Best mods of 2016

If you look beyond the celebrity death epidemic, killer clowns, political turmoil and the fact the Great British Bake Off parted ways with the BBC, 2016 has actually been a pretty great year. Well, it’s at least been a pretty great year for videogames, and a pretty great year for game modifications.

As you’ve probably spied elsewhere on the coveted pages of RPS of late, we’re list-entry deep in Best Of season which means I’m now here to present you with this year’s best PC mods. In no particular order, the following collection gathers the best modifications that have either been launched or have been significantly updated in 2016. While our previous Best Mods lists have tended to focus on specific games, this ‘un looks at the specific mods themselves – often considering those which provide extra mileage for some of our favourite games.

Naturally I’ve almost certainly missed your personal favourite, so please feel free to shout your own mods of choice at me in the comments at the foot of this article.

NB – Installation instructions for each mod can be found via its respective page. A number of the mods featured here are also currently competing for ModDB’s Mod of the Year 2016 – the top 100 shortlist can be viewed this-a-way.

Brutal Doom 64

By Sergeant_Mark_IV


Game: Doom 2

You’ve probably heard of Brutal Doom already – the 2012 mod which took id’s ’93 FPS and added an overwhelming amount of violence to an already pretty violent game. To kick things off, I’m actually going to pass you over to Alice who describes the premise of Brutal Doom better than I ever could:

“Borrow a seven-year-old child, fill them with sweeties and juice, make them spin in circles for five minutes, give ’em a nip of whisky, and have them play Doom for fifteen minutes then describe it to you. Whatever giddy image of Doom their imaginations vomit up, Brutal Doom actually is: a frenzy of ultraviolence with gibs by the bucketload.”

A total conversion mod for the esteemed GZDoom, and a spiritual continuation of the lesser-known Doom 64 mod, Brutal Doom 64 sidesteps the original Brutal Doom’s ultra-violent vision and is focused more on portraying a serious and disturbing, survival-oriented horror outing. There’s still an abundance of blood, guts, gore, and hideous monsters; but also tweaks to the original game’s 32 levels, plus new effects, sounds and animations. The current build is an early release too – with creator Sergeant_Mark_IV planning to add familiar faces Revenant, Chaingunguy and Mastermind down the line.

Enderal: The Shards of Order

By SureAI


Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Enderal is a masterpiece. Crafted by Munich-based hobbyist modding team SureAI over a five year period, Enderal: The Shards of Order is a total conversion mod for The Elder Scroll’s fifth main series outing which overhauls its source material’s systems, maps, quests and characters. Its campaign lasts upwards of 30 hours and, coupled with its side ventures, gives Skyrim a serious run for its money on the mileage front. The latter’s recent remaster allowed for a strange return to a land we’d covered from pole to pole on numerous occasions, yet Enderal is in essence an entirely new game in and of itself with a world map similar in size to that of the familiar fantastical province.

If you’re familiar with SureAI’s previous mods – particularly Oblivion total conversion Nehrim: At Fate’s End – you’ll have an idea of what to expect here, but know that Enderal surpases this already high standard in every way imaginable.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Chernobyl

By TeamEPIC


Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is a strange one in that it’s hard to categorise. Not only are GSC Game World’s alternative reality post-nuclear disaster ’em ups great first-person shooters, they’re also fantastic survival games and even better horror ones. First launched last year, but significantly updated in September, Call of Chernobyl bills itself as a “free-play sandbox mod” for Call of Pripyat that features 32 maps, reworked level design, improved AI and customisable weather.

A new level, Trucks Cemetery, compliments a new character creation suite – “including name, portrait and faction selection” – alongside a new achievement, ranking and reputation system. If cooperative play is your thing, Call of Chernobyl also boasts a companion system and a PDA stats system and leaderboard to boot. Update 1.4 released in September bringing with it some sweeping changes. Check those out via the link above.

A Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings

By CK2:AGOT and Cozur respectively


Game(s): Crusader Kings 2 and Mount and Blade: Warband

Historical strategy games were built for reinterpreting fantasy fiction. Total War’s collaboration with Games Workshop in Total War: Warhammer is the most obvious example of this, yet George R.R. Martin’s esteemed books-now-HBO megaseries reimagined in videogames is also pretty special. So special I can’t decide which interpretation I prefer.

Crusader Kings 2’s A Game of Thrones and Mount and Blade: Warband’s Clash of Kings were launched in 2012, however given the sprawling nature and ever-expanding lore of Westeros, both total conversion mods have been consistently and significantly updated beyond recognition since. While I’d advise giving both mods a spin, where you fall on preference probably depends on which game you favour most.

Both offer impressive translations of their source material, and at present Clash of Kings has just launched its version 3.0 – the most significant update of which adds the formidable Night’s Watch in the fold. CK2’s A Game of Thrones, on the other hand, reworks its base game’s mechanics so that while there is potential for the realm to fragment into multiple kingdoms, it’s unlikely to happen in practice. Instead, players fight to control just one throne – the Iron Throne.

Hearts of Iron IV: The Great War

By The Great War Devs


Game: Hearts of Iron IV

Still in open beta, Hearts of Iron IV: The Great War is already shaping up to be a fantastic reworking of Paradox’s base game. While HoI 4 provides its own slant on World War 2, The Great War, as you might have already guessed, instead portrays WW1. “Start in 1910 with one of the Major Countries of this time and fight through the series of events that lead the world in the first bloodiest conflict: the First World War,” reads the mod’s description.

In doing so, you have the choice to become a member of the Triple Entente or the Central Powers in a bid to help steer your side to victory in the Great War. Building upon and rejigging the foundations of HoI 4, The Great War overhaul adds a new map, new events – such as the Russian Revolution and the Balkans War, among other things – new leaders, new governments, new units, and a new tech relevant to the technological era. Similar to the base game, the mod also offers two starting points: 1910 – where you’ll guide your nation through the events of the Balkan Wars and Agadir Crisis, and 1914 – where you’ll jump straight into WW1.

There are of course a number of features planned for The Great War, some of which can be found on the mod’s Steam Community page.

Fallout 1.5: Resurrection

By DaemonCZ


Game: Fallout 2

“A new old school Fallout game” is how Resurrection describes itself which is a pretty convincing selling point. Paying deference to the series’ amnesia trope, Fallout 1.5 kicks off with the protagonist awakening in dark cave with no recollection of how they got there. Worse still, they’re heavily wounded and need to piece together their life in a world which is seemingly on the brink of collapse. What sounds like a fairly standard hungover Sunday morning scenario is actually a great throwback to Fallout-of-old where exploration and inquisitiveness are just as important as ploughing through the main questline – where there’s still scope to uncover new things even after multiple playthroughs.

As self-confessed “big fans” of Fallout, the mod’s creators have tried to capture the raw hopelessness and decadence of the series, while sidestepping the jokes and Easter Eggs the second entry often tended toward.

The world itself is in chaos, so says creator DaemonCZ, whereby only a smattering of small independent communities are connected by narrow trade relations. “It’s an unfriendly place,” says the mod’s description, “where the law is on the side of whoever has the biggest gun.” Good luck with that.

Half-Rats: Parasomnia

By Heath Games


Game: Half-Life

Half-Rats: Parasomnia is a Half-Life mod that isn’t a Half-Life mod. During its three to four hour playtime it weighs heavy on narrative, for example, includes unskippable cut scenes and while filled with plenty of action set pieces is at its best when revelling in its unraveling characters.

A follow-on from last year’s Half-Rats: A Fever Dream, Parasomnia presents a larger, less linear map, as well as a host of more challenging bosses and interesting NPCs. Like its forerunner, it isn’t as smart as it thinks it is, however it’s still one of the best Half-Life mods available – assuming you’re after more than generic running and gunning. The limitations of the almost two-decade old base game add to this one’s charm and the ability to now purchase items and store them in your inventory (as opposed to instantaneous pickups) adds a layer of depth even the original game failed to explore. Fans of Half-Life in its most basic state might struggle with it, but I think those after something different will enjoy what Parasomnia brings to the table.

The Exiled Tribe and The Hangover From Hell

By Blitz and EnterElysium respectively


Game: Rimworld

Rimworld’s scenarios are what drives the colony management sim, therefore it’s little surprise that the best mods are of similar kind. Both The Exiled Tribe and The Hangover From Hell add scenarios which can be equally as humorous as they can be brutally unforgiving. After knicking a ceremonial dagger from a rival faction, The Exiled Tribe sees you on the receiving end of witch hunt whereby you spent your time alive (which, admittedly, wasn’t very long for me) running and hiding and running some more from your pursuers.

