Grand Theft Auto IV, as you probably know, is a very popular sandbox third person shooter. In the game, you play as Niko Bellic, an illegal immigrant who travels to the USA from an unnamed Eastern European country.
The game itself is normal enough. Niko starts off only trying to help his cousin. However, his life ends up spiraling into organized crime, drug-running, and other unfortunate vices. It’s a relatively creative game and is very popular though amongst gamers. It is, however, very controversial, as it allows the player to kill mindlessly and take part in a virtual criminal lifestyle.
But is there more to this game than that?
There are three key weird parts to GTA IV. Firstly, the game takes place on a series of islands that are seemingly in the middle of the ocean. You know that it’s in the US, but you can’t travel anywhere outside of the “Liberty City” and “Alderney” – the two in-game cities. If you try to leave, you “die”.
You can also see that there are no other landmasses outside of the city. This odd, as the game maintains not only that you are playing in the USA, but also that the city is able to function as well as its real-life counterpart, New York City.
The second weird part is that you cannot die. Whenever your character would die, he respawns at a hospital. You can jump in front of a car, you can fall off a skyscraper, or you can get shot in the face, but your character cannot die. Also, whenever you get arrested by the police, you get released after they accept a bribe and take your guns. Even if you kill 50 police officers, go on a shooting spree, and blow up a bus, you cannot go to prison. This is especially odd when one considers that there’s a prison right there in the game.
The third odd part of the game is the background and role of the main character. Niko’s back story is revealed in parts throughout the game. He came from an unnamed country, presumably in former Yugoslavia. His country was torn apart by civil war, and he ended up committing various implied atrocities.
When he meets one of his old enemies, Darkov, near the end of the game, Niko has an option to exact his vengeance and kill him or let him live. Darkov was the one who brought the civil war to Niko’s village and orchestrated a mass murder that killed all of Niko’s friends, encouraging him to join the fighting and perform unspeakable acts himself.
All through the game, the player is given the impression that Niko is only trying to be a nice guy. He just wants to help his cousin, Roman, but then ends up the victim in a long series of events that turns him into a criminal and a hitman. When he got off of the Platypus, the ship that took him to Liberty City, he was looking for a new beginning and the American dream.
However, Niko endures a long series of tumultuous events and ultimately the loss at the game's end of either Roman or Niko’s prospective love interest Kate (according to the player’s actions in-game). It all seems so horrible for Niko, but does he not deserve it after his past life of murder and violence?
He can’t leave. He can’t die. After the game events, Niko must live for all eternity in Liberty City.
Because Niko never actually arrived in Liberty City - the Platypus never reached its destination...
Because Niko’s in Hell.