Enhancing Grand Theft Auto 5’s First-Person Experience Using These Four Mods

GTA 5 just dropped as a free title on the Epic Games Store which is mega hype! Playing through the single-player campaign again is still hecka fun even in 2020 and I’m amazing at just how well the writing holds up for a quirky, edgy, seven year old game.

Playing through the game’s single-player in third person was as dope as I remembered but first-person was just… not fun. Heartbreaking, truly. So I turned to the modding community for answers as I typically do and of course found lots of different mods to try out! After much testing, I think I’ve found a nice blend of mods that fix the specific problems I was having without detracting from the already amazing vanilla experience.

Since I’m playing on the Epic Games build, I had to use FiveM as a pass-through for the mods and my game. Think of it as a GTA 5 client — it’s focus is to offer custom multiplayer lobbies but it doesn’t skimp on singleplayer abilities! If you’re looking for a good tutorial on how to get FiveM setup, I’d recommend this one here. It’s always sketch when a robot gives instructions but thankfully they’re on the money with exactly how to get these mods working. For everyone else, there are a million tutorials to get you rolling so I won’t be telling you how to install them here.

Please note that all of these mods will only work in Story Mode and they won’t work or help you cheat in GTA Online.

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Image courtesy of gta5-mods.com

1. Improving Aiming and Movement During Combat

Vanilla first-person has you’re character lower their weapon when you’re not aiming (like a real person probably would.) Improved First Person Combat by Warburg_ aims to address these problems in what’s probably the least intrusive way possible. Basically, the zoomed-in aim becomes the weapons neutral state and pressing aim takes the weapon to iron sights. This does make you a threat when ever you’re holding a weapon in public but I’d be freaked out too if I saw a man running in the street with a sawed-off shotgun… just keep that in mind.

In addition to repositioning your weapon, this mod aims to make the transition between ‘normal’ and ‘action’ states of movement a bit more smooth. Specifically, when you’re aiming down iron sights, your character will walk when they aim and run when they don’t. You ever been in the middle of a fire fight and suddenly your character feels like they’re moving through molasses? This mod doesn’t outright fix that but I have noticed those moments were reduced.

Installation is also super easy so if you’re looking for a simple way to dip your toes into the modding scene, this would boost your confidence right away.

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Image courtesy of gta5-mods.com

2. Expanding the Field of View

After installing the first mod on the list, you’ll probably notice that your weapon takes up way too much of the screen. Spoilers, it’s not that your gun is too big, it’s that GTA 5 lacks a real FoV slider. Ignore the joke in the graphics menu and download GTA V FoV by DrDaxxy instead. Installation is a breeze and so is customization. All that’s’ need is to download and install the mod’s files to your games root folder and right-click>edit the file titled ‘fov.ini’ and change what you want to change.

My fov.ini file after tweaking it

By default, everything is set to a super low 68 which is just way too tight of a camera shot. I think a solid 90 FoV is gorgeous and functional for most games so I went with that for each setting besides Aiming and ADS. You’d think the camera for Walking and Aiming would match if both were set to 90 but they don’t so I put a little more into aiming to try and counter that phenomenon a bit. I put ADS (Aiming Down Sights) to 75 because I enjoy the benefits of having a tighter shot on my iron sights when precision aiming. That one seems pretty obvious.

Additionally, this keeps the camera zoomed out when driving in first person which really helped me see whats around me better. The default FoV was like driving with tunnel vision where as this new setting really frees up your ability to look around with your eyes and not the mouse or joystick.

Exercising Demons | GTA Wiki | Fandom
Image courtesy of Fandom’s GTA Wiki

3. Speeding Up Player Movement

Fire fights in first-person can be super awkward since your default movement speed is more of a crawl than a walk. Holding sprint sucks because 1) it occupies a bit of your inputs, but also 2) you can’t make quick motions while sprinting! Upping my run speed was a breath of fresh air when I started playing with wutianfang’s Player Health and Speed mod because how am I suppose to run and gun from the police when my character runs like they’re afraid to make their heart race?

Downloading and dropping just the, ‘more speed.ini’ into my mods folder felt like I took a weight off my chest. It will make your character move at 1.4x the default speed which doesn’t sound like much but it seriously makes a difference. I’ve played around with other speed mods and while yes, it is possible to make your character go faster with them, none were as simple to install, setup and continue to use like this one way. I do wish this one let us move a little faster, maybe 1.6x or something, but that could be just me nitpicking.

