[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grand_theft_auto_iv.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:256:[[WelcomeToHell Welcome]] [[IronicEcho to]] [[{{Gangsterland}} America!]]]]
->''"Life is complicated. I killed people, smuggled people, sold people. Perhaps here, things will be different."''
-->--'''Niko Bellic'''

'''''Grand Theft Auto IV''''' is the fourth full installment of the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series and the first one to appear on a [[TheSeventhGenerationOfConsoleVideoGames seventh generation]] console. It was also, thanks to a famous slip-up by Sony over renewing their previous contract with Rockstar for exclusive publishing rights, the first entry to get a simultaneous MultiPlatform release, as well as the first to have downloadable content. The game certainly takes advantage of the new hardware to the fullest - character models are much more detailed and animated along with just about everything else.

One of the biggest changes from previous installments is ''IV'''s ability to take advantage of the Internet connectivity that virtually all next-gen consoles have built in. A number of multiplayer game modes are offered, including classic deathmatch and team deathmatch along with team-based co-op missions. There's even a simple open sandbox mode so you can run around Liberty City doing whatever you want with your friends or complete strangers.

Set in the late 2000s, the story follows Niko Bellic, a beleaguered foreigner who comes to Liberty City to escape the skeletons he left behind in east Europe, attracted by his cousin Roman's tales of money and women as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, life in Liberty City turns out to be anything but, forcing Niko to delve back into his past life of violence to get by.

Before the game's release, Rockstar signed a $50 million deal with Microsoft to produce two [[DownloadableContent downloadable]] {{expansion pack}}s exclusively for the {{Xbox 360}} in 2009. Of course, this was a major flashpoint in the ConsoleWars. The first of the two was released in March, while the second one was released at the end of October. PS3 and PC owners could rejoice as these previously exclusive expansions came out for their formats in April 2010. They have their own pages, and are as follows. If you have tropes for the ''Episodes from Liberty City'' (as their compilation release is called), put them on their respective pages.

* ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony The Ballad of Gay Tony]]''
* ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]''
----
!!Cousin, let's go troping!

* AcceptableBreaksFromReality[=/=]AntiFrustrationFeatures: While wanted by police, most food stores (the places that [[HyperactiveMetabolism restore your health]]) will refuse you service. However, food carts, which are by far the most plentiful source of food in the game, will still serve you and will only run away when directly attacked.
* AccidentalMisnaming: Subverted with the cashier of the internet cafe in Broker. Someone who calls Niko "Roman's cousin" probably isn't too great with names, but she does call him Niko after he tells her his name.
** Played straight with Bernie Crane, who's name was changed from Florian Cravic.
* ActionGirl: Averted with [[spoiler: Michelle/Karen, who despite being a government agent isn't exactly the action type.]]
* {{Adorkable}}: Michelle, [[spoiler: until she's revealed to be [[DevilInPlainSight Karen]], at any rate, and even then]].
** Niko is seen as this by his various girlfriends and even by (shudder) Brucie.
* AdventureDuo: Niko's interactions with cousin Roman fit this dynamic, especially early in the game. His moody cynicism and lack of familiarity with Liberty City is repeatedly contrasted against Roman's light-hearted optimism and experience.
* AgainstTheSettingSun: Likely to occur in the "Revenge" ending, but not always.
* TheAllegedCar: The game features several. You can find rusty, unreliable "beater" variants of several of the cars, including the Sabre, Vigero, and Esperanto ("[[WhatAPieceOfJunk Roman's Taxi]]").
** You can also find beater variants of [[CoolCar the Emperor]], all of which have only 3 headlights as a [[ShoutOut nod]] to the "[[RummageSaleReject Psychobilly Cadillac]]" from the JohnnyCash song "[[CarSong One Piece at a Time]]." You can also find a customized "rat rod" version with an acid green vinyl roof.
** Heck, the "Yankee" truck is ''only'' available in "beater" form, (though the degree of wear and decay varies; the "[[GoingPostal Liberty State Delivery]]" variant is in relatively decent shape, aside from the graffiti and some mild oxidization, while the "[[GiganticGulp Sprunk]]" variant wouldn't look ''too'' out of place in a game like ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'').
*** ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'' adds a new open-bed variant of the "Yankee" that's in ''even worse'' shape. The body work is permanently dented, it appears to have been painted with house paint which wasn't allowed to dry properly, the mirrors are falling off, the wheels are beginning to rust, and the bed appears to be taken from a much older vehicle, though [[WhatAPieceOfJunk it]] [[WhatAPieceOfJunk ''is'']] [[WhatAPieceOfJunk faster than the normal Yankee]] due to the cargo box being replaced with a much lighter open bed.
** ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'' also adds one other beater variant, the "[[Series/TheATeam Gang Burrito]]" (based on the Burrito), and three cars with no ''non''-beater versions, namely the Regina, Slamvan, and Tow Truck.
*** It also gives us the "[[Music/{{Queen}} Rhapsody]]" which isn't a "beater" but is based off a well-known [[TheAllegedCar Alleged Car]], the [[WaynesWorld AMC Pacer]].
** One of the DummiedOut vehicles from ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony The Ballad of Gay Tony]]'', the "policew" also counts, it appears to be a Police Interceptor that was crashed, then dumped in the ocean, and fished out several ''years'' later. It is somehow still drivable, though it probably isn't supposed to be (it ''is'' a beta vehicle after all), it was probably only intended for use in a cut scene.
** Most of the beater variants perform poorly compared to their regular versions, however there are three exceptions: the Gang Burrito, Roman's Taxi, and the open-bed Yankee, [[WhatAPieceOfJunk all of which are vastly superior performance-wise to their better maintained counterparts]].
* AlternateContinuity: Liberty City looks nothing like it did in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' and none of the events of the previous three games are mentioned, but [[BroadStrokes GTARadio and the accompanying internet and TV shows make numerous references to the popular culture in the previous three games.]] And some of the in-game TV stations actually incorporate locations and even animation from previous games. Dialogue references to GTA IV-era versions of GTA III-era locations such as San Andreas, Los Santos, San Fierro, Las Venturas and Vice City are also frequent.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: In the police database, there is a woman named Mary Valvona listed as the head of the Pavano crime family. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the Mafia would never let a woman into the organization, let alone allow her to become the boss of one of the Five Families. Yet [[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/woman-mafia-boss-arrested-1086965.html this news article]] proves otherwise. Though it may be worth noting that the Italian mafia and the American mafia are two seperate organizations, and the American mafia probably wouldn't allow a woman to be in charge of one of the families.
* AmbiguouslyGay/[[AmbiguouslyBi Bi]]: Brucie, possibly an ArmoredClosetGay or ManlyGay.
** Packie who seems a little too interested in talking about PrisonRape with Niko.
** The U.L. Paper contact who mentions to Niko after reuniting him with Bernie that he knows what it's like to "get close to a man."
** Talbot mentions that Bernie "likes to be called Florian... at certain moments.", Later he says "I try to block walks of shame from my memory" and "I was high last time I went here" when he arrives at Bernie's apartment, suggesting that he had a relationship with Bernie. Ray Boccino refers to Talbot as a "fanook" which is Italian-American slang for homosexual.
* AmbiguouslyJewish: Brucie. Not that heavily hinted at, but come on...the guy's freakin' last name is ''Kibbutz''.
** Confirmed in [=TBoGT=]. Brucie's older brother Mori spent time in Israel, serving in the Army (allegedly).
* AmericanDream: Flavor 2. '''''HARD.'''''
* AmoralAttorney: Niko must [[spoiler: kill one of these by forging a resume to get an interview.]]
** Averted with Kiki, who is not Amoral, just [[StrawmanPolitical blindingly ignorant.]] Niko flat-out confesses to being a murderer on a date, and she blames society for it [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys and continues the date.]]
* AnImmigrantsTale: Niko is the first [[VideoGame3DLeap post-3D]] series protagonist to not be an American citizen; he is instead an [[TheIllegal illegal immigrant]] from Serbia. This viewpoint allows the game to better show its more cynical take on the AmericanDream, and its {{Deconstruction}} of DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster.
* AntiHero: Niko is something of an UnscrupulousHero. Niko came to America to escape the horrors of his past life but also seeks to find and kill those who betrayed him years before. However, he sports an indifference and lack of morality towards anyone who would seek to use his talents to carry out dirty deeds, throwing some NominalHero into the mix.
* ArmsDealer: Unlike the previous games in the series, where the guns came from perfectly legal firearm stores, all the weapon shops in this game are underground back-alley operations due to LC's Mayor having enacted strict gun control laws. This is also what Little Jacob does for a living -- if he likes Niko enough, he'll even deliver a car full of weapons to the player's location on demand (for a price, but a lower one than the dealers).
* ArtificialStupidity: AI drivers in general are VERY bad at avoiding crashes. This is most telling on bridges where multi-car pileups are common because several cars decided to merge into the same lane at once. [[DrivesLikeCrazy This may or may not be intentional.]]
** Pedestrians aren't much better, often rolling in the wrong direction to dodge your car and ending up directly under your wheels.
* AttackOfThePoliticalAd: Two candidates in a campaign race for governor, John Hunter and Michael Graves, take out surreal attack ads accusing their opponent of some of the most bizarre things imaginable.
--> "You may value your privacy, but John Hunter doesn't. He wants to install a camera in your bedroom so every time you jerk off you have to pay five dollars!"
* AutomaticNewGame: This game, as well as a few other titles developed by Rockstar, uses the trope.
** It also does its logical counterpart, the Automatic Continue Game; if save-files are found, it will automatically load the latest one. This can get highly annoying if you have multiple different saves and will always have to endure an extra LoadingScreen before being allowed to choose which one you actually wanted to load.
* {{Autosave}}: The game, aside from the manual saving that is allowed at {{Save Point}}s, autosaves after completing missions. The manual saving at {{Save Point}}s allows several savegames, the autosave uses only one file that is replaced each time.
* AwesomeButImpractical: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12jPZWlAZUg&feature=related The counter-finishes.]] In a fist/melee fight, they look really cool and kill a guy at half his health instantly, but are fairly difficult to pull off and depend largely on timing. Pulling out a gun (which can be obtained fairly easily) is a much easier and effective tactic.
* AxCrazy: Mikhail Faustin and Eddie Low.
* {{Badass}}: Niko, as is to be expected of a GTA protagonist. This is underlined in the museum shootout mission. You clear out the entire museum of bad guys, which is pretty normal, again, for a GTA protagonist. Then you revisit the mission as Johnny in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'' and come across the score of bodies that Niko left at the staircase to the ground floor of the museum, causing him to comment "This guy's fucking dangerous". ''And how.''
* BankRobbery: Three Leaf Clover, which is almost directly influenced by ''Film/{{Heat}}''.
* BattleInTheRain: At the end of "A Revenger's Tragedy".
* BecauseImGoodAtIt: Niko uses this exact line at one point when asked why he lives the way he does.
* BerserkButton:
--> '''''No one'' fucks with my ''family''.'''"
