I haven't played a game on this current generation of consoles with more unrealized potential. I could endlessly give a high-five to R* with one hand for the environment they created while continuously bitch-slapping them with the other for filling it up with repetative, dumbed down, meaningless and tedious fodder.
The online portion is horribly executed and painfully ill-concieved. Leveling is practically meaningless; if it didn't have a forced and often non-sense unlock system (why do I have to be lvl 51 to be able to buy a plain grey t-shirt?) there would be no purpose for it at all. Currency is made too important, to the point that it actually restricts the player. For example, you can only sell a stolen car every so often for a small gain, and decent cars can't be sold at all - the only purpose for this is to prevent you from making money too fast, to force you to spend lots of time to work for (or currently, glitch for) expensive things that the game doesn't allow you to steal (despite your character being a criminal). Since they nerfed mission payouts it's actually rediculous obvious now. I am surprised they haven't introduced an hourly or daily money making/rp/levelling cap. Because it is clear to me that R* is currently attempting to force longevity into the game through monetary limitations and by bogging down player progress instead of supplying it through game content as they should be doing.
Yes, there is a ton of fun to be invented by players who are creative and look for things beyond the game parameters themselves. But before you think that to be a compliment, understand, I'm an old veteran of sandbox games. I expect that to be the case when the term "sandbox" is applied to a game (because, duh, people, that's what the term "sandbox" f*cking means!). But in almost every other of the many, many sandbox games I've explored over the years the developers also attempted to couple it with varying degrees of thought out gameplay/storytelling/rpg elements/meaning/concept/depth/etc.
My experience in GTAO suggests to me that R* created an astounding and beautifully realized world, but failed to put enough thought and time into what they wanted to do within that world. The missions are lackluster in the extreme, activities are far too few, all too redundant and rely too much on quantity instead of substance. The activity icons are an illusion. They spread across the map making it appear as if the world is full of things to do, when the reality is they just represent a buttload of variations on the same 5 things. Soon the content creator will released, and, yes, you too will be able to create EVEN MORE variations of 2 of those 5 activities.
Excuse my rant. But I won't apologize for feeling that a game that's been in developement for 5 years should have had so much more content than what is currently available. Some may argue that R* has and will be releasing much more content and SOMEDAY this game will be awesome. Cool. I'll hold on to my copy of GTAO and someone give me the heads up when someday actually arrives. I've got plenty of games that aren't built around promises and unrealized hype.