When it comes to PC gaming, sometimes the finished product can leave us a little…wanting. After all, we didn’t sink hundreds of dollars into gaming just to be satisfied with developer standard graphics did we? No! We want to see the modding community step up to the plate and deliver insane levels of photorealistic texture packs to our games so that we can really put our PCs through their paces.
Ok, so that last paragraph comes off a little spoiled…but the bones of it are true. Right now anytime a game is released, no matter how high quality the title is its only a matter of time before the PC gaming community injects its own touches into the game itself to give it that post-launch boost in either graphics, gameplay, or general quality of life upgrades.
Today though, we wanted to talk about the best mods available to download right now that take a game’s established ‘vanilla’ graphics, and escalate them to the next level. From texture packs to added ray tracing, there are a lot of different ways to improve a game’s vanilla output. Here are just a few of the mods available to download right now that make great games even better.
10) Brutal Doom
I’m going to kick off this list with a game that has been a mainstay since it was first released in 1993, Doom. If you haven’t played the original by now then you really don’t want to play it – it works on calculators, there’s no excuse.
However, just because a game is an icon in the industry doesn’t mean it never gets dated. Even though Doom is an FPS landmark, by modern standards there are one or two aspects of the game that could definitely be improved upon – and that’s where Brutal Doom comes in.
Brutal Doom takes the original Doom and builds on it, never forgetting the game’s roots, but giving it a lick of paint and a few extra touches that ground it more firmly amongst the other modern FPS titles out there at the moment. For example, the original textures are slightly touched up, with blood and gore animations being given a massive overhaul to make them more visceral in the heat of the game.
Plus, outdoor and indoor environmental textures have been improved, with brand new animations for enemy deaths and executions, with some improved gunplay and models included just to spice up this mod that doesn’t just improve the game’s graphics, but also how the game plays in general.
9) Morrowind Enhanced Textures
You can’t have a list of the best mods available without mentioning Bethesda games. It’s inevitable they are going to be on the list. If you aren’t familiar, Morrowind is the prequel to Oblivion, which is the prequel to Skyrim, so if you are a fan of Skyrim and haven’t already checked out the other games in the Elder Scrolls series, I heartily recommend downloading Morrowind and the Morrowind Enhanced Texture Pack to explore the world of Cyrodill even further than you have done before.
Morrowind is a dated game, first appearing in 2002 – but the Morrowind Enhanced Texture pack drags the game up in terms of its graphics, putting it in line with Skyrim level textures and environments, making it much more palatable for modern gamers (even if the gameplay itself is much tougher than its sequels).
As a by the side, this mod actually won the Best Graphics Mod Award of 2018, so if you needed some kind of indication as to just how good this mod is when it comes to graphically overhauling a game nearly twenty years old, this should be a big clue.
More accurately, the developers of the mod haven’t just updated the textures in-game, but also increased the actual resolution of these assets by around 16 times what they were on the launch day so that they aren’t appearing blurry in-game and can be displayed at resolutions up to 4K. Good stuff if you are looking to enjoy some classic gaming without being impeded by dated graphical outputs.
8) Fallout 4 Uber Fidelity Suite
I wonder how many people would be annoyed to learn that personally, I don’t enjoy the art style and color palette of the Fallout series? Luckily, I can keep my griping to a minimum with the use of mods, and even more luckily we are far enough out from the launch of Fallout 4 that the PC gaming community has come together to launch a litany of different mods for the Fallout series that can completely change the way it looks.
For those not in the know, even though Fallout 4 was released years after Skyrim, it was built on exactly the same engine, and as a result, it can look a little…dated at times. That’s where the Uber Fidelity Suite comes in. Before I start running through all the different things that it does for Fallout 4 in-game, I will quickly mention that this is a mod to be run by very powerful PCs. It’s going to completely overhaul the game’s graphics, sure, but it’s going to take a lot of power to do it.
So if you’re still reading that means your either ready to download or torture yourself. Either way, the Uber Fidelity Sweet for Fallout 4 is a great mod for upping the graphical fidelity in your game – it’s going to improve not only the vistas and views but also elements used in combat and interior exploration as well. What’s also worth considering with this mod is that the creators developed it with the original artistic vision of the game in mind.
Why is that important? So often in mods, we see fantastic texture packs get released that don’t really hold to the original look of the game, giving the modded version a strange disjointed look when installed. Even though I’m not a fan of the Fallout aesthetic, I would much prefer one coherent art style than two mismatched ones.
7) Middle Earth: Shadow Of War Simple Realistic Reshade
It’s hard to talk about realism in a fantasy world, but I think were all mature enough to explore the notion of an established world together. Middle Earth: Shadow Of War is the follow up to Shadow of Mordor, a mix of Assassins Creed and the Batman Arkham series dressed up like Legolas in a Tolkein nerds nightmare vision of Middle Earth.
Even without the mod, I think that most people would agree that the game looks pretty great, so when I say that this mod adds a few final touches into the game that really set it off? You can believe me. For one thing, it removes the odd light filter from the game that seems to eschew everything in a translucent yellow, and it also reworks the shaders just to push it that little bit further in terms of visual performance.
Its really quite hard to describe the different ways in which this mod makes the game better – but it does. Its more the fact that it elevates an already good looking game to greater heights, allowing the player to focus on the game itself, and not some of the odd visual distractions that can take away from the overall experience. Check out the mod here.
6) Minecraft SEUS
Sonic Ethers Unbelievable Shaders (or SEUS) is a brilliant mod for Minecraft that adds in some really good vegetation and environmental upheavals to the game that drag it away from that blocky style that we have all become so used to when talking about Minecraft.
