On the whole, yes it was.
Not perfection and disappointing in places but then we were promised the moon.....
Still an awesome game that lives in my XBox some 5 months after release.
No we weren't. That's the problem with these forums. Everything that you think you were promised was in your head. People got themselves into a state where if this game wasn't the most perfect endless masterpiece ever, they'd be disappointed. The people of this forum overhyped the game. R* never promised anything other than a good game, and they delivered.
I was on this forum during all of the marketing for this game, and I'll admit, there were times where I'd let my excitement and imagination run wild - it was pretty dam hard not to with the amount of speculation and ideas that were going on and being created daily on this forum. But even then, I was still able to remind myself not to get too carried away, as no matter how great this game was shaping up to be, we were still dealing with 8 year old hardware here...and so to keep all expectations relatively realistic.
My advice to those of you who felt let down: if you're unable to keep your expectations in check, or control your imaginations when the next GTA is announced, then I strongly advise you to stay away from this forum (or the internet in general).
Same with me. I first hit this forum up around the time the game was announced and the trailer launched, I was so excited And the whole place was buzzing. Of course it took me about a year longer to actually bother making an account, I was generally more interested in reading rather than giving a view, I had other forums for that. But anyway, I too sometimes my excitement did get the better of me, but I always knew to try and not expect the world out of the game. I knew it would be great, but I made sure not to expect anything completely unrealistic or stupid. I was still excited beyond belief but I think it was a healthy level of excitement, though to be honest, as the release date got nearer I almost didn't want it to come out I was having such a ball just thinking about how great it is going to be.
But the extent to which people got on here? Dayum. They expected absolutely everything. I mean, we're talking some really crazy sh*t, I remember seeing discussions where people were genuinely expecting at least 50% of the buildings to be enterable sh*t like that was never going to happen.
Many people just wanted and expected the game to do so much more than was ever going to be possible on both technical grounds (as you say, we'e on ancient hardware here) or on time grounds - they expected maps with a detail level rivaling IV but with a size larger than JC2, or expecting nearly every building to be enterable. These people wre never going to be pleased.
Then you've got the (arguably worse) types who will threaten to go and murder their entire villages if the game wasn't San Andreas 2.0 starring CJ Junior in the ballad of the gangbanging jetpack entrepreneurial bigshot because for some reason, they feel uncomfortable if the game of 2013 isn't exactly the same as the game they played in 2004. And after release, there also seemed to be a big crew of people who were unhappy that the game wasn't a carbon copy of IV too. That lot are even worse actually.
All I ever expected was a fun game, and that's what they delivered.