Again, cramming three protags in a story that's not even as long as IV or SA, rears its ugly head.
With less focus on each protagonist, than on Niko, Johnny and Luis, and the story itself being pretty much a collection of loosely connected adventures, the story just can't feel as long as Carl's journey through San Andreas or Niko's desperate quest to find the traitor. Also, V doesn't have that many bland filler missions, like previous GTAs. It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, they cut the fat, and we didn't get another pointless chapter like Bohan/early Algonquin chapter in IV, but it also made the story seem shorter.
But it was still longer and more fullfilling than vast majority of video game stories nowadays, so it's not that bad. They just needed to structure it better.
Maybe but a lot of gamers in general have just become annoying elitists recently so I think from now on every GTA no matter how good it is will get hate and people will say the previous one was better.
I bet Red Dead Redemption 2 will get the same treatment as well.
I wouldn't call criticising a new game and preferring previous installment in the franchise an elitism. If I said that V is a horrible piece of sh*t, that is a blight on the face of GTA franchise and IV is the greatest work of all time that will never be topped, no much how hard will R* try, then yeah.
I think V is an amazing game, that everyone should play. It's definitely best "all-around" game in the series. It has great story, setting, humor, gameplay (both core gameplay and features and side-missions) and if someone who hasn't played a GTA game in their life came to me and asked which game to play, I'd definitely point him to V.
I just believe previous games did certain aspects better (while also failing in others), and if some of these aspects are important to me (like, in case of IV, story, characters and atmosphere), of course I'll still prefer that game.
I'm sure a lot of people that criticise V think the same and actually liked the game. Maybe not as much as other GTAs, but liked nonetheless.