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The Grand Theft Auto series is now 25 years old, which makes me feel old as I began playing the franchise with the first Grand Theft Auto game released in 1997. Over the years, over a dozen games have been released in the GTA series.
This has helped it become one of the best-selling video game franchises, with over 370 million copies sold worldwide. With the series being old and one that most gamers have played before, our list of best GTA mods can be a great way to breathe new life into the classic games and give gamers a new reason to go back and replay them.
Many of the GTA games can be modded, ranging from cheats, adding new vehicles and weapons in the game, and even overhaul mods that add new modes and even brand new maps to explore and play in.
GTA modding has been taking place since the early days of the series. Still, it wasn’t until GTA 3’s PC release in 2002 that they started to gain mainstream popularity. This was primarily due to the 3D engine allowing new models, vehicles, and even maps to be brought into the game. Modding really grew through the release of GTA IV and later GTA V, coinciding with the rise of gamers using the internet to play games and downloading new games and content.
GTA V has seen the largest modding community in the series, which makes sense because it has sold over 160 million copies worldwide. Mods for GTA V have included new vehicles and characters and building brand new maps and modes. Most recently, the explosion in popularity of the GTA Roleplaying modes. GTA RP uses private servers to host a custom-built GTA Online lobby where players take on the role of a character and live out their lives.
This can include everything from being a shop assistant and spending your day standing behind a counter to being a police officer and even a career criminal. These roleplaying servers feature custom maps and buildings that aren’t seen in the regular GTA V story, providing the most unique GTA experience.
Although some specific mods might require other tools to get working, GTA V has the most important software that needs to be downloaded to get many of the mods to work.
The first is Script Hook V + Native Trainer, which allows you to activate cheats and spawn assets into the game such as weapons, characters, and vehicles, as well as allow for .asi plugins, which are required for many mods.
This is combined with OpenIV, which brings the mods into the game. OpenIV supports GTA V, GTA IV, Max Payne 3, and Red Dead Redemption.
Where To Find Mods
Depending on which game you are looking to mod will depend on the sites to visit to find the mods and the complexity in getting them to work. Here is a collection of the best websites to find mods and what games they cover.
- LibertyCity.net – This is a great site to download mods for the older games in the series, including the original top-down GTA 1 and 2 and the handheld spin-offs, Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, and China Town Wars. There are mods for newer games such as GTA IV, GTA V, and even Red Dead Redemption 2, but there are better websites to download them from.
- GTAGarage.com – GTA Garage is similar to LibertyCity.net in that it is an excellent source of GTA mods for the older titles.
- GTAMP.com – This website is focused on multiplayer mods for many of the games from the first entry to GTA IV, adding co-op and competitive multiplayer to the games so you can play with friends or foes.
- Nexus Mods – Nexus Mods is one of the largest sites for gaming mods across hundreds of different games. Although most are texture or graphic mods, this can be an excellent place to find mods for GTA: San Andreas and GTA IV. It is also the best place to find mods for the GTA: The Trilogy – Enhanced Edition, with modders hard at work fixing many of the issues with the game, including improving the graphics and fixing the rain.
- Mod DB – Like Nexus Mods, Mod DB is another excellent site for finding mods for many games, including GTA.
- GTA5-Mods.com – If you are looking for GTA V mods, then this is the website you need to be on. This has the most active modding community and the most extensive library of mods on offer anywhere on the internet. Everything from graphic mods, vehicles, characters, and textures, to complete overhaul mods that even include a zombie apocalypse mode.
- FiveM.net – FiveM is the most popular and easily accessible way to get into GTA RP. It hosts many dedicated servers and allows players to set up their own servers. It isn’t uncommon to see over 50,000-100,000 people playing on FiveM servers at any given time.
- GTA5Grand.com – This is one of the most popular GTA Roleplaying servers, allowing gamers to take on the role of an NPC in the game, which is surprisingly a lot of fun.
- NoPixel.com – NoPixel is where players can create their own GTA RP servers, but this does cost for servers with a player count higher than 32.
Modding any game can be challenging, so you will likely run into issues at some point. If you do, I recommend utilizing websites such as YouTube, Reddit, and various forums to find the solution. There is usually someone out there who has had the same issue as you.
Another great tip is to have two installs of GTA V, one that is a vanilla install and one that you can mod. When using mods, even in single-player, it can lead to you getting banned. So, if you play GTA: Online, it is ideal to have two installs to easily switch between them.
This doesn’t mean you have to buy the game twice, though. Epic Games did give the game away in 2021, so if you claimed it, you have two ways to install the game separate from each other. Another method is to take your GTA V install, copy it to a new directory, and rename it, such as “GTA V Mod.” This will allow you to switch the version that the launcher should use, and you can quickly go between the modded and vanilla versions.
The Best GTA Mods
Simple Trainer for GTA V
Simple Trainer for GTA V – The Simple Trainer is a must-have mod for GTA V that allows cheats to be activated, vehicles and weapons to be spawned, and many other fun features.
The Dead Among Us Project
The Dead Among Us Project – This mod is an overhaul mod that sees Los Santos overrun by the walking dead (no pun intended) and honestly does the genre better than some titles that have been commercially released.
Los Santos looks completely different from the base game, with cars being abandoned on the roads, plenty of destruction, and vegetation overgrowing and taking over some buildings. This is an enjoyable mod that features many different maps to play on, with each of them having a unique feel.
