Five Mods That Improve Fallout 4 Without Changing Everything

Five Mods That Improve Fallout 4 Without Changing Everything

My approach to modding Fallout 4 is laid-back: I want to make the game better, but I don’t want to fundamentally change it all that much.

I haven’t actually “finished” the game yet, by which I mean I haven’t seen the main narrative questline through to its conclusion. I lost interest in the story soon after finding The Institute, and these days I mostly just wander the wasteland shooting things, min/maxing my stats and trying out new mods.

I’m keeping things fairly chill, especially at first. It’s par for the course for me and Bethesda games: I don’t usually install world-changing mods; I avoid “beautified” mods that add ENB injectors and more colourful textures to everything; I don’t use mods that dramatically overhaul NPC behaviour or add new characters.

I’ve tried a lot of different mods over the last month or so, and I’ve settled on these five as my everyday, go-with-it mods. I made a video walking through each of the mods, which you can watch here:

These mods are all easy to find on the Fallout 4 nexus. Here they are, with a few thoughts on each.

True Storms: Wasteland Edition by fadingsignal

We’ve written about this mod on its own, and I’ve had it installed since shortly after our initial article went up. True Storms makes storms and other weather in Fallout 4 more frequent and more intense, and completely overhauls how radiation storms look and function.

It’s the most dramatic mod I have installed, and I’m a fan. I don’t love how Fallout 4 looks in general, but it looks much better with more dramatic weather effects. That’s partly because the game’s blah-textures and visuals are obscured by the new effects, but also because Fallout 4‘s most evocative visuals involve huge buildings looming out of fog and dust, beckoning you to explore.

Improved Map With Visible Roads by mm137

This mod is almost humorously chill, which is what I like about it. It slightly updates the map with a more readable grid and more visible roads and pathways, which makes it easier to plot a course across the Commonwealth Wastes. These days I like playing Fallout 4 without having any notifications on my HUD, relying entirely on my pip-boy for navigation. This mod makes it easier to do that, because I can see which roads run where, which makes it easier for me to plot a course. It’s not a dramatic difference, but it’s still surprisingly useful.

Lowered Weapons by lesma666

Here’s about as un-dramatic a mod as you can get: The entire purpose of this mod is to put your guns into a “ready” or “patrol” stance when you’re not actively aiming at something. At first it feels a little weird, probably because we’ve become so used to playing FPSes where our character walks around pointing their gun at everything all the time.

Give it an hour, though, and it starts to feel much more natural. This mod provides an interesting, likely unintentional commentary on the popular criticism that Fallout 4 is more shooter than role-playing game. Sure, you explore in this game, but you mostly just seek out new places to shoot things. The lowered weapons mod at least suggests a Fallout 4 where exploration is the default, and shooting comes second.

Darker Nights by unforbidable

This mod does what the title says: it makes Fallout 4‘s nights darker. These mods have always been popular for Bethesda games, but I actually haven’t always used them. I’ve really been liking this one, though, as I’ve pushed toward making Fallout 4 more immersive and difficult for myself. The mod makes it clear just how bright Fallout 4‘s vanilla nights are, and pairs well with the weather mod to make a nighttime thunderstorm a dark, beautiful thing.

Full Dialogue Interface by Cirosan and shadwar

Another one we’ve written about on its own, FDI changes Fallout 4‘s often frustrating dialogue system to more accurately reflect the actual words your character is about to say. It dramatically changes the feeling of conversation, to the point that I wish I’d had it installed from the very start.

Of course, FDI doesn’t change the fact that the majority of dialogue choices in Fallout 4 are false ones that lead to the same preordained outcome, but all the same it makes the game feel much more like an actual role-playing game. Feeling isn’t the same as being, but it’s still an improvement.

Those are the five mods that I’ve been using consistently for the last little while; I’ve yet to go deeper on popular recent mods like Armorsmith Extended or all those clothing mods Patricia recently wrote about. I probably will at some point, but for now, for me, low-impact Fallout 4 modding is the way to go.

