To be honest, GTA stories are usually poorly written. Only VC and IV were well written, even though VC was based on multiple movies. GTA V's story is not worse than SA's story. At least, it makes some sense. Just because IV's story was so well written according to you guys doesn't mean V's story is awful. Look at movies sequels. So many of them have worse stories than its predecessors.
And no, strangers and freaks are not good at all and would just make not the story longer, not better.
Pretty much. A lot of people praise San Andreas' story when a gangbanger from the streets breaking into a secret military base and getting out alive with a Jetpack doesn't make any more sense then a middle aged psycho flawlessly flying a Cropduster into a cargo plane, killing everyone and then being chased by the Air Force while not a single f*ck was given.
Vice City had definitely the best story (IMO) and that's because it was Scarface.
I was impressed with what GTA IV tried to do and I thought it started really well. Niko, coming to America to experience the American dream and get away from an ugly, violent life. Roman's lies and the harsh reality that Niko finds. Then him acting as the bodyguard and protector to his gambling addict cousin. But after their taxi business burnt down (and the excellent escape to the second island) the story became stale, in my opinion. Niko kept on taking jobs for $1000 when he had $1,000,000 in his bank account. He kept on living in squalor and NOT living the American dream he came here to live. And Niko seemed to forget about the revenge mission he was on to keep partaking in silly little sub quests for mob bosses he didn't need to work for. The ending was OK but there was no real momentum, unlike the classic finale of Vice City. So, although GTA IV had a good story, I don't personally think it was better than GTA V's overall.
One thing about Strangers and Freaks, they're definitely more fun and inventive than the Strangers missions in GTA IV.
I agree with you. GTA IV's story was full of filler missions about people Niko had no reason to work with. That said, I still think IV's story was better overall. The ending(s), even if it didn't have a real momentum, as you said, at least felt like the end of the game, unlike GTA V where there could've been a lot instead of the protagonists killing all their enemies in one mission. It felt rough.