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The Biggest Issue in the GTA San Andreas storyline

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SoulSux
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#1

Posted 2 weeks ago

All right, ignore the click-baity title and prepare for a long post. But after replaying this game and re-experiencing the storyline after all these years (first played in 05 as a kid and honestly hadn't replayed the full storyline until last summer), I've come to the conclusion that there are many problems with the San Andreas storyline.

 

These problems didn't appear when it first came out, it only really showed itself when the game was superseded by many other games (GTA IV and GTA V in particular) that it really shows. You have to play GTA IV to understand the biggest issue with San Andreas: the lack of context. Let me give a definition of context:

 

 

Context is the background, environment, setting, framework, or surroundings of events or occurrences. Simply, context means circumstances forming a background of an event, idea or statement, in such a way as to enable readers to understand the narrative or a literary piece. It is necessary in writing to provide information, new concepts, and words to develop thoughts.

 

I'm not going to say that the context within the storyline itself is poorly written, but even then there are issues. But let's dive deeper into the context of GTA: San Andreas and compare it to GTA IV.

 

In GTA IV, it's made pretty clear of Niko's background and why he decides to leave Serbia for Liberty City; he grows up in Serbia throughout the 70s-90s in relative poverty; his life is relatively normal (there are details like his high school crush, etc) until the 90s, when the Yugoslav wars break out; after this he enters crime in human smuggling in the 2000s, which puts him on the radar for Serbian and European authorities. Part of the reason he needs to leave is for a better life, to reunite with Roman, but also to escape the heat in Serbia. It's made clear why Niko is in Liberty City in the first place.

 

On the other hand, in GTA: San Andreas, Carl Johnson's background is not nearly as clear. All we know about him is that: his mom was shot and killed, he left for LC in 1988 (the reason itself is never even explained), and he was born in Los Santos in 1969 (heh). That's it. We never really learn too much about his childhood, what inspired him to join the Families (alongside Sweet), why he's such strong friends with Big Smoke and Ryder, or his relationship with his mother. All of this is shrouded in mystery and is really up to the interpretation of the player. You don't really know who Carl really is, just how you interpret him to be.

 

And when you put it in that frame, the issues with San Andreas' storyline arise even more. For example, why is Frank Tenpenny so corrupt when running CRASH? All you ever know him in the storyline is that he's some asshole who rolls with Fernandez and Pulaski and punishes CJ for no reason other than to torment him and keep his shady schemes going. We never find out who Tenpenny is and how he even joined LSPD, how he got those schemes rolling and how he operates and why he's friends with Fernandez and Pulaski. He sort of just exists as the asshole who keeps you down. That's it. It makes everything feel mysterious and confusing, honestly. 

 

I'm not asking that every character have some uber-detailed backstory. Just some context as to why they act the way they act. The IV equivalent of Tenpenny (Francis McReary) at least had a decent backstory; he was the brothers of McReary and his dislike of the crime life made him join LCPD, and his familiarity with the tactics allowed him to rise in the LCPD. He seems more detailed than Tenpenny honestly.

 

And I can poke more holes in the San Andreas storyline. Why is Big Smoke targeted and what motivates him to betray GSF? There's some motive (selling drugs and making money off that) but it's never really explored. Ryder's motivations are even less clear and there's a theory that he was shoveled in as a traitor late in the game's development. Why are Cesar and CJ's sister dating? Why is there such a big war between all the four LS gangs in the first place? None of this is ever made particularly clear.

 

I could even go bigger and question how the environment functions, like why is Los Santos in its present state in 1992 with gang violence, etc? I understand that it's pretty easy to gauge what's going on in the environment by playing the game, but only within the storyline itself. It's not like GTA IV where things are made pretty clear of the history of the environment (they had that whole documentary on GTA IV TV of LC history and character/context clues reveal more about Liberty City). It's never made clear as to what caused Los Santos and the whole state of San Andreas to be what it is in the first place... it can be assumed that the history of San Andreas loosely follows that of real life Western USA/Mexico (from the precolumbian to modern times), and I'm aware of the fact that California was in a very rough state from the 70s to 90s (gang violence, drugs, poverty, etc), but even then, San Andreas is a fictional version of California/Nevada that has its own history that is never really explained. San Andreas just "exists" for the player to roam and play around with, nothing more, nothing else.

 

Perhaps I'm a bit too hard on this game. Storylines and worldbuilding weren't nearly as detailed or complex for video games in 2004 as they are today, and tbh the first 2 in the III Era have the same issue, but those are smaller so they're not nearly as apparent. For San Andreas, the scope of the game requires all that detail that just seems to be missing. For some reason, San Andreas always seemed "off" to me compared to GTA IV, and I guess I've figured it out: nothing is ever really explained like it is in GTA IV. I'm assuming it's up to the player to create their own history of San Andreas and its characters, but even still, it feels inadequate. 

