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?
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.
The Witch Watch
My first REAL published book, about a guy who comes back from the dead due to a misunderstanding.
A screencap comic that poked fun at videogames and the industry. The comic has ended, but there's plenty of archives for you to binge on.
Silent Hill Origins
Here is a long look at a game that tries to live up to a big legacy and fails hilariously.
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.