When we talk about PC gaming, we all mention mods in the same breath. Mods are, above almost anything else, one of the keys to the PC gaming kingdom. A celebration of the community, and a pointer to how creative us gamers truly can be, mods improve, change, or overhaul our favourite games.
We’ve looked at the best mods for certain games in the past, but this is the big list. This is the 100 best mods of all time.
Project Reality (Battlefield 2)
Nearly every part of Battlefield 2 that has the capacity to be tweaked has been here; ballistics reconfigured to reflect real-life damage, deviation and bullet drop. But, though the rallying call for this wildly successful mod might have been realism, that’s really a misnomer – it’s a community fixated on teamwork and cooperation that makes Project Reality so vital.
DSFix (Dark Souls)
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die, as it was named by the time it reached PC, was a mess. From Software, bless them, had never worked beyond the consoles before. They did their best for the release – and luckily for us, Durante took up the torch afterwards. His mod tackles restrictive resolution and framerate limits, and allows UI-scaling to better fit high-res monitors. DSFIX is also a platform, providing a structure for other modders to replace textures. Lovely stuff.
The Sith Lords Restored Content mod (Knights of the Old Republic 2)
Stoney and Zbyl2 were among KOTOR 2’s early detractors. Obsidian’s sequel was inspired, yes – but it simply wasn’t finished. “Well,” said its defenders. “Stop your moaning and finish it yourself”. So they did: recruiting a team and setting about squashing the bugs in Chris Avellone’s anti-jedi journey through the galaxies. More than that, the mod dusted down ideas found in the game’s code – including a ditched organisation and the entire droid planet of M4-78 – for meatbags like us to enjoy.
Another exponent of the proud fan tradition of fixing wonderful western RPGs rushed to release by their publishers, Bloodlines’ unofficial patch represents 10 years of post-release support. Most of it’s been led by analytical chemist Werner Spahl, who has not only cleaned up glitches but dredged up half-finished quests, weapons and characters – eventually reinstating whole levels and recruiting fellow fans to record new voices. The game has been so utterly transformed under his direction that there are now two versions of the patch available: a basic version that sorts technical issues, and a ‘plus’ mod.
Black Mesa (Half-Life 2)
It’s a simple idea with obvious appeal: Half-Life 1 in the Source engine. Nearly a decade, a couple of Vapourware Of The Year awards and a mammoth effort from a 40-man team later, the mod was released as a standalone download. It’s still missing the game’s closing chapters on Xen, but if you can live without the giant baby boss fight you’ll find lots to love in this expanded, more detailed rendering of Gordon’s old workplace.
DayZ (Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead)
There’s a best-selling, standalone game available now, of course, but there’s a compelling argument to be made that the Arma mod remains the most complete version yet. Buy the fairly cheap Combined Operations package on Steam, and you’ll gain access to the quintessential multiplayer survival game: predicated on the tango of trust and suspicion danced by real human beings in a virtual post-Soviet state.
The Dark Mod (Doom 3)
We waited a long time for a fourth Thief sequel. The Dark Mod was one of the more successful fan efforts made to plug that gap – an effort to twist the shadowy Doom 3 engine into something resembling Looking Glass’ minimalist stealth sim. Download the 2GB base package, and you’ll have the swag bag ready to carry a growing haul of ingenious fan missions.
Dota (Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne)
The world-conquering, sport-redefining MOBA genre began as a custom scenario for one Blizzard RTS, Warcraft III, based on the ‘Aeon of Strife’ map of another, StarCraft. The precepts of the sequel can be found fully-formed here: the creeps, the levelling, the equipment and the Ancients. Even since taking up residency at Valve, former modder IceFrog has found time to update the original – and some would say definitive – take on the idea.
Paradox may be hesitant about pairing up with HBO for the grand strategy Game of Thrones adaptation they were born to make, but their community has long since filled the throne. This full conversion nudges the Swedish game of diplomacy and death, murder and marriage the short distance required to fit snugly within George Ah-Rah’s universe. The map covers Westeros in the west to Qarth in the east, and a period stretching 300 years from Aegon’s Conquest to the time of Martin’s fourth book, A Feast for Crows.
When Avalanche confirmed before Christmas that there would be no Just Cause 3 multiplayer at launch, a sizeable portion of PC gaming’s population sighed. They’d learned that Just Cause’s capacity for propane-propelled antics was only multiplied with friends. After a year of beta tests, the mod is now enjoying a relatively stable life on Steam – even when buses towed by jets are hurtling over the mountains.
