RPS Asks: Your Mod Recommendations?

By Jim Rossignol on October 26th, 2009 at 3:06 pm.


For any game, of any genre, at any age: just make sure it’s available to download. Recommend us mods, tell us why they are great, and why should we play them. Should they be featured on RPS? Should they, like Air Buccaneers, be pulled from death and made to live again? You are their champions: speak your mods!

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214 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    Garry’s Mod. I kid, I kid.

  2. aq2 says:

    Action Quake2.

    • RogB says:

      +1
      loved it. not sure how it would hold up today but in its day it was superb.

  3. Joe Martin says:

    The Hidden: Source.

    Old, I know – but I frikkin love that game.

  4. Acidburns says:

    Darkest Hour for Red Orchestra is fun. Plenty of decent servers and almost as active as Red Orchestra itself.

  5. Icarus Tyler says:

    The Hidden: Source for HL2

    I still manage to shit my pants whenever I play it.

    /edit
    Oh it has been mentioned before. well, it’s a good game :-)

  6. DMJ says:

    I have no mod to suggest, but you have my mouse! I pledge to join the fray in any mod I have the means to play.

  7. AndrewC says:

    Explaining why you picked a mod would help those of us just spectating too!

  8. Carter says:

    A million times Dear Esther, find myself muttering lines from that occasionally

  9. McGhee says:

    L.U.R.K. for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Minerva for HL2. Butter for toast.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    A Dance with Rogues (And part 2)

    It was Mod of the Year 2006 on Neverwinter Vault. But it is significant beyond that, because it is, to my knowledge, the only good porn game in existence. As in, it contains good porn, is a good game, and manages to combine both. It is written by a woman, so it contains some scenes that might be turn-offs, (rape…) and since it is done with Neverwinter Nights 1, it looks like crap. (triangle tits) If you can ignore that, it gets way better towards the end. Especially once you get a party going.
    Also, it is just a good RPG. You know, interesting characters, interesting choices to roleplay your character, very rewarding exploration, and huge in scale. Reminds me very much of Hordes of the Underdark.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Project “throw stones at tanks” Reality, approach it like it was a rival to arma 2 rather than merely a mod to battlefield 2.

    PR is about to hit the 0.9 milestone which adds among other things single player missions and the isdf.

  12. Frans Coehoorn says:

    I finally reinstalled Freelancer and added a few mods in it. The Discovery (multiplayer) mod is pretty awesome since you get a shitload of new ships, solar systems and groups to fight against. It also has updated graphics, more goods to transport and quite a few players who are still playing it right now, years after its release. Freelancer, even the vanilla version, hasn’t aged a lot actually as it stil looks and plays fine. Definitely worth a shot.

  13. Papa Voodoo says:

    I do have a soft spot for Dark Star for Half Life.

  14. Mr T says:

    Battlegrounds 2 and Resistance and Liberation are to great mods for half life 2.

  15. Blob-stuff says:

    ThieveryUT!

  16. Lambo says:

    Research and developement is a spectaularly well done singleplayer mod.

    Pirates Vikings and Knights is some of the best multiplayer deathmatching I’ve done in ages.

    And I would also go crazy for some Hidden: Source action as would a ton of other people as is apparant by the above reccomendations.

    There are tons more but those are the 3 that come to my mind at the moment. If you haven’t heard of or played any of those you are really missing out.

    • Lambo says:

      I’ve decided to go into more detail on each of these for clarification

      Research and developement. Its the cleverest, funniest and most “actiony” game, where you don’t ever hold a gun I’ve played, since Portal. Great puzzles, great cutscenes, and you get to make a blackhole out of a microwave. Yes. I haven’t giggled so hard at a source game in years. Great game.

      PVK2. When a pirate named JIHAD sets a barrel of gun powder on fire and runs at a group of medival knights, screaming “For the booooooooty!” over the voice chat and detonates, killing them all including himself. You know you have a great game. I don’t know what else to add really. Its just stupendously funny team deathmatch that has a parrot you can use as a weapon. Why aren’t you playing it now!?