GTA 5 - NaturalVision ✪ Remastered Gameplay (PHOTOREALISTIC ...
Image courtesy of odilton on YouTube

4. Upping the Visual Immersion Factor

The last mod I want to add on this list goes about changing the feel of the game by enhancing its look. NaturalVision is an ongoing project lead by the artist Razed and many other developers who are working towards boosting visual fidelity to a photo-realistic level! Their project is still in-development with current builds locked behind a Patreon pay wall ($10/mo for access to the latest build) however a build from October 2018 is available free and is quite honestly monstrously impressive!

The beauty of the build I’ve linked is that since this is mostly a lighting overhaul, improving the look of Los Santos is basically free performance wise. Yes, if you can run this game then you can already run this mod. Daylight has a bit of a softer tone, colored lights have had their intensity cranked up a little bit and darkness has gotten a lot darker. The result is that every moment of gameplay as well as cutscene is soaked in a refreshing energy. Your film major friends can tell you this too but mastering the lighting of a scene is all it takes to make even the most ordinary setting look cinematic. Given that Los Santos is already a masterpiece in landscape, asset and AI design, it’s hard putting into words the effect seeing all of this put together can bring at 60fps.

I believe foliage has been made a little denser and weather effects have been enhanced too so just about anywhere at any time of day is going to grip ahold of the mood and crank it up to 11… or even 13!

Screenshot from Friends Reunited using NaturalVision

I think the moment this visual upgrade really struck a chord with me as something truly spectacular was in the mission Friends Reunited. Its the one where Trevor and Wade travel to Los Santos so they can crash with Wade’s cousin while Trevor starts his hunt for Michael. When the mission starts, nightfall has just crept up and a thunderstorm breaks out. On the way into the city, Trevor stops by The Lost’s RV park to blowup their campers before skipping town.

Thankfully, I had purchased a flashlight accessory for my assault rifle because when I started creeping around the campers I actually couldn’t see a goddamn thing. I could hear men talking near by but I couldn’t ever see where they were without blowing my cover. I continued to scout near the back of the RVs swapping between my gun’s flashlight to absolutely darkness when I pulled out the sticky bombs. I eventually was spotted and had to fight off plenty of bikers. The whole time I was ultra dependent on the light and couldn’t help but think about how this fight looked like it could have been ripped from Metro: Exodus or a scrimmage among AI Scavs in Tarkov.

After I blew the place up, I took off down the road with Wade. Him and Trevor were having a back and forth about Trevor’s past with Michael but the whole time I had to give so much of my focus trying to see a quarter second in front of my moving vehicle. My headlights and the cars around me’s headlights were basically the only way I could see in the pitch black — super reminiscent of how focused you have to be driving at night on real back roads. As we started to come up on Los Santos and a few incandescent streetlights were appearing, I feeling strong memories of what it’s like driving late in the outskirts of cities I was unfamiliar with. Wade started giving directions to his cousin’s place and I was inadvertently listening intently to him while trying to follow. I was simultaneously lost in real memories and while disorientation by the oppressive streetlights with only an idiot giving directions.

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Image courtesy of gta5-mods.com

So that’s my list. Four quality of life mods to make GTA 5 more fun to play in first-person. If you enjoyed this list but don’t want to play through that game’s campaign for the 6th time (a sentiment many of us probably share) then there are plenty of mods available that bring new life to the GTA story mode. The one I’m looking forward to the most is called GTA RPG by LogicSpawn which claims to add, “typical RPG features such as leveling, questing, non-linear dialogue, skills, looting and more.” From what I can tell, this lets you create a character, go through missions and unlock new ways to play using new weapons, gadgets and areas to explore. Hype!

The other one that I for sure want to check out is Complex Control by THEAETIK which adds a singleplayer, AI driven battle royale mode that takes up the entire map, has special loot, vehicles and new mechanics like blink teleportation. Sounds wild and from what I’ve learned — it is!

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now. I plan on continuing my research with what’s all out there for this game as it’s basically been a hotbed for user generated content since it’s PC release back in 2016. If you’d like more storiest like this, follow me on Twitter @SheeshFr to keep my motivation flowing!