Carl Johnson from GTA San Andreas is undoubtedly one of the best protagonists of the whole series.
But is he the best of all?
The internet is full of discussions about Carl Johnson and why he is unanimously recognized as the most influential character not only in GTA San Andreas, but in the entire GTA series.
Here we return to GTA San Andreas and analyze one of the most beloved characters of the series with a new perspective.
Note: This article reflects the views of the author
Why is CJ the best character in GTA San Andreas? A look at his past
“Dude, what has the hood done for me? Always dragging me down. Ever since I got out of the hood, shit cracks! It’s everyone’s dream to get out of the hood…”
Carl Johnson is the second in command of The Grove Street Families, a Los Santos-based street gang led by his older brother Sean Sweet Johnson.
CJ was exiled from the gang after the death of his brother, Brian Johnson. Brian’s cause of death was not revealed in GTA San Andreas, but according to Sweet, Carl “left Brian to die”. Maybe CJ could have saved his brother, but life isn’t fair and Sweet, in her indignation, ends up losing not one but two brothers.
After his exile, CJ moved to Liberty City and befriended Joey Leone. Both held minor jobs, mostly auto theft.
Later, when CJ returns to San Andreas to attend her father’s funeral, Sweet decides to let go of the past and rejuvenate her old gang with the help of CJ.
And that’s how CJ finds his life.
While every playable character in the GTA series has always had a deep story, no one has a better story than CJ.
While he can’t be called out due to his circumstances (let’s face it: he’s a fool at heart), players can certainly empathize with him on some level.
CJ from GTA San Andreas is he really the best character in the series
The simple answer is yes. Of course, Michael has his frequent reflections on life and Trevor has his adult tantrums that always result in someone’s tragic death, but no other character on the show is as human as CJ.
GTA San Andreas wasn’t about budding criminals. He was about a downcast prodigy who, after countless struggles, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns to earn his place in the underworld, which is, of course, his place.
The story of GTA San Andreas also helped to make CJ’s character stand out and make him endearing to audiences. Unlike many Grand Theft Auto characters, CJ didn’t put everything on a plate. Her life was not always easy and her support system was not perfect. Despite all of this, CJ has managed to be a great leader and an even greater friend. He was loyal to his friends and, unlike Big Smoke, wouldn’t have betrayed them for the world.
Additionally, CJ was the first character in GTA who could swim and wear different clothes. Players could also play with his body shape and give him as much muscle as they want.
Overall, CJ was a great character with an extensive character experience that made him feel real and allowed fans to connect with him on a personal level.
So, is CJ from GTA San Andreas the best character in GTA? Perhaps. Maybe not. Is he the best protagonist in GTA? Some might say yes, others might claim otherwise, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s the most talked about playable character of all time. GTA San Andreas was timeless in many ways, but the inclusion of a character as diverse as CJ was perhaps what made the game so popular among fans.