Rockstar made a bit of a mess with GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, to say the least, but whether or not they fix the remasters the way they have said they will, we can be sure that the modding community, as ever, is going to be proactive with those efforts. Already, there are a number of mods out there that make big and small improvements to the trilogy, and here, we’re going to talk about a few of them.
VISUALS OVERHAUL (SAN ANDREAS)
GTA: The Trilogy’s visual overhaul begins showing its cracks once you look at it a little closely, but if you’re looking for a more well-rounded improvement to San Andreas’ graphics, there’s a mod out there for you. QTmodz’s Natural Visions – Texture Overhaul mod makes improvements to shadows, lighting, the skybox, rain effects, and much more and the results are rather impressive.
The character models are one of several areas where the GTA trilogy’s visuals begin to fall apart upon closer inspection, but thankfully, modders have started addressing those issues. This mod, for instance, does a pretty good job of fixing CJ’s facial model by giving his face and all of his hairstyles 4K textures. There’s still some weird stuff going on here with his neck, as there is in the actual remaster, but it’s still an improvement.
Meanwhile, Vie City protagonist Tommy Vercetti, too, has received a bit of a facelift with this mod by DoctorMicah. The changes here are pretty subtle, but still easily apparent when you compare it directly to the remaster. First and foremost, the mod attempts to make Tommy look more like he did in the original Vice City, and it does a pretty good job of it.
Modders have been showing GTA 3 plenty of love as well, and silent protagonist Claude has also received decent improvements. Like the Tommy Vercetti mod (and uploaded by the same user), this mod makes changes to Claude’s facial model to bring him more in line with his look in the original game.
On paper, the fact that the GTA trilogy removes the fog that was prevalent in the originals and improves the draw distances of all three games radically should be a good thing, but the fact that you can basically see the entire cities stretching out in front of you makes them seem much smaller than they should. Thankfully, Junion_Djjr’s Fog Distance Fix mod on Mixmods puts the fog back in. It’s not as heavy as it was in the originals, but it makes an instant impact. Draw distances are still solid, and yet the cities don’t look like tiny Lego sets from a distance.
RADIO RESTORATION IN VICE CITY
Many fans have expressed disappointment over the fact that there are some licensed songs that are missing from the tracklist of the GTA remasters, but as you’d expect, modders are on the case. This mod, for instance, fully restores the entire Vice City tracklist, which means any and all songs from the original can now be brought over into the remaster as well.
If you’ve noticed issues with the audio in the GTA trilogy, well, you’re not the only one. Nexusmods user meowsandstuff has uploaded the Uncompressed Sounds of Grand Theft Auto mod, which, as its name suggests, noticeably improves the audio quality in all three games, with each now sounding crisper and sharper. Best of all, the mod also restores the full San Andreas tracklist.
WATER EFFECTS IN SAN ANDREAS
This one is much more miniscule in comparison to some of the others on the list, in that it addresses one very specific issue. Jumping into water in San Andreas doesn’t produce the ripples and splashes that you’d expect, but thanks to this mod, that seems to have been fixed now.
BETTER ROADS IN VICE CITY
Another mod that tackles specific visual details, but one that has a much wider impact. Nexusmods user Instanity’s Better Road Textures mod does exactly what its name suggests, and improves the visuals for the roads all over Vice City. They look significantly more detailed with improved textures and better detailing.
BETTER ROADS IN GTA 3
User Instanity hasn’t focused on Vice City exclusively. A similar Better Road Textures mod has been released for GTA 3 as well, and it does the same thing, improving what the roads in Liberty City look like significantly. Given how much you’re driving around in these games, this is one mod that you should definitely check out.
MORE VEHICLES IN SAN ANDREAS
San Andreas has quite an impressive variety of vehicles as it is, and thankfully, that’s one thing that the remaster doesn’t mess with. But if you still want improvements, the modders, unsurprisingly, have got you covered. Over on Nexusmods, BroXe’s mod adds more vehicle variety to the game so that NPCs can now spawn in even more cars, which, of course, you can then steal and drive around the map yourself.
One of the more disappointing aspects of GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is the fact that it doesn’t make improvements to the technical issues of the originals the way you’d expect any decent remaster to do. Texture and asset pop-in, for instance, is one of many persisting issues. Thankfully, bigbadjarret’s Better LOD Config mod addresses that problem by upping the LOD in each game, tackling specific bugs across the trilogy, and improving pop-in issues.
This is a relatively small change, but one that many players will no doubt be quite happy about. Unlike modern Rockstar games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2, the original GTA trilogy had a larger reticle, with a dot enclosed within a circle, and the remasters use that as well. If you’re annoyed by that, you can download modder bobologs’ Simple Reticle mod, which replaces that with a simple dot on the screen a la more recent Rockstar releases.
If with all of these visual improvements you’re hoping for a more immersive experience and don’t want any of it to be obstructed by gameified elements like the HUD, there’s a specific mod for that as well. EchoBlendz’s HUD Toggle mod does what its name suggests, and lets you toggle your entire HUD on and off with a simple press of a button.
FIRST PERSON IN SAN ANDREAS
Fans have become used to running around in San Andreas in first person in recent years thanks to GTA 5, and if you have a hankering to do that in the map’s original rendition, you can now do that as well. BoyOfTheEnders’s VR Mode mod might not let you play the game in VR, but it does enable a first person view. It’s not entirely comprehensive, but it’s a pretty good stand-in until we’ve got more well-rounded mods to look at.