Best Fallout 4 Mods So Far: Essentials for Better Gameplay

By Published January 25, 2016 at 11:30 am

Fallout 4 is a solid game, but like all games, it has its flaws. Luckily, Bethesda both allows and encourages mod development that oftentimes fixes these problems and add news features – and occasionally new problems – for Fallout and Elder Scrolls games. For Fallout games, Bethesda has released the GECK for modders to use. The GECK for Fallout 4 is yet to be released, but community-made tools have been created, are improving, and allow for a jump-start on mod development.

To help address the problems of Fallout 4 and improve upon its features, we’ve settled on seven essential mods for improving gameplay. These are among the best Fallout 4 mods currently out -- mechanically, at least -- and are must-haves for the mod list. Some simply make stats and information more clear, but others change the game’s dynamics more drastically.

The video below shows all these mods in action!

Armorsmith Extended

fo4-mod-armors-extended-1

Armorsmith Extended alters Fallout 4’s armor system by expanding what can be worn together, how armor can be modded, and adding new craftable outfits. Using Armorsmith Expanded, every outfit can be worn under armor pieces; the clothing modding system is redone with four different types of mods (lining, outfit add-ons, headgear add-ons, gloves, and eyewear), bolstered still by new craftable outfits.

Some of the new craftable outfits include Dogmeat armors, hats with hair, headgear, gloves, a working jetpack, and more. Clothing items are also rename-able. The ability to wear any outfit underneath armor in particular allows for more character specialization, as Fallout 4 is normally fairly limiting in what can be worn under armor. The mod further optimizes slot usage (what parts of the body are covered) for vanilla clothing so that it uses the least amount of slots needed to work.

Note: Armorsmith enhanced requires Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resource to function. When installing, we installed the Armor and Weapons Keywords Community Resource, then didn’t overwrite its files with the Armorsmith Extended files.

True Storms - Wasteland Edition

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Despite Fallout 4 having significantly improved weather compared to Fallout 3, it’s still a bit dull. True Storms - Wasteland Edition enhances Fallout 4’s weather by adding lightning, improved textures, rain rendering through ambient lighting and other improvements, rain sounds (including thunder), and several night brightness levels. There are also new interior sounds for all weather, and mostly in places that actually make sense.

True Storms features new weather types such as fog, rain, dust storms, and misty rain, all of which – except dust storms – feature both heavy and light versions. These new weather types, along with the improved sound and rendering, help to add some more variety and realism to the sometimes dull Commonwealth. Finally, True Storms - Wasteland Edition allows for editing of the radiation strength of the Glowing Sea up to 48 rads/sec.

Homemaker - Expanded Settlements

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Settlement creation is a unique feature of Fallout 4 in comparison to previous Fallout and Elder Scrolls games, but Bethesda only allowed certain objects to be placed in settlements. To add some variety to settlements, Homemaker - Expanded Settlements adds over 800 placeable objects for player-made encampments. With this mod, cars, new doors, working street lamps, refrigerators, working lights, greenhouses, institute monitors, and even prefab buildings -- like lighthouses and radio towers -- can be placed in settlements. New farmable crops and subsequent planters have also been added.

For some more variety in defenses, many new fences and barriers are included, such as Gunner barricades. Supporting modifications are made to Fallout 4’s category system to make it easier and more efficient.

Increased Settler Population with Infinite Settlement Budget

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Regardless of its somewhat plain name, this mod is a “must” for those wanting large and powerful settlements. Bethesda’s item and population budgets severely limit settlements and prevents players from creating the sprawling cities that many envisioned. Increased Settler Population with Infinite Settler Budget – not a catchy name – fixes this by effectively removing the population and item budgets Bethesda defined.

Note that settlements are already somewhat buggy at default limits and going beyond these limits will generally exacerbate said problems. The mod creator says that players may have issues “assigning jobs and whatnot.” That being said, the ability to make impressive settlements seems worth some bugs.

Robot Home Defense

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Hostile robots are practically a staple for Fallout games, but despite being able to create automated turrets for settlement defenses, robots can’t be made. And that’s a problem. We like robots.

Robot Home Defense fixes this by allowing all the Protectron variants -- Sentry Bots, Assaultrons, Mister Gutsies (and variants of him), and synths (only first and second gen) to be created to patrol and defend the settlement. More fun than this, they can be ordered to escort the player, effectively allowing for infinite robot companions – a robot army. Many of the robots have other uses in settlements though, such as scavenging or raising happiness. Or ruthless murder.

Full Dialogue Interface

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Fallout 4 introduced a new speech system in which the player’s character actually speaks, but there are only four paraphrased speaking options. The four speaking options may not be easily fixed, but the Full Dialogue Interface mod replaces these paraphrased responses with the full lines spoken by the player. It also allows for gamepads and numbers to be used to easily select a response. For those who don’t speak English, there are also multiple translations for this mod.

Vivid Fallout - Landscapes

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Fallout 4 certainly improves upon previous Fallout games’ graphics, but its textures are often VRAM heavy, and some aren’t even impressive. Vivid Fallout - Landscapes seeks to fix this by redoing many of the game’s textures. There are multiple choices, including higher and lower quality (more performance-oriented) textures compared to the original to choose from. For most though, the “Best Choice” version is a healthy balance between performance and image fidelity, and should perform better than Fallout 4’s original textures. Those with high-end PCs may want to try the 4K textures, although they will generally heavily hinder performance. On the other end of the spectrum, those with low-end PCs may want to try the Best Performance version. Check our Fallout 4 benchmark for more on this.

Mod Order

The mod order I used (without issue) is:

  • Fallout 4.esm
  • ArmorKeywords.esm
  • Robot Home Defense.esm
  • Armorsmith Extended.esm
  • IncreasedSettlerPopulation50.esp
  • NoObjectLimit.esp
  • TrueStormsFO4.esp
  • TrueStormsFO4-ClimateSettings.esp
  • TrueStormsFO4-GlowingSeaExtraRads.esp

Fallout 4 improved significantly upon many of the faults of Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but like almost any game, it has its flaws. These mods help to improve some of the noticeable and annoying issues that Fallout 4 suffers from, and improve upon the features it already does well.

Editorial & Research: Michael “The Bear” Kerns
Presenter: Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke
Video Editing: Keegan "HornetSting" Gallick

Last modified on January 25, 2016 at 11:30 am
Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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