If you’re playing Fallout 4 on PC, which mods have you been using, and how do you like ’em? Sound off below.


  • Come to think of it, the radiation storms in vanilla FO4 were really underwhelming. They never really did much damage, and you could just sleep right through them.

    • I’d love a mod that makes radiation more dangerous overall. I walked across the sea with only a few radaway and no suit and the only time I was in danger from rads is when piper decided to have a heart felt conversation I couldn’t escape while taking damage. Came out with 4hp left.
      I was really let down by it because the game really hyped up this dangerous area caked in radiation.

      • Yeah the Glowing Sea was a bit anticlimactic. Would have been nice to see more missions that required you to spend an extended period there.

    • I thought it was cool that they added in rad storms as a flavour thing without any real game impacts. Definitely added to the atmosphere. With that said, I’d personally make it so that rad storms could be of varying lethality with some being worse than others but Bethesda laid the framework to let others put that in.

      • That’s a fair point. I like the idea of rad storms of varying lethality. Add in no fast travel while one is overhead and they’d be a real threat.

  • I used the full dialogue options for pretty much my entire playthrough. After a couple choices I thought meant one thing and turned out to be the opposite I got fed up pretty quick.

    I’m done with F4 for now anyway. I’ll restart it at some point and do a high charisma or luck or melee playthrough or something but if I try that now I’ll get bored and stop.

      • I don’t really want to play one character long enough to max it out, I find that boring. It also doesn’t tend to change your playstyle.

        Start fresh with different stats, different perks available and you force yourself into a different path. The game difficulty changes too as if you go high charisma you’ll deal less damage, go melee and you have to get up close.

        Completely different experience between starting fresh with different stats and just grinding them out at the end of the game.

        • I agree but couldn’t see myself trudging through it all over again. I really wish they enforced a limit to the amount of areas you can specialize in and adjust the game accordingly. Instead of this”eventually you’ll be a superhero” situation.

          • Well that’s almost what they did in the others with the level caps except that after the DLC raised it you could pretty much max everything.

            Personally I find going through it all again, with probably a bit more focus on side quests I missed the first time to be more interesting than wandering around in the overpowered state that my first run ended up reaching. When you kill Deathclaw Matriachs, legendaries and whatever else with one bullet what’s the point of playing anymore?

  • I did my first playthrough without mods, I wanted to experience the game “vanilla” style completely, so I had something to work from as a base to improve/change.

    My current playthrough, I’m using:
    Armorsmith Extended, because vanilla is so inconsistent about what mods you can apply to things.
    I also grabbed a couple of mods that add new clothing and armor elements, and new hairstyles to add some variety (how many types of bald does a game need anyway!).
    Then I have a mod to remove the annoying “derp” sound when Idiot Savant procs. I chose one that just has the ‘instrumental’ bit of the sound, just preference over complete silence.

    Other than that, I’m still playing fairly vanilla.. I didn’t want to change the gameplay too much, just some cosmetic changes and convenience stuff.

    As a side bonus, my game was still completely playable after the recent patch without having to update anything.

    In the future, I might check out some settlement mods that make it easier to clip items into existing structures, because vanilla makes it nigh on impossible in some cases to get things looking right.

  • A few things that annoy me about this list:

    – Why have a lowered weapon mod when there is already a button for putting the weapon away entirely? (espcially when you try and draw weird conclusions about it being a social commentary).
    – The vanilla night in FO is actually pretty accurate for a place with no light pollution. I reckon these mods are only popular for city slickers who don’t know what night actually looks like.
    – Am I only one who liked the stripped-back dialogue options? It was far quicker and there was maybe one time when it lead to conversation that conflicted with what I thought was going to happen. In fact, sometimes full dialogue options can backfire when you misread the tone it’s going to be said in. A least when then option says “sarcastic” you know the outcome, if not the verbatim wording.

  • modding seems to have stalled out while everyone waits for the CK, these mods were basically all release mods.

  • As someone who scurries back to the Drive In to do some settlement building and have a nap during the vanilla night time, I’ll be skipping the darker nights mod.

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