      Hidden: Source. There will be a ton of people going on about this I’m sure.

      But the reason I love it is because of that feeling of utter satisfaction you can only get by hearing one of the Iris Team walk into a room and involountarily cry out over voice chat. when he realises in this this order

      A) That he is alone
      B) All his comrades’ corpses dangling from a wall above his head
      C) He is being pelted by boxes from a foe he can’t see
      D) He just heard the clicking sound indicating that he just wasted the last of his ammo shooting at thin air.

      Getting that wail of terror, THAT is a goal worth striving for in gaming. I’ve never felt so amazingly evil as when I dropped down from the ceiling onto that poor soul and ended his suffering for that round in a explosion of blood and gibbed body parts.

  17. fulis says:

    Obvious ones are Open Falcon and FreeFalcon for Falcon 4.0
    Some of the biggest mods for any game ever

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      I tried FreeFalcon 5 for a bit, but had to go back to Allied Force — the bugs were completely intolerable. Which is too bad, because I was starting to like the 6DOF TrackIR, etc. Hopefully they can sort that out “soon” (in Falcon terms).

      I don’t recall much about FF4 or OF, though. It’s been years since I tried them out.

  18. Krondonian says:

    It’s still early days and the released version was just a tech demo basically, but Airborn for UT3 certainly looks amazing.

    It’s basically a consoley 3rd person action game, and made by professional developers. Worth a download just to see what can be done in a UT3 mod.

    Also, the Haunted is probably the most complete mod I’ve played for the the same game, though not to my taste.

    • Krondonian says:

      Actually, just remembered Matto 4 and the Delta Sector for Far Cry I was really impressed by a while ago. I think RPS has mentioned the latter before though. I just hope Crysis spawns some mods of equal quality.

  19. nayon says:

    The Hidden: Source again.

    It is a really fun mod, and it is really tense. The mod is basically about a squad of a few men against an experiment-gone-wrong guy who is nearly invisible, think the predator. he only has a knife and two bombs, while the squad has advanced technology, but the environments are usually very dark, and the hidden has super speed and can regenerate health by eating the corpses of the guys he’s killed. Also, the regular “A has killed B with a shotgun” announcements that appear in the upper right hand corner in all HL2 mods do not appear, so you do not know who is alive or dead. It’s one of the best mods out there.

    Also, Unnecessary Violence for Oblivion. It adds the ability for true dual wielding, lots of new animations, parrying, kicking, taunting, throwing your shield, javelins and throwing them, and much more. Basically adds lots of depth to the combat system.

    Kreedz Climbing for HL2 is fun-ish. It’s just a running and jumping stunts game which requires perfection, or near-perfection. It’s kind of weird.

  20. Tei says:

    Tremulous for.. hee… Quake3?

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Seconded. Though it’s a standalone game now, rather than a mod; they packaged it up with a (modified?) Q3 engine.

      It’s totally open source and cross-platform, too. One of the few FPSes to run on Linux (without Wine) these days.

  21. Leeks! says:

    Age of Chivalry for HL2. By all accounts kind of a crappy game, but get a group of like-minded ne’er-do-wells together (especially if you can swing a Vent server) and there is nary a better time to be had. It’s one of those games where, for whatever reason, the awkward animations, clunky controls and spastic movement speed all convalesces into something weirdly compulsive.

  22. mrmud says:

    Imperial Splendor for Empire: Total War.
    Takes a completely broken game and makes it slightly more playable but more importantly adds tons of (historically based) variation between the different factions. No more carbon copies.

  23. Vitalis says:

    Natural Selection!
    Pretty sure you’ve mentioned it in articles so I think you’re very aware of it.

