Lucky for you (and me) there is a prolific modding community that has been hard at work overhauling nearly every aspect of the game. From the ridiculous to the simple, you can completely tailor your experience.
With so many mods out there it can be daunting to get started. To make your life easier, here is the collection of mods I am running.
The goal is simple: enhance the GTA4 experience without substantially changing the core game. With that in mind here are my picks for the best mods for Grand Theft Auto 4.
Before you can start installing the mods, you need to prepare your game. I recommend doing a clean install, and updating to patch 1.04. This version is the most compatible with the mods we will be using today. Download patch 1.04 here.
If you have space on your hard drive I strongly suggest making a copy of your unmodified 1.04 install. This saves having to reinstall the entire game if you mess up. Just copy the entire GTA4 folder to another location.
There are three tools that are helpful for modding GTA4. The first two are required, the third is extremely handy when it comes to modifying vehicles.
1) XLiveLess: this tool disables a number of mod preventing features as well as the online components of the game.
2) SparkIV: this is a small program that allows you to modify sounds, models, etc in the game.
3) GTAIV Vehicle Mod Installer: makes installing and removing custom cars a breeze.
There are a plethora of graphics enhancing mods available. Custom settings for the ENB series, iCEnhancer, textures packs etc. make finding a winning combination a challenge. Having tested a number of configurations, I settled on this set of options for the best experience. Please note: these settings require a fairly high end system in order to run.
Ultimate Textures 2.0: Clocking in at a whopping 4.5gbs, this mod replaces most textures throughout Liberty City.
dPeasant's ENB settings: I've tried iCEnhancer, L3EVO's, and Gionight's settings, and I like the look of this one best. Check out the screens posted throughout the article and decide for yourself.
RealismIV v6.2: Via some wizardry I don`t understand, this mod increases the game`s visual effects without decreasing your fps. It's magic!
Trees MOD: Makes trees more detailed. A subtle but great improvement.
Gameplay, Models & Sounds
With these mods you can really take your GTA experience to the next level. Shiny graphics are all well and good, but you want to speed down Algonquin Island at 200 mph in a flaming car while evading the police, right? This set of mods should make committing felonies much more exciting.
Real Recorded Gun Sounds: High fidelity audio makes all the difference in shootouts; echoing shots, beefy sounding guns, every gun fight becomes dramatic. An absolute must.
Realistic Driving and Flying: Hundreds of hours of work have been poured into the creation of this mod and it shows. Every single car, motorcycle and helicopter's handling characteristics have been overhauled. Most importantly the speed limit of roughly 150mph has been removed. Oh yes.
Exaggerated Blood: Don't look at me like that! Just download it.
Here's a brief video of me driving a viper with the driving physics mod. Then promptly crashing.
Guns & Cars: Visit GTA-Mods.com for a great selection of gun and car models. I will leave it up to you to figure out what you like. I can't do it all for you!
Be warned that swapping too many car models can cause problems with the game. Install each car one at a time using to tool I recommended above, then test it in game. If you come across any wonkiness or the dreaded taxi bug you will be able to identify the problem easily.
There you have it. This is only a brief list of the plethora of items available to you. If you come across any must use mods, leave them in the comments. Have fun!