More of the same with a paint job and a few more options.
This GTA map is ridiculously big and full of fun things to do or cool places to explore. Additions like golf and tennis make for games within a game. But by 2013 standards and playing games like Skyrim, it falls a little short. The world is closed off and limited in a lot of ways. Like okay I see you golf and tennis, but why can't I go to the beach and play volleyball with some ladies, or go to the park and play basketball with some of the homeys. It's situations like this that remind you that you aren't quite in an open world environment. Most of the shops and buildings are inaccessible. So you can see a nice coffee shop and it's front door is a wall. You can't go into cool hotels or even go to a mall and then just decide you wanna try robbing as many stores as you can before having to fight off the police. It would also be nice to not see the same skins used so often. The very first fire fight in the game, every single enemy looked the same. And I can't count how many times in 2 blocks I see the same fat black lady yapping on her phone. It would have been nice to see some of these features to have a truly immersive and captivating experience. As it is, this is GTAIV with more paint, better driving, less annoying SIMS add-ons like making your friends happy and having to meet up with them or relationships deteriorate.
Customization is also very limited partly because every character has a unique story you must follow. And you can't veer off of it at all. There is no element of choice at all here in a generation that usually demands one. You can't even change your default car. If you buy a 250k Lambo, you'll still have your ugly Dodge Charger spawn at your house. If you place cars you steal or buy into your garage and take them on a mission, they may disappear when the mission makes you use another vehicle. In some cases your car appears at the end of the mission but in many cases it does not. And sure you can buy property, but you can't buy homes or condos. You can't invite a bunch of girls over for a pool party. You are often left with the feeling of, why do I need to work for money when I can't show it off or do much with it anyway. If I want to feel how a Ferrari drives, I can just steal it I don't have to save up and buy it. Then what? Where is the thrill of reaping your rewards and living out the life of one of these criminals in full detail.
The iPhone app also falls sadly short. The things to do on it are boring and don't affect the game enough.
All of that being said this is still a great GTA experience with hours and hours of fun. And GTA online will be lots of fun. But it is disappointing that in 2013, almost 2014 with the technology that is available today and the rich video game history we have, companies with great franchises like this aren't pushing the envelope a little harder to make the game innovative and inventive translating into a thoroughly immersive experience for the end-user.