    Science & Industry-
    Really liked this mod but last time I check (long time ago) it had unceremoniously died.
    I remember it being really fun and amusing with some strange and interesting mechanics…

    • MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

      I’ve got to agree that Science & Industry is amazing, it’s probably one of the games I most regret missing out on when it was popular online (along with Tribes). It’s not completely dead though, the Steam community group schedules fairly regular games at least once or twice a week with a decent mix of crazy skilled veterans and less experienced players ( http://steamcommunity.com/groups/SImod ).

      Also I have to mention Dystopia, because it’s pretty much my go-to multiplayer game and has been for a good few years. It’s certainly not hugely accessible or newbie-friendly but it’s really quite deep and rewarding, and has a pretty successful community-run competitive scene ( http://www.dystopia-league.net/articles/show/29 ).
      And it’s on Steamworks! It still has a few populated servers most of the time though, so perhaps effort should go into something else awesome that’s just not played any more.

    • surprise says:

      +1 for Natural Selection.

      Just seeing how well a combination of FPS and RTS works is awesome.
      It is just so well executed and oh so athmospheric.
      Hearing the aliens skulking and lurking in the vents, a group of heavily armed players making a push deep into enemy territory, sneaking up a phase gate to teleport marines to the alien hive to take it down in secret to swing the game.
      So many memorable memories.

      Quote from the developer:
      I’m excited to get back to my first love. Aliens and high-powered weaponry – Flayra

      What is NOT to like? ;-D

  24. Richierich says:

    Papa Voodoo; I second that. Also the same guy’s later mod, the They Hunger trilogy for HL2.
    Particularly the second episode.

    AirFight UT was one of my favourite ones for the first Unreal Tournament. No idea if anyone has made anything similar since. Plus there was a nice WW2 mod for UT. The name of which escapes me.

    I’m hoping that Black Mesa (Source) will be in my list soon. I hope I hope I hope.

    Also, I wish there were half as many mods for Supreme Commander as there were for Total Annihilation. The Soviets vs NATO one was the best.

    Myth 2 had a fantastic WW2 mod that made it into a tactical RTS. Albeit an extremely difficult one.

  25. Qjuad says:

    Derelict for Freespace 2 – honestly, I thought it had a better story than the main campaign.

    • Fergus says:

      Definitly +1 to the Derelict mod to Freespace 2, seems like a copout to say ‘if you liked Freespace 2, you’ll love this’ but there’s really nothing else to it, as it also manages to capture the same kind of tense mood of the origional.

  26. chimpyang says:

    Project Reality for BF2 – or Forgotten Hope 2.2?

    • Elos says:

      Forgotten Hope 2 may be the best mod I’ve ever played. It’s a great balance between gameplay and realism and brings back the good old WW2 tools in favor of the modern crap. Somehow it just works better when there isn’t any self-guiding missiles, assault rifles and jets.

  27. Senethro says:

    Air Buccaneers was fun enough that I think we should resurrect it one year on for Summer 2010.

  28. army of none says:

    The custom “Ulio” campaign for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings.

    Werivar mod for the game Notrium.

    Unreal Tournament 4 Ever for the original UT.

    Battlegrounds 1 and 2 for the HL series.

    Usable Firearms for Arcanum.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      Ulio was indeed a great piece of work.

      Most of Ingo van Thiel’s campaigns were really really good, and Ulio was the best one. I wonder what game he moved to after AoE 1 and 2.

  29. Joe Martin says:

    They Hunger series for HL1 by Neil Manke too.

    Whatever happened to his plan to bring Dead Days to HL2?

    /goes to google, stops giving you guys all my ideas ;)

    • EaterOfCheese says:

      +1 to They Hunger.

      I also dig Ultima V Lazarus – remake of classic ultima5, awesome rpg.

    • HidesHisEyes says:

      I was going to say They Hunger. Especially once it’s worked in to Sven Co-op.

      Also, sven c-op.

  30. CMaster says:

    I’m a big fan of Synergy for HL2. Not only has it come on in leaps and bounds and makes for solid (if not perfect) cooperative play, you can also play other mods with it. So you can coop through Minerva:Metastasis, Riot Act, Rock24 and Toronto Conflict as well as HL2, Ep1, Ep2 and a variety of custom maps. I also run a server that I’d happily make RPS community for a couple of weeks.