** It's also a really bad idea to accuse Niko of being disloyal. The only person in the game who does it and lives to talk about it is Roman.
* BeefGate: Attempting to go to any island before it has been formally opened results in an automatic 6 star wanted rating. Unlike previous GTA games where it actually takes some effort to do this, in GTA IV you can set off the wanted rating by simply walking across a bridge footpath with no obstacles.
* BettyAndVeronica: Subverted. [[spoiler:Because Michelle, the Veronica, betrayed him]], Niko continues the romance with Kate "Betty" [=McReary=].
** Roman and Vlad to Mallorie. Since Vlad is such a dick and [[spoiler:ends up killed early on]], the Betty wins again.
* BigApplesauce: Liberty City is such an excellent representation of New York that many reviewers and gamers considered it one of the game's finest points. Also, in fitting with the New York-centrism theme of the trope, Alderney, the game's stand-in for northern NewJersey, has been folded into Liberty City. Staten Island, New York's ButtMonkey, does not appear (The dev team has stated that they considered basing an in-game location on it, but ultimately concluded that players would find it boring).
* BigBad: [[spoiler:Dimitri Rascalov]] for the [[DealWithTheDevil Deal Ending]]. Also EvilAllAlong. In the [[{{Revenge}} Revenge Ending]], [[spoiler: you kill him [[DiscOneFinalBoss before]] the final mission.]]
* BigBadWannabe: [[TheDon Jimmy Pegorino]]. His story arc focuses on his unsuccessful attempts at getting his [[{{Joisey}} Alderney]]-based mob family membership in the [[BigApplesauce Liberty City]]-exclusive Commission. The [[DownerEnding Deal Ending]] sees him form a BigBadDuumvirate [[spoiler:with Dimitri, which is quickly ended when the latter [[TheBigBadShuffle kills him]]]]. The [[BittersweetEnding Revenge Ending]] [[spoiler: has you kill him in the final mission]].
* BiggerBad: [[spoiler: Ray Bulgarin]]. See TheUnfought.
* TheBigRottenApple: The ContinuityReboot still hasn't saved Liberty City from being a ViceCity. This aspect has been toned down compared to the ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII III]]''-continuity, since ''IV'' translates New York City after the Giuliani era, though that means the game also takes some [[TakeThat vicious stabs]] at the gentrification the city's undergone since then.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The [=McReary=] family. The entire Irish mob is just one family tied together by a history of crime, alchohol, and abuse.
* BilingualBonus: One of Brucie's tattoos reads "人妖", which is slang for transvestite in Chinese. It seems Brucie got the tattoo only because it looked cool. In fact, his whole tattoo reads "我人妖爱恨分明二打六", which means "I am a transvestite wannabe with strong principles."
* BittersweetEnding: The penultimate mission has you choose between overseeing a heroin deal with [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Dimitri]] for Pegorino or using the opportunity [[{{Revenge}} to kill Dimitri]]. If you take the former, [[spoiler:Kate dumps you and Dimitri [[WhatAnIdiot screws you over during the deal (though you still get the money if you succeed)]], then tries to kill Niko at Roman's wedding. Unfortunately, [[MoralEventHorizon Roman is killed]] instead, though Kate does reconcile with Niko after]]. Take the latter, [[spoiler:then Roman survives, but [[CycleOfRevenge Pegorino kills Kate while trying to kill Niko at Roman's wedding]]]]. Either way, the game cannot be completed with everyone Niko supposedly cares about surviving.
* BonusFeatureFailure: The reward for exterminating all the pigeons (and this is one of the few sidequests that gives the player an explicit reward other than money and/or contributing to the HundredPercentCompletion percentage) is an [[DeathFromAbove Annihilator attack helicopter]] that spawns on top of a certain building. Said helicopter won't spawn when the roof is accessed from the ground, requiring the player to use another helicopter to get to it. Also, it spawns at three other helipads that can be accessed from the ground, all of which are available without completing the pigeon sidequest, defeating the whole point of the "reward".
** Indeed, compared to past GTA games, the rewards for side quests, frankly, are not worth the effort. Most have no monetary award, nor do they create weapon spawning points as in the previous games. Some only reward trophies/achievements (and the early release of the PS3 port ''does not even give trophies''). Finally, the reward for actually jumping through all the hoops and getting 100% completion is [[spoiler: unlimited ammo capacity for weapons ... but you still have to buy/find the ammo yourself (i.e. no infinite ammo), plus a trophy/achievement]], compared to past games that rewarded cool vehicles and tons of (virtual) cash.
** It's possible Rockstar took criticism of GTAIV's reward system to heart because the two DLC packs saw the return of "traditional" rewards such as weapon caches spawning at safehouses after completing certain side missions.
* BookEnds: The game begins with Niko getting off a boat named "Platypus". During the mission A Dish Served Cold, you revisit that boat, [[spoiler: now being used as part of a drug deal that Dimitri and Pegorino have set up.]]
** [[spoiler: At the end of "A Revenger's Tragedy", Niko greets Dimitri with same phrase Roman used when he first arrived in Liberty City. "Welcome to America."]]
* BoringButPractical: One of the most efficient ways of [[IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon surviving a shootout with the cops]] is finding a [[TakeCover large, sturdy piece of cover]] (with no way around it except through you, of course) and [[FiringOneHanded blindfiring]] from behind it with an [[MoreDakka SMG]], [[AKA47 Assault Rifle]], or [[CoolGuns/AssaultRifles Carbine Rifle]]. The game then starts to resemble an [[ImprobableAimingSkills improbably easy shooting gallery]], but the tactic gets the job done.
** Both pistols lack the rate of fire, power, range, or ammo capacity other guns have, but they make up for it with pinpoint accuracy and the largest default ammo pool out of all your weapons. The [[HandCannon Combat Pistol]] veers into SimpleYetAwesome territory, because it uses the same ammo pool as the stock pistol, but deals enough damage to match higher-tier weapons.
* BrokenBridge: The bridges and tunnels are closed due to a terror alert, and they are slowly reopened as you progress through the game. This is covered (often hilariously) on the in-game news sites.
* BrooklynRage
* ButtMonkey: Roman. In spades.
* CainAndAbel: [[spoiler:Derrick and Francis [=McReary=].]]
* TheCaligula: Well and truly personified by Mikhail Faustin, the game's leading figure in the Russian Mob, who is ''completely batshit insane''. He shoots his own men for no particular reason, orders hits left and right on the merest of whims, and explodes at everyone around him, including long-time friends and family. [[spoiler:Is it any wonder why Dimitri had him killed?]]
* CampGay: '''BERNIE.'''
* CassandraTruth: Niko becomes this in relation to the three optional girlfriends who can be found online. They are initially unaware of Niko's connection to organized crime, and when he reveals this to them in their conversations, this is either brushed off or mocked as false.
* ChaosArchitecture: Liberty City is quite unlike its ''GTA III'' incarnation due to belonging to an AlternateContinuity.
* CheckPointStarvation: There are no {{Check Point}}s during missions, regardless of mission length. If you fail the mission, you have to start over from the beginning. This includes driving to the mission's start point. Normally, you can use a taxi to spare yourself the drive, but there are some missions where you are required to drive to the mission location, such as "Catch The Wave."
** Actually, there are 2 missions where this does not apply: A Revenger's Tragedy and Out Of Commission. Once you get to Dmitri/Pegorino's hideout to begin the shootout, if you fail the mission, when you agree to the text message asking if you want to redo the mission, you don't start from the beginning of the mission. You skip the car chase and end up in the cut scene where Niko and Jacob (and Roman in Commission) drive down the embankment toward the hideout.
*** It should be noted that [[MultipleEndings either one of these two could]] be the game's [[VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon final mission.]]
** If you fail Hostile Negotiation and choose to restart via the text message, you will automatically be at the warehouse without having to drive there again.
* ChildSoldier: Niko was one of these in the Bosnian War.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: [[spoiler: Dimitri Rascalov]].
* ClusterFBomb: To say that it happens just like in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'' doesn't even begin to describe it.
* CollectionSidequest: Brucie's car thefts, the pigeon extermination, Stevie's car thefts, stunt jumps.
** Veers into GottaKillEmAll for the aforementioned pigeons; you have to shoot and kill them in order to "collect" them. Also, the Most Wanted sidequest has you locating 30 criminals across Liberty City and assassinating them.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: Implemented very subtly in the interest of GameplayAndStorySegregation. If you are supposed to kill someone who flees in a car, but they will lead you somewhere that will advance the plot, the game will always keep them slightly out of your reach during the chase. You can shoot at them all you want, they'll never take any damage. An obvious example of this is chasing [[spoiler:Ivan]] early in the game. Niko is trying to kill him, but you won't be able to during the chase because the encounter after he crashes serves as the melee disarming tutorial.
** Actually, you can kill Ivan while driving to the building site, but the car won't stop until it gets there, even after Ivan falls out of the car dead.
** The above is averted in most other chase sequences; as long as you don't lose the target the game is scripted so that eventually the target will crash or otherwise stop the chase at some point, allowing Niko to catch up and finish the mission in question.
** Enemy characters will also have near pin point accuracy when it comes to shooting you through the windows while you're inside a car, preventing you from using the car as a shield.
* CovertGroupWithMundaneFront: "United Liberty Paper Merchants." One of the [[FreezeFrameBonus diplomas on the contact's wall]] has [[http://images.wikia.com/gtawiki/images/4/4f/CIA.png what is clearly the official seal of the CIA]].
* CrapsackWorld: Rockstar collected pretty much the worst aspects of American society (über-capitalism, xenophobia, TriggerHappy-ness, poverty, HollywoodHistory, hypocrisy, militarism, racism, idiocy) and made an entire fricking city out of it. And boy, now take a look at {{Dystopia}} beneath... Half of the time its not even played for laughs anymore.
* {{Cuckold}}: [[PlayerCharacter Niko Bellic]] discovers his cousin Roman's girlfriend has been sleeping with a small-time gangster in exchange for protecting Roman. Roman is ''clearly'' upset by the revelation, but he relents in order to avoid making his situation worse. Niko, however, is horrified by his cousin's failure to act and flat out kills the gangster for what he did.
* CurbStompBattle: If you are properly armed, and are prepared for it, most gunfights in the game can qualify as this from Niko's perspective.
** In particular, however, the "random encounter" fights with [[spoiler: Eddie Low and Clarence]] are curb stomps for Niko if he arrives armed with a half-decent gun, especially as [[spoiler: Eddie]] attacks Niko ''with a knife''. Interestingly, if you take the knife away from [[spoiler:Eddie]], he will run away, so you have to chase him and kill him to get the 100%.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: players familiar with the driving and control scheme from the GTA III-era games tend to be completely thrown by the new controls of GTA IV. Fortunately (at least in the PS3 version), an option is provided to change the controls to the "classic" configuration, although some differences remain, such as controls related to drive-by shooting.
