The Best PC Mods Of 2012

They are, beyond control schemes and visuals, the single best reason to play games on a PC. Mods can, at their laziest, tweak a game so its settings or features behave more to your liking. At their most ambitious, they can transform your entire experience, leaving you with something that feels like an all-new game.

This year was a big one for PC mods, with two - DayZ and Black Mesa - rivalling commercial products for public awareness and, perhaps more importantly, quality.

But they weren't the only great mods released this year, so in the gallery above I'll be highlighting all of the best mods I got my hands on in the past twelve months.

A note on criteria: since we didn't run this category last year, and since the development of mods can be a nebulous thing, I'm being lenient, including not just mods that were definitively released in 2012, but which could also have become prominent or released major milestone upgrades.

Game of Thrones

Paradox' excellent Crusader Kings II becomes, with an exhaustively extensive range of modifications - from the map to the characters to the very political structure of the game - just about the perfect Game of Thrones video game.


It's easy to forget this is a mod at all, so prominent has discussion of zombie survival sim DayZ been this year, and so relatively obscure is the game it's based on, BI's fantastic ArmA II. It's become so successful, in fact, that a proper standalone version of the game is due soon.

Black Mesa

Another project where it's easy to forget it's a mod, so extensive are the changes to the source game. Black Mesa was so good, in fact, that we reviewed it as though it was a proper game, probably the highest compliment you can pay a mod.


Battlestar Galactica has been woefully under-sold by its accompanying video games, so it was great to see fans step in where professional studios have failed. Diaspora is a fantastic achievement, bringing the physics and atmosphere of the last decade's most iconic space combat to your desktop PC, free of charge.

Election Total War

Not the most extensive mod for a Total War game, or even the best-made, but this scored big points for how topical it was. And, occasionally, hilarious. Turning legions of Romneys and Obamas into bloodthirsty warriors was one of the year's best commentaries on the partisan brutality of contemporary American politics.

Deus Ex: New Vision

Though it was partially released last year, the final product was only out this year. And what a product it was. The original Deus Ex is a masterpiece, but in 2012 is really starting to show its age, something this "HD makeover" helps alleviate.

Super Skyrim Brothers

Turns Skyrim into the world's biggest, and weirdest, Mario game. That's about all that needs to be said.

Just Cause 2 Multiplayer

Still a work in progress, JC2's multiplayer mod is nevertheless one of the most exciting projects in all of gaming. I mean, they're getting well over 1000 people playing on a single map. That's insane.

Borderlands 2 Split-Screen

Fans do what Gearbox really should have: include a local split-screen option for Borderlands 2, meaning two buddies can get their shoot on in the same room. Makes high fives a lot easier.


    Probably have to play the game of thrones ck2 mod, I have only played ck2 for 220 hours + read all the song of ice and fire books twice, I will download it tonight and play and take the Tarly's to the Iron Throne.

      220 hours?

      You, I like.

      I've not even d'loaded the GoT mod, having too much fun with the base game.

      Do it.

      Make sure you look into importing the show's soundtrack into the mod too. Makes a HUGE difference.

    Black Mesa or DayZ. So hard to decide which is better.

    Black Mesa I think is more polished but DayZ just had that spark that made it one of the most talked about and played mods of 2012.

    Anyone know what happened to the Stalker Complete 2012 version? Did they announce they were giving up on it?

      Can't say I've heard anything, but I think Misery mod is better.
      v2.0 should be out soonish, too.

    I think DayZ is my mod of the year.
    I played it almost every day from like March until August/September.

    I'm eager to give the standalone a shot, too.

    the DSfix for dark souls is my mod of the year even though it should never have had to exist.

    DayZ followed by Black Mesa for me.

    DayZ by a long mile!

    So keen for the standalone.

    Why bother? This category was obviously created especially for DayZ. Kotaku constantly ran DayZ articles for quite awhile, compared to only a couple for other things like the GOT Crusader Kings 2 mod.

    Reminds me of other awards shows where they can't seem to honour something for a traditional category, so they make up a new one specifically for it...

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