    Eternal Silence is a truly fascinating project. It suffers (last I played anyway) from poor “ground” combat but you have to admire what it is trying to do and the fun of the space combat.

    Dystopia is the closest thing I’ve seen yet to Deus Ex MP. Sadly not very close and goddamn hard to get into, but nifty all the same.

    Going back a bit, I used to love The Opera for HL1. I know The Specialists was always more popular, but The Opera just had that much more style and sense of knowing what is was, as well as using original content rather than mostly stolen stuff. I even have the Alpha of The Opera for HL2 sitting around (cue Dan “Myre” Lawrence). I also thought Heart of Darkness was a great SP mod, even with it’s weird zombie apoc meets vietnam war setting.

    Something I don’t know much about but would love to see some RPS coverage of is Civ IV mods. With the python scripting, you can make some dramatic changes to the game. While I only dabbeled a little bit I’ve seen mods that made it into more of a tactical combat game. I’d imagine you could make a good tac-RPG using Civ IV too. I’d love to see that sort of thing covered.

    • Dan Lawrence says:

      Zoing!

      If I’m honest though, AHL was always better as a polished game experience than The Opera. Though I think we had some good ideas which are still waiting to be *properly* realised (Stranglehold, Mirrors Edge, Wet, Mad World haven’t quite nailed it yet)

      Unfortunately Quinns already covered AHL on here so there’s not much more to say.

  31. RaptorRed says:

    The FreespaceSCP and associated The Babylon Project mod , one of the best space shooters made better.

  32. Wilson says:

    Blitzkreig II by Derelict studios is an excellent WW2 total conversion for C&C Generals: Zero Hour. Only downside is that the AI isn’t great and it’s tricky to find a game.

  33. TJ says:

    3rd vote for the BF2 mod Project Reality. It’s been moddb.com mod of the year a couple of times i think, plays like a hardcore soldier sim but with the easy interface & voip comms of BF2. Destructable buildings, 4km sq maps, tons of vehicles & guns…

    http://www.realitymod.com/

    HL2 mods are quicker to get up & running, so something like Action HL2 is another one worthy of RPS exposure:

    http://www.ministryofaction.net/ahl2/screenshots.php

  34. TJ says:

    3rd vote for the BF2 mod Project Reality. It’s been moddb.com mod of the year a couple of times i think, plays like a hardcore soldier sim but with the easy interface & voip comms of BF2. Destructable buildings, 4km sq maps, tons of vehicles & guns…

    http://www.realitymod.com/

    HL2 mods are quicker to get up & running, so something like Action HL2 is another one worthy of RPS exposure:

    http://www.ministryofaction.net/ahl2/index.php

  35. madtyson says:

    Renegade X, it’s still beta, but very well done and brings back the old renegade-multiplayer feeling

  36. Jaedar says:

    The Nameless Mod for Deus Ex.

    Because it is pretty much as good as the original game.

  37. Hermit says:

    Dystopia is still my personal favourite HL2/Source engine mod.

  38. acer says:

    Jedi Academy Duel Masters MOD

  39. Mungrul says:

    RTC3057 for Doom is absolutely brilliant
    http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?id=12747

    Action Doom brings Contra-style gameplay to Doom
    http://action.mancubus.net/actiondoom/

    Zerstorer for Quake is also brilliant
    http://shotgun1.shackspace.com/zer/index.html

    Nehara is another great Quake mod, but I’m having trouble finding a link at the moment.

    Of those listed, I strongly recommend checking out RTC3057. It’s genuinely brilliant, making you see the old favourite in an entirely new light.

    Also, if you wanted to play Doom over the interwebs in a manner similar to most modern manshooters, do yourself a favour and give ZDaemon a shot. It rocks.
    http://www.zdaemon.org/

    • Spacewalk says:

      RTC is just fabulous. It may be a short experience but that just means you can quickly start over again and keep playing.