 

TLDR - the San Andreas storyline is not really that great because the characters and environment arent really explained well compared to GTA IV where Rockstar literally wrote a history for the environment and characters in GTA IV to make it the storyline masterpiece that it was. Not to say that San Andreas is a bad game (its great) and I still like the story; it just leaves a lot of things to be desired.

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Terrc87
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#2

Posted 2 weeks ago Edited by Terrc87, 2 weeks ago.

Its an interested topic, but most of GTA 3D era have a un-detailed storyline plot for example in GTA VC, what did exactly Tommy do to make him known as the Hardwood Butcher? I know he kill a hit squad but what the back story of that event? Why there's a hit squad trying to kill Tommy, did Tommy do a bad things to Forelli's? all I know he doesn't rat his families against authorities and thats why he got send into Vice City.

watersgta3
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#3

Posted 2 weeks ago

Okay, two things

1) CJ left to LC in 1987, and that was because he let his little brother (whatever his age was) die.
2) CJ's birth year is never revealed since his age was never stated in the game.

Other than that, I agree with most of what you're saying. In retrospect, the storyline, in spite of its length, was kind of tacky and wasn't really as great as many fans assume it was. Also, what was the deal with Cesar telling Carl that Ryder tried to f*ck CJ's sister? Like that sentence came out of nowhere, as if the writers just added in that piece of dialogue at the last second. Where was the evidence of that?

PS, you should check out my topic of the storyline titled "Ways to improve the storyline of GTA San Andreas".

SoulSux
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#4

Posted 2 weeks ago

Okay, two things

1) CJ left to LC in 1987, and that was because he let his little brother (whatever his age was) die.
2) CJ's birth year is never revealed since his age was never stated in the game.

Other than that, I agree with most of what you're saying. In retrospect, the storyline, in spite of its length, was kind of tacky and wasn't really as great as many fans assume it was. Also, what was the deal with Cesar telling Carl that Ryder tried to f*ck CJ's sister? Like that sentence came out of nowhere, as if the writers just added in that piece of dialogue at the last second. Where was the evidence of that?

PS, you should check out my topic of the storyline titled "Ways to improve the storyline of GTA San Andreas".

 

Thanks. Also @Terrc87 thanks for pointing out the Harwood Butcher, the circumstances of that whole thing are never quite explained (or other major plot points such as the Haitian-Cuban conflict, for example).

 

But yeah, I recall even in GTA IV characters like Carmen were mentioned in the story and it was mentioned Carmen was known to basically be the neighborhood whore (TBoGT) in South Bohan and it tied in to Niko dating her.

 

Also, that's an interesting point with Ryder. Was that supposed to be some kind of subplot or something? That just seems super odd.


Algonquin Assassin
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#5

Posted 2 weeks ago

This is pretty much why I hate the story in San Andreas and prefer GTA IV's. Much better and sophisticated character background/development.
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Craig
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#6

Posted 2 weeks ago

I do tend to look at San Andreas through rose-tinted glasses - after all, it is my favourite of the franchise and I probably play it more than any other title combined. That being said, I can't deny it's glaring plot holes and questionable story choices. Things are definitely rushed, and to me the story takes a sheer nose dive as soon as you reach Las Venturas. I will say that's my least favourite part of the game, but only because it's the least like CJ's character, or at least what we've been shown is his character. In Los Santos, his actions and motives make the most sense because it's his home and things feel more like errands with heavy consequences, which makes sense as the game still treats this portion of the game as a lengthy tutorial. You're not really thrown in the deep end much and the hand holding only really stops at Burning Desire. Even in San Fierro, we can sort of justify his car flipping and exile because of the developments in Los Santos.

 

It's one of those things I forsake for the fun of it. I could spend all day picking apart aspects of the plot but I tend not to because it would most likely put me off the game for a while. For example, the countryside segment is so jarring I just want to get the missions out of the way. His development with Catalina makes no sense to me whatsoever and the clumsy second race you're thrown into is lazy, confusing and unnecessary. Progressions with other characters and relationships with them are rushed, with no real room to grow. It's a case of "you did this thing well, now do this one because I like you a little more". His most realistic relationship is probably with Ryder (believe it or not) because we are actually shown a glimpse of what life was like before the game for the two of them. It's established they were friends in school, and they bicker like an elderly married couple. Until his hamfisted betrayal and death, it's an accurate portrayal of somebody who wants what's best for the gang and somebody who's been out of the loop for so long they don't know how things work anymore.

 

I think with a lot of plot points though you're expected to just... assume, or fill in the blanks at least. Tenpenny and Pulaski are corrupt cops. It's a trope in many films and games, and we've seen enough examples to not be able to suspend belief that these two "officers of the law" could actually be scum. Sure, it isn't really shown what they've done prior but we have enough of a motivation to go on and to allow the game to progress. We know they both benefit from the gangs of Los Santos being constantly at war. It keeps them in work, and improves their public image when one gang suffers heavy casualties.

 

Naturally, R* were going to get better at telling stories as they went on. By comparison, IV could be seen as so real compared to SA that it stings a bit when you feel the consequence of choice. It's all about what you prefer and what's the most fun for you as a player. If you can suspend belief at some of the more ridiculous outcomes of SA, you'll have a great time and the nostalgia is just enough to carry you through some of the dull parts. I do enjoy IV (to the point I wish it would just come out on PS4 already) but I play the games to have fun above all else. I'm not saying that you can't have fun unless you enjoy this game, of course you can, but it's all about whether or not the game is enjoyable enough for you to forgive some major plot holes.

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jaljax
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#7

Posted 2 weeks ago

Gta SA Story in a nutshell 

 

LOGIC EVERYWHERE

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Am Shaegar
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#8

Posted 2 weeks ago

Things are definitely rushed, and to me the story takes a sheer nose dive as soon as you reach Las Venturas. I will say that's my least favourite part of the game, but only because it's the least like CJ's character, or at least what we've been shown is his character. In Los Santos, his actions and motives make the most sense because it's his home and things feel more like errands with heavy consequences.

 

Same goes for LV part. It makes sense to me that Rockstar wanted to show CJ's growth from LS to SF and finally LV where CJ gets entangled in the activities that he starts getting away from his priorities towards his hood. this is exactly why Sweet makes CJ realize about his "promise" and all the things about the hood. He should not leave the job half finished. Rockstar makes a good attempt in making us realize that CJ has fallen to the same problem of money and power that Smoke and Ryder became victim, and which changed them and their loyalty for the hood. 

 

Basically, CJ's transformation from LS, SF to LV was to make the players realize that as CJ steadily rose to money, and power, the success eventually started to change him as well. The game very clearly makes this point through the conversations between Sweet and CJ about neglecting the hood and the homies who had high hopes from CJ to help them in reclaiming their lost respect and territory. It was at this point CJ understands about his responsibility and prove his loyalty by focusing on re-establishing the hood. 
Since this is a video game, and not a movie, the developers cannot make this possible without making the players go through the epic journey from LS and all the way to LV, and then returning back to LS to gradually EXPERIENCE the growth and changes in CJ's character.
The feeling of finally returning back to Ganton after the amazing journey throughout the state (it is important to note that the story encompasses around an entire state, not just a city, and its not even about only Ls, nor the hood life) after the long story progression cannot be explained in words.
 
Events like Tenpenny's acquittal and the rioting that started after the news broke out about his release makes us relaize how much LS has changed since the player left.
 
Also, I disagree about the story suffering from any serious plot holes. Sure, there are a couple of over the top missions but they are meant as a side distraction that every GTA, including IV and V had. 
The thing is that GTA SA is so vast in its scope and scale that the players may find it hard not to get distracted from the main course, with all the stadium events, races, and several other amazing missions. I always play GTA SA by completing the story missions first without taking part in anything else, unless required to progress into the story, and for the most part, everything makes sense and relate to the metaplot of the game as a whole. 
Unfortunately, the game doesn't spoonfeed every thing to the players in crisp and clear structure as seen in GTA IV where you don't need to think much about the progression since the cutscenes and other conversations with the side characters, explain everything to the player, even more than its required.
 
Also, I don't think its really important to find out who Tenpenny was and how even joined LSPD, since its more important to know how corrupt the officers themselves are in misusing the power of law enforcement. Francis McReary had a backstory because of Niko's relation with his brothers giving the players an insight into the McReary family as a WHOLE. There is no purpose served here for GTA SA from story standpoint in knowing about Tenpenny, his backstory, or whatever. 
 
Lastly, I don't know whether OP is aware about The Introduction video, but its worth watching. Here's a post from a member who breaks down the Introduction video explaining in great detail. 
SA's story runs quite deep, and not as bad for a video game as people tend to believe. Its a great story that gives enough context or motive to majority of CJ's action without feeling it out of place entirely, outside a few exceptions that are anyways just side missions, and not part of the main story to begin with.
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Craig
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#9

Posted 2 weeks ago

The Introduction is a brilliant video, I recommend it because it does serve to fill in a lot of the blanks and adds some weight to characters that just seem to come and go with little fanfare. I found the T-Bone and Toreno scenes to be informative because I never really understood their dynamic at first. I'm usually a massive advocate when it comes to The Introduction, but my post was based solely on the game itself and not the video as an addition. Obviously when you take The Introduction into account a lot of things become clear but it's strange that there's still people who haven't seen it. Was it not heavily marketed? I can't remember how I came to see it.

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Terrc87
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#10

Posted 2 weeks ago Edited by Terrc87, 2 weeks ago.

Yeah the development of the characters is kinda dull, let's just see Ryder, I don't see any reason for him to betray GSF, I know he got approached by Big Smoke in The Introduction but that's doesn't mean anything. If you don't watch The Introduction video first before playing the storyline, you don't even know Ryder gonna betray GSF until "The Green Sabre" mission, I mean just look Ryder mission, all of them actually give GSF a benefit unlike Big Smoke mission, all of them is an errand by Tenpenny delivered to Smoke (anyway there's a cut dialog regarding to this, I recommend TTDISA mod, it bring back a cut dialog and other stuff to make the game more clear unlike the vanilla ones) And yeah in "Drive Thru" mission when CJ ask why his mom got killed, Ryder is the one who mention Green Sabre doing the work but Smoke trying to shut his mouth by saying that people like to talk and half of LS talking about it too
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Craig
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#11

Posted 2 weeks ago

One of the bigger issues for me is that CJ doesn't once mention Ryder as a traitor apart from his "little bitch" comments during Photo Opportunity. If he was absent from The Green Sabre and didn't appear again, you'd be forgiven for assuming he was on your side. I won't dwell on it because there's been reams of Ryder topics (and one still active I think) and I don't want to turn this into another one.

 

I did have issues with the countryside segment on the whole, though. I think that's what bothers me the most.

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Am Shaegar
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#12

Posted 2 weeks ago

Yeah the development of the characters is kinda dull, let's just see Ryder, I don't see any reason for him to betray GSF, I know he got approached by Big Smoke in The Introduction but that's doesn't mean anything.

 

Its like watching the movie Usual Suspects before the twist occurs to connect the dots in the movie. You need to start focusing on things to understand exactly what you missed watching it the first time.

 

This is how I felt about SA's story. Its not simple and straight forward as IV's story, because then there won't be any surprise left for the players. Rockstar has left important clues for the players in the form of conversations, including the in-game radio and events during the missions that do not explain explicitly enough for the same reason - to maintain the suspense!

 

You have to playthorugh (and even without watching the Introduction) a couple of times to understand why Ryder and Smoke betrayed the GSF. In fact, many GSF members betrayed the hood, if you have played the Drug courier missions and carefully noticed the guys in the van full of drugs. So, I don't understand why people are so shocked to see Ryder betraying as if he was very loyal to the hood. He actually turned his back on CJ and Sweet when they most needed him, like the mission House Party, or Reuniting the Families.

 

RYDER - Man, it's every mother-f*cker for himself!
SWEET- What took you? Where's Smoke and Ryder?
CJ - They shook on us!
 
Ryder was collecting guns for Tenpenny, not for GSF as it appears the first time when you help Ryder in the beginning of the story. Both Smoke and Ryder were actually helping Tenpenny and Ballas to strengthen their base, before they can finally kill the leader - Sweet, which happens in the mission Green Sabre, before Cesar luckily manages to catch them beforehand based on the rumor he had obtained about the whole set-up.
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Terrc87
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#13

Posted 2 weeks ago Edited by Terrc87, 2 weeks ago.

Yeah the development of the characters is kinda dull, let's just see Ryder, I don't see any reason for him to betray GSF, I know he got approached by Big Smoke in The Introduction but that's doesn't mean anything.

 
Its like watching the movie Usual Suspects before the twist occurs to connect the dots in the movie. You need to start focusing on things to understand exactly what you missed watching it the first time.
 
This is how I felt about SA's story. Its not simple and straight forward as IV's story, because then there won't be any surprise left for the players. Rockstar has left important clues for the players in the form of conversations, including the in-game radio and events during the missions that do not explain explicitly enough for the same reason - to maintain the suspense!
 
You have to playthorugh (and even without watching the Introduction) a couple of times to understand why Ryder and Smoke betrayed the GSF. In fact, many GSF members betrayed the hood, if you have played the Drug courier missions and carefully noticed the guys in the van full of drugs. So, I don't understand why people are so shocked to see Ryder betraying as if he was very loyal to the hood. He actually turned his back on CJ and Sweet when they most needed him, like the mission House Party, or Reuniting the Families.
 
RYDER - Man, it's every mother-f*cker for himself!
SWEET- What took you? Where's Smoke and Ryder?
CJ - They shook on us!
 
Ryder was collecting guns for Tenpenny, not for GSF as it appears the first time when you help Ryder in the beginning of the story. Both Smoke and Ryder were actually helping Tenpenny and Ballas to strengthen their base, before they can finally kill the leader - Sweet, which happens in the mission Green Sabre, before Cesar luckily manages to catch them beforehand based on the rumor he had obtained about the whole set-up.
You got the point, it makes sense now, lmao. I think R* has made it that way, to make the player use the imagination to fill the blank/un-explained plot on the storyline just like example, gta-wikia user, lol.

GTA SA storyline replay values will increase because of this topic, of course

Colonel _Cortez
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#14

Posted 2 weeks ago Edited by Colonel _Cortez, A week ago.

The story of GTA SanAndreas was very wacky and over the top. You start beating up drug dealers and stealing cars and end up breaking into the secret army bases and stealing Jetpacks and Fighter Jets.

But i still love it. It is really fun and gives you the feeling that you actually accomplished somehing.

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Craig
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#15

Posted A week ago

I do think SA was directly responsible for a lot of negativity people harbour towards IV and its storyline. If IV would have come out after III (with the 7 year gap intact) I think the people that dislike the game would be more receptive and fond of it. The contrast from San Andreas to IV is jarring, with the latter taking a more serious approach. I don't agree when people call IV "less fun", as if the omission of certain features somehow detracts from the game. The jetpack and other toys are fun in SA because the tone of the game is so tongue in cheek it's a wonder it has any teeth left. Can you imagine having a jetpack, a hydra in IV? Fun on the surface, but it doesn't fit at all with Niko's skill set and background. It doesn't fit CJ's, but people tend to ignore that because the game's strength isn't exactly the story.

 

Anyway, I digress - would the storyline of San Andreas be better if we didn't have as many fancy toys and vehicles to play with? I'd say probably, but not by much. Some of the more outlandish missions would have to be scrapped or re-written entirely but I don't think it would have ruined the game. People would still enjoy the story because you can't miss what you never had in the first place.

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Am Shaegar
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#16

Posted A week ago

Fun on the surface, but it doesn't fit at all with Niko's skill set and background. It doesn't fit CJ's, but people tend to ignore that because the game's strength isn't exactly the story.

 

It may not fit him, but what about the player?

 

Even GTA's strength as a franchise isn't exactly the story.

 

I cannot understand this obsession with people thinking that storylines are so important for GTA that they start discrediting the "sandbox" freedom and choice available to the players, for the fictional characters, and their backgrounds in game?

 

Just compare the list of fun things to do in IV with SA. It's such a massive difference that its sometimes difficult for me to even imagine GTA IV as a GTA game.

 

Not everything the player does in an open world should be seen as "doesn't fit with CJ" so it doesn't make sense.

 

would the storyline of San Andreas be better if we didn't have as many fancy toys and vehicles to play with? I'd say probably, but not by much. Some of the more outlandish missions would have to be scrapped or re-written entirely but I don't think it would have ruined the game. People would still enjoy the story because you can't miss what you never had in the first place.

What's the connection between having fancy toys/vehicles or outlandish missions and the quality of the story?

Are you saying that a strong story and ridiculous fun cannot co-exist?

 

Why should people discount fun for some "serious" storyline, which is nothing but a rip-off of many hollywood movies, including Mafia 1, are are actually well written and 100x better than GTA IV's attempt?

 

I'm not saying that story isn't as important as gameplay, but the "remove this, remove that" approach will somehow magically turn the story better makes no sense to me.

 

The player needs to learn to segregate the story parts and the sandbox gameplay, which is something not many understand for some reason. I never felt it was wrong and out of character for CJ to do many things that people tend to object because of his background. CJ is just a character that I control outside the story, and so I don't care whether it fits him, or not. 

 

Once the story is over, the fun begins where I control CJ, not Rockstar.


watersgta3
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#17

Posted A week ago

 

Yeah the development of the characters is kinda dull, let's just see Ryder, I don't see any reason for him to betray GSF, I know he got approached by Big Smoke in The Introduction but that's doesn't mean anything.

 

Its like watching the movie Usual Suspects before the twist occurs to connect the dots in the movie. You need to start focusing on things to understand exactly what you missed watching it the first time.

 

This is how I felt about SA's story. Its not simple and straight forward as IV's story, because then there won't be any surprise left for the players. Rockstar has left important clues for the players in the form of conversations, including the in-game radio and events during the missions that do not explain explicitly enough for the same reason - to maintain the suspense!

 

You have to playthorugh (and even without watching the Introduction) a couple of times to understand why Ryder and Smoke betrayed the GSF. In fact, many GSF members betrayed the hood, if you have played the Drug courier missions and carefully noticed the guys in the van full of drugs. So, I don't understand why people are so shocked to see Ryder betraying as if he was very loyal to the hood. He actually turned his back on CJ and Sweet when they most needed him, like the mission House Party, or Reuniting the Families.

 

RYDER - Man, it's every mother-f*cker for himself!
SWEET- What took you? Where's Smoke and Ryder?
CJ - They shook on us!
 
Ryder was collecting guns for Tenpenny, not for GSF as it appears the first time when you help Ryder in the beginning of the story. Both Smoke and Ryder were actually helping Tenpenny and Ballas to strengthen their base, before they can finally kill the leader - Sweet, which happens in the mission Green Sabre, before Cesar luckily manages to catch them beforehand based on the rumor he had obtained about the whole set-up.

 

Ryder's betrayal was just poorly executed. He had no motivation afterwards and seemed more like a minor character after that if anything.

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Misunderstood
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#18

Posted A week ago

Nice to see Ryder getting some love. :3 Rockstar f*cked up by making him betray GSF.

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#19

Posted A week ago

 
Ryder was collecting guns for Tenpenny, not for GSF as it appears the first time when you help Ryder in the beginning of the story. Both Smoke and Ryder were actually helping Tenpenny and Ballas to strengthen their base, before they can finally kill the leader - Sweet, which happens in the mission Green Sabre, before Cesar luckily manages to catch them beforehand based on the rumor he had obtained about the whole set-up.



Actually Ryder DOES give GSF a benefit, according to gta-wikia (maybe someone can confirm this because gta-wikia seems unreliable source), GSF would wields Tec 9 after "Robbing Uncle Sam" mission, and in "Catalyst" mission Ryder seems un-happy about Tenpenny visits, if you said Ryder was collecting artillery for Tenpenny, then why Tenpenny tell all the gang in "south central" which is Ballas and Vagos to cap the gun in train freight? I thought Ballas and Vagos joining alliance with Tenpenny.

lil weasel
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#20

Posted A week ago Edited by lil weasel, A week ago.

What a waste of Time.
It is a GAME, Not a novel.
All the information needed is what to do.
I dislike these modern games, where Sitting through a half hour ob blah blah blah, so as to Know the "background" of a silly character. It reminds me of E.T., do I really need to know what brand Beer the character drinks, Or the wasted half hour at the beginning of The Exorcist
All the whoop-la of Ryder is a Traitor, Big Deal. If the part was essential to the story, fine. Once it is over, be done with it. Ryder is padding, he fluffs out the story. He is NOT important,

I am for Playable Games, with minimal story. Story is glue, to hold the action (Playing) together, that is all.
Creating entire Life Story, backgrounds for every appearance is ridiculous.

Modern Games are too much Movie/animation, and not enough Play.
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Craig
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#21

Posted A week ago

I dislike these modern games, where Sitting through a half hour ob blah blah blah, so as to Know the "background" of a silly character. It reminds me of E.T., do I really need to know what brand Beer the character drinks...

 

What can I say? Some people like to know more. It's just trivia. Having more of what you love isn't a bad thing.

 

It's what causes people to break down Big Smoke's order, or why Ryder betrayed the Grove. It's why there's an entire wiki page dedicated to even the most forgettable of characters, detailing their events prior to the only game they may have appeared in. These hidden details and fabricated backstories do absolutely nothing to serve a plot but they do satisfy the curiosity of a fan. The actual story itself isn't damaged by a lack of these details, of course they're not, but the power of a plot speaks for itself when you get people talking about a character's motivations over 13 years following a game's release.

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Am Shaegar
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#22

Posted A week ago



Actually Ryder DOES give GSF a benefit, according to gta-wikia (maybe someone can confirm this because gta-wikia seems unreliable source), GSF would wields Tec 9 after "Robbing Uncle Sam" mission, and in "Catalyst" mission Ryder seems un-happy about Tenpenny visits, if you said Ryder was collecting artillery for Tenpenny, then why Tenpenny tell all the gang in "south central" which is Ballas and Vagos to cap the gun in train freight? I thought Ballas and Vagos joining alliance with Tenpenny.

 

I think you should get yourself acquainted with Tenpenny's character, and more importantly, how C.R.A.S.H works. If you check the C.R.A.S.H wikia page, it'll offer some hints, including other online sources which cover the background of the 90's gang trouble, drugs and corruption. :-

 

The unit is loosely based on its real-life counterpart and the associated Rampart Division Scandal. Like the LSPD C.R.A.S.H., the LAPD C.R.A.S.H. also carried out actions of police brutality, intimidation and evidence-planting

 

 

 

There's no such thing called "alliance" here. Tenpenny is simply misusing the power of law in setting one gang on another by means of C.R.A.S.H as camouflage for reducing gang violence. It also includes other corrupt operations like drugs trade, murder, extortion, etc. There's no option for Ballas, or Smoke and Ryder left here, due to the corrupt ways of C.R.A.S.H and their operations, and because of which they are going after the Grove Street leader Sweet, and threatens to frame Carl  and kill his brother by using him for his own corrupt means. 

 

Tenpenny is simply trying to maintain a balance of power in LS by using CJ, and any other gang member for that member, without letting any gang have the upper hand.

 

TENPENNY: As an officer in charge of putting an end to gang violence, I find myself in a difficult moral  position, Carl.
CJ: Yeah right.
TENPENNY: Carl, I'm hurt, I truly am. And just as I was about to help those poor Grove Street boys.
CJ: Oh yeah? How?
TENPENNY: I like the status quo, Carl. I like having all you bastards doing my job for me - blowing each other's guts all over the sidewalk.
CJ: Dumb bastards?
TENPENNY: Now, if it's brought to my attention that one tribe gets an unfair advantage over another, that truly troubles me, Carl.
CJ: So what you saying, man?
TENPENNY: I'm saying the Ballas have brains, Carl, they watch the news. I'm saying they're making friends, cutting deals, and tooling up for more than half-assed drive-bys. Lots of cheap guns coming into America since the fall of the wall, Carl.
CJ: Man, cut that bullsh*t, Tenpenny - just say what you mean, man.
TENPENNY: Go check out a bust freight warehouse down the docklands and you'll see what I mean, Carl.
CJ: Yeah, OK.
PULASKI:Y'all take care, now!
CJ: For surre
 
The game does a good job in giving enough context and explanation behind all the events taking place, and characters. Having some basic info about the 90's gang cultre, and other stuff would also help in understanding the whole background since GTA SA is based on many real life instances. 
Believe it or not, but GTA SA story is quite original in many ways than hollywood rip-offs VC and IV's story.
 
Oh, and please don't bring Ryder into everything. He's a rat and a coward who knows nothing about loyalty. If people want to distort his character and make him something "they want him to be" unlike what Rockstar has written his character with a very specific role in the story, then kindly exclude me from such a discussion.

SoulSux
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#23

Posted A week ago

What a waste of Time.
It is a GAME, Not a novel.
All the information needed is what to do.
I dislike these modern games, where Sitting through a half hour ob blah blah blah, so as to Know the "background" of a silly character. It reminds me of E.T., do I really need to know what brand Beer the character drinks, Or the wasted half hour at the beginning of The Exorcist
All the whoop-la of Ryder is a Traitor, Big Deal. If the part was essential to the story, fine. Once it is over, be done with it. Ryder is padding, he fluffs out the story. He is NOT important,

I am for Playable Games, with minimal story. Story is glue, to hold the action (Playing) together, that is all.
Creating entire Life Story, backgrounds for every appearance is ridiculous.

Modern Games are too much Movie/animation, and not enough Play.

 

Well, what can I say. Some people love just shooting up and destroying everything, other people really do genuinely enjoy seeing a story fold right before their own eyes.

 

But again, we share two different perspectives. I think it's still impressive that we're still talking about a lot of these characters more than 10 years on and it shows how much of a mark GTA San Andreas left on our childhoods. It's part of being a fan; people often revisit the game and come up with wacky theories, which further adds to the discussion. It's kind of like how people still have theories about say, Catcher in the Rye for example. There's something that keeps bringing us back.


ViceOfLiberty
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#24

Posted A week ago

Not everything needs to be explained in detail. CJ grew up on Grove St. It's not uncommon for young ethnic boys in innercity neighborhoods to become involved in gangs. His family and friends were all repping the Grove so he was too. It's pretty obvious he left because he was shamed about his brother's death and felt like he couldn't stay. Tenpenny is just a dickhead crooked cop... the origin of his crookidness is pointless to explain, it doesn't matter. Part of good writing is that you don't draw out the story with pointless information.

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JB1982
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#25

Posted A week ago Edited by JB1982, A week ago.

The thing about context is that it's not always needed for everything.

 

You mention CJ's background vs Niko's background and that we know more about Niko than we do about CJ. I agree on that but I think there's a big difference between these characters and their stories. You need the context with Niko, you need that backstory, in order to understand what drives him and motivates him because that is such an important part of his character and the plot for GTA IV. We have to know why he has come to Liberty City and we have to understand why he is doing what he does, why he is looking for that special someone. Those details are required context. Details about Niko's life growing up aren't important. They add something to his character, flesh him out some more, and help us understand him better but they aren't necessary. They are filler details that add to the richness of the game.

 

With CJ we don't need to know why he was a member of the GSF. That is not important to the game or adds context to his drive and motivation. Learning those details would simply add some of those filler details I mentioned. This is because at the start of San Andreas CJ is no longer GSF, he has left that behind. Now how and why he did that is needed for context (and to be honest I thought it was explained that it was Brian's death) because we need to understand why he is treated as he is by the likes of Sweet upon his return. Likewise we don't need to know what his relationship was like with his mother because him coming home for her funeral is enough context. It shows he cared for her and wanted to pay his respects. Hearing CJ say how wonderful she was or reminiscing would be filler stuff. What context we need with his Mom is the events of her death because that is what brings CJ home and also plays a pivitol part in the story later on. Again, we don't need to to understand why CJ was close friends with Big Smoke and Ryder because something like that can be displayed via actions. And I believe it was. Hearing background on their friendship would, again, be filler. Things like that can add something to a game but it's not necessary for the game to be a success and shouldn't be considered as a flaw.

 

It's a similar case with Tenpenny. Do we need to know why he joined the LSPD and how he turned corrupt or is the fact that he is a corrupt cop and his actions in the game enough to understand what drives and motivates him? Again, I agree that we know more about Francis McReary from IV but I'll be honest and say that I think Tenpenny is a miles better character (in the case of CJ vs Niko I would pick Niko all day long BTW).

 

Some of the other stuff you poke holes at seems a bit nitpicky if you ask me. You answer the BS question but say it was never really explored. Did it need to be? I agree Ryder could have been done better. But Cesar and Kendl? Why would we need to know why they are dating? Why do we need to know why the gangs are at war? I personally don't see these elements as holes in the storyline or game. They could make the game richer if included but they aren't needed for context.

 

Questioning the history of the state of San Andreas is, again, nitpicky and your reasoning seems somewhat flawed to me I am afraid. You say that it's easy to gauge the environment only within the storyline but then cite character/context clues as a pro for Liberty City in IV. That would be characters and context revealed during the storyline right? I can't comment on the documentary as I didn't know that even existed until reading this topic! But I would ask what that brings to the game other than richness? Is it a necessary component? I have been playing GTA IV since 2010 and I love Liberty City. It feels alive and vibrant without the need for a documentary. I honestly have never questioned the need to know how the city came to be and how it works. The fact that it does is enough. And I feel the same about the state of San Andreas.

 

I certainly feel that you have been too hard on the game. I think the game's scope had all the details necessary. And it has never felt inadequate to me. Sure, it has flaws but the same could be said for IV. And I rank IV higher than San Andreas.

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watersgta3
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#26

Posted A week ago

What a waste of Time.
It is a GAME, Not a novel.
All the information needed is what to do.
I dislike these modern games, where Sitting through a half hour ob blah blah blah, so as to Know the "background" of a silly character. It reminds me of E.T., do I really need to know what brand Beer the character drinks, Or the wasted half hour at the beginning of The Exorcist
All the whoop-la of Ryder is a Traitor, Big Deal. If the part was essential to the story, fine. Once it is over, be done with it. Ryder is padding, he fluffs out the story. He is NOT important,

I am for Playable Games, with minimal story. Story is glue, to hold the action (Playing) together, that is all.
Creating entire Life Story, backgrounds for every appearance is ridiculous.

Modern Games are too much Movie/animation, and not enough Play.

No offense man, but I find your comment here pretty hypocritical when in the past, your comments consisted on things that you took VERY seriously (such as CJ's age and juxtaposing certain characters with people in real life). So who's to say we're not allowed to point out any flaws in a video game's storyline?


Official General
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#27

Posted A week ago Edited by Official General, A week ago.

@ Soulsux

 

After having a thorough read of your post, I have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a huge rant and rash of over-exaggerated complaints about SA's story/main characters. I really don't see what extra details and depth you are looking for within SA's story and it's main characters. Like somebody said earlier, it's not a bestselling novel, its a video game, and it certainly was not supposed to some Oscar-winning screenplay either. Sometimes, you don't need to know every intricate detail and background of everything within a game's story. Yes, the story in GTA is a very important component in what makes it very enjoyable and immersive, but the core essence of GTA is it's gameplay, so there is no essential need for any heavy emphasis and in-depth detail applied to the game's story/characters - it has to fit in with the main theme, and it just has to be good enough to keep the player interested and engrossed enough to want to finish the SP campaign, it's that simple - it's not something that needs to be over-analysed and critiqued in pages-long essays and reviews. And the III-era GTAs were made at a time when the storylines in game's were still very much simplistic in structure and substance - you certainly cannot fairly compare them to the more detailed, in-depth, movie-like stories seen in video games of the HD generation. For what they were, the III-era GTAs (SA included) produced storylines that were very memorable, interesting, and fun to play through, which is very high praise considering the very simple, straightforward nature of their writing and structure. 

 

*  What did you not understand about CJ's background ?? He is a young African-American adult male from the poor black ghettos of Los Santos that are rife with gangs, shootings, street crime, drugs, prostitution etc, just like the real life LA black ghettos that the game version was based upon. What inspired him to join a gang needs no further explanation. Young black males living in such harsh and unforgiving inner-city surroundings often become a product of their environment, meaning that almost by default, they are very prone to engaging in gang activity, drug dealing, and other forms of urban criminality. The fact that you still needed an explanation of this is very concerning. 

 

* Why is Officer Tenpenny so corrupt ? Why is the sky blue ? What a silly question, sorry but it is. The same reason why some cops are corrupt in real life, DURH. He's corrupt simply because he wants to be and gets some kind of benefit out of it, be it the money, power, respect, fear, etc, whatever. Jeez, you also needed to question that too ? Wow lol. The corrupt cop angle in SA is obviously closely based on the real-life scandals of corrupt cop activity that plagued the LAPD in the 1990s - you mean to tell me you couldn't even work that out ? 

 

* Big Smoke is a gang member involved in illegal activities for money and profit. He's greedy and craves money, power and respect, very typical of the category of criminal he fits into. That alone tells you why he betrayed GSF, because the leader Sweet did not have the same vision and ambitions he harboured for greater success in their own brand of criminality - the narrative and dialogue expressed throughout the story demonstrates this clearly. That is perfectly plain to see, come on don't be silly, surely you understood that. 

 

* LS in the 1990s was portrayed as how the real life version LA was in the 1990s - it was a time when gang violence and street crime was at its most extreme at very high levels. What else were you expecting to see in LS ? 

 

* Every story in gaming or any kind of entertainment media can have holes to picked, what makes SA anything special or so significant ? You can pick holes in anything if you choose to, but in this case, I feel these holes you're picking have no rationale behind them. 

 

You certainly have been hard on the game, and definitely not in a very clever way, that is for sure. SA's story is not the best of the III-eras, but it certainly was very memorable and entertaining enough, and it should be enjoyed for what it is. Not unnecessarily over-analysed and magnified a 100 times over in the manner of an in-depth review of a novel or movie, when it is only a video game. 

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Official General
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#28

Posted A week ago Edited by Official General, A week ago.

Oh and if you want more information on the background to the SA story, watch The Introduction bonus video, it will really give you a better understand of it. 





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