It’s fast approaching a year since us PC dwellers were given the chance to inhabit Grand Theft Auto V’s sprawling Los Santos cityscape and in that time the game’s modding scene has exploded. There are now thousands upon thousands of mods that serve to enhance your stay, and the following list samples the best.
Before we begin, you should consult Graham’s handy How To Install GTA5 Mods instruction guide, and you should also bear in mind that although few rules apply within the game itself, Rockstar have made it very clear they will ban players for using single-player mods in GTA Online. So, if you want to play GTA Online, make sure you uninstal any of the following mods before doing so. Let’s begin.
By BobJaneTMart and 7up respectively
One thing I’ve learned since first arriving in Los Santos is that the LSPD are bastards. Wherever you may be - from the isolated rolling hills of Mount Chiliad to the north, to the bustling Los Santos International Airport in the south - you can hardly let off a fart without the 5-0 jumping down your throat in this city. And when you do it often feels like the whole damn force gets dispatched to deal with your slight and insignificant misdemeanors.
Crime and Police Rebalance & Enhancement puts a stop to that by introducing more realistic responses from the boys in blue, whereby the crimes you commit are only reported by the goody two shoes civilians who catch you in the act. Evading the pursuing rozzers is made that bit more credible too as they now target your last seen location, instead of closing in on your exact position. In short: the po po (gosh, I’m running out of synonyms here) behave like human beings and not magicians which makes handling - and dropping - them all the more entertaining.
That’s not to say committing crime in the Big Smoke should be a cakewalk, though - quite the opposite. Whereas previous GTA instalments have called upon the armed forces to thwart your bids to become public enemy number one, GTA V doesn’t by default. The Army Spawns at Five Stars mod does exactly what you’d expect by summoning tanks and snipers and squaddies by the barrack-load to end your inner city onslaughts.
By Trumple and PlasticTangerine respectively
Of course, dialing down the efficiency of law enforcement has its drawbacks - even for us seasoned criminals. Courtesy of the Ped Riot/Chaos Mode mod, it seems everybody and their granny now wants a piece of the action as every disenfranchised Los Santos citizen has armed his or herself with automatic weaponry. In fact, the police are the least of our worries here because this mod removes their presence entirely! Whereas such anarchic fare was cheat fodder in previous Grand Theft Auto series entries, Ped Riot/Chaos Mode can be toggled on and off with the press of a button, which makes for some genuinely laugh out loud transitional moments. If you like chaotic free-for-alls, you’re guaranteed to love this.
On the subject of love, there appears to be a little too much of it being shared between the gangs of Los Santos. These so called tough guys, with the tattoos and the bulging muscles and the stockpiles of guns shoved down their ill-fitting jeans, barely acknowledge each other on the street. What’s up with that, Holmes? Enter Gang Wars, a mod that prompts rival factions to ruthlessly attack one another on sight. And should the police wander into these confrontations, you can expect little love loss in the shootouts which inevitably ensue. Now we’re talking.
By G17 Media and dehan respectively
Then again, perhaps I’m steering you in the wrong direction here. Perhaps you’d actually rather side with the long arm of the law and *gasp* be part of stopping unscrupulous hoodlums like me. While I struggle to fathom why, let both LSPD First Response and PoliceMod 2 guide you towards the path of righteousness.
Both of these script mods equip you with a uniform, a badge, a gun and a scanner and ask that you and a partner protect and serve the streets and civilians of Los Santos. First Response - which appeared in GTA IV as LCPD FR - is probably the most sophisticated of the two and includes features such as a functional police station interior, that houses a locker room and jail cells; a “Stop, Identify and Arrest” system that makes the process of apprehending or letting suspects go more streamlined; and gunpoint takedowns, among a host of other features.
It’s worth remembering that this is Los Santos we’re dealing with, however, therefore the biggest perk of joining the force is obviously the fact that you become immune to the city’s wanted level system. Righteousness, as it were, should be taken with a big ol’ fistful of salt in this instance.
By Guadmaz and Rooft0p respectively
Sometimes you need a break from the hustle and bustle, though. Peace and quiet, as we can quite clearly see, is but a virtue in Los Santos yet there’s no better place to find it than out on the open road. Much like the daily trucking videos that’ve captured the hearts of both Adam and Graham of late, there’s something almost therapeutic about hauling a load around the dusty backwater avenues of Blaine County, or wherever your latest contract sends you roaming. The Trucking Missions script mod sets you up with an office headquarters just west of Sandy Shores and offers the perfect way to earn some extra cash while simultaneously escaping the thralls of the city.
Then again, why not shorten your stress levels further still and travel cross-country minus the responsibility of a job? The Simple Passenger Mod lets you hop into NPC-controlled vehicles without committing grand theft auto, leaving your final destination in the capable, ahem, hands of whichever rando’s space you decide to invade. Placing waypoints across the map offers a degree of certainty regarding where you’ll end up, however you’re also free to simply go with the flow. And if he or she does eventually piss you off you can assume control with the push of a button.
Interrailing is a fond pastime of the seasoned traveller and is yet another way to remove yourself from the stress-inducing streets of Los Santos. But it’s a bit boring, isn’t it? I mean, having your ear bent by a chatterbox trucker with a borderline personality disorder while hitchhiking can be a bit grinding, but at least he’s got personality. Simply travelling back and forth, to and fro, is as monotonous as it gets, thus it’s a real shame GTA V doesn’t offer more control over its rail system.
Railroad Engineer changes that by handing you a cap, a whistle, and free rein of the controls. As the latter parenthesised part of this mod’s title rather explicitly suggests, derailment is now possible, meaning you’ll break every rule in the engineer’s book as you send freight trains and passenger trams alike hurtling at top speeds from their tracks into the world below. How many cars can you simultaneously explode in one sitting, that is the question. Add some excitement to the morning commute.
