#7 - The canon has been erased
Speaking of Tommy, CJ and the gang, wouldn't it be cool to visit those guys again in all their next-gen glory? Or at least pop them in a quick cameo, so we know what they're up to in 2008? Or at least allow them to walk by in the background somewhere? Or at least leave a voicemail? Or at least be alive? Or at least still exist? Apparently, no, that would not be cool. Sigh...
Why it doesn’t matter
Credit Rockstar for creating such massive, multi-layered epics in each of their games. With so much weight, the entire saga's close to collapsing. Sure, the branching storylines and interconnecting casts were a blast while they lasted, but for the sake of newcomers and forgetful old timers alike, the reset button had to be pushed. Don't you feel lighter already?
#8 - You've been grounded
No more planes! No more jetpacks! No more parachutes, mountain bikes or tractors! No more swimming underwater, climbing mountains, hiking through forests or off-roading through deserts! No more freedom!
San Andreas removed the training wheels and said "go crazy." In GTA IV, it's back to the basics... and the back to the boring.
Why it doesn't matter
GTA IV is promised as a perfection of the basics, not just a return to them. The unrestricted wildness of San Andreas was purposefully scaled back so that the tried-and-true methods of transportation like cars, motorcycles and helicopters could be enhanced and expanded. Would you rather crawl around the farm on a tractor, or smash out your car windows and unleash bullets in any direction? Would you rather putz around on a back-mounted toaster oven, or dangle dangerously from a helicopter's landing gear hundreds of feet above Liberty City's skyline? We've made our choice.
#9 - The multiplayer is limited
When Rockstar first announced that GTA IV would have multiplayer, the world began to dream. Some imagined a full-fledged MMO, featuring a truly living and breathing city where every citizen, cop, and criminal is inhabited by a real human being. Others imagined a complete co-op mode similar to Crackdown's, in which two or more players could finish all the missions, side quests and item collection together as a team.
The game delivers neither.
Why it doesn’t matter
Um, have you read what the multiplayer DOES deliver? Unchecked mayhem between 16 players across the entire swath of Liberty City oughta keep us entertained just fine. Plus, while we really do wish we could tackle the campaign with a buddy, we know that option would only be detrimental to the storytelling. Remember anything about the plot of Crackdown? We didn't think so.