Long time GTA fan here and personally – I prefer GTA IV’s driving over GTA V. The leap from San Andreas to IV was quite drastic; long-time fans were suddenly introduced to levels of complexity more akin to simulators with physics driving even the simplest action; on my end this was more welcome. I love challenge. SKATE for example, doing the simplest line of tricks provides a high sense of reward – compared to Tony Hawk, where this same line is a few mere button presses, provides neither a sense of accomplishment nor satisfaction. The driving between GTA IV and V I find follows the same principle.
Navigating between oncoming traffic required more control from the player; slight nudges of the analogue stick, managing the gas, brakes and being constantly aware of surrounding changes in the road/surface were vital to performing a simple action. The reward was in the challenge. However it’s clear given the regression that a lot of players hate this level of challenge – The same navigation through oncoming traffic now requires you to hold the accelerator and simply turn left or right without consideration for the stress this’d impact upon the car.
People whom hated GTA IV’s driving clearly don’t want challenge; yet being akin to a system for 5 years where challenge was welcomed and to have it suddenly stripped from us without any middle ground isn’t fair. The targeting system has options, simple for those that don’t want to aim and complex for those that prefer the challenge. The driving does not. The simple system is always going to reign superior in those regards, because you’re letting a program help you do even the simplest tasks - I don’t want that forced upon me. And I know the complexity was forced in GTA4, but Rockstar should have learnt that a lot of people do actually like the driving; generally people that enjoy something are less inclined to complain than those that do not; hence the heavier bias of people hating the driving.
It baffles me to think that whilst the driving has been horrendously cut down the rest of the actual game is more physics driven than ever. Crashing your bike leaves a realistic reaction, belly flopping into water cuts down your health and a small fall can almost kill you if landed badly (prat falls).
Furthermore, those that say the new driving are more precise, it’s not. It’s more twitchy and responsive. Precision suggests that I can turn a corner whilst maintaining the line the road provides; at the moment a hard turn always lends to over steering with a slight nudge of the analogue stick. There is no precision there.