For everything that GTAIV did right, its gameplay sucked ass. The shooting was terrible, the complete dearth of checkpoints made missions little more than frustrating, and trying to find cover in a gunfight was about as easy as an eighty year old nun. Niko controlled like complete ass, as did most of the rest of the game (although driving wasn't awful). It's only just now that Rockstar decided to implement mission check points, shooting that's competent (but far from the best on the market) and a decent cover system with GTAV. Their other games, like RDR and Max Payne 3, fare a tiny bit better since shooting and taking cover in both those games felt decent (more so in MP3).
Even still, their games are "incredible technical achievements," yet the actual gameplay is far from the best. I'm not saying that GTAV is terrible (it's not) but there are other games out there that do what it does better.
Yet Rockstar's games always get AAA reviews (at the very least) and sell like hotcakes. Can someone explain this to me?