20 Best Realism Mods For GTA 5 (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Few games can claim to be as long-lived as Rockstar’s hyper-famous Grand Theft Auto V.
Something both Skyrim and GTA5 have in common is massive, active modding communities producing content nonstop. And when it comes to replayability, you just can’t beat having thousands of mods at your fingertips for free.
We’ve covered some of the best overall mods, but let’s look into a more specific area: realism in gameplay.
If you want to make this open-world sandbox experience more realistic, take a look at these mods and see what catches your eye.
20. Sitting Mod
Characters in GTA can run, drive, pilot planes, and survive shootouts with the army.
But they can’t sit down and enjoy the moment.
Modders have a lot of experience fixing this specific issue in games, and creator Jedijosh920 was quick to release the Sitting Mod to solve this mistake.
Now you just need to press the E key while next to a bench, and your character will proceed to rest their butt on it. As comfortably as space allows, anyway.
19. Extreme Difficulty Health Realism
While getting shot or otherwise injured in GTA5 is definitely harmful, it’s a lot less gruesome compared to how it would be in real life.
Creator SoB tries to make injuries in GTA5 more lifelike with his Extreme Difficulty Health Realism mod.
Now, different weapons will cause different injuries.
You’ll also start losing strength and speed as you lose health, becoming disoriented. Seems realistic, right?
This will make calling the paramedics more a “need” than a fun little thing you never really do.
18. Real Paramedics
Speaking of calling the paramedics… Have you ever noticed how they seem to only respond to calls for the show of it?
Thanks to Real Paramedics by Jedijosh920, you can make them actually earn their pay, instead of just walking away from injured civilians.
If the injury is bad enough, they’ll even carry their patient back to the ambulance.
Next time you accidentally run over an old lady, stop and take the time to call the paramedics. You’ll have the most immersive car accident you could imagine, all within GTA5.
But even the paramedics will be entirely at a loss when they come across a slaughter resulting from you trying out the Dismemberment/Gore mod by Jedijosh920.
Instead of a half-assed scream and a bloodied shirt, characters will get visibly wounded and even dismembered by both melee weapons and high-impact firearms.
Whether it’s a machete, a katana, or emptying an AR’s clip into someone’s arm, this mod provides several ways to brutally maim your enemies – just like you would in real life, I suppose.
16. Better Deformation
If you care about making bodily harm more realistic, why not go ahead and make the damage done to cars much more lifelike too?
This mod by Corinarh greatly increases specific in-game stats so that cars will get deformed with much less damage, while also increasing the car’s durability.
What you’re left with is a gradually-deforming car that works, until receiving some truly major damage.
This extra durability is especially noticeable on planes and helicopters, which can now take quite a bit of deformation before blowing up.
15. Fuel Script V
One of the most unrealistic aspects of vanilla is how every car, no matter how or where you obtain it, is always 100% full of gas.
Not to mention, it never runs out. What world is this guy living in?
Creator Sakis25 brings us the Fuel Script V mod, which adds fuel consumption to vehicles in GTA5. The mod also adds a fuel measurement bar over the minimap to keep you posted on your juice situation.
Run out, and you’re going to need a tow truck.
It’s a bit impractical, sure. But one cannot deny that having to stop every few hours for a quick gas refill is as much a fact of life as death and taxes.
14. Realistic Gun Sounds
For a game with so much gun mayhem, firearms in GTA5 don’t sound real to me.
Realistic Gun Sounds is a compilation of mods created by Xenort and some other contributors to improve sounds on revolvers, SMGs, vintage pistols, and everything else under the sun.
Even Tasers got a new sound clip!
Gunfights will sound considerably more realistic, adding to the enjoyment. And adding to the probability of scaring your neighbors late at night.
Some people need lessons just to learn how to hold a gun.
It stands to reason that most people couldn’t hold onto their weapon if it was glued to their hands… and yet, the NPCs in GTA5 do.
Well, not anymore.
Thanks to modder Jedijosh920, so much as a scrape on their hands or arms will make the average NPC drop their weapon. This allows you to sweep in and take them out swiftly.
This mod is especially recommended for those who’re used to previous GTA installments where disarming was still present without mods.
What a weird thing to leave out…
12. Ambient FX
Besides sounds and gameplay mechanics, a game’s graphics are an essential aspect to improve if you want a more realistic experience.
Graphic updates are huge in GTA5, but this mod takes graphics more towards the realist side of things.
The Ambient FX mod by Dilapidated helps us achieve this by increasing the details in fire, smoke, and smog effects. Guns now emit smoke more naturally whenever you fire them, and smoke trails are visible from blocks away.
Considering it comes at little-to-no performance cost, there’s no reason to skip over this atmospheric mod.
11. Lively World – Traffic Stuff Update
There’s no point in having a sprawling open world if you can’t make it feel alive.
The best way to achieve this is by putting as many random events as possible into the game. You know, keep things exciting.
The Lively World mod pack by Eddim adds several such scenarios all around Los Santos, explicitly focusing on events affecting traffic.
Once installed, drivers will overtake each other, get into arguments, and more.
