The 31 best Fallout 3 mods

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 If you're returning to Fallout 3, you might want to shake up the game for an all-new run-through, so here are the best Fallout 3 mods.

Fallout 3 best mods

What are the best Fallout 3 mods? Fallout 3 remains one of the unrivaled favorites of the Bethesda series. If you’re coming back to the game for yet another playthrough, you might want to overhaul things with some Fallout 3 mods.

As the Fallout show gives the series a new surge of popularity, now is a good time to check out the apocalypse game. Fortunately, the modding community never went away, and there are still thousands of game-changing Fallout 3 mods available, from visual overhauls to entirely new quest lines, and we’ve listed our favorites below. While you’re waiting for your mods to finish downloading, check out our Fallout show review for our thoughts on the TV adaptation.

The best Fallout 3 mods in 2024 are:

A series of mods on a Windows pop-up, some selected and others not, in Fallout 3 Mod Manager.

Fallout 3 Mod Manager

Fallout 3 isn’t supported by the Steam Workshop, so you’ll have to mod it the traditional, slightly fiddly way. The whole process of adding mods to the game can be made a whole lot easier with the Fallout Mod Manager though, so it’s essential you grab it before applying anything. Yes, that link does take you to the New Vegas page, but it’s now the same mod, made to work on both games.

Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch

Fallout 3 is a Bethesda game, so it’s no surprise that it’s a bit on the buggy side. The Unofficial Fallout 3 patch is an ongoing effort to eliminate every glitch and bug in the game, and it’s still being updated in 2024. This mod is essential as it severely limits the number of issues you can run into playing the game.

A side-by-side image of a vault interior with and without Fellout, one of the best Fallout 3 mods, installed. The left side is original, tinged with green, while the right side looks more grey and metallic.

Fellout

Fallout 3 is obsessed with the color green, so much so everything is seen through a hazy green filter. It is, at least for many players, god-damn ugly. Renowned Fallout mod Fellout gets rid of the green and allows a more natural color palette to shine through, evoking the style of the original Fallout games, and has also since been made for Fallout 4 and NV, as well.

An explosive crit death looks amazing as spears of light forth with Energy Visuals Enhanced, one of the best Fallout 3 mods, installed.

Energy Visuals Enhanced

Fallout’s energy weapons don’t so much as crackle but fizzle out. In short: they’re no where near as cool as they should be. Energy Visuals Enhanced changes that, adding loads of cool graphical effects to muzzle flash, projectiles, and impacts. Plasma rifles are finally as brilliant to use as they sound.

A forest of thick green trees takes over the wasteland thanks to the Improved Flora mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Flora Overhaul

Fallout’s world is, by design, entirely barren. Not a shrub or grass patch in sight. Flora Overhaul changes this, and is available in a variety of different settings. Forested Edition adds wonderful trees, plants, flowers, and grasses to the game for a much more overgrown DC wasteland, whilst Dead Edition and Total Devastation lean closer towards Bethesda’s original vision.

A side by side image of Cherry from Fallout 3, before and after the application of the Redesigned Project Beauty mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Fallout 3 Redesigned

Formally known as Project Beauty HD, Fallout 3 Redesigned transforms Fallout’s NPCs into far more natural looking models. The whole facial model is adjusted to look less potato-like, with better skin tones than the grubby originals. It’s a bit fiddly to install, so follow the instructions carefully, but it’s worth the hassle.

Chromatic Melancholy ENB, one of the best Fallout 3 mods, shown with improved lighting and colors on a Radscorpion in the wild.

Chromatic Melancholy ENB

If you’re a fan of Fallout 3 but wish it looked a bit more like Fallout 4, then you’re in good company. Modder Slothability felt the same, so made the Chromatic Melancholy ENB, an ENB reset with a focus on vibrancy and improved lighting.

A side-by-side image of tyres in FO3, on the left with original textures, and on the right, with far more detail, with the NMC texture pack installed, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

NMC Texture Pack

Texture packs go a long way to helping older games feel more modern than they are, and the NMC Texture Pack is a vital tool to keeping Fallout fresh. It replaces almost all environmental textures with HD variants; be that the ground and walls, building interiors, furniture, vehicles, and even litter. While NMC remains one of the most popular Fallout 3 texture packs, we recommend pairing it with this LOD for NMC, made with the endorsement of the original modder to improve the overall look of the pack.

Rain falls from a gloomy grey sky thanks to one of the best Fallout 3 mods, Enhanced Weather.

Dynamic Weather

Fallout doesn’t really have weather, it’s just kind of drab and cloudy all day. Dynamic Weather kicks things up a notch by introducing rainstorms, lightning storms, and fog to the game. This mod also makes the night much darker than before, to the point where the mod’s creator recommmends picking up a night vision mod ahead of time.