* DarkerAndEdgier: May seem hard to do, but ''IV'' was a definite shift away from the more lighthearted predecessors; the CrapsackWorld goes from being PlayedForLaughs to PlayedForDrama. Even on the radio, the humor is much more toned down, and the actual missions themselves seem to involve almost no laughing moments. Even the radio satire is a lot less funny and more outright stating what is wrong with America. It seems like Rockstar just picked targets and let 'em have it with both barrels. Even the ''game physics'' are DarkerAndEdgier. Shit, the car's on fire, I'll just leap to safety and- oohh, ouch, that looked painful... curse you, conservation of momentum! And then there's getting thrown through the windscreen in head-on collisions...
** ''IV'' is seen as being so much darker and edgier than the ''III''-era games that reportedly its sequel, ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV GTA V]]'', has been designed with a conscious push in the opposite direction.
* DatingSim: You can date various women, who (except for Michelle and Kate, who you have to date for story reasons) give you the added benefit of their special abilities (instant healing from the nurse, getting cops off your back from the lawyer, clothing discounts from the socialite). In addition, you can go on "dates" with your male friends, who also give you bonuses if they like and respect you enough (Little Jacob sells you weapons out of his trunk, Roman sends a cab for you, Packie gives you car bombs, etc).
** The girlfriends tend to be slightly higher maintenance than other characters, as Niko has to be dressed a certain way and drive a certain type of car (as well as pick the right type of venue) to impress the ladies. And each girlfriend has her unique tastes. Fortunately, however, this is not taken to the extreme levels seen in GTA: San Andreas (you no longer need to have a different fitness level for each girl, for example).
* DeadFootLeadfoot: Lots of drivers will accelerate forwards if they're killed.
** For some reason some drivers when Niko attempts to carjack them, will go full speed into reverse, too.
* DeconstructedTrope: As a character, Niko criticizes the idea behind the series' first 3D protagonist, [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII Claude]]. The game points out that all you'd get if you were a [[OneManArmy lone]], [[PunchClockVillain anonymous]] [[ProfessionalKiller hitman]] working for but [[WildCard unaffiliated]] to any part of the [[{{Gangsterland}} criminal underworld]] in a place like [[ViceCity Liberty City]] is a whole load of suffering [[spoiler: and the deaths of your loved ones]]. In so doing, the game manages to subvert DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of its own series. Rather than show a glamorized portrayal of criminal life like the previous games did, it portrays it realistically, with most of the characters being poor, sociopathic, psychotic, greedy, or otherwise unlikable. Even Niko himself is a hypocrite.
* DepravedBisexual: Eddie Low, hoo boy.
* DeadpanSnarker: Niko. Deconstructed to some extent, as the way he casually mouths off to hardened killers just helps illustrate how little he cares for his own life.
** Niko will also make snarky comments if a friend calls on the phone wanting to do something while he's on a mission. For example, in mission where you have to take a female hostage to a new hiding place, someone may call you to ask if you'd like to go to a strip club. Niko will reply that he's currently with a woman and that it would be a bad idea to bring her along.
** A hilarious moment comes when Niko is driving a truck rigged with explosives and Roman calls him asking if he wants to get drunk with him.
* DeathByIrony: Manny, after doing several missions for him to help "Clean Up The Mean Streets" He confronts one of the bigger drug dealers in the area (Who was already in a mental breakdown now that the cops were closing in on her), And is promptly killed for it, Niko is unsurprised at the death and lampshades the irony in it.
* DevilInPlainSight: [[spoiler:Michelle]] isn't fooling anybody... except the actual in-game characters, of course. [[spoiler:Niko is suspicious towards her, demonstrated when he notices that all of Michelle's furniture still has tags, how closed off he gets when she insists he can tell her anything, and when he thinks she might have drugged his drink on a date.]]
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: Try to approach the warehouse when the Russians are holding Roman hostage by helicopter. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htIwK9ml72I&t=02m14s You'll be shot by two mooks with rocket launchers.]] Yes, Rockstar added guards for the roof even though one player in a million would think of trying that.
** If you're riding around in a fairly crappy car and listening to the radio when you receive a call, you'll hear interference on the radio before your phone rings.
** Since shooting out tires is the easiest way to win street races, plenty of enterprising players surely tried to do so before the race starts while the opponents are nice and stationary. This cancels the race on account of "sabotage."
* DialogDuringGameplay: The [=NPCs=] are chattier this time around, and will often launch into conversations that (often [[SeinfeldianConversation humorously]]) flesh out the story; these may occur in [[CasualDangerDialogue main or side missions]] or even during [[ScrappyMechanic friendship activities or dates]]. See NarrativeFiligree below.
* DiscOneNuke: The inventory of the gun dealers is limited based on how far you've progressed in the game...but if you know where to look, you can find ''everything'' from the Combat Pistol to a Rocket Launcher as soon as you begin.
* DoNotCallMePaul: How Bernie responds whenever he is called by his old name, Florian.
* DirtyCop: Francis [=McReary=]
* TheDon: Jimmy Pegorino and Jon Gravelli.
* DoubleConsciousness: The missions that present a MoralDilemma and even some instances of GameplayAndStorySegregation meditate on how this trope affects immigrants. Niko is torn between two conflicting worldviews, both with their own virtues and vices. One embodies his native Serbia; he is [[PapaWolf loyal to his family]], but is also trapped in a [[SociopathicSoldier wartime mindset]]. The other embodies his immigrancy; he seeks [[AmericanDream wealth and a new life]] in America, but believes he can only attain them [[BecauseImGoodAtIt through crime]]. Niko doesn't explicitly comment on this, so it's up to the player to decide which one to indulge.
* DownloadableContent: The DLC here amounts to an entire ExpansionPack.
* DrunkDriver: The drinking mini-game usually results in this. Well, not always the "driver" part, if you prefer, maybe due to your conscience, or maybe because you gain one wanted level when you pass by any police unit while driving drunk. Or maybe because it's really hard to drive drunk, and even with this being a video game you crash so much that you're likely to kill yourself or your companion. The game doesn't help by making walking (and, therefore, getting into a hailed taxi cab) virtually impossible.
** "Pisswasser! This is beer! Drive drunk off a pier!"
* {{Dystopia}}: They drove the point as high as the then-current situation would allow it. Think about it. This game portrays how America would be [[AlternateUniverse if they had taken the PATRIOT Act]] too seriously:
** Police officers are allowed to draw a weapon on someone for hitting another person, refusing to pay highway toll, flank roadblocks or [[NationalTreasure trespassing on government property]] (hell, even ''shoot'' them if they feel like it, which would be the case at most times).
** As mentioned in the police recruitment trailer, the police are allowed to shoot into crowds of peaceful protesters for strolling outside the "Free Speech Zone" (already the fact that "Free Speech Zones" exist is a slap in the face). Furthermore, they are protected by law for - as well as are totally fine with the fact of - running over bystanders to catch even one perpetrator.
** The police shut down a city the size of New York by erecting road blocks on every major water crossing, having little more motivation than "fucking terrorists".
** Terrorists (whether they exist or not) are the highest priority for the police. And not, say, heavily-armed bank robbers and sociopaths.
** Any personality who isn't Republican, right-wing, capitalist, straight, Francophobic, xenophobic, an American citizen, an American supremacist (or at least a white supremacist) or a gun owner is basically declared anything along the lines of "DirtyCommies" in ''public''.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Both Johnny and Luis show up in the main story before their respective [=DLCs=], as does Gay Tony himself.
** You can also find their records in the police database.
*** You can even find records for ''Chinatown Wars'' characters, including Huang Lee.
* ElaborateEqualsEffective: Not for weapons, but cars, particularly gang cars. Crosses over with PowerEqualsRarity.
** In previous installments besides ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'', gang cars were self-contained vehicles that unfailingly spawned in their respective gangs' home areas. Here, gang cars are randomly-spawning, modified versions of civilian vehicles, distinguished by unique paintjobs and accessories, to [[ShowDontTell hint at their often-enhanced performance]]. They are rare in areas where their unmodified civilian versions are common, so be prepared to go on a [[SelfImposedChallenge Self-Imposed]] FetchQuest or PixelHunt if you want one in your [[CoolGarage parking space]].
** Subverted for civilian-only cars that randomly spawn with rare paintjobs and accessories (see [[Series/TheATeam The A-Team]] ShoutOut entry below for examples). While they look [[CoolCar cool]], they don't sport enhanced performance.
** Taken UpToEleven with [[StateSec NOOSE's]] service vehicles, which are modified versions of the [[HollywoodPoliceDrivingAcademy Police Cruiser]], [[HummerDinger Patriot]], and [[ArmedBlag Securicar]], respectively. All three are outfitted with LED-lightbars, grilles, and high-profile tires that make them look more menacing than their regular counterparts. The first two are transformed into [[LightningBruiser Lightning Bruisers]] and the third is made even more of a StoneWall. They are rare to the point of not spawning anywhere on map the unless [[WantedMeter you are wanted by the authorities]] and difficult to get [[IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon for obvious reasons]].
* EndOfAnAge: It's made quite clear that the glory days of gangsters are a thing of the past. [[spoiler: Most of Niko's employers end up dead or in prison, Packie and Gerald [=McReary=] long for decades past when their family ruled the roost, and the law's coming down ''hard'' on the whole business. As Michelle/Karen puts it, "Feds are all over it. Crime is done."]]
* EruditeStoner: Little Jacob is always ready to impart a few nuggets of Rasta wisdom to Niko as he simultaneously fills the car with pot smoke.
* EscortMission: Most notably the co-op mission "Hangman's NOOSE." The police can't keep up with you if you just fly a helicopter, one spawns roughly 1500 yards from where you start, and the NPC is relatively smart. It's the easiest and fastest way to get multiplayer ranks, which means its one of the few Escort Missions ever that players seek out repeatedly.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Niko's emails to his mother.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Subverted. If you smash up your car too much in this game, it'll simply stop running, though it may catch fire and explode on occasion.
* EvilPaysBetter: Subverted by the choice between [[spoiler:killing Playboy X or Dwayne Forge]]. If you [[spoiler:kill Playboy X]], you get [[spoiler:his apartment, Dwayne]] as one of your friends (whose special ability is to [[spoiler:send out some of his fellow gang members to help you]]), and a bonus outfit that is a ShoutOut to ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII III]]'', while [[spoiler:killing Dwayne]] instead only gets you money. Also, sparing the lives of some people will earn you some bonus missions later on. Played straight in the choice between killing [[spoiler:Francis or Derrick]], where killing [[spoiler:Derrick]] will earn you a special ability with [[spoiler:Francis]] that will allow you to cancel your wanted level.
** When it comes to killing Francis or Derrick, you can phone Francis before shooting anyone. Niko will tell Francis he's having second thoughts and Francis will offer Niko a bonus/raise (which ends up being $20,000) to kill Derrick.
* ExpansionPack: ''The Lost and Damned'' and ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'' are helping to popularize this on consoles.
* {{Expy}}: The U.L. Paper contact wears horn-rimmed glasses, works for a mysterious shadowy organization, and uses a paper company as a front. Does that sound [[Series/{{Heroes}} strangely familiar]] to you?
** Also, Niko himself, who very much resembles the sniper Sasha from ''Behind Enemy Lines.''
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Dimitri]] betrays Niko to Mr. Bulgarin, a human trafficker that Niko used to work for who believes that Niko stole money from him.
** Niko also considers this to have happened when he learns [[spoiler:His girlfriend, Michelle, is actually a drug enforcement agent working to recruit him. Considering the somewhat unsavory (not to mention illegal) acts Michelle's agency forces Niko to undertake, one could consider that she becomes a heel.]]
** Depending on the player's choices, Niko himself can be seen to do this several times in the game, such as when he [[spoiler: decides to kill either Playboy X or Dwayne, both of whom are depicted as allies, and later decides whether to continue siding with Francis and kill Derrick, or kill Francis instead.]]
* FantasyHelmetEnforcement: Wait around a second after getting on a motorcycle, and Niko will don a helmet. Niko may be a mass-murdering thug, but at least he obeys helmet laws!
** If you're in a hurry, you can simply jump on the bike and go- you have to be stationary for a while for Niko to don his helmet. If you fall off the bike though, damage taken is slightly higher.
* {{Fiction500}} - Cloe Parker's father is said to be worth 950 billion dollars.
* FinalSpeech: Nearly all the people you can perform executions on give these before you kill them. Subverted in that you can cut them short by just shooting them.
* FingerlessGloves: Niko wears them on the cover and in some of the loading screens, but you can't find them in-game. You would not believe [[SeriousBusiness how angry some players got over this.]]
* FishOutOfWater: Played with. Niko doesn't struggle much to adjust to his life in America but then he keeps getting involved with stuff that isn't that unfamiliar to him either. People do poke fun at his foreigner status (as seen below).
* FourEyesZeroSoul: [[spoiler: Dimitri Rascalov.]]
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The four main characters fit: Niko is melancholic, Roman is sanguine, Brucie is choleric and Little Jacob is phlegmatic.
* FragileSpeedster: [[ZigZaggingTrope Zig-Zagged]], some of the fastest cars in the game are also some of the most durable cars in the game... ''some''.
** [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] with [[ImprobablyCoolCar all the mid-engined supercars]] and [[MidlifeCrisisCar the rear-engined Comet]]. They're pretty much impossible to disable in frontal crashes, the only ways to disable the engines in these cars are rear-ending them, [[CloudCuckooLander driving backwards in them and crashing into stuff]], or [[JustShootHim just shooting them]], now that's not to say that they won't stop working after a few dozen head-on collisions, the front end will become deformed and the wheels will lock up, at this point the car is [[TechnicallyLivingZombie technically still running]], but is completely immobile and undrivable.
** [[PlayedStraight Played straight]] with the [[ThePreciousPreciousCar Coquette]], [[MidlifeCrisisCar Banshee]], [[WatchThePaintJob Feltzer]] and most other front-engined sports cars. [[note]][[ThePreciousPreciousCar ESPECIALLY the Coquette and the Feltzer]], they're pretty much MadeOfExplodium.[[/note]]
** There is ''some'' middle ground, however, the Ruiner is the least expensive vehicle that the game still considers to be a sports car. Its the JackOfAllStats of the game's sports cars, it performs averagely in its class in most categories, not really excelling in any one category, except maybe handling, which helps make up for its mediocre durability.
** The "[[Film/JamesBond Super GT]]" actually [[SubvertedTrope subverts this]]. Its is more of a GlassCannon than a FragileSpeedster. It has the disadvantage of being front-engined, but has more weight and mass to it, meaning it can dish out some serious damage at high speeds. Still lacks the durability of the mid-engined cars, though.
** The sport bikes fill this role, of course, particularly the NRG-900, which is the fastest bike in main game, but is also very light, causing the player to be easily ejected in a crash.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: More than any previous GTA game, the city depicted is ''alive'' with computer controlled [=NPCs=] randomly going about their business. If you're not doing anything, stand in a park or on a street corner and you'll see them engaging in realistic-to-bizarre behavior. You might see a hooker hit up a john, two guys get into a fistfight, a cop chasing a perp, people smoking and throwing litter out of cars, jogging, or practicing tai chi on the beach. Granted, a lot of these aren't exactly "funny", but they are still background events that might often pass by unnoticed.
* FunnyForeigner: Many characters find Niko's accent and mannerisms to be rather hilarious.
* FunWithAcronyms: Several, most notably the [[WatchItStoned Liberty Sanitation Department]], as well as the National Office Of Security Enforcement (NOOSE). Ban Immigration Green Cards Outright Today, ie B.I.G.O.T
* TheGamblingAddict: Roman. It's his gambling debts to TheMafiya, and Niko's [[WorkOffTheDebt efforts to clear them]] that kick-start the plot of the entire game.
* GameBreakingBug: The finale mission "The Revenger's Tragedy" -- after a ''very'' long series of chases and shootouts, Niko will automatically jump and grab hold of an enemy helicopter; the helicopter will shake Niko off, and he will land in the water near a boat. In theory. Unfortunately, the fall will occasionally ''kill Niko'', rendering the mission impossible to complete. Later in the chase, Niko will obtain a second helicopter, but once again a bug will result in the helicopter ''randomly exploding'', killing Niko. Neither of these have anything to do with how the player conducts the mission.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: At no point in the game are you ever required to date Kate. They will acknowledge that she doesn't know Niko that well [[spoiler: while they're driving to Roman's wedding]] but it doesn't change the gravity to which [[spoiler: her possible death is treated]].
* GangUpOnTheHuman: Used against the player with alarming regularity. Sometimes it's justified, such as when you're robbing a bank, or recklessly running over/shooting random civilians, other times its ridiculous. It seems whenever an [=NPC=] commits a crime, the cops are really slow to stop them, and hilariously can't seem to catch up to criminals fleeing on foot. But the instant you lightly bump into that officer's car, they begin the manhunt, and several other cops within the vicinity who apparently have nothing better to do or no other crimes to stop will drop what they're doing to bring you to justice.
* GenreShift: This entry marks a pretty sharp step away from the over-the-top action and wandering of the previous games.
* TheGhost: The LCPD's database has files for most of the leaders of the various criminal organizations in the game. Across three games, there are many of them that you never encounter, such as Giovanni Ancelotti, Willy Valerio, Mary Valvona, Vincent Lupisella, Harvey Noto and Kenny Petrovic (who only appears in multiplayer missions).
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The Federal Investigation Bureau (FIB) and the National Office Of Security Enforcement (NOOSE) are obvious parody stand-ins for the FBI and Department of Homeland Security respectively.
* GrayRainOfDepression: After the final mission in the "Deal" ending.
* GuideDangIt: As with past GTA games, achieving full completion of the game (and its rather lame reward) involves completing a number of side-missions and "collectable pick-ups" that are virtually impossible to complete without some sort of map or guide. This includes the locating and shooting of 200 pigeons (aka flying rats), and also locating a number of so-called "random encounters" what involve tracking down individuals located across the map and located only by icons that appear on the radar when the player is nearby (and one, [[spoiler: Gracie]], doesn't even get an icon and relies on the player deciding to walk - not drive - down a certain street at a certain time). The game slightly averts this by providing maps indicating locations of the pigeons and random encounters on a fictional website included as part of the in-game Internet. However, the website only shows up in an e-mail after you complete the main storyline, and because it's a spam email most players are likely to delete it unless they know beforehand what it is. And the maps provided aren't 100% complete, either. The DLC's rectify the "random encounter" issue by making the icons easier to see on the map and you don't need to be on top of them, either.
** In the game, Niko can "date" five different women. While four of them can be found through either missions or clues given within gameplay, the fifth (Alex Chilton) is only found by those who spend the time to explore the in-game Internet, including the Craiglist parody Craplist and happen to find (hidden among many messages) a posting by her that invites response - or who learn of her existence through walkthroughs and guides.
* GuiltBasedGaming: Your friends will call and demand that you play minigames with them, and they'll get huffy if you turn them down or don't call them for a while. It is possible to avoid this friendship decline if you accept their offer and ''then'' cancel, but this makes no sense and [[GuideDangIt isn't listed in the manual]], and if you ''initiate'' the outing and then cancel (as opposed to them calling you), you are penalized.
* HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday: Brucie again.
* HaveWeMet: Due to [[spoiler:Michelle's betrayal in "The Snow Storm"]], Niko answers his phone this way.
-->'''[[spoiler:Michelle]]''': Hey, Niko, it's me.
-->'''Niko''': Yeah, who are you? Can you remind me?
* HideYourChildren: Potentially {{lampshaded}} by a red baby carriage found in the city.
** That baby carriage has been [[EasterEgg in every Rockstar game since]] ''{{Manhunt}}''.
** There are also a number of children's playgrounds visible around the city, as well as a skateboard park, but again, no kids. There are also no buildings in Liberty City or Alderney that are identifiable as elementary or high schools. Given the "kill anyone you want" nature of the game, and in light of things like the Colombine and Sandy Hook shootings, the absence of kids is most likely a major saving grace for the game, though the existence of the playgrounds is a bit eerie.
** There's also a yard full of broken down school buses near the Memory Lanes at Firefly Island. There are no drivable school buses however.
* HistoricalInJoke:
** The Lincoln Tunnel has been renamed The (John Wilkes) Booth Tunnel. Actually counts as two jokes in one, as John's brother Edwin Booth was an extremely famous New Yorker and naming the real tunnel after him would not have been out of the question.
** The Empire State Building has been named the Rotterdam Tower. Rotterdam surpassed New York as the world's busiest port in the 1980's.
** Not only that, but Liberty City's original (colonial) name was "New Rotterdam". [[BigAppleSauce It's real-life counterpart's]] original name was "New ''Amsterdam''" (which, just like Liberty City, was founded by Dutch colonists and then taken over and renamed by Great Britain). And for those who [[GlobalIgnorance don't know]], both Amsterdam and Rotterdam are major Dutch (trading) ports.
*** Also, one street of Liberty City is named after Petrus Stuyvesant. He was the last governor of the New Netherlands (including New Amsterdam) before the aforementioned British takeover.
*** Stuyvesant has real neighborhoods named after him in New York as well. Stuyvesant Heights is one part of the ([[DoTheRightThing in]])famous Bed-Stuy.
* HoneyTrap: [[spoiler: Michelle, aka Karen,]] although it's implied that the "honey" part is not her intention, and it's possible to progress her storyline without actually having "coffee" with her.
* HummerDinger: Given that most of the game's environment is composed of city streets, any off-road vehicle is practically this. Lampshaded by the "Player Image" stat, which describes the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin player's image]] based on the cars the player drives most. Should the player's favorite car be any one of the game's 4-Wheel-Drive SUV's, the corresponding image given will be "Soccer Mom".
** It should be noted that as in previous games in the series, SUV's start to show their worth in a combat situation. In something of an [[InvertedTrope inversion]] of MundaneUtility, their size and durability make them excellent protection from gunfire, and their mobility makes them good for getaways. Good to note considering the game [[AvertedTrope averts]] InVehicleInvulnerability.
