Listen Niko was f*cking bad ass and he actually had sh*t to complain about, same with CJ. They both get a pass on that, but these new pricks have no right to complain most of the time. They are honestly like real people in LA in that aspect, complaining about the dumbest petty sh*t you can think of. Rags to riches works, why change it. I want to play a f*ckin great story and nothing is greater than somebody coming from nothing to something in a life of crime, sure its cookie cutter and you know the outcome but it's what happens along the way that makes it great. If I wanted to watch somebody struggle and bottom out half way through like 99% of people I would just go follow around some random dipsh*t. Also thumbs up for realizing Franklin sucked ass.
If by "lacking balls" you mean the characters werent the stereotypical, cookie cutter protagonists from the the 3D era, then yes, I'd have to agree with you. However, apart from Franklyn (by far the most cliché, under written and under delevoped chatacter of the trio) GTA V had a much more diverse characters, with different wants and values as oposed to "yeah, let's run this town!"
Niko complained a lot, all he wanted was a quiet life in LC after Roman had made out he was rich and living the dream. CJ was not the badass you claim him to be, I think you need to go back and replay San Andreas, he complained a LOT throughout the game. Tommy Vercitti was a "living breathing" Scarface because he was pretty much Scarface cut and pasted from the film into the game. And Claude,well, apart from revenge, who knows what he was thinking or wanted, the guy never spoke.
If you don't lke the characters thats fine, but I think you're using the wrong terminology with "lacking balls" and frankly I'm glad they've moved away from the "rags to riches, rule the city" mantra. How many times do you want to hear that story?
Whilst Niko had a reason to complain, he still did a lot of it. That's not to say that I didn't like him or he wasn't "badass". In fact all the protagonists in IV and EFLC complained a lot. CJ too fell victim to this. None of them were in a scenario they wanted to be in. Perhaps it was the writers way of making the characters likeable (a lot of people have a hard time liking Trevor, perhaps while he revelled in the chaos that players partake in in the game, it made him less likeable as a character in the story). Whether or not the characters have a reason to complain is up for debate, but it doesn't detract from the fact that they whined. A lot.
I don't mean to be one of those people who say "why don't you go play X game if you prefer the story so much" but don't you think that having the same story of rags to riches, take over the city, played out over and over again gets old? If that is all you want, you may as well be playing San Andreas over and over and not play other games. I'm glad that Niko's story was of rags to slightly better rags. He doesn't run the city in the end, he may have taken a lot of powerful people down with him, but it was never his intention to rule Liberty City, he just wanted answers and revenge...and to be left alone.
Strangely, the reasons why I dislike Franklyn are the same reasons you like CJ.
Anyway, I look forward to you're reply, although I probably won't reply. We clearly have different opinions on the matter and I respect yours. But it'd be fruitless to argue back and forth over it.