In case you haven’t paid your internet bill lately, the world has engrossed itself in the virtual landscape of San Andreas since the launch of Grand Theft Auto V. As college classes are cut, sick days are called and free time is eaten up, we’re here to give a leg up to everyone, whether you’re just taking the game home or already wrapping up your marathon of gameplay.
The Double Disc
GTAV comes on two discs. One is the install disc (that requires 8GB on your 360’s hard drive) and the other is the game disc that needs to be in the slot in order to make GTAV work. In the past, installing any and all discs for a game would usually make it go faster and play smoother. Not so here. Rockstar has explicitly given instructions to not install the game disc, because it will cause textures to drop out and downgrade the overall look of the game. Let’s be honest, the game is trippy enough at parts, it doesn’t need missing textures to make it more so. (Note, if the game is NOT trippy enough for you, go visit the dude in Los Santos who’s working for marijuana legalization. He’ll sort you out.)
The iPhone App
The cell phones that each character carries in GTAV isn’t just a stab at realism, it’s a useful means of getting shit done, like calling cabs or browsing the in-game version of the internet. (No Maxim.com in there, sadly. We looked.) But the iFruit isn’t just for Franklin, Trevor, and Michael. If you point your iPhone’s browser here you can download Rockstar’s companion iFruit app for the game, which will give you access to your Rockstar Social Club account, Los Santos Customs options for customizing your cars, and a somewhat annoying amount of access to Chop, the neediest dog in all of video games. Up side? Cousin Roman will NOT be calling you to go bowling.
Cooking meth just isn’t as much fun without having a biker gang as your clientele and distribution network. GTAIV’s The Lost motorcycle gang seems to have a San Andreas chapter that’s alive and well (or they would be, if they didn’t piss off a certain maniac named Trevor). You’ll actually encounter The Lost fairly early on in the game but that didn’t stop us from squeeing with delight over being on the inside of this reference.
The Highest End (Cars)
We were very excited to see our favorite (and arguably the best) car from GTAIV make a comeback in V, and immediately stole the first Porsche-doppelganger “Comet” to park it neatly in our garage. What we didn’t know is that in GTAV, just like in real life, a Porsche is not the best car you can own. Yup, there is now an even higher echelon of cars that you can use to tear up the streets of San Andreas. We’d highly recommend poking around Vinewood (maybe a few blocks south of Michael’s digs) if you’ve always wanted to drive a Bugatti Veyron but don’t want to do the time in lockup that comes with stealing one in real life.
In many ways, San Andreas has changed in the almost ten years since we were last here. But some things never change, like the streets we used to know. Still littered with wannabe gangsters and hood rats, Grove Street may have fallen on hard times, but good ol’ CJ’s house (and its unforgettable fence/driveway combo) are still intact, just as we remember. If you can remember how to get there, Grove Street is waiting for you.
GTAV has a wider range of radio stations than we’ve ever seen from the franchise, putting the stations in both New York City and LA to shame. We dig grooving to the massive playlist included in the game while driving around, but you can’t disregard the talk radio stations or the news bulletins that are peppered in. You can marvel at the news reports about crimes you just personally committed, but the radio is also a terrific resource for culling stock tips, clues to hidden items, and general information about lots of activities worth exploring all over San Andreas.
The Special Edition Map
Not everyone splurged on the Special Edition of the game and, of all the people who did, not many of them had the vision to grab a blacklight and see if Rockstar had hidden something on it. However, someone did do both of those things, and was good enough to post pictures of it on the internet. Not only are there hidden instructions about a deal with Trevor Philips Enterprises, there’s a plain-as-day reference to one of the biggest mysteries in the game. We’ll leave it to you to find that one though.
The craze that swept the internet when Rockstar released their first gameplay trailer wasn’t about cars or guns or the characters; it was about a shed. People dissected the video frame by frame only to find a mysterious building on top of the game’s tallest mountain. Only, the shed isn’t a shed at all, but a terminal for a gondola that brings people up the mountain. Seems like a letdown until you realize that Rockstar isn’t in the business of letting people down. Not only is there an instruction under the lip of the building that tells you to come back once you’ve finished the game (presumably the campaign) but there’s also a map on the wall inside of the building that depicts three tempting prizes buried in the mountain. You might even be familiar with one if you played GTA: San Andreas…
The Stock Market
The Liberty City National Exchange Index – GTAV’s very own stock exchange – is an easy way to cash in on the dirty deeds you do. It’s accessible from all three characters’ cell phones and you can transact at any time. Early in the game, simply walking around or listening to the radio will give you some decent stock tips. If you hear one, chances are it’s gonna pay off, so throw your money in immediately and don’t forget to cash out your profits once you get that paper. Later, once Lester is giving you missions, make sure you’re listening carefully. He’ll not only be sending you out to off a CEO or murder jurors, he’ll be telling you what company is gonna profit from your mayhem. When the real financial world is full of criminals, it’s only right that GTA lets you get in on it too.
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