GTA San Andreas | Modding The Best Game Ever
I’m a tolerant man. Insult me, and I’ll ignore it; or cry when nobody’s looking, strike me and I’ll turn the other cheek, conspire against me, and I will not even bat an eye. But declare yourself a gamer in my presence just because you once played Ludo King on your dad’s iPad and sort of liked it, and I will smite you with every fibre in my being. As someone who spent a good deal of my childhood playing video games instead of accruing friends, developing a marketable skillset, or making my parents proud, they’re something I take very seriously. And perhaps the video game I hold in reverence above all else, is GTA San Andreas.
But this isn’t a review of GTA San Andreas or how I hold it responsible for destroying my pre-pubescent brain with its cynicism and liberal attitude towards massacring hookers. To rate a game I hold in such regard would be sinful; that would be like me asking you to review your grandma. Instead, this is an analysis of a mod called Copland that was developed in 2006 and brings some much needed vitality to an otherwise perfect work of art.
The mod significantly enhances the textures of the base game, particularly the streets and waterways. The clunky and uninspired vector map of San Andreas is replaced with a sleek and gorgeous satellite map, which in my opinion, looks substantially more refined than even the ones in GTA IV and GTA V. The sky textures, rather unfortunately, remain unchanged, so you’ll still spend a good part of your play through looking at a glitchy, flickering background that’ll break any possible immersion that this game from 2004 could still make you feel. It also significantly expands the playable areas of the game, adding an entire island, a massive building in the heart of downtown Los Santos, and perhaps most unusual of all, a theme park on the summit of Mount Chillad. These seem pretty cool at first glance, but since they don’t really serve any functional role within the game, they’re really just a gimmick more than anything. What not a gimmick however, is the modifications that Copland makes to the weapons and NPCs.
Some of the more iconic instruments of dishing out pain have had their bland, low-res textures replaced to look far more menacing, and that’s something I can appreciate, especially the gorgeous gold plating added to the Desert Eagle. What I don’t like, is how the mod swaps your rival gangs, the legendary Ballas and Vagos for “the cops” which makes certain missions really frustrating because you’ve no idea who’s an enemy gang member and who’s a police officer. The motorcycle cops can now shoot you from their vehicles, which I think really raises the stakes of low level chases, although the presence of certain types of NPCs in places the base game never put them, like women in gowns in the middle of the desert, is just a strange addition on the part of the mod’s creators. Women in bikinis in the middle of the desert however, are welcome.
Everything I mentioned earlier seems almost trivial when compared to perhaps Copland’s ultimate achievement, the incredible vehicle mods. Gone are the bland, low resolution, planes, helicopters, and boats of the base game, many of which are replaced with insanely detailed real-world vehicles like Porches, Mercedes, BMWs, Ferraris, Boeing 747s, Chinooks, Rolls Royces, Corsairs, Hummers, and F1- Racecars. Hell, they even replaced the boring Dinghy boat with a functional submersible, although the controls are a bit unintuitive to put it mildly. The mods to the Rhino, Hydra, and Hunter are sadly subpar, but the Rustler, AT-400, Leviathan, and Sandking look phenomenal. Many of the vehicles even have their base stats modified to reflect their real-world speed, though this does come at the cost of their handling. The PCJ-600 motorcycle takes off like a rocket, but it also handles like one, and will kill you instantly if you ever crash. Overall, as much as I enjoy the vanilla GTA San Andreas vehicles, Copland perfects them to a great degree.
GTA San Andreas Copland is definitely worth try. Sure the mod may corrupt your old save files, compromise your computer’s security, and cause the game to crash every half hour, or just after you complete a mission but before you can save your progress; but it’s worth every frustrating minute. To install Copland, all you need to do is download it, extract the files, and paste them wherever your legally purchased copy of GTA San Andreas is saved on your computer. I would rate this mod 7 out 10 for just how exciting it makes the base game, despite the numerous, mildly infuriating technical issues and bugs you’ll have to contend with just to play a single mission.
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