I’m working on build a fairly comprehensive list of Fallout 4 mods I’ve used, ones I would recommend based on how they improved the game. Especially if they are mods I find myself using every time.
Here’s a quick overview for this post so you can quickly hop around to what interests you most:
Sound Effects and Music Mods
I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much new sound effects and music change the feel of the game. In some cases I’ve used mods that simply add music without replacing it, but music replacement mods can totally change the vibe of the game in a refreshing way.
Want the game to feel more sullen, creepy, or desolate? New sound tracks can do that in a powerful way. Same with sound effects, making the same old weapons feel like something new and interesting.
- Project Reality Footsteps – Makes your footsteps louder and more realistic, varied by the surface you step on. A subtle change that I feel really enhances the game.
- Zippo Sounds for Cigarette Lighting – Simple mod that makes lighters in the game sound more like real Zippos.
- STALKER Music Mod (Non-Replacer) – Adds music from the STALKER game in the rotation for ambient music etc.
- Realistic Explosion Sounds – Less video game-y and more boom.
- Realistic Bullet Cracks – Makes the sound of bullets hitting things and whizzing past you more cinematic.
Weapon/Gear Mods (Stat Changes or New Gear)
Straightforward. New weapons or gear that I always use.
- Shotgun Better Range and Spread – It’s well known that video games usually get this wrong, exaggerating the spread of shotguns to ludicrous levels. In actuality, shotguns are accurate to a much greater range than portrayed, and with this mod, even the humble double barrel shotgun you find early on is a powerful and reliable mid-range weapon for hitting raiders and mutants on ledges. It makes the shotgun far more useful, and I don’t consider it a cheat or balance-breaking because it’s true to how shotguns actually work.
- See Through Scopes – Makes looking through scopes and sights more immersive and realistic, and makes battle feel better in my opinion.
- Knife Animation – This is a simple one that adds a cool flip animation as your character draws a one-handed melee weapon, giving it a bit of a flourish. It’s not entirely practical from a realism standpoint, but does make your character seem slick. It’s a nice flavor mod to add in. (It says it’s for knives but seems to work on all one-handed weapons.)
- Strength-Based Bash – Makes it so that your characters STR matters for bash damage like it should.
- Wastelander’s Melee Weapons – Makes things like shovels, signs, screwdrivers, and scalpels into usable weapons for the scrapper in all of us. Raiders use them, too!
- Tommy Gun Rebalance – The SMG does use .45 after all. This mod makes the gun more useful and probably realistic.
- Third Person Melee Tweak – Makes third person melee a bit more interesting.
- Shishkebab Double Damage – If you felt this weapon was weaker than it should’ve been.
- Real Dogmeat Armor – The vanilla dog armors don’t actually have a defense rating, which is stupid. This mod fixes that.
- More Realistic Pipe Weapons – New textures for pipe guns to look, although worn, like you actually care for them rather than rusted pieces of junk that would probably blow up the first time you shot them.
- Minigun Balance – The minigun is a lot weaker than it should be for “game balance” or whatever. This mod makes it far more dangerous, especially for enemies using it against you. Beware of boss supermutants.
Companion Mods (Edits To Existing Companions, and Quality New Companions)
There are a ton of these. To avoid being overwhelming, I’m listing only the companion mods I personally continue to use or feel really stand out as worthwhile against the rest.
I don’t include any basic follower mods that aren’t voiced. No offense to those mod authors, but to really stand out for this kind of list, they need to shine in some way.
- Interesting NPCs – Part of the Tales of the Commonwealth mod that adds a ton of new content, interactions, locations, and NPCs to the world. Also includes 3 new companions that are very well done, well voice acted, have their own quests, and work perfectly on the vanilla companion system or with AFT. This mod is a staple in every play through of mine.
- Amazing Follower Tweaks (AFT) – Another every game staple for me. Allows multiple followers, loads of advanced AI and tactics changes, infinite companion ammo options, and more. My preferred multi-companion mod for these reasons. (Also allows you to save your spouse and have them as a voiced companion, optionally.)
- Heather Casdin – From the author of Willow from New Vegas. A thorough mod with a new companion and multiple quest lines that fits pretty seamlessly into the world. Fairly solid voice acting and recording quality and a lore-friendly character with a custom follower system, meaning you can use Heather alongside any vanilla follower even without a multi-companion mod.
- I’m Darlene – A quirky character with a mysterious backstory. On a technical level it’s a great mod and Darlene can both hack terminals and pick locks for you. Voice acting is solid. Recording quality could be better, and in my opinion is probably the weakest part of the mod. Still, it’s well done and adds a refreshingly different follower to the game.