* HypocriticalHumor: Vlad calls a begging drug-addict a "dead-beat crack head" only to get in his car a few seconds later and snort a line of coke.
* IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon: While the police in previous GTA games weren't difficult to deal with unless you were deliberately trying to piss them off, the cops in this installment are very aggressive from the get go. You are more likely to be spotted by cops whenever you do any sort of crime in the open because there are more cops walking around and driving compared to the previous games. When trying to elude the police, even if you escape the hot zone, the cops will spawn back up units in your direct path so that they can find you again and resume the chase. Cops will even shoot you on a one-star wanted level.
* IJustWantToBeLoved: Incredibly, Niko confesses this to [[AlphaBitch Alex Chilton]], who doesn't care. This is after a long speech describing the horror and brutality of war--who would have guessed Niko was [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds that scarred]]?
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War#War_crimes Well, it was a very horrible war.]]
* INeedAFreakingDrink: After making a point of avoiding alcohol throughout the game, Niko orders a vodka in "One Last Thing…" after [[spoiler: killing or sparing Darko in "That Special Someone".]]
* InfinityMinusOneSword: The Turismo is the [[LightningBruiser second fastest car in the game, has great handling, has a rear engine making it extremely crash resistant]] and is easy to get for a sports car whereas the fastest car in the game (The Comet) is so rare it becomes TooAwesomeToUse. There is even a spot next to Niko's safehouse in Algonquin where 4 of these are guaranteed to spawn for your storage. When allowed to use your own car for a mission you will find it more than enough for chasing down enemies and escaping the cops. It's also based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_360 Ferrari 360]] as an added bonus.
* InkSuitActor: Ricky Gervais and Katt Williams appear in the game, portraying themselves for some stand-up routines in a club in Algonquin.
** The voice actor for Niko, as well as several of the other voice actors (such as the real-life burlesque performer who voices Bluesy St. John) are also credited for motion capture.
* InSceneTitleText: During the opening credits.
* InsistentTerminology: Packie's brother is working with ''PE-4'', and ''not'' C4. PE-4 is the British Army equivalent of C4, and virtually the same thing.
* InstantDeathBullet: Averted. A lot of people you shoot on your way will eventually get up after a while.
** Unless you scored a [[BoomHeadShot head]] shot, in which case almost everyone plays this trope straight. Elizabeta herself does this during a cutscene.
* InstantWinCondition: Sometimes averted, such as when you kill a key NPC during a mission, then have to evade the cops. Sometimes played straight, such as killing a guy before they get too far away in a vehicle, thereby avoiding the long chase sequence you'd otherwise have to do.
* InsurmountableWaistHighFence: Averted in that Niko vaults over obstacles around waist height, and can grab onto the edge of and pull himself up anything higher.
* IntelligibleUnintelligible: Jacob and Niko. Lampshaded when Elizabeta calls Niko and tells him that Jacob is there and asks him to report to her immediately since she heard that apparently he can actually understand Jacob.
** Also Jacob and Badman, who is so unintelligible even Niko can't understand him and needs Jacob to translate.
* InterfaceScrew: Whenever you get drunk. It's so extreme that it's an effort to make Niko [[CantHoldHisLiquor take even a single step forward without falling over]]. To make matters worse, [[DrunkDriver try driving in this state]] (that is, if you don't mind getting a wanted level for this -- and if you think driving is hard, try ''evasive'' driving). The game encourages you to hail a taxi in this circumstance, but that's enough of a challenge in itself, and you're just as likely to end up under the cab as inside it.
* InterfaceSpoiler: The achievement/trophy for beating the Libertonian mission is "Impossible Trinity." When Johnny, your partner for that mission, was announced as the lead character for ''[[GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'', many gamers immediately recognized that Luis would be the PC in the 2nd expansion as he was the only character from that mission whose fate was ambiguous. [[GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony They were proven correct.]]
* {{Irony}}: A very dark variety, as well. If [[spoiler: you follow Roman's advice and try to reconcile with Dimitri at the end and take the Deal ending, Dimitri ends up betraying you again and kills Roman]]. If [[spoiler:instead you follow Kate's advice not to take the deal and instead decide to take revenge on Dimitri, Kate is shot in a drive-by]].
* TheIrishMob: [[FightingIrish Packie]], [[DrugsAreBad Derrick]], and [[MightAsWellNotBeInPrisonAtAll Gerry]] [=McReary=], as well as their associate [[RedShirt Michael Keane]] are gangsters from a family past its glory days. Their other brother [[OfficerOHara Francis]] is the [[NewYorkCityCops LCPD's]] [[DirtyCop deputy police commissioner]], and distances himself from them to preserve his reputation. Their youngest, [[GirlNextDoor Kate]] turns a blind eye to all of them, and busies herself by taking care of their aging mother, and [[MySisterIsOffLimits going out with Niko]].
* IronicEcho: The page quote. Roman greets his cousin with the line "Welcome to America!" At the very beginning of the game. Niko repeats these words to [[spoiler:Dimitri, just before you kill him, if you go with the "Deal" mission and Roman gets killed.]]
* IstanbulNotConstantinople: Broker not Brooklyn, Dukes not Queens, Middle Park not Central Park, Algonquin not Manhattan[[note]]both are names of Native American tribes in the Northeastern US[[/note]]. Alderney for New Jersey and Guernsey as a nickname for it ([[UsefulNotes/TheChannelIslands Alderney and Guernsey are neighbouring islands to "old" Jersey]]), the Humboldt River instead of the Hudson, Tudor instead of Elizabeth county (IRL named for a Tudor-era ruler), Booth Tunnel for the Lincoln, Happiness Island instead of Liberty, and the Rotterdam Tower instead of the Empire State Building... is there anything in Liberty City that ''doesn't'' follow this trope?
* {{Joisey}}: The island of Alderney.
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Niko himself was eventually revealed [[spoiler:to be a war criminal out to kill another war criminal]]. It is also implied that he had committed more horrific acts before the game started.
* [[JokeItem Joke Car]]: The [[http://www.grandtheftwiki.com/Dilettante Dilettante]] hybrid hatchback, which primarily exists to poke fun of compact hybrid cars marketed to America during the late-2000s. In addition to its undesirable outward look, the car's performance and durability are so weak that its $40k price tag seems more like a ripoff.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Bulgarin just disappears after the mission ''Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend'' and is never seen or fought again in the main game. Eventually subverted when he turn's out to be the BigBad of ''The Ballad of Gay Tony''.]] Also Niko himself if you just decided to [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential mass murder]]. Even if you don't do that, his murders of cops and to a lesser extent gang members would be rather horrendous if they happened in real life.
** [[spoiler:Michelle even doesn't get punished after she has betrayed Niko]]
* KarmicDeath: When Elizabeta's drug ring is about to get busted in the opening cutscene of "Have a Heart", [[spoiler:Manny shows up with his TV crew to do what he does best, manipulate the situation to make himself look good. Elizabeta finally snaps and gives Manny and his cameraman a faceful of lead for their troubles. ]]
* KeepingSecretsSucks: Packie and Kate openly lament the death of one of their brothers [[spoiler: either [[DirtyCop Francis]] or [[ButtMonkey Derrick]]]], all the while being kept ignorant of the fact that [[spoiler: Niko is the one who [[PayEvilUntoEvil killed]] [[ShootTheDog him]]]]. This bites hard considering you end up playing TheConfidant to both of them during Friendship Activities/Dates, and they talk at length about their [[BigScrewedUpFamily relationship with him]].
* KickTheDog: "I laughed when I heard that [[spoiler:your cousin]] died, Niko!" Yes, [[spoiler: Dimitri]] is a prick.
* {{Kneecapping}}: In the Revenge ending, Niko [[spoiler: shoots Dimitri in the knees before finishing him off with a [[BoomHeadshot shot to the head]].]]
* KnightTemplar: Manny.
* LargeHam: Brucie Kibbutz
* [[LethalJokeItem Lethal Joke Car]]: The Blista Compact is a tiny, two-door hatchback that is over twenty years old. Its handling and acceleration however, are far better than most other vehicles and even come close to rivaling the capabilities of more expensive, high-end sports cars.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: On some of the missions, a perfectly acceptable solution is to just call the police and let them shoot the bad guys for you. For example, one Most Wanted mission has you kill a gang that's hanging around an alley with a lot of cover. Unless you are really good at gunfighting, this can be a tricky mission. So, shoot a few cops, take their police cruiser, trigger the mission on its computer, and train the police officers right into the same alley. Alternatively, you can just call 911 and ask for the police. You can summon several cars depending on where you are calling them to.
** Once you reach a high enough friendship level with one of the characters, [[spoiler: Dwayne]], you can ask him to send a couple of gunmen to back you up. Although a few missions disable this feature intentionally, when it comes to the gang shootout mentioned above, and numerous other missions where Niko is outnumbered, the extra firepower can be a lifesaver.
* LightningBruiser: Despite the [[GTARadio in-game media]]'s [[TakeThat numerous references]] to the HummerDinger phenomenon, you will find [=SUVs=] to be a very valuable part of your gameplay, particularly in combat, since InVehicleInvulnerability has been averted. The best [=SUVs=] sport large frames that will protect you from gunfire and even make them reliable as DeployableCover, while retaining speed and handling for a quick getaway.
** The Huntley Sport fulfills the Hard-Hitting Speedster subcategory, with the fastest speed on an [=SUV=] and the ability to make perfect drifts; the gang and NOOSE variants of the Patriot are more of Fast-Moving Big Bruisers, being the largest [=SUVs=] in the game; while the Cavalcade fills the middle ground between the two.
** ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony The Ballad of Gay Tony]]'' introduces the Serrano, a tuned [=SUV=] that manages to outpace even the Huntley Sport, putting it on par with some of the game's sports cars.
** The better choppers introduced in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'' fill this role, particularly [[PlayerCharacter Johnny]]'s Hexer and Billy's Revenant, because they possess the speed and acceleration to match the lower-end sport bikes, but pack enough weight to keep the player planted in a crash, or even bat cars out of the way.
* LongerThanLifeSentence: [[spoiler:After she's arrested and judged, Elizabeta Torres is sentenced to 300 years of imprisonment for thirty charges (ten years each) of cocaine distribution. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by her voicemail, where she says she can't answer to the messages before the end of her prison sentence, and also by The Liberty Tree which mentions such sentence as a record for the Liberty City crime society.]]
* MacGuffin: A bag of diamonds and a large load of heroin drive much of the plot of all three games.
* MadeOfIron: Due to the more accurate physics of the game, Niko's ability to walk away from some things is pretty remarkable (like being hurled through the windshield in a crash, with the only thing stopping him being wrapped around the post of a gas station awning).
* MadLibsDialogue: The police scanner constructs sentences from single words, but also has complete pre-scripted speech. Gaps between words are easily dismissed due to nature of radio. There is also a variety of phrases to make chatter sound less mechanical (and plenty of sentences not used for the player, such as running a red light.)