The Hangover From Hell, on the other hand, sees five companions fleeing a burning ship after a wild night on the sauce. As such, your characters have an 80 percent chance of starting with the Chemical Interest trait, and a 100 percent chance of being hungover. Besides survival, making it to the lifeboats “with all the booze you can carry of course” is top priority.

Honourable Mentions

Seeing as this is an end of year celebration, I’m going to cheat a little with my honourable mentions. I’m going to include mods that didn’t necessarily launch or receive significant updates this year, but that I did enjoy messing around with in 2016. There’s even one in here that hasn’t released yet at all but is still worth keeping an eye on.

Incredible Hulk mod

By JulioNB


Game: Grand Theft Auto V

Easily my favourite GTA 5 mod. Smashing cars, playing golf with trucks, causing abject destruction as the Incredible Hulk – what’s not to like?

First Person Cam
By Zullie the Witch


Game: Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3 is best served in its default third-person mode, however don’t rule it giving it a bash in first. It’s great fun!

Play as a NPC
By AlphaAshen


Game: Dark Souls 3

Play as NPCs from Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls 3 and even Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne.

Falskaar, The Forgotten City and Live Another Life
By AlexanderJVelicky, Nick Pearce and Arthmoor respectively


Game: Skyrim Enhanced Edition

Three excellent total conversions for Skyrim that made the jump to this year’s Enhanced Edition.

Any Mod Any Weapon
By LucasGod


Game: Fallout 4

A silly but brilliant mod that removes mod restrictions from all weapons.

Star Trek New Horizon
By Grinsel


Game: Stellaris

An incoming Star Trek-flavoured Stellaris mod that’s currently in early alpha state. With 45 pre-scripted races with canon starting positions that’re all available to play, and 11 playable factions and their ships already in place, this one is shaping up nicely.

With that, we’ve reached the end of our bestest best mods of 2016 which I hope will help extend the shelf life of some of your favourite games, or alert you to new adventures entirely. Seeing as it’s the end of the year, you may like to revisit some of our previous best mods entries and, as promised, please feel free to shout your favourite mods that I so blatantly failed to include above in the comments below.

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24 Comments

  1. Blad the impaler says:

    Enderal is worth everyone’s time, if you enjoy the Skyrims.

    Little surprised there is no mention of Cities: Skylines. Some excellent stuff came out this year. Move it!, alone, is worth a mention.

    • Zallgrin says:

      Enderal is worth everyone’s time, if you enjoy the Skyrims.

      I’m gonna disagree with that line – Enderal is worth everyone’s time AND particularly if they didn’t like Skyrim!

      I am just the very opposite of a Skyrim fan, but Enderal manages to improve in every single direction – from combat balance, to dungeon and quest design (gone are the copypaste caverns with same type of enemies everywhere) and especially the plot and the writing!

      I was going to come in storming into the comment section if I didn’t find Enderal on the very top of the list, but kudos to RPS, they did not miss out this gem.

  2. SlimShanks says:

    Well, I’ve played a number of these mods and can agree they are top notch. And it occurs to me that RPS should possibly recommend more mods in the future…
    It is also worth noting for anyone who loves STALKER that a partial MISERY conversion for Call of Chernobyl is available.
    link to moddb.com
    And English translation: link to moddb.com

  3. MiniMatt says:

    Kerbal Space Program has a huge range of mods, many of them I’d classify as essential, but one suite worth a shout out is the USI Life Support / Kolonization packages.

    Adds a completely new dynamic to KSP exploration, defaulting to friendly recoverable consequences to running out of food halfway into a multi year mission, but can be tuned to “realistic” grim demise.

  4. Baines says:

    a spiritual continuation of the lesser-known Doom 64 mod

    Doom 64 itself isn’t a mod. It was an official version of Doom, released on the Nintendo 64. It is a sequel to Final Doom, while the 2016 Doom picks up after the ending of Doom 64.

    Doom 64 is cited as more of a horror game than its PC brethren for a few reasons, including some technical limitations. (For example, Doom 64 had no background music.)