A view over the wasteland in Fallout 3, demonstrating the improved lighting effects offered by Project Reality, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Project Reality

Project Reality does a great deal with lighting – both sun and moon – to add a more realistic atmosphere to the game. Features like heat haze and eye adapting help the immersion, and a variety of retooled sound effects add some authenticity to Fallout’s audio. Like Enhanced Weather, things like thunderstorms and radioactive rain are also part of Project Reality.

A splatter of blood lies on the ground, image taken with Enhanced Blood Texture installed, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Enhanced Blood Textures

Thanks to explosive rounds and the slow-motion VATs system, you’re going to be seeing a lot of blood during your time in Fallout 3. Don’t settle for low-res spoonfuls of jam; get some high quality blood spatter with this Enhanced Blood Textures mod.

A streetlight sheds a cone of light over the wreckage of a car in Fallout 3 with the Street Lights mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods, installed.

Fallout Street Lights

Add a little atmosphere to your nighttime wasteland strolls with this Fallout Street Lights mod, adding light beams to all the streetlamps and signs in the game. Some even flicker on and off for that authentic broken technology feel.

MTUI interface mod

Fallout 3 isn’t very good at making the most of screen real estate, so the MTUI mod tweaks the User Interface to display a lot more information at any one time. The days of scrolling through dialogue options or Pip-Boy pages is over.

A Police motorcycle in Fallout 3, part of the Motorcycles of the Apocalypse mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Motorcycles of the Apocalypse

Motorcycles of the Apocalypse mod adds a range of motorbikes across the Wasteland that you can reclaim, rebuild, and then drive across Fallout 3. There are four bikes to find in Capital Wasteland and another two in Point Lookout, while previously useless items become useful crafting materials for repairing your new (old) wheels.

The inside of the security room in a new vault, part of Underground Hideout, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Underground Hideout

If you want a little place to call your own in DC, then grab this Underground Hideout mod. Located at the southeast end of the Wasteland near Rivet City, the vault includes everything a wasteland survivor could need, including a stocked armory, display areas, item sorters, and special weapons.

Mothership Zeta Crew

You’ll need the Mothership Zeta DLC for this mod to work. When you finish the DLC, you’ll find yourself in command of a starship, but with very little in the form of a crew. With this Mothership Zeta crew mod installed, a button on the starship can be pressed to engage a new quest line that will see you recruit a new crew that will become a faction worthy to go up against the Enclave or Brotherhood of Steel.

An Abominable mutant, a new mutant added with Mort's Mutant mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Mart’s Mutant Mod

A mod all about adding diversity, Mart’s Mutant Mod adds more variety when it comes to creatures and NPCs, as well as adding whole new enemies and friendlies to meet during your travels. It makes every NPC unique in stats, size, and skin textures. There’s also a lot of AI sharpening going on behind the scenes, ensuring variety is not only in the visuals but also the way enemies behave.

A player built settlement in Fallout 3, made in the Real Time Settlement mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Real Time Settler

One of the big things added to Fallout 4 is the ability to build settlements and start trade routes between them. If you want that kind of feature in Fallout 3, Real Time Settler is the mod you’re after. You can build your own village, decorate it how you wish, and then start manufacturing weapons and armor to sell on the black market. Real Time Settler is no longer being maintained by the original modder, but can still be download in its final form.

A shotgun trap sits on a table as part of the WEapon Mod Kits, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Weapon Mod Kits

Weapons are not just single answers to all problems, sometimes they need adjusting to work for the job. If you could do with a silencer adding to that pistol, a scope on that rifle, or an extended magazine in that machine gun, you need the Weapon Mod Kits mod. Simply take it to a workbench and start upgrading.

Existence 2.0 Robot Radio

Not everyone is going to be at home listening to a bit of swing or jazz music on their Pip-Boy, so it was only a matter of time before a modder opened up a new broadcast channel. Existence 2.0 is DJ’d by a robot, who sends out ‘experimental ambient terror’ music over the waves. Whatsmore, the mod actually puts a physical recording studio for the station in the world, which you can visit to learn more about the robotic DJ.

Arefu Expanded

The Arefu Expanded mod takes the simple shack-like settlement of Arefu and turns it into a thriving wasteland village. 16 lore-friendly characters are added, who can help you out with new quests, as well as a new player home for you to bunk in.

The inside of a shop with the DC Interiors mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods, installed.

DC Interiors Project

Like so many open-world games, Fallout 3 is filled with uncountable locked doors you’ll never see behind (because they’re just set dressing, not real doors). The DC Interiors Project mod changes all that, adding hundreds of new areas to explore behind doors that were previously just scenery. From shops to abandoned houses, plenty more looting opportunities await you.

