The one aspect of Three Leaf Clover which raises it above the heists in V, in my view, is that it's much less scripted and linear. Sure, TLC is scripted up to the point when Niko & Company battle their way to the subway tunnels, but after that, everything that happens is in your hands and you don't have to follow the game's instruction on pain of failing the mission. Look at the heists in V:
(i) Jewellery Store - once the jewels have been taken (whether obvious or subtle), your getaway route is planned and scripted all the way through to the end. You're forced to play through as Franklin and follow the other getaway bikes down the sewer route. Then you switch to Michael in the truck at the canals. How the hell did he get there so fast (beating Franklin on a fast bike) from the store without getting hammered by the cops? The other aspect of the heist that spoils it for me is that despite the police cars during the rest of the game being made out of indestructible Adamantium and weighing at least ten tons (try ramming one in free roam), Michael's truck can easily spin them out and force them aside with barely a nudge - inconsistent and illogical gameplay physics, but we all know that's a major fault in the game.
(ii) Merryweather Heist - everything scripted from the very beginning (subtle and obvious). As in the previous heist, the character switching is forced on you at specific times during the mission and any slight deviation results in mission failure. At least during the Cargo Ship option you can choose to play as or switch between Michael and Franklin, but once you're in the sub as Trevor, you have no way to get to the rendezvous point as M or F, or any idea how they got there.
(iii) Blitz Play - scripted and linear mission all the way from the beginning. You're told where to position the garbage truck, when to switch to F who's already sitting conveniently at the wheel of the breakdown truck and then magically told that T has an rpg to deal with the pesky police chopper which he didn't have before. The firefight is fun, having the freedom to switch between the three at will, but once that's over you're stuck as F once more - go to getaway car and meet up with M & T.
(iv) Paleto Score - once again, you have no free will as to how you're going to get your three characters out of Paleto Bay. From the moment Trevor botches the smooth flow of the job by losing his sh!t (any self respecting crew would never associate themselves with somebody like that, and Mikey should have put a bullet in his brain - or whatever passes for that crack addled piece of grey jelly of a brain - long ago) all the way to the rendezvous with the FIB agents. Why couldn't R* have given yo the freedom to choose your escape route and mode of transportation? Boat? Helicopter? Anything in addition to just being rescued by the timely arrival of a goods train.
(v) Bureau Raid - whatever you do in this one, both of the approaches are on-the-rails-linear. Your escape is scripted, no need to improvise.
(vi) Big Score - probably the most fun heist in the game, whether you decide to go for the subtle or obvious approach.
- The subtle approach is all too linear, your hand is held throughout, like a child's crossing the street. You WILL play as Franklin during the getaway, you WILL follow the route set by the other vehicles, when it should be Franklin who's leading the chase because he's the best FRICKING driver!!!! Why couldn't R* have given you the rendezvous point with the lorries and the freedom is left up to you as to the best way to get there whilst avoiding the police with your wits and driving skills (which are totally unnecessary considering a five year-old can proficiently handle the driving in the game
- The obvious approach is slightly better when it comes to freedom of choice. What I fail to completely understand is (a) WHY it is Franklin who has to protect the gunman from the police SWAT teams whilst shifting the crates of gold. The gunman is there for a reason - to deal with the assault teams and protect Franklin, not the other way around, and (b) WHY it is that Michael is doing the getaway driving from the cops, when the whole point of having Franklin on the crew is as a getaway driver. Granted, that you do have the freedom in how you escape the police and which route you take, but why, oh why, do the developers feel the need to handicap your getaway by removing your freedom of choice to use Franklin as the driver?
Rant over. I didn't intend to write so much, but did get slightly carried away. The heists are very enjoyable, I loved doing them, but only in a fingerpaint-by-numbers kind of way and denying you any opportunity to improvise or be inventive in any way whatsover to attempt to make the getaways easier or more challenging. This is a fault of V in general, that you do not have the freedom to mess around with the mission structures the way that you could in IV, without the "Mission Failed" screen popping up.