Grand Theft Auto IV is a brand new adventure in the GTA universe following the experiences of Nikolai "Niko" Bellic, a new immigrant from an undisclosed eastern European country whose troubled past and the persuasion of his cousin Roman have brought him to the fictional Liberty City. Unfortunately, Niko?s search for the American Dream and a much needed fresh start, hits an immediate snag when the rags to riches story Roman spun to pique Niko's interest is exposed as not only a complete fabrication, but a ploy to enlist Niko?s well-known skills as a tough guy against the ample list of enemies clamoring for Roman?s debt-ridden blood.
Because Roman is the only person Niko knows in Liberty City he begrudgingly accepts his role as Roman?s protector despite the deception. But as time goes on Niko comes into his own, and his experience on the wrong side of the tracks proves more valuable than he could have ever imagined as he fights for survival and later supremacy on the crime ridden streets of Liberty City.
Based on several of the boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey, Liberty City, familiar to players of previous games in the series, has been entirely redesigned for GTA IV. Players can expect visible detail down to the weeds growing in the cracks in the sidewalk, cars and buildings of visibly different ages and a much greater level if verticality in the buildings and bridges that they are able to explore as Niko moves through the city streets. In addition, pedestrians in GTA IV are much more realistic. No longer simply moving cardboard cutouts, these NPCs are intelligent, modern, human representations that laugh, cry, eat, drink, use cell phones and ATMs, and talking amongst themselves regardless of Niko?s interaction with them.
Historically GTA games have focused heavily on mission-based play, requiring successful completion of fixed tasks in order for players to progress through the game, but this has changed to a great extent in GTA IV. Players will experience an entirely new and exciting emphasis centered on the blending of on-mission and off-mission play, resulting not only in an increased sense of realism, but more interesting and unrestricted gameplay.