The Long War (XCOM: Enemy Within)
A longer, harder, and more gruelling variant on the fight for humanity Firaxis imagined – and one often recommended by its lead designer, Jake Solomon. The Long War makes hundreds of changes, from the large – an extended campaign, overhauled ship interception, new technologies and alien counter-research – to the small – English-accent soldiers voiced by YouTubers like Matt Lees.
Frontiersmanship doesn’t have to mean becoming a total luddite. ComputerCraft allows for the building of machines to automate mining and tree-chopping, control TNT cannons, generate cobblestone, play games and create password doors. And by the time you’ve got the hang of all of it, you’ll have learned a bit of programming to boot.
NeoTokyo (Half-Life 2)
One of the most visually distinctive Half-Life mods ever made, NeoTokyo takes its round-beginning respawn structure from Counter-Strike but has a cinematic flair all of its own. Locations recall the films of the Wachowskis – all moving trains and colourful, glass-filled lobbies. The pacing is slow and tactical, maps are geared towards ambushes and flanking, and death comes quick and easy.
Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
Developed by a German team behind two previous total conversions for Morrowind, Nehrim presents a world in the Oblivion engine that otherwise bears no relation to Tamriel. Disappointed with Bethesda’s Cyrodiilian adventure, Nehrim’s modders set out to build a landmass equal in size but more carefully cultivated than Oblivion’s. Its central plotline comprises 35 quests, and skill grinding is dropped in favour of a levelling and ‘learning point’ system inspired by the Gothic series.
Natural Selection (Half-Life)
This “first-person strategy” game has a standalone sequel on Steam – but the mod is still free and infused with the chunky charm of the Half-Life engine. It’s asymmetrical: one side must infest a spaceship as aliens, while the other works to counter them as marines. There’s a resource management system in play, and the call for real, RTS-style leadership from players on each team.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Lost Alpha (Shadow of Chernobyl)
Lost Alpha is an unusual project – not so much about restoring a game to its former glory or finishing a developer’s work, but rather bringing a Chernobyl imagined in screenshots and previews to reality. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was in the public eye for a long time – and once it was released, some fans decided they preferred the look of the game they’d seen in screenshots as early as 2002. Lost Alpha’s maps may share names and landmarks with locations in the finished game, but they’re often larger and more intricate.
Star Wars: Galactic Warfare (Call of Duty 4)
It started with a plan to replace Modern Warfare’s existing weaponry with a blaster model – and ended with proper Imperial Forces and Rebel Alliance factions, multiplayer map representations of Mos Eisly, Bespin, Tatooine’s Bestine and the Jundland Wastes, and airstrikes from Y-Wings and Tie Bombers. It’s flipping empire.
Brutal Doom (Doom)
Begun with the aim of making Doom even more visibly violent, it’s had the side effect of leaving id’s classic far more tactile and interactive. You can kick severed limbs and heads at enemies or to activate traps; push explosive barrels into complex arrangements to stage ambushes; and destroy practically every piece of scenery bar the walls.
Desert Combat (Battlefield 1942)
The toast of 2004 in PC gaming, Desert Combat took Iraq and the first Gulf War as its setting a full year before Battlefield 2 relieved the series of its M1 Carbines and marched it into the modern day. Still worth playing for its contorted urban environments and bombing runs through wispy cloud cover.
Third Age: Total War (Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms)
A total conversion for Medieval II’s only expansion, Third Age rips the names on its campaign map from Tolkein’s pages and populates them with 14 factions, from the obvious likes of Gondor, Rohan and Isengard to the lesser-trod parts of the lore – the Orcs of Gundabad and the Elves of Arnor. Ents, Wargs and even sour old Sauron himself, meanwhile, have been known to tread the turf on the battlefield.
DarthMod Empire (Empire: Total War)
The choice pick of a long modding career that’s culminated in the exquisite and purposeful standalone wargame Ultimate General: Gettysburg. For nine years, Nick Thomadis dedicated himself to retuning the Total War series towards challenge, depth and sheer scale; DarthMod Empire remains the most popular, thanks to better battle realism and newly effective AI.
Company of Heroes: Eastern Front (Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts)
Relic wanted to make their own Eastern Front expansion for Company of Heroes but “couldn’t do the snow”. They made it out East for the sequel, but were beaten to the punch by this exceptional five-year effort. New Soviets were balanced by a new faction designed from the ground up to counter them – the rugged Ostheer.