Sure, the Minecraft RTX version was just released officially, but if you are looking for a way to beef up your Minecraft game quickly and don’t have an RTX ready graphics card, then this is a great way to do just that. The mod also changes the behavior of lighting and water in the game, maybe not to the extend of RTX Minecraft, but enough to make a very noticeable difference in how this game looks and plays as a result.
Be aware – it can be a little demanding when it comes to performance, but as long as you keep that in mind and are confident that your PC can handle it, this is a great mod to up your Minecraft game.
5) Resident Evil 4 HD Project
Ok, so before you start talking about the possibility of an official Resident Evil 4 remaster, you have to bear in mind that this mod was officially started way back in 2014, and has been the passion project of a community player rather than an official endeavor.
With that in mind, this game takes one of the best Resident Evil games and updates it with HD textures and assets, really touching it up for a modern audience. Even the official HD re-releases of the game don’t look as good as this mod – so when you inevitably boot up that Resident Evil 4 remake we all know is coming, and feel nostalgic for the older version rather than the updated game with all of its modern touches, make sure to check out the Resident Evil 4 HD Remake Project to properly enjoy this classic game in all of its glory.
4) GTA San Andreas: Jefferson Retextured
I can already hear people screaming that GTA V should appear on this list before San Andreas, but wait and see what this mod has to offer before you take to the comments.
This is a mod that completely lifts GTA San Andreas out of 2004 (when it was released) and plonks it right down in modern-day, with a retexturing that I think Rockstar needs to acknowledge by giving the creator money, or a job, or something.
The cars, the weather, the lighting, the shading – nothing has been forgotten here, and the way that all of the different elements work together makes this mod the perfect way to introduce someone to this naughties throwback classic without hearing the age-old line ‘yeah but the graphics aren’t any good’. Shut them up with this mod, its brilliant and really adds another layer to the fast-paced driving, shooting, and looting that has long been a staple of the GTA series.
Watch out for how it plays with other mods, but I heartily recommend clearing out whatever current installs you have and giving this mod a try if you haven’t already. You can check the Jefferson Retextured mod out here.
3) GTA V Natural Vision Evolved
Fine, I’ll talk about GTA V visual mods, and when it comes to GTA V visual mods then we have to talk about Natural Vision.
The latest version of the mod (dated in 2020) is the current standard to beat when it comes to overhauling GTA V graphics – and overhaul them it does. Its been lauded by the community as one of the best graphics overhauls ever completed by a modding community, and it’s so good it verges on graphics you might expect from the next title in the GTA series rather than just an update of a game released in 2013.
Retexturing literally everything in the game to make it nigh on photorealistic, this mod is not one to download if you’re concerned about your PC being able to run a game at max settings, let alone ultra. If you want specific changes in comparison to the original, then you should expect changes in the behavior of environmental weathers, the lighting systems of the game, the ambient colors, tone mapping, world textures, building models and ‘much more’ to create the incredibly realistic world of Natural Vision Evolved.
Just watch the trailer above for it and see for yourself.
2) Star Wars Battlefront 2: BetterSabers X
Not that Battlefront 2. The 2017 Battlefront 2. The one everyone was mad at.
Sure, the OG Battlefront 2 has some incredible mods available to download for it, and I heartily endorse them, but I’m a Star Wars junkie, and we’re talking the best graphics mods available…so let’s talk BetterSabers.
At their heart, lightsabers are big glowsticks, and we all know how difficult lighting can be within a video game. Keep that in mind when you check out BetterSabers, a mod that changes the behavior of the lightsabers in-game to make them much more movie accurate.
For example, the lightsaber colors are now consistent from saber to saber – Anakin’s blue will match Obi-Wan’s, etc. Also, the shapes of the sabers are consistent with their movie counterparts (there is a difference, compare Luke’s lightsaber with Anakin’s for example), and more importantly, the motion trails of any lightsaber swing have been vastly improved, putting them more in line with their movie counterparts.
Another big aspect that has been improved here is the light, with a stronger source of light emitted from the lightsaber with a more consistent reflection in-game than they did before.
Obviously, there are other mods that improve the overall lighting and behavior of the game itself, but this is Battlefront 2 we are talking about – for all of its initial pitfalls, the game did look great, and when it comes to a graphical upgrade this is one of my favorite mods that has a fast and meaningful impact of the gameplay itself.
1) The Witcher 3 HD Reworked
The Witcher 3 is one of my all-time favorite games, and I don’t think I’m breaking any molds making that statement. It’s a classic around the world, but let’s not forget – it’s now five years old. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you the vanilla game looks bad – it doesn’t, but what I am going to tell you is that there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to the game’s graphics.
Enter The Witcher 3 HD Reworked Mod.
This mod does a lot to overhaul the world of The Witcher 3, with all kinds of new textures being dropped into the game to make the world itself much better looking, with cities like Novigrad getting a new lick of digital paint both metaphorically and literally – that YouTube video above will give you an idea about how the world of The Witcher is vastly improved with retouched walls, floors, greenery and other environmental aspects that make this great game even greater – if that was even possible.
This mod runs well alongside other mods as well, so if you are really looking to stretch out that Witcher content then don’t worry about its compatibility with other mods. It works just as well on the Steam version as it does the Epic Games version too, so there really are no worries about making your Witchery world look even better than it first did on launch.
Still, this is just a list of what we consider to be the ten best current graphical mods available to download right now in PC gaming. We could be wrong, and if we are, I’m certain that you will let us know exactly how and why in the comments below.