Grand Theft Auto 5's vast playground is a perfect, if fiddly, sandbox for modders to exploit. They’ve done everything to Los Santos. You can set up rules for the game’s police to follow, meaning you can shake off a one-star Wanted level by pulling over and submitting to a dressing down. You can flip the script and become a cop, trawling the city for crimes to stop (albeit in potentially illegal ways). You can even go all out and be Batman.
Technology has gotten wilder since GTA 5's original release, and this list reflects some of that. Better performance with upscaling, and VR (because I love VR) have come to Los Santos, along with model swaps, remade maps, and gang warfare, so here's our updated list of the very best GTA 5 mods.
Before we begin, you should consult our handy guide on how to install GTA 5 mods. Follow it and you’ll have a good basis for working with the many files below.
I’d suggest two things in addition to that page’s prompts: you read the mod’s page and readme files very carefully, because they often have a number of tweaks, incompatibilities and more that can easily throw you. I’d also propose that you mod the game with a light touch, and only combine one or two mods at a time. GTA 5 can collapse under the weight of an errant add-on. Rockstar have also 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 un-install any of the following mods before doing so. Let's begin.
The best GTA 5 mods
- Pull Me Over and Better Chases+
- Gang and Turf Mod
- LSPD First Response
- Trucking Missions and Trucking Missions Revised
- Railroad Engineer
- Map Editor, Raven Rock and North Yankton
- Vehicles Jetpack
- Batman and The Predator
- Complex Control
- GTA V Remastered: Enhanced
- Real California Architecture
- GTA V FSR
- R.E.A.L. VR
Pull Me Over and Better Chases+ by Daimian
Even the most careful drivers of Los Santos will accidentally nudge a police car and end up having to fend off the Pac-Man-esque police response, usually committing far more heinous acts while trying to outwit the city’s dogged police. Pull Me Over and Better Chases+ will redress those issues a fair amount.
With Pull Me Over, the police have a number of low-level crimes that they’ll be on the look-out for. Using a mobile in traffic, running a red light, driving the wrong way, and more, will all result in the police attempting to pull you over and writing you a ticket. If you fancy the idea of driving responsibly in Los Santos, and not starting a manhunt for a minor infraction, it’s a fun mod.
Better Chases+ tries to make more sense of the police response when you refuse to pull over. The range of responses to your actions are now more appropriate. A one-star cop chase won’t end in you getting shot, but they’ll instead get you out of the car and arrest you. In fact, the police generally need to think you’re a threat to life before they’re authorised to use lethal force.
Beyond that, things get more complex. At two stars, the police will be able to ID you, the car, and run a trace to see if the car has been stolen. But they won’t drive like maniacs trying to stop you. If you escape the chase, you’ll have to ditch the car and change outfits to stop them restarting it should they spot you. However, if you have a helmet, mask, or tinted windows, you won’t be recognised. You’ll get a detailed log of your crimes and the potential police responses, so you know exactly how far to push da popo before they start pulling off PIT manoeuvres or resorting to helicopters and lethal responses.
Gang and Turf Mod by lucasvinbr
If Los Santos feels a little too friendly, you can make the streets a lot less safe with the Gang and Turf Mod. It lets you take part in gang war, where territories are fought over by rival gangs, just like in GTA: San Andreas.
You have a lot of control over your gang. You recruit members, register vehicles, and kit out your street soldiers. Rival gangs are marked on the map for you to battle with. Each zone generates a passive income for who runs it, so it’s worth fighting for. The other gangs will spread over the map as you play, creating a constantly changing war for the city.
The running battles between the gangs makes the world a lot more fun and lively. With the ever-changing map, you can accidentally end up surrounded by rival gang-bangers. Calling in your own gang for back-up will kick off a huge battle between groups of NPCs. The chaos is a step-up from GTA V’s usual carnage.
LSPD First Response by LSPDFR
Instead of a life of crime, perhaps you’d actually rather side with the long arm of the law and *gasp* be part of stopping unscrupulous hoodlums. LSPD First Response lets you do just that.
LSPD First Response equips you with a uniform, a badge, a gun and a scanner and asks that you and a partner protect and serve the streets and civilians of Los Santos. It 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.
