Despite having had a somewhat polarizing reaction back during its release, GTA 4 has come to be appreciated by most fans. The initial polarization that came from the game is a major departure from the rest of the series.
Rockstar Games elected to switch things up and opt for a more serious and grounded tone, which meant scaling back many over-the-top elements. One of the most infamous ways in which it accomplished that was through realistic driving physics.
Yet, that wasn't the only area of gameplay that was tweaked to reflect a more grounded and realistic tone. In terms of weapons, GTA 4 was more functional than showy.
This is in stark contrast to GTA 5, which seemed like a course-correction for Rockstar Games as it reverted to the series' older identity. It saw the return of a ridiculous number of weapons of all shapes and sizes.
GTA 5 vs GTA 4: Which game has a better variety of weapons?
It's plain to see that Rockstar Games made a conscious decision not to go overboard regarding weapons and their numbers in the game. Perhaps the objective was to ground the game in reality and not have an absurd number of weapons on Niko.
Typically, the GTA franchise has had a rather inelegant solution to weapons and their storage to service gameplay. For the most part, each GTA protagonist seems to have Hermoine's magical handbag at all times - whipping out rocket launchers and machine guns out of thin air.
That sort of suspension of disbelief, while enjoyable, is in stark contrast to what GTA 4 was attempting.
Thus, while Niko still seems to carry a rather large amount of weapons on his person - the number of weapons and their types are far lesser than previous or future games in the series.
One ingenious way GTA 4 both grounded itself in reality while also making fun gameplay opportunities was pickable objects. The player, as Niko, could pick up random objects from the environment to then be used as weapons.
Using throwables such as bottles, bricks, and all sorts of other oddities became an enjoyable way to interact with the game world organically.
While GTA 4 remains a critical darling to this day, a major portion of the fanbase felt it lacked severely in terms of the "fun" quotient. Rockstar Games responded by infusing GTA 5 with a healthy dose of wanton violence and a ridiculous number of weapons.
However, this is not an exhaustive list as GTA Online adds new and more ridiculous weapons to the game with every other title update.
While pickable objects were gone from the game, there is little doubt that players felt satisfied with the amount of weaponry available.