Niko Bellic: Life is complicated. I… I never thought I’d live like this.
Ileyna Faustin: No?
Niko Bellic: When the war came, I did bad things, but after the war I thought nothing of doing bad things. I killed people, smuggled people, sold people.
Ileyna Faustin: And you don’t worry about your soul?
Niko Bellic: After you walk into a village and you see 50 children, all sitting neatly in a row, against a church wall, each with their throats cut and their hands chopped off, you realize that the creature that could do this doesn’t have a soul.
I really do loathe him. How could someone not? The above passage–so far–is about as honest and human as Niko gets, and even then it’s not saying much. See, we’re supposed to feel bad for the 30-year-old mysterious ex-soldier pursuing “the American dream” in Liberty City, but with each subsequent mission it becomes harder and harder to take him for more than anything but a cartoony videogame avatar controlled by us to explore a city, shoot people in the face, and generally cause havoc. He is not real. He is that creature without a soul.
Some seem to think Niko’s a real charmer. Especially every girl he dates. Must be heroin in the soda. All I see is cynicism and a down-to-business attitude, which would not be the worst thing in the world…y’know, if said business was not extreme violence. He came to Liberty City to see his cousin Roman for a better life, and now he’s all tangled up in a dozen different plots, all full of murder and betrayal and heartbreak. Boo hoo. He could stop at any point. Really, there’s enough Internet cafes and TV shows to keep him busy 9 to 5. But he doesn’t because, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I need the money, and I’m good at what I do.”
That is, being Mr. Jerk.
It’s not like other protagonists for Grand Theft Auto haven’t been cruel and unkind. It’s just that this one is unwilling to be anything else. Even his chuckling is malevolent.
I suspect I’m halfway through Grand Theft Auto IV now. It’s kind of hard to tell, especially since I haven’t had a Roman-centric mission in awhile. I’m guessing those are more of the main storyline ilk while everything else I’ve been doing is like side missions and BS time. I’m trying to complete the game as straightforward as possible, saving all the silly exploration and stunt jumps for later. I’m even actively avoiding hanging out with friends in-game to keep the momentum going, but now that I think about it, we can just chalk that up to Niko continuing to be the jerkiest jerk that ever jerked.