Simple Realism

Whilst many mods overhaul many of Fallout’s features and mechanics for a tougher experience, Simple Realism is all about keeping as close to Bethesda’s style as possible, whilst also keeping your life expectancy in the realms of reality. Simple Realism reduces ammo supplies, makes weapons deadlier, reduces the amount you can carry, and makes you much more susceptible to radiation.

A text box appears under an image of Sydney in the Sydney Follower Fallout 3 mod, which reads: "Keep it moving. I got a whole bottle of whiskey with my name on it."

Sydney Follower

Sydney is an NPC that can help you out during the Stealing Independence quest. She disappears after, but if you’d rather she stuck around forever, then this Sydney Follower mod allows you to recruit her as a follower. The mod includes 400 lines of additional dialogue for Sydney, all voiced by the original voice actress, so it’s an authentic experience.

A holiday postcard from Alton, IL, a new location thanks to one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Alton, IL

Fallout 3 is set in Washington DC, and lets you explore a very sizable city with all it’s tourist attractions and underground metro system. If that’s not enough for you, then the Alton, IL mod adds the city of Alton, Illinois to the game. Essentially an expansion pack, it contains a branching main quest with two rivaling factions, loads of lore, and full voice acting. The world is about twice the size of the Point Lookout DLC, so there’s plenty to explore.

FOOK 2

FOOK 2, like Wanderers Edition, is a full overhaul of Fallout 3 to offer a slightly different experience. It adds a huge collection of new weapons, armor, and items; rebalances the damage system; and retextures many items with HD skins. There’s also some bug fixes in there too. For the full experience, you’ll want to combine FOOK 2 with Wanderers Edition, but to make the two work together you’ll need this patch.

What looks like the cover of an old vinyl record, the Fallout 3 soundtrack, promoting the Galaxy News Radio Enhanced mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Galaxy News Radio Enhanced

Galaxy News Radio has a great set of tunes, but the playlist is a bit on the limited side. This Galaxy News Radio Enhanced mod adds 100 new songs to the station, as well as adding new sections to news broadcasts, and allowing DJ Three Dog to talk to you after you hit level 20.

Sprint mod

The wasteland is a pretty big world, and you’ve got places to be. Make that trip quicker by modding your character so they can sprint. As long as you have AP, you can run faster than you ever have before.

The player aims down the sights of the 556mm SMG with the Fallout 3 mod Iron Sights.

Iron Sights

Fallout 3 isn’t all that great at the shooting side of things. You can improve the guns experience with a few mods though, and this Iron Sights mod will allow you to use the sights on weapons for a feel closer to regular FPS games.

eight of the new perks and their icons, added with the Ultimate Perk Pack, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Ultimate Perk Pack

As you progress through the levels of Fallout, you can pick up new perks to make your character more powerful and useful. The Ultimate Perk Pack mods the game to have a massive collection of new perks that add interesting new qualities to your character.

Vault Dwellers dance in Vault 101 in the Vault 101 Revisited mod, one of the best Fallout 3 mods.

Vault 101 Revisited

This additional quest mod adds a short questline that sees you returning to the Vault where you used to live. Vault 101 Revisited explores the possibility of the people of 101 opening the door and rejoining the outside over the course of four new quests.

How do I install Fallout 3 mods?

Installing a single mod into Fallout 3 is easy. All you need to do is place the new files you’ve downloaded into the ‘Data’ folder of your Fallout 3 installation. If you have the Steam version, typically this will be:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\Common\Fallout 3\Data

Windows will alert you that you’re overwriting files, so press ‘OK’ to accept the changes. It’s best to make a backup of your Data folder before you start modding in case you need to return Fallout 3 to its original form.

You’re probably going to want lots of mods installed though, so it’s best to use the Fallout Mod Manager. This installs and uninstalls mods for you with a lot more ease than doing it manually. To set it up, first download and install the program. It’s then useful to create a folder on your hard drive called ‘Fallout 3 mods’ or something similar. Downloaded mods come in .zip files, so use something like WinRAR to extract the mod files into your new ‘Fallout 3 mods’ folder.

In Fallout Mod Manager, open the ‘Package Manager’ using the button to the right hand side of the window. The new window will have a button labelled ‘Add FOMod’. Click this, and then use the file browser to find your mod folder and select the mod you wish to install. The mod will now be displayed in the Package Manager window, with a tick box next to it. If the checkbox is ticked, the mod will be active in your game. Simply uncheck it if you want to remove the mod.

If all these Fallout 3 mods have got you in the mood for a more modern visit to the nuclear apocalypse, be sure to check out Fallout 4 mods as well. We’ve also got a guide to modding arguably the best game in the series with our list of the best New Vegas mods. Mods for whichever Fallout game you choose.

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