* TheMafia: They show up later in the game, and (unlike their depiction in the ''III''' era) are depicted as weak and racked by infighting. [[spoiler: Ultimately, Dimitri plays them for fools.]]
* TheMafiya: Mikhail is their top guy in Liberty City.
* ManlyGay: Brucie. Even though [[ArmouredClosetGay he'll never admit it]].
** Is that what "genetically different" means?
* MeaningfulName:
** Dimitri Rascalov. [[spoiler:With a name like that, is it any surprise he stabs you in the back? Especially since it seems to be a nod to [[Literature/CrimeAndPunishment Raskolnikov]].]]
** Niko Bellic, "Niko" means "no-one" or something close in many Balkan dialects, while "Bellic-" is a Latin stem for things [[ShellShockedSenior related to]] [[OneManArmy war]]; i.e., bellicose.
* {{Meganekko}}: Mallorie, full stop.
* MightyGlacier: Pretty much all of the heavy duty trucks, like the Biff, Packer, Phantom, Benson, Yankee, etc.
** Even some of the lighter industrial/commercial vehicles like the Steed, Boxville, and Burrito count.
** Some of the civilian trucks and [=SUVs=], especially the Bobcat.
** Most of the NOOSE/LCPD trucks: Police Stockade, Prison Bus, and Enforcer.
*** The game's AwesomePersonnelCarrier ("APC"), deserves special mention. Despite being an armored personnel carrier, its often refereed to in-game as the "NOOSE Tank," because that's basically what it is. It's a tank shaped like an APC. Also it is ''definitely'' a glacier, its top speed is 69, and getting there takes quite a bit of patience, and a whole afternoon's worth of free time.
*** Also the DummiedOut "Brickade." Its a cross between an APC and an RV. It's a shame they didn't implement it.
** Among the bikes, most of the American choppers like the Freeway and the Zombie in particular fill this role, as they trade speed and acceleration for handling and weight, which allows the player to keep mounted in collisions.
* MilkingTheGiantCow: Florian/Bernie, to the point where his hands almost ''never'' go below his belt line.
* MoeGreeneSpecial: A couple of characters go down this way. One is {{lampshaded}} by a back-alley organ dealer, who complains about it since eyes can fetch a good price...
* MoodWhiplash: Niko Bellic is the most serious and tragic character in the series so far. At the same time the game is still full of juvenile humor. Niko reminiscing about the horrors of war in the Balkans doesn't go well with there being an internet cafe named TW@ around the corner.
* MoraleMechanic: The game featured lots of enemies that surrender when reduced to a single segment of health, somewhere between 5% and 10% of their total health.
* MoralityPet: Roman and Kate [=McReary=] for Niko, to a ''very'' limited degree.
* MortonsFork: The deal with [[spoiler:Dimitri]]. Take the deal, and [[spoiler:Kate leaves you ''and'' Roman gets killed]]. Instead opt to kill [[spoiler: Dimitri, and Kate gets killed in a drive-by.]] You're screwed either way, and true to the game's DarkerAndEdgier tone, that's the way it ''has'' to be.
* MuggingTheMonster: SerialKiller Eddie Low, the terror of Liberty City (body count: a dozen or so) attacks Niko Bellic, freelancer "problem solver" (body count: a couple hundred ''at minimum''). This action results in Eddie's swift death.
** Sometimes used if you crash into a random civilian's car, and they're stupid enough to run to your car, pull you out, and then attack you. Shooting at them will usually cause them to flee, but some civilians may be armed and will fire back at you. Of course, they're still no match for you.
* MyCarHatesMe: if you damage your car's engine enough it'll stall and become hard to start (eventually impossible), causing Niko to implore it to start in increasingly frustrated tones.
* MythologyGag: At one point, Vlad greets Niko by doing the gun-finger gesture and going "Bang, you are dead!" This was how Vladimir greeted ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'' in the first game.
* NarrativeFiligree: Setting aside the fact that this is a [[WideOpenSandbox sandbox game]], and thus is [[CaptainObvious expected to have such material]], the aforementioned trope is the (possibly only) appeal of the [[ScrappyMechanic much-maligned friend activities/dates]]. Over the course of said activities/dates, Niko will engage in ([[DeadpanSnarker often humorous]]) [[SeinfeldianConversation conversation]] with his friends/girlfriends, fleshing out not just the world and their characterizations, but his own as well.
* TheNewRussia and {{Ruritania}}: The actual locations never appear in-game, but there are frequent references made to them, and many of the main characters are from there (Dimitri Rascalov and the Faustins are from Russia, Niko and Roman Bellic are Serbian, and the Albanians are one of the major gangs).
* NinetiesAntiHero: Well, 2000s actually.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Gubernatorial candidate Michael Graves is a fairly obvious {{Expy}} of Fred Thompson - the line about his "many bit parts on television shows" is a dead giveaway.
** Tom Goldberg, the lawyer Francis [=McReary=] orders Niko to assassinate is roughly based off Jack Thompson, a lawyer and anti-violent video game activist. Goldberg even says Thompson's famous quote: "Guns don't kill people, video games do." when he's threatened by Niko.
* NoIndoorVoice: Brucie. If he yelled while speaking personally, that might not've been much of a problem, but he yells even while on the phone with you.
* NoPartyGiven: Despite the game's extensive mockery of the AmericanPoliticalSystem, the word "Democrat" is never used, and the only use of "Republican" is in the title of the show ''[[GTARadio Republican Space Rangers]]''. However, it can be inferred that Governatorial candidate John Hunter and Liberty City mayor Julio Ochoa are Democrats, while deputy mayor Bryce Dawkins, Governatorial candidate Michael Graves, and [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President Joe Lawton]] are Republicans.
** The word "Democrat" is actually used once in game, though it's kind of out of the way. If you search for the site whattheydonotwantyoutoknow.com, you will be brought to a site that shows where all the pigeons, text-order cars, hidden armor, health, and weapons are. Under the comments for the health, one states something to the effect of "The health was hidden by the Republicans for when the Democrats give everyone free health care."
* NonActionGuy: Roman.
* NotSoDifferent: [[spoiler:When Niko confronts Darko and asks him why he killed their army unit for only $1,000, Darko turns the tables and asks Niko how much he charges to kill someone. (Early in the game? $500. Though that was per person.)]]
** [[spoiler: Darko]]'s physical appearance also resembles that of Niko. It's actually quite creepy.
*** And the Name: Darko Brevic, Nico Bellic.
** Niko essentially says this to Dwayne when they first meet, telling him "You remind me of me."
*** Seems to be a running theme in the game: Francis [=McReary=] says, "I see a lot of myself in you," while his brother Derrick mumbles, "We're the same…"
* NotWorthKilling: Played straight when the cutscene first introduces Florian/Bernie. Niko seems to take pity on him instead, and later on befriends him, more or less. Can be played straight with some other NPC's, such as Dwayne's ex, or Ivan in one of the early missions. And later with [[spoiler: Darko Brevic, the man who Niko finds out was the real culprit in selling out and getting many of their friends executed. However, you can also kill him should you choose so.]]
* OneManArmy: Par for the course for the series. There's even an achievement called "One Man Army" for surviving five minutes on a six-star Wanted level.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. The leader of The Lost Biker gang is Johnny Klebitz and one of Ray Boccino's associates is named Johnny Spaz.
* OnlySaneMan: Dimitri, as opposed to Mikhail's AxCrazy.
* OptionalSexualEncounter: Played straight (like in [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]), but also subverted: [[spoiler:no matter how many times you ask, Kate will never sleep with you.]]
* OrphanedPunchline: At the beginning of "Waste Not Want Knots", courtesy of Packie.
* [[strike:Papa]] [[PapaWolf Cousin Wolf]]: Niko would sodomize a dog for you if it paid well, but do ''not'' [[BerserkButton harm]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge his]] [[OhCrap cousin]].
* ParkingProblems: Very subtly. Cars spawning in a parking lot seldom spawn directly within the lines of a parking stall. The developers could've been too lazy to line the cars up with the stalls, but knowing Rockstar it's more likely an extremely subtle way of mocking American drivers.
* PedoHunt: "Little Lacey Surprise Pageant" is a SchmuckBait site which the LCPD uses to lure in people searching for kiddie porn on the in-game internet. Visiting it gives you a 5 star wanted level.
-->'''Site warning''': Your IP address has been cataloged and an investigator will contact you soon. '''We See It All. We Know It All.'''
* PimpedOutCar: The aforementioned changes to the spawning patterns of gang cars in this game means that, occasionally, you'll find extensively modified versions of ordinary cars driven by gang members. However, some of them may slip into RiceBurner territory.
** Played very straight by the sport sedans, particularly the [[GenericEthnicCrimeGang Korean Mob]]'s Sultan and TheMafia's Sentinel. Both had excellent top speed, acceleration and handling for their class to begin with, but the gangs' modifications put them on near-sports car level.
** Some of the slower, more lumbering [=SUVs=] manage to be elevated beyond HummerDinger status through gang modifications, despite becoming more ostentatious. These include TheMafiya's Rebla and the [[GangBangers North Holland Hustlers]]' Patriot, which get a much-needed boost in top speed and acceleration.
** Unfortunately, some of these modifications are [[RiceBurner purely cosmetic]]. Especially disappointing are the [[TheCartel Spanish Lords']] fleet of cars, which is composed of the Cavalcade and the Primo. The former is already an excellent [=SUV=], but its only modifications are a custom paint job with gold trim and a sound system in the trunk. The latter is a terrible outdated sedan, now equipped with a useless spoiler and body kit.
* PityTheKidnapper: The kidnapping of [[RichBitch Gracie]] [[MafiaPrincess Ancelotti]].
* PlotArmor: If a major character is killed, they are OnlyMostlyDead and will later call Niko from the hospital. Rumor has it that minor girlfriends can be [[FinalDeath perma-killed]], as in ''San Andreas'' (may be due to a glitch).
* PlotlineDeath: The only way anyone stays dead [[DeathIsCheap permanently]].
* PoorCommunicationKills: In the cutscene that kicks off the Revenge mission/ending, where Pegorino tells Niko about the upcoming deal with [[spoiler:Dimitri]], Niko never bothers to explain to Pegorino the dangers of doing business with [[spoiler:Dimitri]] beyond an off-hand remark that "he and I have history." That oversight leads to a chain of events that culminates in [[spoiler:Kate getting killed]].
* PowerUpLetdown: Some of the abilities unlocked by keeping RelationshipValues up with friends and girlfriends come off as this. [[TheIrishMob Packie's]] [[ExternalCombustion car bomb]] is rarely useful outside of a few missions that allow you an open window to approach your target's car instead of the usual obligatory ChaseScene. Even more egregious is [[RichBitch Alex's]] ability to give you a discount on the clothes you buy, especially when compared to other girlfriends' abilities like [[HospitalHottie Carmen]] giving you [[RegeneratingHealth medical advice]] or [[HelloAttorney Kiki]] clearing your WantedMeter.