    • Tye The Czar says:

      I concur. Skulltag is a better multiplayer client. I had problems with the resolution and connections. Also, I have no idea on how to install mods on anything.

  40. JohnArr says:

    I played The Hidden once and it was rubbish, but i think someone was cheating cos there was this invisible guy and people kept exploding and these guys were running around with massive night-vision goggles. 7/10

  41. apa says:

    - Action Quake. Back in the day that was the reason I got the first 3d accelerator. The levels and the action movie theme were great.

  42. Weylund says:

    The Last Days, a Tolkien mod for Mount and Blade – everything’s been redone, and Middle Earth’s armies reproduced in gorgeous splendor. Also, facing down an army of 500 orcs with Men of Gondor.

  43. Dominic White says:

    Japanese Half-Life 2 ‘remix’ SMod has spawned a whole bunch of spinoff projects. Here’s the two best:

    http://sites.google.com/site/smodredux/ -SMod Redux. An enhanced, tweaked, tuned and rebalanced version of the latest/last version of SMod. In essence, it’s a huge excuse to play through singleplayer again, only with new enemy types, some random elements, hidden special weapons, new behaviours, and customizable gameplay. Want to play a kung-fu gordon with regenerating health and bullet time? Fine. Or you can play a more tactical Red Orchestra style with ‘floating’ guns and no crosshairs, but a focus on iron-sights.. and the ability to devour enemy gibs for health. It really does make the whole thing worth playing through again, because there’s a shitton of new and weird stuff mixed in.

    It also has a couple of ‘instant action’ levels based on HL2 Deathmatch, where you’re given increasingly dangerous waves of enemies to fight. Think Dead Man Walking mode from Max Payne.

    Another spinoff – and a more ambitious one – is Hardwired, formerly/alternatively known as CSS Sci-fi.
    http://amphibian.myzen.co.uk/css_sci_fi/

    42 semi-randomized (different every time you play) scripted missions, set in official and fan-made CS: Source maps, split into three campaigns and tied together via a little plot-lite hub area. Big gunfights, occasional boss battles, and all the features of SMod used to create some genuinely interesting new battles. It requires CS:S as well as HL2, but it’s a lot of fun.

    Check em both.

    • ascagnel says:

      SMod Tactical is another excellent remix of HL2, and is blisteringly hard.

      Also, there’s trip mines everywhere. SPOILER: So when Lamar jumps around in the “Red Letter Day” chapter, he might accidentally kill you. Quickly.

  44. Cfp says:

    The CJK Instagib CTF mod for JKII and JKIII. Massively ramped up speed, disruption rifles with one shot kill, no force powers except Force Jump.

    You almost fly around the map. A flag run (there and back) can be completed in under 30 seconds. By far the most fun FPS I’ve ever played.

  45. airtekh says:

    Natural Selection for HL1
    Basically, Marines vs Aliens done right. The brilliance of this is that it is not just an FPS, but throws in RTS elements as well. The commander of the marines has to get his grunts to build resource towers around the map or they can’t get better weapons/equipment. In addition, you get to play with the aliens’ unique abilities and five distinct classes. A mod ahead of its time. I expect great things from its sequel, currently in development.

    The Hidden: Source for HL2
    For reasons mentioned above. And being shit-your-pants-scary.

    I’ve yet to play NeoTokyo for HL2 but it’s supposed to be interesting.

  46. scoopsy says:

    Fall from Heaven II for Civilization IV
    It’s amazing. It adds depth and replayability to a classic game, while also stripping out some of the needless additions from Beyond the Sword (Hooray to no espionage and corporations).

    I had to have this recommended to me three or four times because I stuck up my nose to fantasy, and because I thought it was impossible to improve upon the core game. But then Soren Johnson did a fantastic three-part interview with the mod’s creators and I was hooked ever since:

    http://www.designer-notes.com/?p=120

    • Tholal says:

      I’ll second the nomination for Fall From Heaven II (Civ IV mod). It is hands-down, the best high-fantasy, turn-based strategy game since Master of Magic. I haven’t played a single game of regular Civ since I found this mod.

