Dr. Jessica Murphy
10 April 2014
In Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV), you play the role of an Eastern European immigrant who has come to Liberty City to visit his self-proclaimed ‘successful’ cousin, Roman. After making the journey, Niko finds that his cousin is actually stuck in a cycle of debt and struggle and has been lying about his large mansion and beautiful women. After spending some time with Roman, Niko finds that his cousin is being harassed by local loan sharks. Niko must commit illegal activities for the loan sharks in order to eradicate Roman’s debt. As a result, he must enter the underground world of drugs and violence. Soon after, Roman discovers that his girlfriend is cheating on him with Niko’s boss, Vlad, and is heartbroken. When Niko confronts Vlad, he shows no remorse and Niko decides to take revenge on behalf of his cousin. Niko ends up killing Vlad which leads to both Niko and Roman being kidnapped and forced to work for Vlad’s boss. After this episode, Niko reveals to Roman that he did not actually come to Liberty City to visit his cousin; he came to seek vengeance against an army companion who betrayed Niko and left him for dead along with the rest of his company.
The majority of the game takes the player through Niko’s troubles as he searches for a place in Liberty City while trying to achieve the American dream. Along the way, Niko finds employment working for government agencies, mob bosses, and political candidates. Through his connections Niko finds Darko Brevic, the man who betrayed him, and has him handcuffed in a secluded location. After interrogating Darko, Niko learns that Darko sold his entire company for a measly $1000. Niko is infuriated and Roman tries to calm him down. At this point, the player can either decide to take revenge and kill him or let him walk away. If the player chooses to kill him, Niko discovers that taking revenge could not calm any of his inner demons, it only made him feel empty. If the player walks away, Niko realizes on his own that killing Darko would not have changed anything and he needs to change himself to get away from the past, not take more lives.
As the game comes to a conclusion, the player is asked to make one more moral decision. Niko has the option of either working with Dimitri Rascalov, a man who sold him out to a Russian crime lord, or killing Dimitri. If Niko works with Dimitri, he tries to kill Niko at Roman’s wedding, and accidentally kills Roman. If Niko takes revenge on Dimitri and kills him, Niko’s business partner kills Roman’s wife for thwarting his plan. Whichever path the player takes, the game concludes with Niko killing the man who killed his loved one. Although both endings are very tragic, they are representative of the huge sacrifices immigrants face and the price they must pay to achieve the American dream.
Perhaps the most important element of the revenge theme is the outcome of the revenge. In GTA IV,...