    There have been a few attempts to recreate Doom 64 on PC. Doom 64 Absolution was an early attempt, but it took various liberties and apparently added new maps as well. Doom 64 EX was an attempt at a more accurate port. We’ve yet to really see where Brutal Doom 64 is going, whether it will eventually go full “brutal” or if it will try to be something else.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “(For example, Doom 64 had no background music.)”

      Only if you don’t think minimalist/ambient music counts as music. The score definitely isn’t melodic, but it exists, and is brilliant.

      Doom 64 is still my favourite Doom.

      • Baines says:

        I originally had a line mentioning ambient sounds, but I did a major rewrite of my reply and ended up cutting it without even realizing it.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    For those who really like the Warhammer Fantasy Universe, forget about “Total War : Warhammer” with its horde of expansive DLCs and go for “Warsword Conquest”, a total conversion for Mount&Blade Warband with all the factions you can dream of, it’s a true masterpiece that feels like playing Warhammer Fantasy RPG on your computer !

  6. Spacewalk says:

    I’m looking at these mods and none of them are Arcane Dimensions which got a big update just the other week. What a glaring omission.

  7. kud13 says:

    I’m looking forward to trying the total rebalance mod for Witcher 3. Besides that, have not had a whole lot of time for mods this year, with exception of Age of Empires II HD workshop custom campaigns. Some brilliant stuff there.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Chernobyl
    By TeamEPIC
    Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

    Having played a role in the making of STALKER’s mod community, I am very proud of these guys. Building on this game is far from easy.

  9. Esin12 says:

    Whoa. That Fallout one seems pretty cool. I’ll have to check it out

  10. Darth Gangrel says:

    I was gonna stay quiet, out of modesty and other reasons that sound better than my true motivations, but since you wrote “please feel free to shout your own mods of choice at me in the comments at the foot of this article” I will do so.

    This year, I finished the final version of my first mod and am quite proud of it. It’s an homage to the Malkavian Mod for Deus Ex, but my mod is for The Witcher: Enhanced Edition and is called The Weird World of the Witcher. You can find it at youtube, moddb and nexus mods.

  11. SaintAn says:

    No Warsword Conquest Warhammer overhaul for Mount & Blade? They just had a huge update this year for their already massive mod.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Does it work now? It’s a beautiful, beautiful mod and I love it to pieces, but only really as a concept, as something that’s taken an enormous amount of love and effort to create. Between things like the infinite peace treaties and some races being completely unable to climb siege ladders, it’s not been a very easy mod to actually PLAY for any length of time in my experience…

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        I played it this summer for the first time (lizardmen, dwarfs, a bit of goblins and Empire) and don’t remember any major bugs since 1.0. There were a few issues with early peace treaties that screwed over some races but I think that a patch was incoming?
        The issues happen in the first few in-game days, anyway, so you can just restart.
        It’s absolutely playable and a lot of fun.

  12. malkav11 says:

    I hate to be that guy, but “total conversions” totally convert the game into something else. Enderal is a total conversion. Falskaar, The Forgotten City, and Live Another Life all add to or modify the existing Skyrim world, and are very much not total conversions. They’re good, though!

  13. Paul says:

    of those I only played Fallout Resurrection and that was pretty fantastic, like a proper interquel between F1 and F2.
    I need to get around to Enderal too someday.

  14. tonicer says:

    DOOM64 seriously the worst DOOM game next to DOOM4?! You’re crazy!

    Project Brutality isn’t even mentioned … WTF?!

  15. Blake Casimir says:

    It is also worth mentioning that Doomworld has uploaded their newest Doom Cacowards. There is a huge amount of brilliant mods and levels in this year’s edition, including the incredible Blade Of Agony.

    Should have been mentioned in the article IMHO.

  16. Lord_Mordja says:

    Speaking of mods, you guys should cover Mental Omega, an absolutely gigantic Yuri’s Revenge mod that just released its latest version after a number of years. It’s got a massive campaign, co-op missions, working multiplayer, a completely new faction and of course a huge amount of new units.

  17. tigershuffle says:

    will have to give Clash of Kings mod for Warband a try, seeing as Ive played Prophesy of Pendor to death now.

    *looks longingly at the horizon waiting for Bannerlord*