Most 'realistic graphics' mods make games look worse, but that's not the case with NaturalVision Evolved. The long-in-development Grand Theft Auto 5 mod is a comprehensive revamp of lighting, textures, models and much more, but it remains faithful to the art direction of the base game.
You can now download a Single Player Beta of the mod - and even if you don't plan on doing that, it's worth watching the trailer below.
The effort and editing put into this "final cinematic trailer" is impressive all on its own:
Graphics mods are no new thing in Grand Theft Auto games, with tools like ENBseries and SweetFX allowing modders to hijack the game's renderer and tweak its output. The quality is very much down to the preset you're using with those tools, however, and even then the results can vary wildly depending on in-game lighting conditions. By comparison, NaturalVision focuses more on tweaking game files like textures and models directly, and is both more consistently improved and has less of an impact on performance.
A previous version of the mod, NaturalVision Remastered, was first released as many as five years ago and regularly updated thereafter. In 2020, work began on NaturalVision Evolved, with an "early access" release available for subscribers to its creator's Patreon. Now you can get the Single Player Beta for free via the creator's website, RazedMods.com.
We spoke to Razed, aka Jamil Rashid, about his work on the mod back in 2019. At the time he thought that year's mod update would be his last - something he also said in 2018. Perhaps the trailer above won't really be the "final cinematic trailer" at all.