Personally, I loved Niko's depth and his experience with the American Dream, but at the same time I love Michael's experience with the American Reality. Both complement each other very well. I loved Trevor's craziness, wittyness when it came to satiring controversial American issues, and loved Franlkin for being intelligent and having some style. For me, I look at the story, character development, satire, symbolism, and allegory in stories very carefully before making a decision on who I like the most. In terms of character development, it's obviously Niko Bellic. In terms of funny yet though-provoking remarks, I'd go with Michael. You just can't say one character is better than the other. When the writers write the story and make the characters, they make them in such a way as to indirectly send a message. Each character in the GTA V series does that very effectively. I hate when people can just say one is better than the other. I loved GTA V's story solely for its satire of the AMerican Reality and superficiality of SoCal. I loved the tension between Michael and Trevor, but in terms of a good story, Niko's was FAR MORE captivating. For me GTA IV and GTA V are pretty equal. I am not nitpicky about content, graphics, interiors, DLCs like other idiots on this forum (because that is their sole criteria for judging a game). I want replay value, a intelligent, humorous, yet captivating story and GTA IV & GTA V execute it masterfully.
Now, for the story. To me, the story of Niko is the story of the American immigrant. It really hits you if you can personally relate to the struggle of immigrants (racism, gov't bureaucracy, difficulty of getting decent jobs). Niko's story is very plausible and very relatable. It not only dispels the myth of the American Dream, but shows the moral depravity of society. On the other hand, we see GTA V with it comical satire of the American reality, superficiality of modern American society, the moral decacdence of society, and the nostalgic romanticization of the heydays of America (60s, 80s, 90s) whilst at the same time showing the grim underside that people don't really want to talk about. Michael, Trevor, and Franklin's criminal heists and stories, while perfect entertainment for video games or movies, simply does not resonate as profoundly as GTA IV's story. Yet, I have to admit, I have had way more fun with GTA V than with GTA IV. Unlike some other forumers, I did not have ridiculously high expectations of the game and I don't have that nostalgia for GTA San Andreas, so I was fully able to appreciate the game for what it's worth. It's graphics—impeccable. It's story—fascinating. It's replay value—well quite close to infinite just as any other GTA game. I don't care for online, driving physics, interiors, the bugginess, or if they left out some stuff from the SP for MP. Whatever Rockstar have provided on SP more than suffices my needs and surely exceeds my expectations making the game all the more worthwhile.
Is GTA V a masterpiece? Pretty damn close, but no. That is reserved for Red Dead Redemption. <--------Near perfection is what that game is.
Yet, when you think about it, GTA V, RDR, GTA IV and EFLC are among the best games in the industry. It hurts me to see that the R* fanbase is literally fighting a civil war over this debate. When you put things in perspective, these three games, despite their nonconsequential flaws, are simply amazing. Here's to hoping the 8th generation will surpass the standards already set.
My official verdict: