What’s New in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition

What’s New in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto is an immensely popular game franchise, which spans more than two decades. The company has released a host of games throughout the series, and each of them adds something new to the universe. Currently, Grand Theft Auto V is the king of the hill and has been so for a long time. However, there have been many amazing Grand Theft Auto games before the latest and, arguably, greatest GTA

Fans of the series should take a look at some of the prior games, especially if they’ve grown a bit bored with the current offering. However, Playing an old title from years past can be troublesome and discouraging in various ways. While enjoying the story and the world in a new way is tempting, not a lot of people want to experience a gap in gameplay. Thankfully, Rockstar announced a remastered set of games in 2021. The official name of the package is Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, and it features three games. Included are the remastered versions of the following games: Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Here in this article we’ll take a look at what new the Definitive Edition has to offer in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Better Controls

One of the most welcome updates in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition is the revamped control setup. The game now sports controls similar to those in Grand Theft Auto V, which are more intuitive and modern compared to the original scheme. This change significantly improves the gunplay and targeting, making combat feel more fluid and responsive. Drive-by controls in San Andreas have also received enhancements, which adds another layer of refinement to the game’s beloved action sequences.

Navigating through the game is easier as well, thanks to updated mini-maps with enhanced waypoint setting features. The selection wheels for weapons and radio stations have also been refreshed. It allows the player much more easy access to the controls on the fly. Nintendo Switch players get the added bonus of gyro aiming, further enhancing the game’s controls on Nintendo’s platform. Great controls have always been important to GTA releases and this one is no different.

Improved Graphics

GTA: San Andreas Grand Theft Auto

The visual facelift in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition is hard to overlook. Across all versions, the game boasts higher-resolution textures and increased draw distances, allowing more depth and clarity in the environments. Improvements in lighting and weather effects are also included, which adds to the immersive experience. Whether it is rain or sunshine, San Andreas looks more authentic than ever.

In terms of the new high-resolution textures, everything from familiar characters to weapons and from San Andreas’ iconic vehicles to roads has been revamped. Alongside this, a completely rebuilt lighting system includes enhanced shadows and reflections. In addition to the impressive new textures and lighting effects, Rockstar has changed even details in trees and foliage. With these graphical improvements, the game not only looks better but feels more alive. Ultimately, Rockstar’s aim has always been to make GTA‘s environments both realistic and authentic.

While enhancing the visual aspects, Rockstar has been mindful of the game’s classic vibe. None of the enhancements are overdone. This ensures that while you get to enjoy the sharper images and more vivid environments, you’ll still know that you are in San Andreas.

Other Features

CJ with a spray bottle in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas The Definitive Edition.

©A screenshot for Grand Theft Auto San Andreas The Definitive Edition. – Original

There are also other nice new features that make playing the game much more fun. Perhaps the most important one of them all is the new instant replay feature. This allows players to restart missions immediately without having to wait long periods to get into the action. This makes a huge difference in the flow of the game although it is a relatively minute detail.

Another significant update that is significant is the updated navigation system. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition, players can now use the GPS in the HUD. While there were simple map options in San Andreas, the remastered version allows waypoints and the creation of routes.

There’s also a small change to the gym minigames. The game’s protagonist CJ can now lift weights with just one button with the new and simplified user interface. This, however, has apparently also introduced a bug where he can lift the heaviest weight without training. 

Platform Specific Updates

The Trilogy is available for a host of platforms, which means that a lot of improvements in terms of platform specifics are on the table. In terms of PC performance, players can expect things like Nvidia DLSS supported by modern GPUs. This graphics technology, Deep Learning Super Sampling, uses artificial intelligence in order to upscale the image better. It is especially useful in remastered titles like the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Definitive Edition

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X gamers are expected to get a big boost too. The Definitive Edition supports now 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. This makes the game much more detailed while still running at a solid framerate. Those with Nintendo Switch aren’t left completely in the dark either. The new version enabled touch screen camera zooming, panning, and menu selections. As mentioned earlier, gyro aiming support has also been added.

What’s Missing?

Drive by shooting in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas The Definitive Edition.

The Definitive Editions for The Trilogy are certainly in many ways much superior to the original releases. This is definitely the case in terms of regular gameplay and graphical fidelity. However, there are some things missing, as well. These omissions are not necessarily always a bad thing, you’ll ultimately be the one that decides which features are best left behind.

The targeting reticle in the original game showed the enemy’s health with colors. Green for healthy, orange for damaged, and red for near death. Now, though, this has been removed and only a white outline on the targeted character is shown. Another feature missing in The Definitive Edition is multiplayer. The original game had a local co-op multiplayer feature where two players could combine their forces. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist in the new version.

While detail has improved in the new version, some details have vanished. Cars no longer show dirt on them, which is rather odd considering the other visual improvements. The same goes for the orange haze that Los Santos is known for in the evening. This atmospheric effect is no longer visible in The Definitive Edition, for whatever reason. There are also some individual changes in textures, signs, and properties.

The amount of NPCs and cars on the streets has also been reduced, perhaps to allow better performance in 4K. Also, special animations from some vehicles and select characters have been removed. This includes Old Reece, who has a barber shop by the name of Reece’s Hair & Facial Studio in San Andreas. In The Definitive Edition, he is replaced with a generic NPC. Speaking of barbers, the new version also has removed some of the haircut options. In terms of gameplay, players no longer lose their weapons when they die and respawn. 


There’s a lot to love about The Definitive Edition of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Experiencing a classic from nearly 20 years ago with newly added 4K graphics is an amazing treat. This with the introduction of more modern control schemes, new textures, and platform-specific updates makes it a great buy. Not to mention simply the time saved by the new instant replay feature, which allows players to restart a failed mission from a checkpoint. However, it is unfortunate that in the process of remastering the game, some features and details have been altered or gone missing altogether.

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