Ever wonder why in free-roaming crime games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row the world is always portrayed as very cynical, greedy and generally crapsack? Because there is no other way to explain why the protagonist can waltz into a store and walk out with a rocket launcher, get away with killing thousands of cops, soldiers and civilians with nothing more but a fine and a slap on the wrist, and generally get away with anything. In a more balanced, sane, and realistic world the player would be jailed and probably executed lickety split.
This is further collaborated by the simple fact that you can ram vehicles off the road even in front of the police and they don't do anything unless you happen to bump into THEM. Then there's the fact that they don't investigate murders and will only go after you if they witness you doing the act since they have to pretend they care so that the public doesn't catch onto their corruption.
In fact, most Japanese crime sandbox games shows what happens when murder was committed, it is taken quite shockingly by all sides. Hell cop fighting is not encouraged in Yakuza or Kenka Bancho let alone murdering policemen.
Also, the health care system in Grand Theft Auto has been made universal to the point that health kits lie outside hospitals!
While the Grove Street families are obviously against hard drugs like crack, they're perfectly fine with at least marijuana. This makes a LOT more sense when you realize San Andreas is basically a parody of California, which, in real life, is the state that's most involved in the debate of legalizing marijuana!
Hell, Grove Street is probably fine in dealing drugs, but due to recent events and fearing dealers undermining their gang, they have taken a no drug dealing policy until the situation improves.
The world of Grand Theft Auto IV is like the rest of the series, a cynical, greedy crapsack. But is this how the world actually is? Or is it really from Niko's viewpoint? A foreigner who finds himself exploited and manipulated by the establishment, suffering from a severe case of culture shock? The DLC's even support this idea. The Lost And The Damned is much darker in both tone and viewpoint, with muted colors and a noticeable film grain, likely reflecting Johnny's disillusionment with his rough and tumble lifestyle and its shifting loyalties. The Ballad of Gay Tony conversely is much brighter, with brighter colors in both the interface and in general, but is also much crazier, like it lacks any of the inhibitions of Niko and Johnny's world and has a greater emphasis on flying. Sort of like how Luis finds himself as an every-man in a high-flying world of the drug and alcohol abusing wealthy, who can't keep their desires and urges in check and lack self-control.
How can the game claim your character hasn't killed anyone except when on a rampage? During the transition, you are in a power fantasy like state. Dreaming about the money you never earn from random things like random acts of vigilantism to acting a paramedic for a someone else hoping to get a day off work to going on a rampage as that little "Revenge Fantasy" running through your mind.
Why does simply bumping a cop car cause them to chase you? Because the police recognize you from your bigger criminal exploits.
For a while it bothered me how you can literally earn bucketloads of cash in GTA 3 just from destruction and carnage, and the early employers give you $1000 just for dropping someone off, when there isn't really anything to spend it on except weapons and pay and sprays (which start to lose their worth after you get weapons and bribes free of charge at your hideouts). Compared to later games that have better things to buy like safehouses, vehicles, more weapons not available at hideouts, and even clothes, but money is much harder to get (from vice city onwards a lot of story missions don't even reward cash, and you don't get money just from crashing cars anymore, and missions pay substantially less). Then it hit me, money in GTA 3 is next to useless, further widening the existing class gaps. There's so much counterfeit money going around that the american dollar has essentially lost it's value. So someone like Claude can roll onto the city for the first time, rake up a million dollars easily through any available tasks, but still remains poor and struggling to survive.
Why the Liberty City and San Andreas in HD Universe are completely diferent from their 3D Universe counterpart? Well, since IV's 2008 is 7-years after III's 2001, and V's 2013 is 22 years after GTA:SA's 1991. So that makes sense that the developments have been involved in accelerating rates.
Seeing that GTA universe is a Crapsack World copy of ours..., what happen to the rest of the world? Considering that all games mentions a Australian-American War, this can be very scary.
Since the in-universe lives of the pedestrians are unknown to the players, this could mean that killing anyone could have deep effects in other people's lives. One could be a single mother with a newborn child or a person helping his sick relatives. This can be applied to technically all open world sandboxes that allow to kill pedestrians.