5 mods for a more realistic playthrough of GTA 5

If you've got the itch to play a game over again from the beginning but are looking for a different experience this time around, there's no better way to change things up than by using mods. In both subtle and broad ways, mods can put a different spin on a game and give something familiar a whole new twist.

Grand Theft Auto 5 is a great open world sandbox, but if you've been it a few times you might be looking for a more realistic, and thus more challenging, way to play. Below are five mods for giving you a more realistic playthrough of GTA 5.

Realism Dispatch Enhanced

The only thing more ridiculous than the criminals you portray in GTA 5 are the cops that respond to your crimes. Realism Dispatch Enhanced completely overhauls the law enforcement system for a more measured and believable response, while expanding it by adding new agencies from local to federal. RDE fully incorporates the excellent Crime and Police Rebalance mod (which is no longer being supported) while adding lots of new elements of its own. There's new and improved AI for the police that will allow them to use more realistic tactics, and different types of crimes will be met with appropriate responses.

Fuel Script Mod

Everywhere you turn in GTA 5 there's a car for the taking. What's more, these cars will drive forever, provided you won't wreck them. Bring your wheels back down to earth with the Fuel Script Mod, which adds a fuel meter to your car (shown above the minimap). Drive long enough and you'll run out of gas and the engine will stop. You can refuel from a petrol station—there are a number of them on the map—or by using a jerry can. You can even change vehicles, and the mod will keep track of the fuel level left in the past ten cars you drove.

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Better Weapon Ragdoll

Something we take for granted in GTA 5 is always having a weapon in our hands, but adding a little uncertainty can turn a typical gunfight into a more frantic and fun encounter. Better Weapon Ragdoll means that if something happens to you—like, say, getting hit by a car—your weapon can tumble free of your hands and wind up on the ground, leaving you in a scramble to retrieve it. Think twice before jumping off roofs or tumbling down mountains, because when you pick yourself up, you may also have to pick up your sidearm.

Human Needs

You're having fun playing GTA 5, but are your characters enjoying themselves? Do they ever have a meal that doesn't have to do with healing an injury? Are they getting enough rest? The Human Needs mod requires that you take care of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin by making sure they get some sleep and have regular meals. You can buy food, liquor, coffee, and other items from shops (the mod adds a separate inventory for these items) and visit motels around the map for some shut-eye. If you don't tend to their needs they may lose health or their special abilities as a result.

Realistic Damage System

If you want to play GTA 5 without feeling like a superhuman bullet-sponge, the Realistic Damage mod transforms you into a genuine human being. Tracking injuries to specific body parts, adding bleeding, broken bones, concussions, and even small bruises and scratches, you'll have to approach the dangerous world in a whole new way: by exercising caution in everything from gunfights to simply crossing the street. You won't just magically heal from some rest, either: if you're gravely injured you'll need to phone the paramedics. Here's our full write-up on playing GTA 5 with the Realistic Damage mod.

Ready for a joyride? Here's our guide on how to install GTA 5 mods on PC.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.