First, let's clear the air here. Yes, GTA IV is out this week. Yes, it's a great game that is getting perfect scores over its perfect scores. And yes, I still don't have an Xbox 360 or PS3 to enjoy either version, yet I'm still riding the hype wagon to the end. Remember what I've said before, about playing the game akin to doing chores? I still stand by it, but only after I try out GTA IV will I see if it's more of the same but prettier. But let's run down all the things that people have been glowing about, and then put it into perspective.
Graphics: Pretty. Next.
Gameplay: You're doing more shit. Whoopie.
Interaction: The game's so damn interactive, it makes The Sims really seem like just a game. You can watch people interact with other people without your involvement. You can do the same thing looking out your window.
Story: From what I hear, it's a much larger part. This is awesome, but at the same time implies that the last few games were lacking in telling a story. Big step up in my book, because free-roaming with no story is overdone.
Multiplayer: Didn't care with Halo, probably won't care this time. This was mostly to address people's discontent that GTA: San Andreas didn't have multiplayer. Boo-hoo.
Please do not take this post as a knock against the game. Quite the opposite - I wasn't interested in this game before, but now I am. And this was before all the perfect scores. This is more a knock on the lengthy and sometimes college-English-paper-worthy reviews. The pages of their thesaurus are probably worn by now as gaming journalists finally get to flex their "muscle."
Rockstar addressed people's issues with the last game, and came back stronger. Good for them. I'd just enjoy it more without the drama and congratulatory speeches.