** Also, some may view the reward for HundredPercentCompletion, which is simply removing the maximum limit on ammo capacity as more than a bit of a letdown. Not that it isn't useful, but considering that it's a reward for completing the game, it isn't much. Also, saving and reloading the game causes all the ammo you collected over the original limit to disappear.
** On the other hand, Dwayne's ability to provide two gunmen as backup, although not always allowed by missions, is an undeniable life-safer on numerous occasions where Niko has to face off against multiple targets.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: Played pretty straight. Getting a headshot will result in a spray of blood proportionate to the weapon's damage, but no visible damage to the head itself.
* PrisonRape: Lampshaded. Niko claims that the "Prison Bitch" is a uniquely American concept.
* ProductionForeshadowing: There is [[http://gta.wikia.com/File:Gta-v-teaser-in-gta-iv-1.jpg a ride]] at the closed AmusementPark in [[TheCityNarrows south Broker]] that is set against a backdrop detailing the last few scenes in the ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV GTA V]]'' trailer.
* ProfessionalKiller: Niko explicitly refers to himself as a hitman. While the player can obtain [[WalkingArmory top-of-the-line weaponry for him]], dress him up in [[BadassInANiceSuit fancy suits]], have him acquire [[CoolCar high-performance sports cars]], and let him juggle up to [[TheCasanova four beautiful girlfriends]], at the end of the game, Niko is still a largely-anonymous, lonely, unfulfilled and ultimately irrelevant man just trying to survive, mostly by killing for a living.
* PunchClockVillain: Niko will do any job as long as it pays well, with a [[strike:0%]] 1% chance of him turning on you. [[PapaWolf Unless you try to hurt his cousin.]]
* PunnyName: The club Mikhail frequents is named Perestroika. As in Mikhail Gorbachev's Perestroika and Glasnost.
* PutOnABus: Appears to happen to Badman, who is introduced as a somewhat major character, and also appears as a "random encounter" but vanishes from the narrative early on. During a friendship outing Little Jacob appears to make some reference to what happened to Badman, but his accent is so unintelligible, it's hard to tell.
** Also happens to [[spoiler: Michelle/Karen]], who vanishes from the story soon after the [[spoiler: United Liberty Paper]] mission strand begins.
* TheRashomon: Several of the missions, most notably the Libertonian Shootout which features in the main game and both expansions as you play it from the three playable characters' different perspectives.
* RealIsBrown: VERY brown. Sometimes it gets so bad that the entire world gets whitewashed in an ugly grey tone.
** [[RealityIsUnrealistic Should be noted that NYC actually does look that way during certain times of day/seasons]]. The sunsets are particularly true-to-life.
** If you don't like this, you can turn the saturation all the way up, which adds a good deal of color to the game.
* RealityEnsues: The GPS which tells you how to get to your destination is paying attention to which streets are one-way, just like a real GPS would. You'll wonder why its always taking you two blocks out of your way, but when you try to skip directly to your destination you'll find traffic heading towards you.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: In the tradition set by San Andreas, the few dealings Niko has with high government officials are the few times he ''doesn't'' get screwed over. His contact at U.L. Paper has him do a couple jobs, including a BestLevelEver, and rewards him by finally setting up a meeting with the person he came to America to finally find all along as a farewell present.
* RedOniBlueOni: Mikhail is the hot headed, impulsive Red Oni and Dimitri is the cool headed, plan-making Blue Oni who tries to keep Mikhail from doing anything too stupid and/or ignoring his orders if it would be profitable to do so.
* RichBitch: Alex Chilton, who is a clear TakeThat at [[SexAndTheCity Carrie Bradshaw]]. Not to mention [[Creator/ParisHilton Cloe Parker]] and Gracie Ancelotti (while her name is a swipe at ParisHilton).
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: ''Hostile Negotiation'', as well as either possible final mission [[spoiler:against Dimitri in the Deal ending or Jimmy Pegorino in the Revenge ending (Dimitri having been taken out two missions earlier in ''another'' RoaringRampageOfRevenge).]]
%% TheScrappy is YMMV and goes on the YMMV tab. Do not add it to main pages.
* RuleOfCool: One of the stunt jumps requires you to clear the entire Hudson River.
* RunningGag: Niko teasing Brucie about his testicles. In one case when he hears Brucie's reaction after he fails an Exotic Export mission, Niko says, "Brucie, are your balls OK? You sounded real mad."
* ScarpiaUltimatum: [[spoiler:The UL Paper Company man forces Michelle to go undercover and maintain a relationship with Niko on threat of prison.]]
* ScaryBlackMan: The majority of black men Niko meets are decidedly non-scary (consisting of a Rastafarian pot dealer, a self-absorbed rapper, and a rich and somewhat weaselly player/Playboy), but Ving Rhames ringer Dwayne Forge is quietly terrifying when he's not in the grips of depression.
** Lil' Jacob's friend Badman might also qualify, due to being clearly unstable and [[TheUnintelligible nearly impossible to understand]], especially when he's agitated (which is often).
* SceneryPorn: Liberty City is simply gorgeous to look at, with incredible attention to detail, even in areas where missions would never take you. This is one game where spending time just looking around (preferably on foot) is a worthwhile pastime. Some of the most remarkable areas to view include Happiness Island, the observation level of the Rotterdam Tower, and the game's version of Times Square, which is very reminiscent of the real place (do not complete playing this game without visiting Star Junction at night during good weather and checking out all the signs).
** It looks even better in the DLC ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'' due to that game's richer color palette. Compare the observation deck of the Rotterdam Tower in the DLC with the rather drab version in the main game.
* ScriptedEvent: Several car chases you have to do are scripted to play out the exact same way every time. This means that if a target you are chasing isn't supposed to be killed just yet, their car will be immune to bullets and any car that they smash into will go flying while the chaser's car is perfectly fine since the scripted event isn't finished (this can look silly if the target is driving a sports car and they make an SUV flip over). The enemy driver will also have superior handling and will always stay ahead of you no matter how fast you are going until the game gives the all clear to kill the target. Likewise, other drivers that are a part of the scene will be scripted to drive a certain way every single time and they are movable brick walls, which means they can't get damaged or pushed, but you crashing into them can seriously wreck your car.
** Not necessarily so. You can kill the driver that is supposed to lead you to Dmitri or Pegorino in the final mission...of course, you fail the mission if you do.
* SearchingTheStalls: One mission climaxes with a guy you're chasing running in the bathroom and hiding. You have to shoot open stall after stall to get him.
* SerialKiller: Eddie Low. Somewhat parodied in that, despite the serial killer plotline taking up a huge chunk of the game's backstory and in-game news, it actually has no relevance to the main plot other than a couple of short, optional encounters, and Eddie's handful of murders pale in comparison to the hundreds of (relatively) unreported gangland killings caused by Niko alone (the strip club massacre, anyone?).
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll: Jimmy Gestapo, the DJ for the punk station [[GTARadio Liberty City Hardcore]], rants at length about the extremely hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle that he feels punk ''should'' be. Also, Iggy Pop, the DJ for the classic rock station Liberty Rock Radio, talks about how a lot of the best music was made on drugs, and bemoans the fact that fewer rockers nowadays use them.
* ShaggyDogStory: A lighter example in the form of the sub-plots, namely, [[spoiler:the whole diamond debacle, which was a massive waste of time for pretty much ''everyone'' involved. Multiple parties attempt to get the diamonds for themselves, and eventually some mook decides to drop the diamonds into a passing dump truck out of spite, so nobody gets it, since he's bound to die anyway. Niko and Packie discuss how it all went to shambles afterwards, and eventually decide the diamonds are probably better off in landfill anyway, since they seem to be ''incredibly'' bad luck...]] However, in a stroke of irony, [[spoiler:in ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'', it's Jerry Kapowitz, a local homeless, who manages to get his hands on them and end up with the spoils, even though he was not involved in any way, and never even knew of their existence!]]
* ShavingIsScience: Parodied with ads for the "Excelsior Extreme 9," a razor with nine blades. When seen on billboards, the thing looks like it will chew your face right off.
* ShellShockSilence: Occurs when an explosive ([[EveryCarIsAPinto or a car]]) detonates close to you, even if it does no damage.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Niko hints at his backstory through conversations. Amongst other things:
** He found his aunt raped and killed and saw eight of his closest friends lying dead in a ditch.
** He once entered a village to find 50 children all neatly lined up against a church - all dead, with their hands chopped off.
* ShesGotLegs: Bluesy St. John.
* ShirtlessScene: Courtesy of Brucie.
* ShootTheHostageTaker: [[spoiler:Roman gets kidnapped]] and you must rescue him, you finally find him used as a hostage by a Russian mobster. You must carefully aim for the Russian's head to free him.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/GrandTheftAuto All on this page.]]
* ShownTheirWork: Architecturally and visually, the resemblance of Liberty City to New York ranges from accurate to uncanny. Likewise, the careful attention paid to accurately representing some of New York's more obscure landmarks and neighborhoods, especially in the outer boroughs, takes Liberty City above and beyond as a NYC analogue.
* ShowWithinAShow: Or rather, show'''s'''; you can actually watch TV shows in this game.
** [[http://www.rockstargames.com/IV/#?page=republican&content=video0 Republican Space Rangers]] and [[http://www.rockstargames.com/IV/#?page=princessrobot&content=video0 Princess Robot Bubblegum]] among them, as well as a lengthy history of Liberty City.
** In addition, complete stand-up comedy routines by Ricky Gervais and Kat Williams can be viewed both on TV and in the Split Sides comedy club.
** The two DownloadableContent {{Expansion Pack}}s add additional episodes and comedy routines.
* SitcomArchNemesis: Roman's Arab cab driver absolutely ''despises'' Niko as a freeloader, and will spend the length of the ride berating you.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: The story is ultimately a commentary on the concept of the AmericanDream. Niko repeatedly points out the corruption in Liberty City and how it contrasts with the idealistic image America usually protrays itself as. But at the same there is an underlying message about how people can get a new life in America and that, while people in America can fail, they can also achieve greater individual success than in other countries, which Niko grudgingly comes to accept, making the whole thing seem optimistic overall. [[spoiler:Then the DownerEnding happens and the game goes crashing into the cynical side]].
* SmugSnake: [[spoiler:Dimitri Rascalov]]. Also Ray Boccino, who tries to be a [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] and fails miserably.
-->'''Niko:''' He's a rat doing an impression of a man.
* SociopathicHero: Niko.
* SplitPersonality: Bernie. Or Florian, at certain moments.
-->'''Bernie (to Niko):''' You understand me! Both of me!
* TheStarscream: Seems to be a recurring theme throughout the game. Besides eventual BigBad [[spoiler:Dimitri Rascalov]], you've got Playboy X, Francis [=McReary=], and Ray Boccino.