The Nameless Mod (Deus Ex)
Forum City is a physical embodiment of the internet and its bulletin boards – stuffed full with crime and conspiracy, just as its citizens like it. Invulnerable Moderators normally keep the peace – but one has gone missing, and erstwhile intelligence agent Trestkon must navigate corrupt corporations, religious fanatics, cyber-terrorists, and deadly computer programs to restore order. Freedom of choice, devastating consequences and over 200,000 words of dialogue await.
Median XL (Diablo II: Lord of Destruction)
A tweaked number here or there has worked wonders for Diablo III since its release, and Median XL did similar things for the already-ace Lords of Destruction – rebalancing drop rates and item stats, beefing up monsters and infusing rares with powerful new attributes. You’ll find 30 new skills per class, and Median’s 30 new high level uberquests are the perfect test for them.
Complex (Homeworld 2)
Complex’s team put a full stop on a decade of development after learning of Gearbox’s remastered versions of Relic’s beloved RTS games. What they’ve left behind here is incredibly intricate: a network of systems for ship crews, officers, morale, research, resource acquisition, chain of command and more. Space-worthy.
SkyUI (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
SkyUI is for many the first port of call when building atop of vanilla Skyrim. It’s an edited interface, faithful to Bethesda’s style and palette, that removes the trace signs of console development and leaves the UI prettier, less wasteful and far friendly to mouse and keyboard.
The Dropper (Minecraft)
You position yourself above a trap door, press a button, and allow yourself to freefall through an oversized bedroom or human skeleton. If you survive the fall, you finish the level; if not, well – now you know to dodge left instead of right. The Dropper turns Notch’s building blocks to new and inventive ends – webs become welcome cushions, and water the safest target. The sequel is equally as inventive, but a little chuggier.
MINERVA (Half-Life 2: Episode 1)
Adam Foster’s Half-Life 2 mod got him a job at Valve after its release in 2007, and in lieu of Episode 3 it’s just as playable today. Visit a remote island under Combine control, find out what’s going on, and make it stop. The 2013 Director’s Cut incorporated tweaked visuals, bug fixes and better puzzles.
T2X: Shadows of the Metal Age (Thief 2)
Long before Thi4f, a group of Looking Glass fans united by their distress at the studio’s closure set out to build a campaign as immersive and harrowing as The Metal Age. Thirteen missions take in city streets, rooftops, tombs, hotels, museums and cathedrals, and 10 new weapons and tools expand on Looking Glass’ emergent NPC manipulation.
Lambda Wars (Alien Swarm)
The inevitable, happy result of Valve’s decision to convert the Source engine for top-down play in Alien Swarm, Lamdba Wars is an RTS set in the Half-Life universe. Lead the uprising the Free Man instigated, or thwart the revolution as a Combine overlord – dodging antlions and climbing your way up the tech tree till you reach Striders.
Team Fortress (Quake)
Where it all began. The teams are there, as are the classes – but there’s none of the colour seen in Valve’s eventual standalone version. The original Team Fortress does support up to four teams in Capture and Hold, Hunted and Capture the Flag, however – and active communities remain around server-side mods like Custom TF and MegaTF.
Zombie Panic: Source (Half-Life 2)
A now-familiar living dead scenario is enlivened by an ingenious ruleset: one player volunteers to be the first zombie, and the rest stay alive long enough to complete their objectives. Killed human players rejoin the game as undead and pursue their former teammates – and the survivors are granted extra respawns as their numbers shrink.
Mental Omega (Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 – Yuri’s Revenge)
Beginning as a balance mod but growing into an unofficial expansion pack, Mental Omega offers new campaigns for Red Alert’s alternate-universe factions: the Allies, the Soviets, and psychic megalomaniac Yuri’s Epsilon. The first of two intended single-player Acts features a new take on the events of Red Alert 2.
iCEnhancer (GTA IV)
GTA V on PC is pretty, but nobody at Rockstar North has come so close to climbing out the uncanny valley as Hayssam Keilany. The New Zealander’s iCEnhancer builds on graphics mod ENB and shader suite SweetFX to beef up Liberty City’s textures, lighting, shadows, colours, reflections, bloom and anti-aliasing to a state of near-photorealistic noir.
Portal: Prelude (Portal)
A series of puzzles that tell the origin story of GlaDOS – in this version of events an AI built to take over the tedious, lengthy and repetitive tasks of Aperture’s testing staff. At the opening of Prelude, the ethically-challenged company’s employees are eagerly awaiting their replacement. At the end – well, expect things to have changed.
