I'm all for a difficult game, but there's a fine line between legitimate difficulty and cheese and most developers don't understand that.
Dark Souls is touted as the hardest game in a long while, and that's absolutely true at least until you've learned the game.
Borderlands 2 is a great example of a game that is just blatantly cheesy.
What makes these games different? Both of the games have incredibly difficult to kill enemies that can murder you on a whim. Is that not what difficulty is?
Dark Souls is at the very least, fair. Minus one badly designed boss, there is a way to make every fight a fair fight. Fair isn't synonymous with easy. You can still make mistakes and instantly be dead. However, deaths happen because the player made a mistake that was otherwise avoidable. Difficulty comes from learning the game and avoiding mistakes. Hence why people who have completed the game are laughing at me right now saying "Dark Souls is for teh newbs lol". You've learned how to play, of course it's easy.
Borderlands on the other hand, is inherently unfair. Not only do the enemies take hundreds of hits to kill, they also do enough damage to kill you in one hit if not for game mechanics designed to prevent one hit kills (They just put you at almost dead and then 2 hit kill you). Now, that isn't the biggest issue. The big issue, is that most of the attacks are borderline (and in some cases completely) unavoidable. The game has devolved into everyone using exploits just to have a fighting chance.
If you get ganked by an unavoidable attack, is that a difficult game? Nope, that's a cheesy game. It's artificial difficulty. Designers throw that unavoidable death in there to make you die, and the uneducated of us say "OH NO, I'm dead. Gee, this game is super hard...."
Now, I drew these comparisons to reinforce my main point.
GTA is leaning too heavily towards the cheesy aspect of game design.
The main issue with the "difficulty" of the game is the absurd AI accuracy.
Spawns are kinda lame, sure. The spawns are necessary to ensure that an Adder/Aircraft does not equal a "remove wanted level" device. That's fine.
The cops "Cracking open a Can of Ramming Speed" is definitely just lame.
That doesn't even come close to how lame the hilariously good accuracy the AI has is.
Case in point: (In fact, the sole reason I registered to post this cause this is dumb and needs to be fixed)
I was just shot by an AI. No way right?
Now, that alone isn't an issue. I take issue with the fact that this AI was on the back of a moving motorcycle, wielding a mere pistol.
Somehow, this literal God of a man was able to shoot me. While I was in a moving helicopter, flying away from him (cockpit shielded), a good 50 feet off the ground and a comfortable ~100 feet away from him. Neither was this a singular stray shot, but I was shot 4 consecutive times and killed. 6 shots total, the other two of which still hit the already unrealistic target of the chopper.
There isn't a person on the planet, with any amount of training, that could make a shot like that consistently. Effective handgun range under stress is like ~20ft.
Did I make a mistake there? Was I supposed to somehow expect that some guy riding a Motorcycle was going to make an impossible shot 66% of the time?
No, it's just unfair and cheesy. The AI just decided, "Line of Sight on any body part, probability of hit roll = greater than required = hit".
Also, isolated incident you say? NOPE.
A few minutes previous, while flying the same helicopter with a 5 star army on me, I pass Mt. Chiliad. Tumbling down the mountain, a hundred or so feet away, is a cop car. I laugh at the absurd spawn mechanics for a second until I see from the window, a single pistol shot fly across the distance and again, hit me in a helicopter moving full speed. and bring me to within millimeters of death.
There has to be some sort of more reasonable hit criteria with the AI. It's not acceptable to just have them programmed to hit you 90% of the time if you're at all visible. It's dumb and detracts from the fun of the game. Players aren't given the opportunity to let their mistakes kill them, they're insta-ganked by super soldier pistol sniper Jedi Knights with the force guiding their bullets.
Chase sequences become, "To hell with this, I'm going hide till they're all dead" because no matter how good you are at driving gunfights, they're eventually going to kill you cause each guy is virtually guaranteed to hit you from outside of your effective range.
I've been blindfired to death by a guy with an Micro SMG from sniper range (100% serious, Quarry Quarry, dude was behind a generator while I was by the off ramp of the freeway)
I can't do anything about it, cause I'm getting hit before I can hit his arm from half a mile away. It's unreasonable for him to hit me at all while blindfiring from that range, let alone kill me.
In short, the AI behavior is actually good. Lame at points, but overall good. The accuracy is the biggest problem, as it makes the game unfair. Gunfighter missions become exceedingly frustrating, and it's already frustrating enough having to drive halfway across the country 1-2 times a mission without getting ganked the second you reach your objective.
Accuracy needs to be toned down. Players who constantly feel cheesed by the system won't stay with you.
Pretty sure you want your players to stay with you.
Hopefully this hits home and gets results.
If not, I at least hope someone got a chuckle out of my misfortune.