As Rockstar’s epic sandbox game approaches its tenth anniversary (yes, I do feel old) it’s up to GTA 5 mods to keep the world of Los Santos feeling fresh. There’s a lot of wacky fun to be had in Grand Theft Auto 5. If you’re like me, however, you enjoy something a bit more grounded — you want a world that feels truly believable. With the GTA 6 release date still on its way, thankfully, there’s a new mod to make the state of San Andreas more realistic than ever.
GTA 5.5, by modder Litnella, represents a comprehensive overhaul of Grand Theft Auto 5’s visuals, game world, and NPC behaviours. For starters, we have darker nights, heavier rain effects, added reflections, and brighter and more diverse sunlight. The game looks crisper and there’s even an additional heat haze effect during the middle of the day.
Vehicles have also been retooled. Around 85% of GTA 5’s cars, bikes, trucks, and boats have been reworked to add extra weight and physicality to driving. Traffic is made more diverse, meaning that downtown and central Los Santos will be much busier during the day, whereas residential areas will be quieter, particularly at night.
Taxis are much more common, and more likely to appear at tourist spots and centres of nightlife. Traffic patterns are also affected by the time – during rush hour, between around 8am and 9am, Los Santos will be heaving, but come the small hours, the roads will be bare.
Police now use a greater variety of vehicles and patrol specific areas such as known gang hotspots more intensely. The dispatch system has been entirely reworked, so if you obtain a wanted level out in the suburbs somewhere, it will take time for the cops to show up – “no more teleporting police,” Litnella writes.
During pursuits, police are more likely to try and spin your car using the PIT manoeuvre, rather than just ramming and trying to outrun you. It’s also possible to shake your wanted level by evading and hiding, not just speeding away from the wanted zone.
Gangs will now occupy specific areas more heavily at night, with an improved system for spontaneous fistfights and gun battles between rivals. Head to Strawberry or Davis after hours, and you’re likely to catch an impromptu brawl between local toughs. Some gangs, however, are allied to one another – they might not start a fight, but if they see a buddy in trouble, they’ll certainly join in.
Pedestrian density is increased throughout LS, with patterns – like vehicle traffic – shifting based on the time of day. The local population now has more random behaviour and you will see couples or groups of people talking to one another more often. There’s also a slight tweak to GTA 5’s physics system, meaning that weapon impacts have been reduced, and enemies will keel over more realistically. Check out GTA 5.5 for yourself here.
Check out the latest GTA 5 podium car if you want to speed through Los Santos in style. You might also want to complement your mods with GTA 5 cheats, or maybe try some of the other best open-world games on PC.