In the series-defining GTA 4, Niko Bellic is a one-man army with the war background to back up his bravado.
While seemingly a cold-blooded killer at his core, Niko has warm layers underneath. Every memorable scene from GTA 4 deals with his inner conflict - he tries to find peace with his violent nature. These tragic circumstances are what made Niko a compelling person.
GTA 4 players will fondly remember his iconic moments. Given the stronger narrative of the game, Niko's best scenes are related to dialog. That's not to say he doesn't hold his own during missions. GTA 4 is an action-packed game with cinema-quality lines sprinkled throughout.
Five Niko Bellic moments in GTA 4 that define his character
#5 - He brings up his dark past to Roman
When Niko arrived in Liberty City, he expected more than a cockroach-ridden apartment from Roman. GTA 4 sets the stage for his inevitable disappointment with life in general. He decides now is the time to tell his story.
Niko delivers a somber narrative of his war-riddled past. He goes on about how men die young for the sake of powerful older men. It's surprisingly introspective for a GTA title, especially with dark subject matter.
Having probably heard the story a million times, Roman has the audacity to fall asleep. The scene abruptly goes from dead serious to flat-out hilarious in a matter of seconds. Niko's incredulous response to Roman is good for a laugh.
#4 - Niko finally reveals why he is in Liberty City
After Niko finally takes care of Vladimir Glebov in GTA 4, Roman asks why he went to Liberty City in the first place. It's obvious Niko is unable to escape the criminal lifestyle he grew up with.
Niko placidly reveals he is a man on a mission. He wants to find out who betrayed his old squad from several years ago. With a few suspects in mind, he went to Liberty City to find them.
Roman is none too happy to hear about this now, considering he fears retribution from the Russian Mafiya.
#3 - He is betrayed by Michelle
Love really does pull at the heartstrings. Niko really thought he had something special with his girlfriend Michelle. It turns out she was an undercover agent. By playing with his emotions, Michelle was able to force Niko into working with the International Affairs Agency (IAA).
During the GTA 4 mission Snow Storm, Niko had to retrieve coke from rival gangs. It's already a difficult mission, given the number of enemies that need to be dealt with. Escaping law enforcement isn't any easier.
However, everything GTA 4 players do here is for nothing. Michelle ends up taking the coke for herself. He delivers a gut-wrenching performance, with his voice completely distraught with anger and sadness. Niko loses a girlfriend, but at least he doesn't lose his life.
#2 - Niko robs the Bank of Liberty
When the McReary family decided to steal a million dollars from a bank chain, they made their mark in GTA history. The events of Three Leaf Clover are brought up repeatedly by GTA 5 characters. Niko was able to pull off the heist of the century.
Along with Patrick and Derrick, Niko must blast his way through seemingly the entire police force of Liberty City. Three Lear Clover is one of the most exciting missions in GTA 4, so much so it directly inspired the heists in later games.
Niko will take down attack choppers and put bullet holes in the bodies of several officers. This is Niko at his most dangerous. He is like a cornered rat trying to make his escape from a hungry cat.
#1 - He finally confronts Darko Brevic
“Life is complicated. I killed people. Smuggled people. Sold people. Perhaps here...things will be different.”
Niko seemingly cannot let go of his past, despite trying to walk away from it multiple times. He finally gets what he's looking for in the penultimate mission That Special Someone. Niko gets to confront Darko Brevic, the man who betrayed him and his entire squad.
It's a tear-jerking scene, as Niko realizes all his friends died for a paltry sum of money. The drug-addled Darko harshly criticizes Niko for being no different than he is. Sadly, his statement is partly true. While Niko does have a sense of honor, he isn't above dirty jobs for the right price.
Whether the GTA 4 players kill or spare Darko, it's one of the strongest moments in the story. Either way, Niko will feel nothing. He can't even bother to listen to a radio station afterwards.
Niko goes for a drink after this mission, which is one of the rare times he does so by his own volition.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.