Driving is a lot easier than in GTAIV. Its not like Saints Row where you are magnetized to the ground though, there is a good mix between control and physics in the driving. So you shouldn't be driving all over the place like in GTAIV, but I still do because I can.
Shooting is really fun. They have an auto aim mechanic like GTAIV makes it a little easier but more fun. Of course you do not need to use that though so its all good.
The opening sequence is a lot of fun and introduces 2 of the main characters. The crazy guy and the ex-con. The thug is really fun to play. I find that all the characters have a lot of personality and you can relate with them better than you can with Niko. It actually feels like San Andreas because you can level each character individually by going to the gym, bike riding, etc...
So far the story is being driven quite smoothly, still haven't had all three characters meet up yet. One thing that is cool, is the switching between characters. It is totally seamless in the game play and is executed quite nicely. The only real time I had with it is the first mission and me switching to the pet dog.
The last thing that I am just completely floored about is the load times. There simply just isn't any, going from mission to mission doesn't require any loading...it just does it. Quite fantastic if you ask me, definitely a technological marvel for this current generation of games. It totally feels Next-gent, just doesn't quite look the part.