They Hunger (Half-Life)
Released in three episodes between 1999 and 2001, They Hunger was (and still is) a Mary Shelley-inspired story that picks up the body-horror of Half-Life’s headcrabs and runs with it – spinning a tale of an asylum-cum-lab and the threat its undead monsters pose to the surrounding town of Rockwell.
Star Trek: Armada III (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion)
The spiritual successor to the Activision-published RTS that found the Borg threatening the Alpha Quadrant, Armada III brings not only the Borg but also the Klingons, Romulans, Federation, Cardassians, Dominion and Breen. Picard makes an appearance, and music is sourced and remastered from other Trek games. A bold enterprise.
Insurgency (Half-Life 2)
So successful it spawned a standalone game on Steam, Insurgency still exists as a free total conversion – you only need one Source-based game and a Steam account to play. It’s a modern military shooter that prizes good organisation above all else, introducing specified squad roles, morale and a chain of command.
Natural Selection (Half-Life)
Another wildly successful multiplayer mod that eventually outgrew the pot of its parent game, Natural Selection is a hybrid FPS/RTS that pits Marines against the Kharaa in large spaceships and stations. One member of the marine team enters the ‘command chair’ – purchasing upgrades, dropping supplies, placing buildings and issuing orders – which players are expected to follow.
A Clash of Kings (Mount & Blade: Warband)
Adds sea travel, naval battles, props, textures and over a thousand new items, and converts Mount & Blade’s medieval trappings into equivalents from George Ah-Rah’s world. Many characters from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels have turned up to scrap for a corner of this massive map of Westeros.
Rise of the Reds (C&C Generals: Zero Hour)
The twin superpowers of America and China fended off terrorists and each other in vanilla Generals, but Rise of the Reds added a resurgent Russian Federation. A merger with Sir Maddoc’s Rise of Europe mod has also yielded a defensive, artillery-focused European Continental Alliance.
No More Room in Hell (Half-Life 2)
A playable tribute to George Romero’s Of the Dead series. Set just as a diseased world threatens to collapse into chaos, this co-op survival horror mod demands teamwork and promises a twisted sort of realism – removing HUD and crosshairs and dropping weapons and ammo sparsely. One bite is all it takes.
Radiator (Half-Life 2: Episode 2)
Robert Yang built an experimental single player FPS without any shooting to try and bridge the gap between art games and commercial fare. Episode 3 never arrived, but what’s here covers memory, relationships, social networking, gender politics and bureaucracy. The only mod in which you’ll sit through couples therapy.
Republic at War (Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption)
The Empire are replaced with the Galactic Republic, and the Rebel Alliance with the Confederacy. Republic at War draws from the relevant films, cartoons and corners of the expanded universe to allow players to reenact Clone Wars campaigns. Choice is important, and players have control over how and where they fight.
Superman Script (GTA IV)
Whether or not you consider Saints Row IV to have made this redundant really depends on how much of a DC fan you are. Armed with the cape and underpants, you’ve got access to all the super stuff: heat vision, fast sprinting, incredible strength, invincibility, car-chucking and, of course, flying. Brilliantly, you can use lamp posts as Nico would baseball bats.
Found in the widely-used Feed the Beast modpack, Industrialcraft begins by inventing its own Energy Units, and then pumps them through new systems for resource processing, mining and agriculture. An array of included generators and blocks can provide and store the energy, and machines offer ways to use it.
Minecraft may look stripped-back, but it chugs on low-end systems – especially when generating new chunks of world. OptiFine helps with that – enabled Notch’s opus to run faster and look better, while supporting HD textures and new configuration options. Its creators claim a doubled frame-rate is common.
SpaceToad’s construction kit for Minecraft introduces a host of tools designed to automate labour. Items like the pump, mining well and quarry offer hands-off mining, and you’ll find plenty of material-specific pipes and chutes to connect to the mod’s redstone, steam and combustion engines. For the foreman who likes a lot of alone time.
Thermal Expansion (Minecraft)
An extension for Buildcraft about shunting items between different energy states – cobblestone to lava, for instance, or water to ice. Powered furnaces, sawmills and pulverisers are all included, but the most exciting tools are the ones with totally incomprehensible names: the igneous extruder and aqueous accumulator.
Crossfire 2.0 (Freelancer)
Many of Chris Roberts’ ideas that didn’t quite come to pass in Freelancer now live in Star Citizen. The Crossfire Mod built on Digital Anvil’s story and universe in its own way – with a dynamic economy, challenging quests, updated graphics and thousands of small side stories and rumours.
