Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Game Poster Image
Violent, open-world, do-anything mature adventure.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 79 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 151 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

Gangster lifestyle is central to the storyline, so violence, misogyny, and mayhem are all rewarded.

Positive role models & representations

You are a gangster with no moral compass. You kill policemen, hookers, and anyone else you encounter. You can explore just about any deviant behavior.

Ease of play
Violence

Gang warfare, beatings, drive-by shootings, killing of innocent bystanders, bloody and grotesque deaths.

Sex

The game contains everything from idle come-ons and sexual encounters to pimping and strip clubs. Partial/near nudity.The infamous "Hot Coffee" hidden scene has been removed by the game makers.

Language

You're unlikely to find a video game that uses the "F" word more liberally. Consistent, repeated use of profanity in almost all scenes.

Consumerism

Faux radio and billboard ads spoof national brands.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Drug use is prevalent and there is some alcohol consumption, as well.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is raunchy and violent and portrays just about every deviant act that a criminal could think of in full, living 3-D graphics. Players participate in drive-by shootings, deliver prostitutes to their johns, kill mob bosses, hijack vehicles, and learn to operate within the criminal world. The star rating given to this game is based on quality of gameplay within this adult genre of video gaming and is not an endorsement of the violence within the game.

User Reviews

Adult Written by360lover April 9, 2008

Good for responsible kids

This game is very, very fun. The only problem i have with it is the language. It was rated for strong sexual content but if you have raised your kid right,andth...
Parent of a 3, 4, 8, and 10 year old Written byembkmb June 28, 2010

Horrid game for anyone to play

This game is not really appropriate for anyone. why would we teach out youth and younger generation to participate in these types of activities. We should be...
Teen, 13 years old Written bymaddyporter4639 November 28, 2011

SA: More fun than Chucky cheeses

I used to have SOOO much fun playing this, staying up at 5 am laughing my head off. I haved played this for a long time, and im not influenced to go around cutt...
Teen, 16 years old Written byChronoTrigger July 3, 2011

Definately not for kids...

This really isn't a game for kids. I think if your 16 year old is really mature, they can play it, but don't even let them do the missions yet. Just l...

What's it about?

In GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS, players must run, gun, and drive through a bustling city to perform missions such as knocking off a mob boss or preventing a truckload of ammunition from reaching its destination. Gamers play as Carl \"CJ\" Johnson, a young man who returns to the slums to avenge his mother's murder with the help of his old gang. New gameplay features to the Grand Theft Autoseries require players to perfect certain skills over time, such as hand-to-hand combat and driving. You must also earn \"respect\" with each mission; the more you gain, the more likely gang members will help you on missions.

Is it any good?

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas boasts an exceptional soundtrack, a well-written story line and a slew of plot twists and other surprises. The dialogue between CJ and his crew is raw but convincing, and some big-name celebrities contribute their vocal talent, including James Woods and George Clinton.

Without question, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas isn't for kids because of its graphic violence, sex, and coarse language, but mature fans of this 32 million-unit-selling franchise who want to know if this sequel lives up to its hype, the answer is a resounding yes. Few video games pull off everything successfully, but San Andreas does so in spades. Indeed, this mature-rated game may be deemed offensive for its depiction of life as a "gangbanger," but if taken for what it is -- an interactive action-adventure for adult gamers -- you won't find a title that's more difficult to put down.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the presence of adult content in video games. How do you feel when you are doing things that are clearly illegal or immoral? The game is a way to experience criminal life without societal consequences -- is it the "forbidden fruit" aspect that draws so many people to it?

  • Why do you think this game is so popular?

  • How do you think violent media affects you?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows, Xbox
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Release date: November 2, 2004
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs

For kids who love action games

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate