| I recently played GTA: San Andreas to get ready for GTAIV.|
What really amazed me about this game is the sheer size and scope of everything. GTAIII blew everyone away with one city. This game is three cities just as large, all put into one enormous state. The state is called San Andreas, and there are three cities: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, which mock the state of California and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, respectively (even though Vegas is clearly not in California, but hell, its close).
The space between the cities and what you can do in them is mind-blowing. The state of San Andreas is a huge one, and there are many different environments. North of San Fierro there lies a sprawling oceanside community that is quiet and peaceful. To the West of Las Venturas there exists a huge sprawling desert that is nothing but badlands with trailer parks. And to the northwest of Los Santos and South of San Fierro, there is a huge mountain range with towering peaks.
Missions you can do in these outside environments can lead to many things. There are bike rally races on the huge mountain. There are also bank robbery missions that have you knocking off the joints in small towns across the map. In the desert, you can learn how to fly a plane and chopper after you acquire it.
It will make me sad to see this type of environment absent from GTAIV. But GTAIV is only the beginning. There will be other games released under the GTAIV moniker (just as Vice City and San Andreas were released under III) and then the good times will REALLY start to roll.
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