- Buttons – This is a fairly simple companion. No quests, but easy to obtain early on. Funny commentary and good voice acting. As a standard companion you can count on in battle that doesn’t need a lot of fluff, Buttons is solid. Also, there are not many good male companion mods, so Buttons is worth it for this reason alone.
- The Machine and Her – I only play with this one occasionally. It’s somewhat buggy and there are some things to look out for to avoid snags throughout the quest line (mentioned via review), but it makes the cut here because otherwise the voice acting, recording quality, and quality of the writing are all among the best I’ve ever seen in a Fallout companion/quest mod.
- No More Holes Nick – Makes Nick Valentine look a bit less beat up, including the missing area of his jaw where his skeleton was exposed which is now actual face. This is purely an aesthetic mod that I like for style.
- Icebreaker Piper – Restores cut content dialogue lines or rarely used ones to provide a lot more variety to comments Piper says while traveling.
- Icebreaker Settlements – Same deal, but makes random settlers say more interesting things than the standard 168 lines that get reused over and over.
Some companion mods I enjoyed some aspects of and are worth an honorable mention, but there are reasons they’re not included in the main list. Reasons like bugs or incompatibility with AFT or other major mods I used (or requiring MCM). They may be interesting to you, but they are not ones I use ongoingly for those reasons.
Those honorable mentions include Random Panser and Wastelander Barb (looking for an updated link).
New Quests and Environment Mods
These are recommended Fallout 4 mods that add quests, new areas, or make meaningful alterations to the environment.
- Tales From The Commonwealth – Hands down, an extremely well-crafted mod that adds a variety of new locations, new quests, new NPCs, and 3 new companions into the game that fit so well into the vanilla world you’d swear they were always part of the game. After my first install this mod has stayed as a permanent staple in every play through. Good writing and good voice acting. (Also features a new radio station!)
- Guerlot’s Radioactive Stories – Adds a few different interesting quests into the game that don’t distract from the main quest, are totally optional, and add a bit of flavor into the world. The first of which you can start by visiting the storm cellar in Sanctuary early on.
- True Storms, Wasteland Edition – A great atmosphere mod that makes default weather like rain and thunderstorms better, and also adds new weather like mist and fog — all configurable with a holotape added to your inventory. This one is a mainstay for me.
- Immersive Windows – Makes windows light up at night. Gives the Commonwealth a more “lived in” feeling if you think more buildings having power is lore friendly. Also gives the game more of a Cyberpunk feel.
- Wave Animation Vanilla Enhanced – Makes waves on the coast look more realistic.
- Raider Children and Horrors of the Commonwealth – This one is pretty dark but adds gritty realism to the game, both atmospherically and in the sense that raiders have hostile children in their ranks, which is likely how it would be.
Larger quest mods that are DLC size but add considerably to game boot/load times:
- Outcasts and Remnants – Adds a whole quest line and area of BOS outcasts you can join and interact with. This mod is also a required mod for the next couple in this section made by Thuggysmurf.
- Depravity – This mod is pitched as a vast expansion of quests and options for evil characters, but I found it’s also viable for a character who isn’t evil per se, but is a realist about survival in the wasteland and is making choices about who to form alliances with based on who can get it done. Quite a few new companions, lots of quests — many of which fit right into existing quest lines and add depth. Also by Thuggysmurf.
- Project Valkyrie – Expands end-game options, factions and how you can handle those situations, and adds a new companion and quest line that links right into Remnants and Outcasts to uncover the secrets of the Gunners.
The mod descriptions on each of these addresses the load time increases and recommends SSD. I wanted to note that, while I am sure that indeed helps, I have a Core i7 and a Samsung EVO SSD and the game still takes 1-3 minutes of black screen to boot up. After booting everything runs fine, but this is a minor inconvenience added by these mods that disappears when I play without them.
Just wanted to put that out there.
Other Recommended Mods – Tweaks
- Player Curses During Lockpicking – A flavor mod. Your character will curse or show frustration in different lines when failing at lockpicking.
- Player Curses At Enemies On Critical – When you score a good hit, blow a head off, etc. your character will taunt the enemies.
- Vicious Dogs – Makes wild dogs and other animals behave differently or more dangerously.
- Unarmed Combo Master – Thought unarmed combat should’ve been faster and better than it was? This is for you.
- Eyes of Beauty – Vastly improves how realistic eyes look for all NPCs, as well as adds a ton of new usable colors to give your character.
- Plutonium Creatures – Adds some highly irradiated and powerful new creatures in various places to the map.
- No Companion Junk Comments – Because that gets annoying fast when you’re picking up scrap, especially if you have multiple followers.
- Mojave Mantises – Bring the giant mantises from NV into the Commonwealth.