By Guadmaz, Ghost_Rolly, Sanghelios and NewTheft respectively
“So often we become so focussed on the finish line, that we forget to enjoy the journey,” reads the German aviator Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s infamous quote that’s been featured on millions of greetings cards and wellness memes the world over. Well stuff the journey, stuff the trucking, stuff the hitchhiking, and stuff the trains, I say, because the destination is really what it’s all about.
Reliant on the Map Editor mod - which is prop-spawning tool and great fun to mess about with in and of itself - the Red House, Raven Rock and North Yankton mods add new locales for you to kick back and relax, explore, or even engage in all-new missions.
In reverse order, North Yankton lets you board a plane to the snow-swept town the game starts out in, where you can now tear up the streets while wrestling regular snow storms; Raven Rock adds an entire new island that houses a sprawling military base and a mysterious underwater tunnel leading to “a special place at the bottom of the ocean”; and Red House adds over 20 new missions - some of which are contract-based, others that revolve around protection - and a new three-stage heist. Whether for business or pleasure, if a change of scenery is what you’re after these mods have you covered.
On page two, learn to fly, add jetpacks to vehicles, play as the Incredible Hulk, turn GTA5 into Superhot, and more.
By chileno and XMOD respectively
In fact, since we’re fixed on the idea of getting away from it all, why not consider moving up in the world? No, not metaphorically, like, literally moving up into the world? In some Peter Pan-style manoeuvring, Nice Fly lets you live out your childhood fantasies by affording you the power to fly in GTA V simply by donning a parachute. You won’t use it, mind, but simply strapping one on lets you soar above the tallest skyscrapers as you wonder at the world below. This is the sort of mod that once activated, you’ll struggle to do without. Drive to the next mission? Pfftt, walk to the next one? Aye, right.
And speaking of childhood fantasy, Vehicles Jetpack adds, you guessed it, jetpacks to vehicles, meaning you can take the aerial highway bypass should you desire to get your destination that little bit quicker. This mod is of course reminiscent of the airborne cars from the Back to the Future films, something other similarly themed mods - such as this and this - also strive to emulate.
And why stop there? Since you’re already climbing the clouds, why not do so in the guise of a superhero? Don Ironman’s invulnerable Hulk Buster jet propulsion armour and soar off into the skies, before charging down on the inevitable horde of pissed off coppers that’ve gathered below. Grab the first lieutenant that gets in your way and toss him a few blocks forward, then pick up his car and throw it into the sea, incessantly humming Black Sabbath as you go.
Better still, become the Incredible Hulk and completely lose the plot by decimating entire police squads in one fell swoop, throwing articulated lorries at hovering helicopters above, ripping lampposts from the ground and playing golf with parked cars, and leaping hundreds of feet into the air before returning to the earth with an almighty bang, killing anyone daft enough not to have pegged it in the opposite direction. RROOOAAARRR, and so on:
Wow, this is all getting a bit ridiculous now. Ground yourself with something even more preposterous - modder MatriZ’s Half Life 2-inspired gravity gun mod that turns the rather unassuming stun gun into a physics-defying wonder tool. Lift cars, boats, tanks, aeroplanes, lions, tigers, bears, whatever you can lay your hands upon, and send them skyward. If ever there was a way to seek peace and quiet in Los Santos, relocate all that noise by simply pressing E on your keyboard. Let go and you’ve sent your worries flying. Problem with that gang member? Send him flying. Pissed off with the police officers who just won’t give up the chase? Send them flying. That cow that dared moo when you hit it with your car? Send it flying.
It’s hard to explain why this mod is quite so much fun but it really is - I’ve spent upwards of 45 minutes hanging around Trevor’s flight school, firing propellor aircraft into the sky like paper airplanes, chasing them into fields, and then, on the occasions when they didn’t explode upon returning to earth, repeating the process all over again.
Real Life Graphics, Open All Interiors and niunManager V (mod manager)
By Edahy, NewTheft and Niunzin respectively
As you’ve probably spotted over the course of this list, when it comes to mods in GTA V the less serious the mod, the more fun that’s to be had. That said, there are some wonderful cosmetic upgrades worth considering, not least Real Life Graphics which tweaks its visuals to great effect. By improving the base game’s textures and weather effects, and by pulling from lighting mods, colour enhancer SweetFX and ReShade - a graphics customiser that adds an astounding levels of detail to shading - Real Life Graphics makes Los Santos look even more wonderful that it did before.
Similarly, Open All Interiors adds another level of credibility to the GTA V world by unlocking 45 otherwise inaccessible areas that include apartments normally exclusive to GTA Online, the Cluckin’ Bell Factory, the Hospital and a host of others. Some of the locations aren’t much more than bare bones structures, however some, like the Hospital, are filled with staff going about their daily routines.
Last but not least, niunManager V is a handy mod manager you can use to gather the above and below in one handy centralised location.
Here’s a few more GTA V ridiculous refittings that are also worth checking out during your stay in Los Santos.
Time moves only when you do in this SUPERHOT-inspired time manipulation mod.
Grab the wheel of the Mad Max Doof Wagon, among other equally silly modes of transport.
Slip on your jelly shoes and let yer limbs languish.
Fire cars and vans and trucks from the barrel of your guns because, well, bullets are a bit boring aren’t they?
Unleash your inner art critic with these masterful monoliths.
By Martin Bergman
A graphics mod that’s still in development. It looks fantastic.
Did we miss a great mod? Explain what makes it great in the comments.