First impression from me as I've been playing GTA since #3 and loved every one of them with GTA:VC being the best once you turned off all those silly graphic effects that made everything blurry for now good reason. I have only played about 4 hours today as I just got back from a two week vacation overseas. Funny thing was seeing GTA ads on metro stations in Germany, Russia and Stockholm. Truly a worldwide launch
WOW WOW and WOW. Graphics wise this game looks like its running on PS3.5 or a beta PS4 - it looks SO much better then previous game its not even funny.
The animations and transitions from cut scene to live action is flawless (so far), even the way you switch between characters has a smooth feel to it.
I downloaded the manual to my iPad mini and the level of detail on the map is stupid crazy. I just wish you could add way points or notes inside the app, that would be awesome.
The cars handle much better, no more overly bouncy. Headlights look great at night.
Radio stations are a massive improvement.
The cover system seems better as I've only gotten "stuck" or on the wrong side of an object a few times. This happened way too often in the last game to the point where I just gave up on using cover.
The motion capture is really good, the characters move and perform actions very smooth and realistically. For example while trying to open doors they lean (or put their weight) into the effort. Niko would just push on a door and it opened as if made from cardboard.
Some details are nuts, for example the dome light and dash lights on the cars actually WORK! If you let a character sit still for awhile they start starring at girls that walk by as if checking them out, its pretty funny. The map switches to interior floor plan and the normal map has a 3D-ish look to it that is more modern.
You have a dog and it makes a mess in the backyard... 'nuf said.
The lighting effects are excellent, especially the fast-forward sun motion you get when a mission starts at a certain time.
Aiming seems "off", not sure it its because I haven't upgraded my characters stats enough yet or what, but the lock-on ain't really working for me, feels a little too FPS / dual stick shooter, I like the the ability to auto-lock and flip thru multiple baddies in a fire-fight.
Its HARD. I died in the first mission THREE times. I think I've only done one mission where I didn't die. The game starts out fast furious and by only the 3rd or 4th mission you've got 3 stars and chopper on your azz.
The phone looks real now, but the text still way too small. Why does R* think we need to read txt and emails on a little screen displayed on another little screen?
Overall this is must own game, the guys at Rockstar have proven they still have it. I know most people (myself included) were a bit bummed about Niko being stuck in NYC but GTA:5 recaptures the mojo from the GTA:SA... it feels like a continuation of that game but more polished and flowing, thus a very fitting swan song for the PS3.