You’re free to interact with these scenarios or keep going. But whatever you do, you have the choice – and that’s as real as it gets.
10. Open All Interiors
One of my first encounters with software limitations was realizing I couldn’t enter every building in GTA: Vice City.
Luckily, I don’t have to put up with that anymore.
This mod by NewTheft opens every possible interior in Los Santos, adding fully functional doors and even elevators where needed.
It’s great for exploration, and it’ll also make shootouts more dynamic to boot.
9. R*hancer Photorealism Mod
You know how GTA5 screenshots on forums always look like they were taken with a more… realistic graphics engine?
It’s probably thanks to this mod by creator Xilantro, which retouches almost all aspects of GTA5’s visuals to provide an upgraded look.
And a realistic one, at that.
Among other things, it completely reworks the weather. The enhanced rain leaves more detailed puddles, and reflections off wet surfaces are much more realistic.
Another big focus of this mod is providing more natural lighting to Los Santos.
This makes the game look more vivid, and also makes nights darker and more atmospheric.
8. NaturalVision Remastered
Everyone has their tastes when it comes to making a game look better.
If our previous entry didn’t convince you, perhaps NaturalVision Remastered will.
Created by modder Razed, NaturalVision is one of the most ambitious visual overhauls for GTA5.
It’s also one of the most accomplished, making the game look so vivid and intense, you can almost feel the Los Santos sun on your skin.
If you wish to erase the fine line between gaming and reality even further, consider joining Razed’s Patreon and get access to NaturalVision Evolved, the latest version of this mod.
7. Realistic Driving V
It’s not enough to just improve the game’s looks to make it more lifelike. If you’re the kind that likes GTA for the cars and driving, you’ll want Realistic Driving V.
Modder Killatomate created an entirely new physics-based handling system for cars, setting values like weight and center of mass individually on 357 different vehicles.
This mod also gives tires a more realistic grip, depending on the surface.
The result is a simulation that feels coherent and authentic. It’s especially cool for fans of rallying, as the new off-road better simulates real-life sand and dirt.
6. Realism Dispatch Enhancement
If you’re modding GTA5 for more realism, you can’t miss improving the Los Santos Police Department – and frankly, they need it. Badly.
Made by The Realism Team, Realism Dispatch Enhancement is a mix of visual and gameplay improvements related to the police.
It’ll add new types of police personnel, more peacekeeping vehicles, and higher-quality textures – all while increasing performance and stability.
It also adds an entirely new six-star Wanted Level, and brings some tweaks to differentiate the diverse law enforcement agencies you see in Los Santos.
5. Crime and Police Rebalance & Enhancement
Once you’ve got a more appealing police force, you should make them think better, too.
The Crime and Police Rebalance & Enhancement by BobJaneTMart can help you by fixing several simplistic design choices in the police’s AI.
Now instead of magically knowing you just punched an old lady behind a minivan, someone will have to report the incident for them to begin an investigation.
Well, if that “someone” can get to a phone before you catch them.
Better stock up on silencers.
4. Better Chases+
Another mod providing a similar enhancement is Better Chases + by modder Daimian.
Other than requiring a civilian to report your crimes if there are no police nearby, this mod also introduces a gradual suspect ID process that makes the Wanted system feel much more engaging.
You may notice the police no longer repeatedly taser you when you’re already on the ground, too.
I mean, you may be a wanton murderer, but you still have human rights. Well, I think so anyway. This game’s pretty mental at times.
3. World of Variety
Few things are worse for immersion than noticing the same NPCs and cars going by over and over again.
It’s one of the most “gamey” aspects of GTA5 as a whole.
World of Variety seeks to improve this by re-introducing models and other assets from GTA Online into single-player Los Santos.
This lets the system auto-generate a richer array of NPCs, and traffic will look much more diverse as well.
You may even notice a surge in street performers, or be chased by K9 LSPD agents next time you commit a minor crime.
2. Basic Needs Mod Pack
Every game can be a survival game if you’re brave enough.
And if you get the right mods.
This Basic Needs Mod Pack by PlasticTangerine makes the game feel lifelike by having you get hungry and thirsty in-game, just as often as an average person would.
They’ll also need to have fun by drinking alcohol, smoking, driving unsafely, you know fun things to do and relax.
To help you survive daily life, this mod introduces working restaurants, motels, and safe house fridges that’ll take care of your basic needs for a modicum sum of money.
Arguably one of the most realistic mods to try out, and there’s so much to do with it, too.
1. GTA V Redux
The less time you spend modding your game, the more time you spend playing it.
The GTA V Redux mod will give you the best value for your time by overhauling almost every aspect of the base game for a more realistic, and overall more enjoyable, experience.
Visually, it provides significantly upgraded 4K textures that’ll make the game look photorealistic around every corner.
Better color corrections, a bloom effect, and tone mapping are also introduced.
Gameplay-wise, suffice it to say that the police system, weapons system, and even vehicle handling are all as good as they get.
Even ragdoll physics are better!
Really, if you’re going for realism then install GTAV Redux. You won’t regret it.