Trucking Missions and Trucking Missions Revised by Guadmaz and Goldgames
Sometimes you need a break from the hustle and bustle. 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. 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.
You’ll need to update the mod with Trucking Missions Revised to get it to work. This adds a few more missions to the base set, too.
Railroad Engineer by J10
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.
Map Editor, Raven Rock and North Yankton by Guadmaz, Sanghelios, and NewTheft
“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 - Raven Rock and North Yankton mods add new locales for you to kick back and relax, explore.
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”.
Vehicles Jetpack by XMOD
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.
Batman and The Predator by JulioNIB
There are loads of superhero scripts out there for GTA V. For me, playing as a goody-goody Avenger or Superman doesn’t reflect the world you’re in. No, you need to be in darkness, wearing shades of grey, and possibly hunting for the spines cord of random people.
Batman lets you beat up everyone in Los Santos to within an inch of their lives. Though not quite as slick as his Arkham-based action, the Dark Knight can still flip, kick, punch, and grapple anyone who dares to challenge his assumed authority. It’s WIP, but playable nonetheless.
Or you can just go all out evil and become a Predator. This script lets you reenact Predator 2, where you can cloak, blast, and stab your way through the citizens of Los Santos. You can even dangle the skinned corpses to let Danny Glover know where to find you.
Complex Control by THEAETIK
If you wanted to use base GTA V for a roguelike action game that plays like a battle royale, then Complex Control fits your very specific requirements. It’s a fairly astonishing overall, where Los Santos becomes the setting for a vast and violent game of hide-and-seek. And it's only for single-player.
You start the game by dropping into the city in a car with a random weapon kit. The other ‘players’ (AI controlled) parachute in just after you spawn. Every few minutes a new zone appears, and you have to be there and fight everyone else off. It's a hectic, unique game, with very new skills. Teleport lets you zoom around into and out of danger, and you can bring a pair of huskies into the fight. To win, you need to find the final zone and occupy it. There’s a progression system, letting you access better powers as your character survives from one round to the next. But it can all be wiped with one loss.
GTA V Remastered: Enhanced by Larcius
Want a livelier world? GTA V Remastered: Enhanced builds on the game’s world, adding clutter, trees, and more to make Los Santos even more alive.
It’s hard to convey the work that’s gone into it in words, but luckily there’s a comparison trailer below that shows you how the world would look if it were built for more modern systems. Lots more variety in the landscape, adding vegetation that helps break up the city.
Real California Architecture by Vlad
If you’re tired of the pun-based alternatives that GTA V offers up instead of the real world, Real California Architecture will bring realistic props, buildings, and more to Los Santos. Billboards will display real-world adverts, recognisable buildings and signs, like Compton City Hall and the West Hollywood Sign, now dot the landscape. It’s still a work-in-progress, but a huge effort has made the backdrop of the game better.
VisualV by _CP_ & robi29
The quickest, simplest way to upgrade your base game is to install VisualV. It’s an overhaul of a number of atmospheric effects. The weather and lighting of GTA V was always decent, but with VisualV it’ll be modernised. Weather has received a major makeover, with the systems being rewritten from scratch. Rain, fog, and storms are all more impressively rendered. The clouds have been replaced and upgraded. Even the moon has been tweaked, and now it rises and falls in the correct place.
GTA V FSR by NarutoUA
AMD’s FidelityFx Super Resolution tech, which lets you play games at lower resolutions and upscales the image, isn’t officially supported in Rockstar’s game. GTA V FSR is a port that sneaks it in under the hood. With it, you can run the game at 0.5x (running at half-res and scaling up) in “performance mode”, and 0.75x (running at three-quarter resolution and scaling up) in “quality mode”. Each provides a performance boost while keeping things sharp.
R.E.A.L. VR mod by LukeRoss00
I wouldn’t really play GTA V in VR, but I do love to load up Los Santos and have a wander. R.E.A.L. mod will let you run around Los Santos in first-person VR. There are the usual issues. There’s no motion tracking of the hands, so you’re stuck using a controller. That’s not the best way to play it, but you can. For that reason, I’ve spent my time just driving along, listening to music, and appreciating the sense of scale and space in a way that was impossible before.