GamePro's Kat Bailey: "In retrospect, I don't think Grand Theft Auto IV quite came off as Rockstar intended. I think the desire was to create something bigger than had ever been done before. A living, breathing city with a realistic protagonist. Jetpacks had become passe; now it was all about one man's pursuit of the American Dream.
We all bought into it, at least for a little while, but it wasn't long before the crack began to show. Niko Bellic was positioned as a sympathetic protagonist who is forced to do bad things to survive, but his actions were often jarringly psychotic. And there was that endless procession of "friends" nagging you over your mobile phone. After a while you just wanted to chuck the thing in the East River (or whatever they call it in Liberty City).
But I think Rockstar has been learning. Things got a little better with the first expansion pack, and a little better still with the second. The characters got to be more interesting; the missions less repetitive, and there got to be a real sense of progression, which was missing in Grand Theft Auto IV."