* StateSec: [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction NOOSE]] [[note]]The '''N'''ational '''O'''ffice '''O'''f '''S'''ecurity '''E'''nforcement[[/note]]; though they are based on the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposedly not this in RealLife, they fit this trope [[{{Dystopia}} in and because of the game's context]]. While serving as the game's [[IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon high-level law enforcement response]], it is also mentioned that they control customs and immigration matters, and were responsible for the [[BrokenBridge city-wide lockdown]] early in the story, hinting at their political power.
* StuffedIntoTheFridge: [[spoiler:Either Kate or Roman (depending on which ending you chose) in the penultimate mission, to give Niko motivation for his RoaringRampageOfRevenge in the final mission. They really stick it to you. Earlier in the game while driving with Roman, Roman talks about how it would be nice if you settled down with Kate, and he with Mallory. No matter what, you don't get that dream.]]
** Literally, in one of the subplot missions for [[spoiler:Gerald [=McReary=]. There's an Albanian stuffed into the fridge]], whose Clothes, Boots and Motorcycle you need (this is literally the title of the [[http://gta.wikia.com/I_Need_Your_Clothes,_Your_Boots,_and_Your_Motorcycle mission]]) to kill [[spoiler:an unimportant Ancelotti, Frankie Garone.]]
* SuperDrowningSkills: AI [=NPCs=] shoved into the water will tread water for a few seconds, then abruptly drown (despite their heads remaining above water the entire time). Averted, of course, by Niko.
** [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything If NPCs are pushed into water and there's a ladder nearby, they can and will swim to it and climb out.]] (though they stand just as good a chance of drowning before they make it).
* SupernaturalAid
* SurroundedByIdiots: Mob boss Jimmy Pegorino's main complaint throughout the story. Over the course of the last several missions, it becomes clear that Jimmy himself ain't the [[MixedMetaphor sharpest bulb in the race]] either.
* SwitchToEnglish: Very early in the game, Niko tries to speak to his cousin Roman in Serbian. Roman switches to English, because he has not spoken Serbian for so long that he has forgotten it.
* TagLine: "What does the American dream mean today?"
* TakeCover: The first GTA game to introduce a formal cover system. Aside from taking refuge behind the environment, you may also use vehicles as cover, though [[EveryCarIsAPinto you may want to be cautious about doing so]].
* TakeOverTheCity: Averted, and surprisingly so, considering how the [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity installments]] [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas that]] [[GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories directly]] [[GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories preceded]] it played out. At the end of the game, Niko is no better off, [[DudeWheresMyRespect influence-wise]], save for being responsible for the decline of two [[TheMafia criminal]] [[TheMafiya organizations]]. Some would even say he's worse off by [[DownerEnding the game's ending]] [[spoiler: no matter [[MultipleEndings which one you choose]].]]
* TakeThat: The entire game is one huge middle finger against elements of America - primarily the right wing, though the developers do get in a few shots against the left as well.
** A couple are taken at Jack Thompson, a lawyer famous for his anti-violent video game activism including campaigning against the ''Grand Theft Auto'' series. Tom Goldberg, the lawyer Francis [=McReary=] orders Niko to assassinate in "Final Interview" is said to be based off Thompson. He even says Thompson's famous "Guns don't kill people, video games do." line when he's threatened by Niko. Another reference to Thompson is made the offices of "Tom Jackson, Attorney at Law" in Alderney which was converted into a video games store.
* TakeYourTime: In a lot of missions, you can wander away from the action to go buy new guns, armor, and health and then return to continue the fight later.
** Inverted, however, by a few missions that have clearly defined time limits and/or fail if you stray too far from the target.
** Humorously averted early in the game where you're given a choice between meeting Michelle for a date and saving Roman from some Albanian thugs. If you go to Michelle, you'll get a phone call from Roman, who's livid that Niko chose a girl over his cousin. You'll then have to pick him up from the hospital. Of course, afterwards you'll get another phone call from Roman that he's in trouble ''again'', and you'll be able to do the mission normally.
* ThemeNaming: The east-to-west streets in Liberty City's version of Manhattan are named alphabetically (from south to north) after various chemical elements or minerals, similarly to how streets are named after letters in NYC. For example, the south-most road is Amethyst Street, the next one up is Barium Street, and this is followed by Calcium Street. This goes all the way up to Xenotime Street.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: If you should choose to [[spoiler: execute Darko]] towards the end of the game.
* ThereWasADoor: When stealing helicopters, Niko will smash the front window to open the door even if the sliding rear door is already wide open.
* ThisLoserIsYou: Independence Radio (the customizable music station in the PC version). "The future of American media! You... alone in a dark room, listening to music you stole off the internet."
* TitleDrop: The LCPD database gives Niko's criminal record as grand theft auto. The same is repeated for the player characters of the episodes.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: Jimmy Gestapo again.
* TrueCompanions: For all Niko's HurtingHero act and extreme existential depression, he attracts quite a group of crooks who he can honestly call friends, and vice versa. His cousin Roman, the pot smoking Rastafarian Little Jacob, [[ButtMonkey genetically different]] Brucie, FightingIrish Packie, and the [[{{Wangst}} depressing]] Dwayne, not to mention the mysterious figure from his past Bernie Crane. All of them can eventually become close enough friends with Niko to offer him their unique services, often tag along during missions outside of the ones they give him, and sometimes Niko even pulls out some of his [[WarriorTherapist psychology skills]] to show them even though they're all pretty screwed up, at least at the end of the day, they have him.
* {{Understatement}}: When Roman's kidnappers put a gun to Roman's head when Niko comes to rescue him, he [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htIwK9ml72I&t=03m54s points out]]: "This is not so good, cousin."
* UniversalDriversLicense: Niko can drive cars, boats and helicopters with ease. It's likely that he learned these skills during the war.
* TheUnfought: [[spoiler:Bulgarin]] again. [[spoiler:Until ''The Ballad of Gay Tony''.]]
* TheUnintelligible: Little Jacob at first, although you get used to his accent as time goes on. His friend Badman is even worse - even with subtitles he's difficult to understand, and Jacob has to actually ''translate'' for him even though he's technically speaking English.
** However, even if you get used to his accent, Jacob remains unintelligible in a number of key sequences, including, amazingly [[spoiler: one of the finale missions in which Jacob actually ''explains key plot points'' but without subtitles there's no way to tell what he's talking about.]]
** Badman is so difficult to understand partially because even though individual words are coherent, most of his speech in game is repetitive, angry, paranoid ramblings about rival gangs. This is also because Little Jacob and Badman are speaking completely separate languages. Little Jacob speaks Rastafarian English, while Badman is speaking Jamaican Patois. While both dialects of English, Little Jacob's dialect is a hell of a lot closer to anything you're likely to actually comprehend.
*** And of course, poor Niko, whose grasp of English is good, but imperfect, has it worse. He doesn't get to see the subtitles.
* UngratefulBastard: Clarence Little, a drug dealer that Francis wants dead. If you let him live you can find him in a random character mission later... [[spoiler:where he tries to kill you.]]
** Niko also sees Roman as this on occasion due to his penchant for continually getting into trouble forcing Niko to bail him out.
** Niko is seen as this by numerous characters [[spoiler: to his great sorrow at the end]].
* VengeanceFeelsEmpty: The TropeNamer. If at the end of the game you choose to kill Darko (that's what you wanted to do for the whole game), after being asked how he feels, Niko says "empty", as shown in the page quote.
* WaterIsDry: If Niko or any other character gets wet. Except for sometimes in the rain his clothes will get a wet sheen and Niko'll shake it off himself.
* TheWarOnTerror: Not an actual plot point, but it figures greatly into the game's [[{{Dystopia}} setting]] and is mentioned ([[ShallowParody and parodied]]) a lot in the [[GTARadio in-game media]], particularly on [[StrawmanPolitical right-wing]] broadcasts like WKTT radio and [[{{Fox}} Weazel News]]. If you're attentive enough to listen to police chatter, [[FridgeBrilliance you'll notice]] that whenever you [[StuffBlowingUp detonate an explosive]], the dispatcher always puts out a warning for [[WrongGenreSavvy "possible terrorist activity"]].
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Manny Escuela seems genuinely concerned with cleaning up the streets, but at the same time he's homophobic, addicted to publicity and not above manipulating Niko to make himself look good.
* WhamLine: For many, Niko's simple summary of his military experience in the Yugoslav wars.
--> "It ruined me."
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Ray Bulgarin. [[spoiler:Killed by Luis in the final mission of ''The Ballad of Gay Tony''.]]
** Count on [[spoiler:Michelle]], too, after [[spoiler:introducing to her boss]].
* WhatTheHellHero: Roman gives Niko a hell of a heartbreaking one after a series of questionable decisions by Niko [[spoiler: leads to Roman's apartment and business being burned to the ground.]] Niko's done nothing but complain about life in America not being as sweet as Roman made it out to be, and Roman has to spell out to Niko that it took him ''a year'' starting from nothing to get a shitty apartment and cab business, making Roman ''actually successful at the American Dream'' or at least on his way to genuine success, [[spoiler: until Niko came along and ruined everything within a week of being there.]] This doubles as an extremely successful WhatTheHellPlayer, as you can't help but feel bad having done the usual GTA thing as soon as you set foot in the city, acting like you owned the place while the people there were leading mostly fine lives until you came along.
** Which is rather hypocritical by Roman [[spoiler: as basically 3/4s of the plot revolves around Niko having to move Hell and Earth for gangsters all over town because of Roman's gambling problem. If Niko hadn't showed up, Roman would have lost all his property anyway and possibly ended up SleepingWithTheFishes.]]
* WholeCostumeReference: In keeping with Niko's [[{{Expy}} resemblance]] to Sasha from ''BehindEnemyLines'', there is an ensemble you can purchase from the [[RussianFashion Russian Shop]] that is a dead ringer for Sasha's tracksuit. [[http://images.wikia.com/gtawiki/images/0/0d/NikoBellic-GTAIV2.jpg Compare.]]
* WideOpenSandbox: For the most part. Although ''IV'' has been criticized for having things like friends constantly phoning you for dates, and there are numerous missions that are automatically triggered by phone calls when you want to do them yet or not, for the most part Niko is free to roam the city, take in shows, go bowling, get lap dances, have sex with hookers, and go hunting pigeons, at his leisure. Although you still can't avoid mandatory mission phone calls, the game provides a simple workaround regarding outing requests from friends (simply accept the outing, then call back immediately and cancel the plans without penalty).
** Or better yet, just put the phone in sleep mode if you just want to roam the city for a while. Unless you use the phone again, you'll be able to roam about without your friends calling you all the time.
* XMakesAnythingCool: Playboy X.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: Brucie's website keeps reminding you to BE GENETICALLY DIFFERENT by [[CompletelyMissingThePoint modding cars, using steroids, becoming fit, getting plastic surgery, buying fancy clothes, etc.]]
* YourMom: What Niko says to a mook who kidnaps him in "Crime and Punishment". It's also a rare "your dad" variation.
* YouNoTakeCandle: Niko sometimes. Understandable with English not being his native language. His cousin, Roman however, has a much better grasp at it due to being in American longer than him.
* TheYugoslavWars: Niko is a veteran of these.
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