Highlights brought to us by MTV's Stephen Totilo include the ability to immediately warp back to a mission's start point in the event of failure and a revamped wanted meter. Criminal actions will only increase player's wanted meter if they are witnessed by police. nope
Totilo noted that combat has taken cues from more modern action gaming standards, including a trigger-enabled "free-aim" mode, similar to Capcom's Resident Evil 4 or Epic Games' Gears of War. A cover system and blind-fire option have also been implemented.
Crowds have been significantly improved as well and now feature less repeating models and clothing as well as more citizens committing crimes. Bums are strewn about the city a la Monolith's Condemned.
A slew of other minor improvements to the series were also disclosed, including the ability to forge relationships with contacts that must be maintained, updates to the radar and map system and the ability to get drunk.
Rockstar did not demonstrate any of the character customization features, but they did note that options are downplayed from previous titles in the series—you can't dress like a neon pirate, keeping in tune with the more serious tone of the game.