MechWarrior: Living Legends (Crysis Wars)
This project pushes the Crytek’s FPS engine towards machine simulation with new art and animations, and plonks the mechs on large sandbox maps that replicate the feel of Battlefield with a mixture of vehicle and infantry combat. Use laser rifles and particle projector cannons to blow apart obstacles in the environment.
Multi Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA: San Andreas)
Multi Theft Auto is multi-focus. It’s got a new UI that makes complex tasks manageable for those who want to roleplay their way around San Andreas. It’s got a race mode that makes tracks of hundreds of locations on Rockstar’s map. And it’s got a stealth setting for those who like to sneak up on fellow citizens and ruin their day.
Killing Floor (Unreal Tournament 2004)
It would eventually become a million-seller on Steam when its team joined up with Red Orchestra’s Tripwire – but Killing Floor began unlife in Unreal Tournament. Set in a London where private biotech experiments have gone horribly wrong, it asks players to don the uniforms of British Army and Special Branch police officers pushing back the tide.
RVE (Supreme Commander 2)
The practically-named Revamp Expansion Mod is for those who hoped Gas Powered’s mechy RTS sequel would be more like the first game in the series. The unit cap has been unscrewed, exploding from 500 to 3000, and movement speed and scale of the game’s robots shrunk to make its maps feel bigger.
The Haunted (Unreal Tournament 3)
An international team pulled back UT’s camera into third-person for this multiplayer monster game. You’re either liberating cursed places from the minions of evil, or you are a minion of evil. Humans get access to weapons and melee attacks in the vein of Resident Evil, and the demons can place traps and trigger environmental hazards.
The Great War (Napoleon: Total War)
As far as wars go the Napoleonic war was pretty ‘great’, but it wasn’t The Great War. That title is reserved for World War 1, and the conflict gets a wonderful Total War treatment in this grand scale mod. Capturing the dirt and grime of history’s first massively mechanical war, The Great War recreates authentic twentieth century tactics. From artillery barrages to flushing out trenches with poison gas, you can wage a cruel, efficient campaign.
Estranged (Half-Life 2)
Created in Half-Life 2’s Source engine, Estranged is the tale of a lone fisherman who becomes stranded on a mysterious island as a violent storm cuts him off from escape. As you make your way back to the mainland, you’ll meet a curious collection of island natives. It sounds like it could be something in the vein of Dear Esther, but the people you’ll meet are certainly not all friendly and nice. You’ll need to pack a machinegun or two for this island vacation.
MidEast Crisis 2 (C&C 3: Tiberium Wars)
MidEast Crisis brings Command & Conquer out of it’s absurd Tiberium-powered future and into a war much closer to home. With a combination of modern and near-future hardware, you’ll need to battle across the warzones of Jerusalem to Beirut. This total conversion also adopts some Company of Heroes sensibilities for a more tactical game, asking you to capture and hold zones on the map to gain resources.
Altis Life (Arma 3)
Altis Life transforms Arma 3 into real life. And when we say this, we don’t mean it makes Arma’s realistic warfare more real. No, it lets you play the role of real people living normal lives. Buy a car, get a job, get paid, live well. It’s sort of Second Life, but with better graphics and less weirdos. The fun comes from playing as the police, who must enforce law amongst the civilian players. Make sure everyone has the correct licenses for vehicles, keep the peace, and go on incredible night-time arrest busts when the populations puts a toe out of line.
GTA IV: San Andreas (GTA IV)
The title makes this one pretty obvious: this is the world of San Andreas, but in Grand Theft Auto IV’s RAGE engine. The total conversion mod brings back not only the three cities and sprawling state areas of San Andreas, but also elements for the original game such as the chunkier UI and gang wars.
MISERY (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat)
Whenever we play games, absolute misery is exactly what we’re after. That’s what the makers of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R mod MISERY understand, and they bring a whole lot more upset and depression to the already grim Call of Pripyat. Difficulty is increased, AI sharpened, atmosphere darkened, and life’s realities made even harsher. Basically it makes the whole game a thousand times tougher; perfect for those who like a little self-torture / challenge.
Rage of Dark Gods (Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms)
We’re actually getting a real Warhammer: Total War game next year, but when that was just a fantasy a team of modders put Games Workshop’s wonderfully violent world into the Total War engine as a total conversion for Medieval II. It’s as you expect: large scale battles and turn-based attempts at global domination, just this time is orcs that need slaughtering, not European knights.
