the jet, you could look out the window, skip to the destination, or jump out of the plane while it was in flight. This was another cool addition to the game that really made things fun. I understand that there'd be no point in doing this for Grand Theft Auto 4, since it took place in only one city, but I was still a little agitated when I found out that you could no longer do this, despite the fact that there's still an airport in the newer game.

No Jetpack
I think everybody loved the jetpack, no matter how unrealistic it was. This was probably the coolest thing ever included in any game in the GTA series. You could find a rocketpack (or enter a cheat code), and instantly turn into the Rocketeer, with the ability to hover over one area or fly to any destination you choose. I loved picking fights with cops and then flying away or getting on top of a roof, only to start killing them with a sniper rifle. It seems like it would have been easy for Rockstar to include a cheat code to allow this still. Definitely a bummer.

No Pimp My Ride
Where's Xzibit when you need him? The ability to modify cars and add all kinds of goodies to them was one of the most interest aspects of San Andreas. The coolest part was being able to add nitrous oxide to your ride. Imagine if we had that kind of speed in the new game. It would have been even grander. They should have at least have added a few cars in the game that had some nitrous in their trunks. Especially since Nico has to race in a couple missions and has a Fast n Furious friend like Brucie around. Let's hope the next game in the series brings these types of options back.

No Gangs
Remember the good old days, when CJ could form a posse in the hood and go around looking for purple shirt or yellow bandana gangs? Well those days are obviously long gone. Nico must not have the same leadership skills and charisma that Carl Johnson had, because there are no gang members to follow him in GTA 4. I really miss being able to swing a punch at someone and have your gang interpret that as open fire.

No Fighting Skills
Never before could you learn karate or other fighting skills in a GTA game like you could in San Andreas. I loved how you could start the game as a hardened gangster, and learn the skills of Bruce Lee by visiting a gym or dojo. This addition to the game added an extra layer of action that made it more than just a typical cops and robbers type game. It turned it into a mix of Lethal Weapon, Boys n the Hood, and Double Dragon. Bellic must not be as open minded as Carl Johnson, because he doesn't even make an attempt to stop by a dojo or gym to learn those types of skills.

No Gaining or Losing Weight
Grand Theft Auto S.A. was the first action game I had ever seen where a character could change weight depending on what he did and what he ate. This was a major breakthrough when it comes to realism in games. Your character could be as skinny as Tupac one day, and as fat as the Notorious B.I.G. the next day. While this may not seem realistic since most people can't gain and lose weight that fast, you have to keep in mind that the days go by faster in videogames than in real life. So it was pretty accurate and made the game much more realistic. While playing as Nico Belic, I was disappointed everytime I walked into a burger joint and didn't gain any weight. It made all the fast food places in the game a little less rewarding and a little more pointless.

No Exercising
Being able to get buff and strong was so cool, especially since it made CJ's punches and physical attacks more damaging. There are no gyms and dumb bells to work out with in GTA 4. Nico Bellic has a somewhat muscular or fit physique, though it's a mystery how he keeps it if he doesn't ever work out. If anybody thinks that Rock Star left this detail out to make the game more realistic, they are obviously wrong. I think it's amazing that they would throw in a pumped-up steroid junkie like Bruce into the game, and missed out on a perfectly good opportunity to introduce Nico to working out through him.

No Scenery
This is probably one of my biggest gripes about the newer game. In San Andreas, your character could not only travel between multiple cities, but multiple states. There was Los Angeles, San Francisco, Humboldt County, Las Vegas, and some desert area that was either New Mexico or Arizona. In the GTA 4, you're restricted to only one city, New York. While the graphics make the city much more beautiful and scenic than any cities in the last game, the diversity is missing and that was a major disappointment for me. The world in each game should continue to grow, not regress back to one city like how Vice City was. Hopefully the developers won't make the same mistake with the next game in the series.

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