  47. Premium User Badge

    Spatvark says:

    Smashball for HL2/Source Engine. Reminiscent of the classic Speedball games, Smashball uses the Source engine to great effect in creating a fast-paced, brutal sports shooter.

    The premise is simple. Two teams, consisting of one goalkeeper each, and as many other players as you want in the three outfield classes (Forward, Halfback and Fullback), try to get the ball into the oppositions goal, whether by throwing it in for three points, or running it in for seven. You can pass the ball along the field or carry it, all while trying to fend off the other teams attempts to snatch the ball back by intercepting passes or making the ballcarrier fumble. Six periods of three minutes each, plus sudden death overtime rounds if the score is tied at the end, lead to matches of around twenty minutes of high-intensity action.

    Players can choose any of the four classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses as well as weapon loadouts, and customise them with the three different tiers of skills (twenty-two at the moment of writing between the three tiers) to add individuality to how everyone plays the game

    The best aspect of the game is definitely the awesome grappling hook you use to traverse the maps, flinging yourself through doorways and over/under/around obstacles, which, when combined with airstrafing, allows for some incredibly cool moves done at high speed. And of course, there’s the combat: whether blasting people with your guns, placing mines in strategic positions to catch oncoming attackers by surprise, or just turbo-charging into people at high speed, it’s all a vital part of the game, eliminating defenders or taking out attackers.

    There is a basic framework for organising “professional” teams and competing in leagues, though at the moment, most matches are in the Pub Pickup Division, where anyone can play in any match.

    Smashball is still in beta, it is buggy, it does have a small userbase, and it currently has only three maps (though others are in production), but damn if it isn’t a lot of fun anyway. The devs are constantly working on the game; a public playtest takes place every Sunday where anyone can check out the new features (Instant Replays are looking damn slick, I can’t wait ’til they’re live!), and the forums have quite a bit of discussion on what we’ve noticed while playing, things we’d like changed or added, etc.

    You can check at some videos at their YouTube channel.

    …I seem kinda long-winded in comparison, huh?

    • MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

      Smashball is such fun. It actually takes a surprisingly short amount of time to vaguely get the hang of the grappling hook and get moving really quickly, too.

  48. MrTambourineMan says:

    I suggest Insurgency for HL2 – pretty decent modern warfare mod, but with the same issues as Red Orchestra (i.e. broken movement code). Rock24(HL2) is excellent SP as well and Research&Development (HL2) is the mod that is definitely and righteously gonna win Moddb mod of the year award this time around.

  49. SF Legend says:

    Fistful of frags, a very fun objective based Wild West FPS in the source engine.

  50. manveruppd says:

    Quake 3 Arena was the first ever game that I bought on the very day of release – that’s how much I had loved both the singleplayer and the multiplayer of Quake 2. So imagine my disappointment when I took it home, and discovered that my parents’ awful dial=up connection couldn’t muster me anything better than 400ms pings, at which speeds the game was unplayable.

    Enter Rocket Arena 3. As a concept, the mod attracted me, cause it was supposed to be all about skill, movement and aiming, not about knowing where each powerup was on each map and where the best camping points were for railgun-whores. But what made me really fall in love with it was the fact that, with only 2 players (max 4) playing at any one time, the amount of data being shunted to and from my PC became manageable enough that even my 56k steam-powered modem could handle it.

    I think RA3 is special not just in being a fun game, but in giving lots of people like me their first taste of online shooters. OK, so a lot of people went to LAN parties, or hijacked their universities’ computer labs and played Quakeworld there, but, for the rest of us, RA3 was one of the few games you could play with decent pings over bad connections.

    I still played it regularly up until recently even though these days I’m on 10Mbps cable. Most of the people still playing it are from South America, so I’m guessing broadband penetration there is still lower than here in Europe, and RA3 is having the same effect there as it did here.