You Can Make A Better GTA San Andreas Definitive Edition With These PC Mods

You Can Make A Better GTA: San Andreas ‘Definitive Edition’ With These PC Mods

You can mod almost everything from the new remaster into the old game—and make some big improvements while you’re at it.

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You Can Make A Better GTA San Andreas Definitive Edition With These PC Mods

If you’re one of the many GTA fans disappointed by the Definitive Edition of San Andreas, don’t worry: if you own the game on PC, you can make your own. Using mods it’s possible to vastly improve the original while retaining some of the charm that was lost in the remaster. There are thousands of mods out there. San Andreas is one of the most heavily modded games of all time. Some of them alter the experience so much it doesn’t feel like the same game, which can be fun, but is no good if you want the authentic experience.

However, if you carefully pick and choose which mods to install, you can upgrade the game while staying true to the source material. It’ll never look as good as the remasters, with their fancy Unreal-powered reflections, post-processing, and real-time lighting. But you can get the old PC version looking very nice indeed with the right mods, and also add some quality of life improvements. Of course, as is always the case with modding, your mileage may vary. Some of these mods can be system intensive, so an older PC might struggle. You could also totally break the game, and some mods might conflict with others.

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But if you feel up to the challenge, and don’t mind losing hours to getting things just right (modding is addictive), here are some of the best free PC mods for a better, more beautiful San Andreas experience. Installing some of them can be fiddly, but it’s worth it.

Upscaled textures

First off, make installing RoSA Project Evolved 2021 a priority. This hefty 8GB download dramatically retextures the majority of the world, but in a way that respects the original art style. The Definitive Edition has it beat in some areas, but in others—as this GTAForums post illustrates—the modders have done a better job of modernising the old low-res art. This ‘Evolved’ version also improves pedestrian textures.

You Can Make A Better GTA San Andreas Definitive Edition With These PC Mods

Realistic foliage

Install the dramatically named Behind Space of Realities: American Dream and all the trees, plants, and other vegetation covering the state of San Andreas will look a lot more dense and realistic. The vegetation in the Definitive Edition is better overall, having been yanked directly from GTA 5, but this mod comes very close—and is still a major, major improvement over the base game’s unconvincing low-poly foliage.

Increased draw distance

One of the biggest criticisms of the Definitive Edition is the infinite draw distance. Being able to see all three cities from a plane, or Mt. Chiliad from downtown Los Santos, just feels weird—and makes the world seem smaller. But on PC you can install Draw Distance Mod 1x 2x 4x 7x 10x, which as its name suggests, lets you push the draw distance back in increments, rather than just revealing everything.

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You Can Make A Better GTA San Andreas Definitive Edition With These PC Mods

Ragdoll physics

A lot of people expected the Definitive Edition remasters to add GTA 4/5-style ragdoll physics to the game, but alas, they did not. However, with this remarkable Ragdoll Bullet Physics mod, the citizens of San Andreas will react accordingly to being shot or run over. It occasionally bugs out, but it’s worth the odd moment of glitchy slapstick comedy to make the people populating the world feel less static and robot-like.

Modern UI

You don’t need the remaster to get a GTA 5-style weapon/radio selection wheel in San Andreas: just install GTA 5 HUD by DK22Pac. This incredible mod totally overhauls the UI, including making switching radio stations and selecting weapons a lot more intuitive. It also adds new weapon sights and even a GPS system. If you want it to look less like GTA 5, installing SA Visual Skin makes the design more in line with the original.

HD Interface

If you want to make the UI look even better, consider installing Atmosphere Interface Pack. This takes the existing map, icons, and loading screens and makes them HD. A simple update, but one that adds a satisfying modern sheen to the game. You should also probably install HD Fonts For GTA: SA to make in-game text like subtitles, objectives, wasted, busted, etc. look a lot nicer at higher resolutions on a modern display.

Added clutter

Installing the Project Props mod fills the world with lots of extra decorative objects, which has the effect of making it feel a lot more varied, messy, and lived-in. This makes a huge difference to the feel of the cities, littering the streets with trash, benches, dumpsters, and other props. This fan-made mod ultimately does a much better job than the Definitive Edition of making the world feel fuller, richer, and filthier.

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Better CJ model

With the CJ v 2.0 Contexturing mod, our favourite Grove Street gangbanger looks a lot better. His face textures are redrawn to a much higher quality, the fingers on his hands are separated, the visible seams connecting his head to his body are gone, and the proportions of his body are more realistic. But, as with all the mods here, it respects the original art. He still fundamentally looks like the old CJ we know and love.

Extra atmosphere

I’m usually wary of mods that dramatically alter the atmosphere of a game, because it can end up betraying the original vibe. But SDGE Reborn 2.0, an ENBSeries mod, is pretty striking to look at—especially those hazy orange Los Santos sunsets. It transforms the look maybe a little too much in places, but is pretty subtle as far as ENB mods go. It also highlights just how flat and lifeless the lighting/atmosphere in the remaster is.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dive deeper into the game’s still thriving modding community and you can add even more enhancements, including GTA 5-quality car models, new aiming mechanics, extra missions, advanced weather effects, reflections, puddles on the street after rainstorms, and even restore cut content.

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