Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the 5th installment of the GTA series. It uses the GTA III graphics engine but runs much smoother than GTA III.
The premise of all the GTA games is that the player is some no-name freelancer who climbs up the criminal ladder by working for mob bosses that reside in parts of a city. GTA:SA is based upon Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
The player plays as Carl Johnson, who just came back from Liberty City (Locale of GTA III) to see what is going on in his hometown. Upon arriving he meets a couple of corrupt cops, who take his money and leave him in an enemy gang's turf. It is CJ's job to win back the city for his gang and to eliminate the corrupt officials in the city's ranks.
The gameplay is not too linear. Everything else about the game is non-linear. When embarking on missions, the player is given a destination or target to reach, and that composes the majority of missions. Some missions have an interesting twist, such as stealing a semi and hitching on a tank of gas to the back of the truck and stealing a whole truck worth of gasoline.
The main con about this game is the load factor. If the player is traveling at a really fast rate, in a nice sports car, sometimes the player will crash into what seems to be nothing but will turn into a fence once the PS2 is given the time to load that image onto the TV.
Besides the load factor, this game is full of entertainment. The player can tune up cars, own businesses, wage gang wars and even fly government-only planes. This game is definitely worth your time.