The real joy of playing a game on PC is that, thanks to mods, your entire experience can be improved by the work of dedicated fans.

Because some mods are so extensive, transforming almost everything about the source title, we felt it was only fair to list 12 of the best of them here, since they may as well count as their own new games.

Note that due to the nature of these lists we do—highlighting the very best titles on major platforms—we've decided to only include mods that create a significantly new experience, whether that be in the form of a "total conversion", or advances that fundamentally alter (or repair) a game. If all a mod is doing is tweaking features or adding items, while that's great for users/fans of that game, it doesn't warrant a shout-out on a standalone list like this.

Black Mesa

A mod so good that it shouldn't even count. Really, it feels, and plays, like a standalone game, a professional remake that you'd pay $50 for. But hey, it's not, it's a mod, and a free one at that, one which took an insane amount of time to make but which turned out to be worth the wait.

A Good Match For: Those who have heard how awesome Half-Life is, but could never get into the original due to its... antiquity.

Not For Those Who Want: An all-new experience. It looks new, but it's the same old Half-Life. There's no sticking cover or regenerating health here, kids.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: Anything with a Half-Life 2 key.


What more needs to be said about DayZ, one of the success stories of 2012 and a rare time a mod doesn't just improve a game, but creates an all-new experience that teaches full games a thing or two about design. It's soon to be released as a standalone game, but for now, the ArmA 2 mod is the only way you can experience the horror of zombie survival.

A Good Match For: People who want a true zombie survival experience, not just an action game where zombies are used as a substitute for aliens/monsters. Also, those capable of getting a handle on a first-person game more complicated than your average shooter.

Not For Those Who Want: A quick, exciting experience. The game can drag, and being based on a serious combat simulator, isn't exactly "pick up and play", either.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: ArmA2: Combined Operations


The world has been starved of quality officialBattlestar Galactica games. Thank the Lords of Kobol, then, for the team behindDiaspora, which takes old space shooterFreespace 2 and turns it into a Viper simulator the equal of any retail space shooter. Few of the usual pitfalls for mods of this kind—poor voice acting, a lack of polish—exist. It's fantastic.

A Good Match For: Fans of space shooters and Battlestar fans alike.

Not For Those Who Want: A truly cinematic Battlestar experience. The devs have done a fantastic job, but if you're hoping for guest starring roles from the cast of the show, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: None! While based on Freespace 2, the mod is self-executing, meaning you only need the mod files.


Sure, successors and imitators have come thick and fast over the years, but let's not forget that the inspiration behind League of Legends was a mod. A mod for, of all things,Warcraft III. It's a little long in the tooth now, at least visually, but the core experience is as strong as it ever was, and there are still plenty of people hanging around to play against.

A Good Match For: History buffs and those who'd like to see where the whole MOBA genre began.

Not For Those Who Want: To take this a little more seriously. The attention and crowds have moved on to more modern interpretations like Valve's DOTA 2 and Riot's League of Legends.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: Warcraft III

Eastern Front

It was tough choosing between this andModern Combat, but in the end I had to settle for Eastern Front. The originalCompany of Heroes shipped with only three real sides: Germans, Americans and, later, the British. No Soviets. Company of Heroes 2fixes this,'s not as good a game as the original, so you should download this mod, which not only adds new units, but goes all out to make it an authentic Soviet experience.

A Good Match For: Those a little tired of the existing factions in the game and after a new challenge, a new experience. It's also a totally free way to play as the Soviets in the Company of Heroes games, for cheapskates who don't want to pay for Company of Heroes 2.

Not For Those Who Want: All the improvements we're going to see in Company of Heroes 2. While there are dramatic changes here to everything from units to maps, this is still based on the original Company of Heroes, so this won't be a direct substitute for CoH2, especially in terms of things like the new advanced weather systems.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: Company Of Heroes

Just Cause 2: Multiplayer

This is somehow more than just a mod. It's a video game experiment. You can fit over1000 people on the same enormous map, resulting in some of the most hilarious and explosive multiplayer this medium has ever seen. One round of this and you'll never think 64 players is "a lot" ever again.

A Good Match For: Pranksters, griefers and those who are prepared for the fact that when so many people get together on the one map, crazy and unpredictable things will happen.

Not For Those Who Want: A quiet, peaceful time. This mod does not feature quiet, peaceful times.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: Just Cause 2

The Nameless Mod

The Nameless Mod is a total conversion ofDeus Ex, improving the visuals and building an all-new world, one bursting with thousands of lines of spoken dialogue and five endings. Its a shocking achievement, one that makes this feel like an official spin-off rather than the fan-made project it is.

A Good Match For: Those yearning for the days of old, when a Deus Ex game was a little uglier, but also a lot more complex.

Not For Those Who Want: Something like the new Deus Ex.

Here's how it looks in action.

You can get it here.
Game Required For Mod: Deus Ex.

Nehrim: At Fate's Edge

I shudder to think of the amount of work that went into this. Most Elder Scrolls mods, regardless of which game they're for, are about adding things to the world that's already there. Nehrim crafts a whole new "campaign", with new terrain, new buildings, towns, and even a new storyline. It's not even set in the Elder Scrolls universe!

A Good Match For: RPG fans who'd like an accessible, enjoyable and gorgeous game that's not set in the Elder Scrolls universe.

Not For Those Who Want: An Elder Scrolls game! Because this is an all-new world and story, the only things it has in common with Oblivion are visual assets.

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