Edain Mod (Battle for Middle-Earth II)
Battle for Middle-Earth II is as good as it gets when it comes to a Lord of the Rings RTS, but if it’s just not lore accurate enough for you, then the Edain mod is what you need. It passes over most elements, re-adjusting to make sure everything bows down to Tolkien’s vision. Factions are split so now each country has their own army rather than being joined under common banners, new armies such as Thorin and his company of dwarves are available, and you can even give the One Ring to various heroes to see if they can wield it against the enemy.
Extra Utilities (Minecraft)
Extra Utilities is a pretty difficult mod to sum up, since it doesn’t have a theme. Instead it’s just a huge collection of various new items and blocks for Minecraft that you may find a little useful. Be that a chandelier to hang in your fancy new castle, a bag with double the capacity, or a block that is placeable anywhere in the air without falling down. ‘Just a bunch of fairly useful things’ is the mod’s tagline, and it says it all really.
Call of Duty: Battlefront (Call of Duty: United Offensive)
Putting Star Wars in any game is probably a route to something good, and with Call of Duty: Battlefront you probably can already guess what’s coming. WW2 rifles become blasters, Nazis become Stormtroopers, and motorbikes become hoverbikes. It’s a little rough, and still uses Call of Duty’s maps for the battlegrounds, but it’s a good bit of fun.
Ultimate Apocalypse Mod (Dawn of War)
War in Warhammer 40,000 is absolutely mental, with battles fought across entire planets, not just small fields. It’s something the Dawn of War games have never quite replicated, and what the Ultimate Apocalypse mod aims to fix. All 9 of the Soulstorm expansion races can duke it out in this insane mod, where particle effects fill the screen as your hurl nuclear warheads at your enemies. Even better: those massive striding Titan units are finally yours to command.
Blitzkreig-Mod (Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts)
The Blitzkreig mod is for any of the Company of Heroes games, and rebalances and tweaks a lot of the game’s systems for added realism. Weapon damage is amended, ranges altered, vehicle speeds changed, and a new ambush system that makes the most of hiding in trees and bushes is added. There’s new skins for many units, and over 100 new units have been added for all factions.
Black ICE Mod (Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour)
Black ICE bolsters Hearts of Iron III with a whole host of new elements to mix up the campaign. Over 4,000 new events and decisions to be made, 100+ new technologies to research, and more than 400 new units to recruit. Everyone wants more of a good thing, right?
Star Wars – Galaxy in War (Men of War: Assault Squad)
It’s Men of War’s tight, tense squad-based combat, but instead of the drab battlefield of twentieth century europe, it’s set in a galaxy far, far away. The Galaxy in War mod brings the factions of the Rebellion, Empire, Republic, CIS, and Zann Consortium to a Star Wars total conversion of Men of War: Assault Squad, along with suitable maps featuring iconic Star Wars locations.
Counter-Strike Xtreme (Counter-Strike)
What do you need to make an FPS ‘Xtreme’? Zombies, of course! It seems to work for Call of Duty, but it was working way before Treyarch tried it in Counter-Strike Xtreme. The mod adds new characters and weapons to the game, as well as a Zombies mode and a Ghost mode.
The Elder Scrolls: Total War (Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms)
If playing The Elder Scrolls as a RPG just isn’t cutting it, why not change perspective and view Tamriel from above with this total conversion mod for Medieval II. Elder Scrolls comes to Total War, with a detailed Tamriel campaign map with all the places you’ve explored on foot ready for invasion and liberation. 20 factions and 250 units made up of The Elder Scrolls’ iconic races are yours to command.
Deus Ex: Revision (Deus Ex)
Akin to the Black Mesa mod, Deus Ex: Revision aims to recreate the original Deus Ex game with ramped up detail and tuned gameplay mechanics and features. The mod team have re-imagined much of the core experience, with new level designs, tweaked RPG systems, and high-resolution textures. The perfect mod for if you’re considering revisiting this classic game.
Bloodlines: Antitribu (Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines)
An extensive mod for The Masquerade that’s more expansion pack than modification, Antitribu adds seven new vampire clans to the game, with unique characters and traits. The combat system gets a rework, enemies are overhauled to have passive and active abilities to use against you, and a massive amount of new models, textures, and sounds have been added.
