That's all well and good, but how is the game play? Do the controls still suck? Does the blur effect still look like someone vomited all over the screen? Does your cousin still phone you up every five minutes to play darts? Are girlfriends just as a bad idea as they were when they were introduced to the series?
There actually are quite a lot of little improvements to everything you mentioned, and more. Unlike GTAIV, they through you directly into sh*t. There are no long peaceful tutorial stages to start out with. I can imagine it being very difficult for people who have not spent a lot of time playing GTAIV-- although it is also very forgiving if you do **** up, with checkpoints throughout each mission you can start at if you die or fail for some reason. You also have the ability to replay missions whenever you feel like it to try and get a better rating or just show your wife all the awesome parts she missed while you were up until 5am and she was sleeping.
Walking and running is definitely a lot less cumbersome than in IV, and so is driving. There are no more "friends" calling you constantly to do boring things you don't want to do. When people do call, it is to initiate a story related mission, otherwise they might send you a text message or email you can read on your phone when you feel like it. You can do pretty much everything on your phone from the beginning. No more Internet Cafe.
As for girlfriends, I haven't gotten any yet so I'm not too sure there are any... unless you include taking a stripper home with you to @#%^ them, and saving their number for later. <.<
There also seems to be an infinite amount of side jobs and things you can do in the city. The other day I had a mission out near the beach that involved combat on jetskiis. There's a part where you dive off a large wooden pier and into the most beautiful and realistic game water I've ever seen. I could go on about the ocean water for hours maybe... It is dark and murky near the shore where sand is kicked up by the waves. Go out a bit deeper and it becomes more clear, where you might find some very interesting coral reefs and wildlife. On the surface, the water looks and moves exactly as if I were at a real beach. I can't quite explain it. At one point I decided to swim out to a sailboat I saw on the horizon, and felt genially horrified after diving below to find I could not see the ground below the water, something I once experienced in real life after being pulled out by what I assume was a rip current... I had to remind myself it was just a game and that made it all the more fun. Fortunately your character won't drown so long as you keep your head above the water, despite the fact that it can throw you around a bit. Once I made it to the boat I found there was no one on board I'd have to kill. I fired up the engine and proceeded to see how far out I could go before hitting the invisible wall. It looked like the end of the Trueman Show, only I got bored after about an hour of sailing straight in one direction of endless ocean and turned back. I even checked the map and noticed I had exceeded the limit imposed by the map cursor. After a while of being out at sea, I started to notice an occasional red dot on my radar... yeah... those are sharks. I sh*t you not. They will come after you even when you're on a boat, or try to. I shot one in the face and it went down pretty easily though, just like the mountain lion I found in the wilderness...
Grand Theft Auto Online doesn't come out until October first, and honestly I can't wait to try it. It costs nothing extra but will undoubtedly have some FTP cash shop micro-transactions involved to unlock hairstyles and such I'd imagine. Edited, Sep 20th 2013 4:35am by Kuwoobie
One other thing. Weapons. There are tons of them, and you can customize them with all sorts of nifty accessories like extended clips, scopes and flashlights. grips, silencers that look ridiculous on certain weapons like shotguns. There is also a great deal of bare space on the wall for when I assume they will add more weapons in the future. Edited, Sep 20th 2013 4:41am by Kuwoobie