So, as I said, I've only been playing 3 hours but here are a few thoughts of mine.
The map is massive. I have been driving all over the city doing opening missions and it's huge. If this is only a small portion of the map, it's certainly big enough.
The handling of cars is different. I don't want to say worse because I'm sure it's just a case of getting used to it but it is at least a bit more arcade-ish than IV. Because IV, you could hit the handbrake and slide around corners with some freedom (as in the car slid until you could get traction) but in V, it seems to stick to the road too quickly for my taste (particularly with Franklin) and I get oversteer and fishtail up the road. It was a little more fun for me to drive as Michael and I found that the added traction certainly made it easier to weave through the traffic.
This is an important change because there is far more traffic and it moves quickly on the freeways.
Also, it's necessary to be able to speed through traffic weaving in and out because the cops have improved a lot. They will chase you and keep a lot more pace than they used to meaning unless you have a quick car, you'll need to be crafty and lead them intro tricky traffic situations.
Escaping the cops takes longer. not just because they're better drivers now but because your stars take longer to disappear. Not a lot longer but you'll need to get out of their view for a little while. It still seems to be a case of 'keep moving and you wont be busted' as well as 'lose my 5 star rating and when i walk back onto the street, the 10 cop cars don't pay any attention to me anymore'.
As I suspected, the visuals were a bit of a let-down. Not that they aren't pushing the limits of my PS3. I can't remember a game so detailed. Daytime is so much nicer than IV because it's summer weather, it's bright. There are trees, bright beaches, etc. And the visual humor is there on every billboard, every pin up sign in every office, every poster in every room and you won't be disappointed in that. The only problem for me is that everything looks so good up close, and the textures are detailed. It's just a shame that these consoles don't output the game in full HD. I know it's not Rockstar's fault and not Sony or MS's fault (since they're 7 years old or however old they are now) but it's a shame the game won't be released on PS4. I'm positive it will be amazing on PC because the game itself is great. Just the hardware limitations. The whole thing would look slightly better with the slightest bit of blur, I think.
Please know that I am not hating on the game. The game itself looks terrific. Just the resolution that's frustrating.
The draw distance is certainly better than IV. And even at high speed, cars spawn a looooooong way in the distance. Not right in front of you.
Not all characters are available right away.
THE SPOILER BELOW TELLS YOU WHAT ORDER THE CHARACTERS BECOME AVAILABLE TO USE.
I find the shooting petty easy. Auto-lock, flick the stick up a tiny bit and you'll get a headshot.
It seems more variations of cars can spawn at any one time than in IV. But there is still a bit of repetition in the cars. I suppose the idea is that driving around LA, you're going to see plenty of nice cars. Still, when I found something really nice, I didn't notice any others for a while but I was flying through traffic trying to pay more attention to not killing myself.
Car damage should be more extreme, IMO. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but it's a little less exciting when you're not worried that a mistake on the road can get you killed.
Anyway, I'm not going to talk about the story yet but so far I've played a lot of what is shown in the trailers.
Enjoy guys. I'm off to bed.