Blood in the West (Mount & Blade: Warband)
If your game includes men on horses swinging swords, a Lord of the Rings mod can’t be far away. Blood in the West adds a Middle-earth campaign map to Mount & Blade: Warband, along with factions representing Elves, Dwarves, Gondor, Rohan, Isengard, and Mordor. All units are pulled from the film trilogy, from Orcs and Uruk-Hai, to swooping Nazgul Fellbeasts and lumbering Mountain Trolls.
PC gamers oft have this odd need to do the mundane in games in great detail, and driving trucks in Euro Truck Simulator is the best example of this. But it’s not enough. We need to be truckers on CB radios, chatting with other truckers on the road, warning them of tricky bends and nasty junctions. This mod simply puts multiple players on Euro Truck Sim’s roads. And that’s just brilliant.
Company of Heroes: Modern Combat (Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts)
Taking Company of Heroes’ excellent mechanics and transporting them into the 21st century, Modern Combat is a total conversion mod that puts the Chinese and United States against each other. There’s the same need for territory control, but this time you have high-tech battlefield equipment to help you on the road to victory.
Sins of a Galactic Empire (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion)
There’s plenty of mods already in this list that adds Star Wars to ground-based combat, but those films are just as much about spaceships as they are lightsabers and blasters. Sins of a Galactic Empire totally converts Sins of a Solar Empire into the Star Wars galaxy, documenting the years of the Galactic Civil War, the Clone Wars, and the Yuuzhan Vong War.
Contra (C&C Generals: Zero Hour)
Contra mixes up C&C General’s standard approach by introducing a rankings system. Certain buildings and units can only be built when your general has reached a certain rank, thus the game becomes about being rewarded for your combat efficiency. An interesting take on a classic RTS.
Call of Pripyat Complete (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat)
The Complete mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R is all about preserving the gameplay of the game by keeping away from unnecessary changes, but increasing the already thick atmosphere with new graphical magic and sound spells. Basically, it’s the HD remaster of the classic Chernobyl exploration sim.
Star Wars Conquest (Mount & Blade)
You’d expect a fantasy re-skin of Mount & Blade, but a sci-fi one? Demonstrating the extent modders will go to to re-create games, Star Wars Conquest offers a galactic map of hundreds of planets for you to travel around as you please. A sandbox to simply relieve your Star Wars fantasy in, Conquest is absurdly ambitious.
Witch’s Wake (Neverwinter Nights)
A small new campaign for Neverwinter Nights, Witch’s Wake sees you awake after a battle gone completely wrong, and you are one of few survivors. Lacking any memory, you’ll need to discover who you are, and meet with the infamous Night Hag, who will be critical to your survival. Overlaying the story is a persistent narrator who unfolds the story.
Darkness over Daggerford (Neverwinter Nights)
A massive new adventure for Neverwinter Nights produced by former BioWare producer Alan Miranda. Opting for a more Baldur’s Gate feel with a massive 200,000 words of dialogue, the mod asks you to solve the dark mysterious of the sleepy town of Daggerford. New questlines are great, but the big pull of this mod is it’s massive world map and random enemy encounters.
Josh Sawyer’s Mod (Fallout: New Vegas)
Fallout: New Vegas was notoriously buggy at launch, and Josh Sawyer does a lot to repair that in his broad-spectrum mod. Not only does it patch up things like the karma system and other technical mishaps, but it adjusts the overall difficulty level to reflect on the harness and challenges of surviving in the wasteland.
True Vision ENB / Project ENB / RealVision ENB (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
One of the key elements behind the photo-realistic Skyrim screenshots from Dead End Thrills, ENBs are massive graphic overhauls for Skyrim that replace all manner of textures and add atmospheric effects to improve lighting. The results are nothing short of stunning.
Moonpath to Elsweyr (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
This Skyrim adventure mod sends you to Elsweyr, a tropical region inhabited by a great variety of new creatures. Hunt hyenas in the desert and stalk raptors in the jungle in a six-quest long storyline revealing wonders of the area. The jungle areas are particularly impressive, and there’s a notable amount of care taken with creating the characters of Elsweyr, who are all voice-acted for a little extra immersion.
Falskaar (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Falskaar is a particularly famous mod. More expansion pack than a simple quest line, the mod adds 25 hours of campaign content and a whole new continent. 2,000 hours in the making, creator Alexander J. Velicky created it to gain the attention of Bethesda. He now works at Bungie creating Destiny, which should shout about the quality of his work. An absolute necessity for Skyrim, and the most ambitious mods ever created.
