I've never had any problem with the storylines, either. Sure, they're about stealing, killing, extorting and whatnot, but if they weren't it wouldn't be called Grand Theft Auto. I find it quite refreshing to play as a “good guy” who isn't actually all that good.
I do agree, however, that it'd be nice to have some sort of “sandbox mode” as has been suggested, where it acts as if you've effectively finished the game already – be that through a cheat or some menu option, it'd be fun. I know that that's what gives GTA games their replay value for me.
So what we have here are different groups of players, some of whom think the game is infuriatingly hard and other players who find it to be a little too easy. Part of this has to do with the frustration threshhold of the player. When playing a videogame, do they think:
That game is easy. I only died every once in a while. Maybe a couple of times a level.
This game is frustrating. I died twice on just about every level.
Some players (like me) see death / failure as something that should only happen if you are careless. Other players see death or failure as inevitable part of the game. Beyond that, different players have different expectations for the penalty they expect to endure for failure. Some players are comfortable with replaying the last five minutes. Others resent the setback and would rather simply retry the game from the point just preceding their failure. (See also Jay’s post on saving the game, which outlines the fiendish details of this problem that game developers face when letting the player save the game or otherwise negate or minimize failure.)
So, to various readers of both stripes: How many times do you have to fail a mission before you think, “This is too hard”, or you feel that your time is being wasted?
The Loot Lottery
What makes the gameplay of Borderlands so addictive for some, and what does that have to do with slot machines?
The Best of 2012
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2012.
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.
Zenimax vs. Facebook
This series explores the troubled history of VR and the strange lawsuit between Zenimax publishing and Facebook.
A video discussing Megatexture technology. Why we needed it, what it was supposed to do, and why it maybe didn't totally work.