R.E.A.L. VR – If you own a VR headset, you have probably wondered what GTA V VR would be like. Well, now you can experience it thanks to the R.E.A.L. VR mod. The mod isn’t perfect as the game wasn’t designed with VR in mind, and you need to use a controller as there is no way for the game to track your own motion, but it is still a great way to explore Los Santos in a brand new way. If you’ve got a steering wheel, you could use that while driving to have a really immersive experience as you cruise through the city.
Check out the R.E.A.L. VR mod in action as well as the steps needed to set it up.
Photorealism Mod – In the words of Chander Bing, “Could GTA V look any better?” well, I’m sure he said that at some point. The answer, though, is yes, it can. The Photorealism mod takes the already fantastic-looking GTA V. It enhances the visuals even further, making this a definitive way to play the game in 2022.
LSPDFR – LSPD First Response (LSPDFR) transforms GTA V into a police simulation game. This mod puts you in the shoes of a police officer rather than a criminal as you take part in high-speed pursuits and shootouts.
Remember, you are the law, so anything goes. You can let a murderer walk away or arrest innocent people. The mod allows for a lot of creativity to play the game how you want to.
The LSPDFR mod is still actively supported today and is one of the most ambitious overhaul mods available.
LCPDFR – This mod is very similar to the LSPDFR mod above but is for GTA IV and was the original incarnation of the mod. You can take control of an LCPD officer and even play the mode in co-op with up to three partners.
These mods are essential ones that you should play as a GTA fan. It is definitely a nice change of pace from being on the other side of the law.
Liberty City Customs
Liberty City Customs – Vehicle modding at Los Santos Customs is one of the best parts of playing GTA V. The garages allow you to create your dream car. This feature isn’t in GTA IV, so modders have added it themselves.
Spider-Man In GTA IV
Spider-Man In GTA IV – Liberty City is based on New York City, which also happens to be the home of Marvel’s Spider-Man. This mod brings the iconic Marvel character to GTA IV. It allows you to swing around the city and even use some of his combat tools, including Spider-Sense.
GTA V Graphics in San Andreas
GTA V Graphics In San Andreas – V Graphics is a mod that brings GTA V’s graphics to San Andreas, completely overhauling the game originally released in 2004.
Although the mod doesn’t 100% match the graphics found in GTA V due to it being a different and older engine, it does an excellent job at getting close.
If you’ve got a good PC, this is an essential mod to bring San Andreas into the modern age.
Iron-Man Mod – Like the Spider-Man mod for GTA IV, this Iron-Man mod adds Tony Stark to the game, complete with his J.A.R.V.I.S. voice system and his repulsor weapon. This is an enjoyable mod to fly around San Andreas and for Marvel fans.
Vice City East Coast Stories
Vice City East Coast Stories – This Vice City mod brings Liberty City and Vice City together in one playable map, complete with its own unique story that takes place in 1993, rather than the 80s that Vice City is set in and the 2000s that GTA III is set in.
GTA III: Remastered Edition
GTAIII: Remastered Edition – GTAIII: Remastered Edition is more than just a simple HD texture pack. Instead, it overhauls and improves every texture in the game, making HD, color correction, improvements to shadow quality for a more realistic look, and improved reflections. This mod makes GTA III feel like a completely different game.
GTA Frosted Winter
GTA Frosted Winter – Speaking of GTA III feeling like a completely different game, Frosted Winter is a complete overhaul mod for the game. Frosted Winter features new map changes that weren’t seen in GTA III and a brand new story consisting of a massive 83 missions.
Question: Can all GTA games be modded?
Answer: Yes, mods exist for every GTA game available, and they can be found throughout the links shared in this article. The older the game, the fewer available mods, and most of the mods for the very old games such as GTA 1 and 2 are typically graphics mods and adding new vehicles.
Question: Does Rockstar Games officially support modding?
Answer: Unless modding in GTA: Online, Rockstar Games doesn’t seem to have a problem with mods and have even acknowledged some of the great ones in the past.
However, this did change in 2021 as the studio was gearing up to release Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition and sent takedown notices of some of the best graphics mods for the games. It is a shame that Rockstar Games went in that direction, but you will have no issue using mods yourself.
Question: Can modding get you banned in GTA: Online?
Answer: Yes, using mods in GTA: Online can get you banned, and you shouldn’t attempt to do it. Most single-player mods are designed not to work in multiplayer, but they can sometimes still be detected by the game and lead to bans. For this reason, I recommend having two installs of the game, so you don’t accidentally get yourself banned.
Modding GTA games can be an enjoyable experience and breathe new life into these timeless classics. As you’ve seen throughout this article, I have to take my hat off to these modders as they have done some incredible things for this iconic franchise over the years.
I won’t lie to you and say GTA modding is easy, especially when it comes to GTA IV and V, and can provide some challenges that may take a little while to figure out. But as mentioned earlier, utilize YouTube and Reddit, and it shouldn’t take too long to get the mods working if you even have trouble to begin with.
With GTA VI still being a long way away, modding existing titles can be a great way to experience the games in new ways and give yourself something new to do. At the same time, you wait for the next story to be released. And, it won’t be long after its release that GTA VI mods will start being released, too, and we can see what creative ways modders have improved the game.