Interesting NPCs (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Ever felt that Skyrim’s inhabitants just aren’t real? Attempting to make NPCs feel more than just walking code is the Interesting NPCs mod, which adds background stories to hundreds of NPCs across the world. Through big dialogue trees you’ll be able to chat in-depth with characters, or even crack a joke. They’re all voiced by a cast of 80 actors to keep the immersion level high.
Realistic Needs and Diseases (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Adding a slight survival flavour to Skyrim, this mod makes it mandatory for your character to eat, drink, and sleep to function without keeling over and dying. Guzzling too much alcohol puts you through several stages of inebriation (from dizzy to blackout drunk). On top of these are a variety of nasty diseases you can contract, and you’ll need to look after yourself to recover successfully.
Frostfall (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Adding an element of survival games to Skyrim, Frostfall adds hypothermia, cold water survival, and camping equipment to the game. Spending too much time unsheltered in the freezing climate of Skyrim’s frosty landscapes will leave you suffering from Hypothermia, so it’s up to you to be sensible out in the snow and rain.
The Specialists (Half-Life)
The Specialists basically turns Half-Life into multiplayer fight sequences from The Matrix. With a third person camera, a variety of stunts, hand-to-hand combat, and slow motion action, this sprinkles a little John Woo cool on your Half-Life cereal.
Cry of Fear (Half-Life)
A total conversion of Half-Life, Cry of Fear is a cinematic horror game with both singleplayer and co-op game modes. Waking up in an alley with no knowledge of where you are, it’s up to you to work out the mysteries of who “they” are. Drawing influences from the likes of Silent Hill and Jacob’s Ladder, Cry of Fear is a proper chiller.
Urban Terror (Quake III Arena)
“Where Quake meets reality” is this mod’s motto, and pretty much explains it all. It’s got modern weaponry that you’d expect real army soldier men to use, and realistic environments like real violent people shoot each other in. But instead of having realistic combat, the mechanics are still pure Quake insanity.
Sven Co-op (Half-Life)
Unless you played Half-Life on the PlayStation 2, you’ve never experienced the Black Mesa Research Facility side by side with a friend. Sven changes that, modding the PC version to support cooperative play. There’s the opportunity to play the original Half-Life storyline, or there are hundreds of custom co-op scenarios to play.
Shockwave (C&C: Generals: Zero Hour)
Designed to make more of the leaders who lent Generals its title, Shockwave provides plenty in the way of choice and strategic freedom without abandoning the flavour of the game’s contemporary setting – unique among the C&C series. The mod is now 10 years old, and one final update is on the way to address the last of its issues.
Dino D-Day (Half-Life 2)
This is as pulpy as it gets: Nazis and dinosaurs, together at last. It’s a fast-paced multiplayer shooter, with 12 classes – three of whom are prehistoric creatures with no clear stake in World War II. You’ve never before seen a triceratops draped in swastikas, and probably never will again.
Zombie Master (Half-Life 2)
Every player in Zombie Master in thrust into the zombie apocalypse – but just one, selected at random, becomes immortal. And not just that: omnipotent. They command the restless deceased in an assault on the human survivors, who can only scramble for weapons and equipment and rely on their trigger finger to keep them alive.
Brytenwalda (Mount & Blade: Warband)
Five years ago, a team rebuilt the Western world as it was in the year 636 in Mount & Blade: Warband. They populated it with a couple of hundred historical personalities, with behaviours befitting our knowledge of them: lords, ladies, bards, priests and kings. For an encore, they revamped character creation and dialogue and replaced the beloved horse game’s quests and textures.
Kung fu 3.0 (Max Payne)
This mod made good on Max Payne’s promise to make the Matrix interactive – something that seemed very important to us a decade ago. Like Neo with the right program jacked into his skull, you’ll suddenly know kung fu: over 20 different moves deployed via a complex combo attack system. Head to the Dojo to practice your ‘drunken style’ bullet-dodge.
Considered essential among elements of Jagged Alliance’s dogged community, 1.13 wraps an already layered tactics game in extra stuff. New resolutions, improved AI, weather effects and new items are all included. It’s intended as a baseline for more mods – and crucially, leaves the original maps and missions intact.
LCPD First Response (GTA IV)
A police simulator mod, you can finally now play as the right side of the law in Grand Theft Auto IV. Heading out to Liberty City to find crooks and bring them in, you’ll be able to protect and serve by searching suspects, pulling over vehicles, issuing parking tickets, and intercepting high speed pursuits.