- Cyberpunk 2077 launched to a lukewarm reception, but mods have enhanced the game over time.
- The E3 2018 Lighting mod brings back the moody lighting of the E3 trailer.
- The Drone Companions mod adds a new equipment tree with drones to help in fights.
- The Enhanced Police mod creates a more realistic response from the police in the game.
- The Lifepath Bonuses and Gang-Corp Traits mod adds meaningful choices and changes to the gameplay.
What are the best Cyberpunk mods you can install today? Cyberpunk 2077 launched to a somewhat lukewarm reception, marred by performance issues and some technical flaws that held it back from greatness.
Three years on is quite a bit of time for modders and developers to enhance the game. The Phantom Liberty expansion and 2.0 update are due soon, so this list might be subject to change. In the meantime, if you’re ready for another run through the Night City, these mods might fit the bill.
What You Need Before Installing Any Mods
Before you get stuck in with these mods, you’ll have to do a little prep work with your install of Cyberpunk 2077. It has to be a PC copy, either through Steam or GOG, so console fans are left out. Most of these mods are direct from Nexus, so the Vortex Mod Manager is suggested.
The following scripts and tweaks are recommended:
- Cyber Engine Tweaks
These additions give some additional functionality and options to the base game. You might also find some mods that need at least one of these extensions as a dependency, so it’s helpful to have them already installed.
The Best Cyberpunk Mods
- Best Graphical Overhaul: E3 2018 Lighting
- Best Combat Overhaul: Drone Companions
- Best Police Overhaul: Enhanced Police
- Best Mechanics Addition: Lifepath Bonuses and Gang-Corp Traits
- Best Equipment Overhaul: Auto Scaling Weapons and Armor
- Best Visual Mod: Arasaka Cyberarms
Best Graphical Overhaul: E3 2018 Lighting
One of the best Cyberpunk mods is E3 2018 Lighting, which brings the same feel as the early trailers of the game released 6 years ago. Now, plenty of games suffer through downgrades and visual adjustments immediately after an announcement.
Cyberpunk 2077 is no different in this regard, but E3 2018 Lighting brings back the moody lighting of the E3 trailer with some additional shader enhancements. This is a fairly comprehensive overhaul, with the overt film grain post-processing cut to deliver a clear vision of what Night City should really be.
|The visual enhancements greatly benefit the immersion of the game.||It’s not compatible with Phantom Liberty.|
|The film grain is gone.||Can be a bit taxing for lower-end PCs.|
Best Combat Overhaul: Drone Companions
Night City can be a lonely place, especially when you’re embroiled in constant fights with the corps and gangs that roam the streets. Drone Companions is one of the best Cyberpunk mods to help even the mods. The mod adds a whole new equipment tree to the game, with accompanying drones to help out in fights. Now, if you’ve got a particularly strong V, this might not be the best fit.
However, if you’re looking for a little help as you blaze through the game, a drone might be a great partner. It does trivialize the difficulty of the game somewhat to have a mechanical companion to take some of the heat off of encounters, though.
|The mods lets less combat-focused players get a mechanical partner to even the odds.||It can trivialize combat on the lower difficulty settings.|
|The tech tree and implementation into the game are incorporated well into the content.||It’ll probably be a while before the mod is ported to Phantom Liberty.|
Best Police Overhaul: Enhanced Police
Out of all the glaring issues with Cyberpunk 2077, the police presence is perhaps one of the largest complaints — which is where Enhanced Police comes in. Police in the base game function more like an old PS2 game, teleporting in automatically to the scene of the crime.
CD Projekt RED has promised a fix for this issue for a number of months. Thankfully, at least one modder was tired of waiting and incorporated their own fix. Enhanced Police feels better when installed, as police respond more realistically to crimes. At lower wanted ratings, they’ll arrive on foot, while higher wanted levels result in actual pursuit.
|Enhanced Police creates a more realistic response to the crimes you commit.||It isn’t compatible with all mods available.|
|Crowds stay put and react in horror as you engage with law enforcement.||Enhanced Police isn’t a complete fix for the issues in the base game.|
Best Mechanics Addition: Lifepath Bonuses and Gang-Corp Traits
When you create your character in Cyberpunk 2077, you’re offered quite a few choices of origin. Now, this fits in with the tabletop RPG lineage that inspired the game in the first place. However, it has done little to actually influence and shape the gameplay itself, aside from a few minor things.
Lifepath Bonuses and Gang-Corp Traits greatly overhaul the experience, and your choices actually matter. Your selection of origin deliberately influences how your character interacts with other gangs and corporations throughout the game. In addition to changes for the player, it also incorporates and gives specific differences to the various factions in the game.
|It drastically changes the way the game feels with meaningful choices.||It can ramp up the difficulty of the game considerably.|
|Enemy factions also benefit from their own innate traits.||The equipment of the base game won’t scale well with this mod installed.|
Best Equipment Overhaul: Auto Scaling Weapons and Armor
If you’re looking to completely overhaul the game, then Auto Scaling Weapons and Armor will help. What makes this one of the best Cyberpunk mods is how it pares down the extreme itemization that occurs throughout the game. Players are saddled with tons of equipment over a playthrough, but it rarely climbs the ranks with them.
Auto Scaling Weapons and Armor does away with this, making sure you have level-appropriate equipment as you roll along. It works quite well with the traits overhaul, making Cyberpunk feel like an entirely different game.
|Allows players to have equipment that is level-appropriate at any point in the game.||Requires the Traits overhaul mod to really shine.|
|It cuts down significantly on the junk loot you’ll find during a playthrough.||It can greatly reduce the challenge of the game.|
Best Visual Mod: Arasaka Cyberarms
Cyberarms are one of the coolest weapons you can use in Cyberpunk 2077. However, they’re left with default visual settings that don’t really mark them apart. Arasaka Cyberarms is a complete visual overhaul for the equipment category and is one of the best Cyberpunk mods for spicing up your choices.
Instead of each choice being so similar visually, you’ve got plenty of options to tailor your appearance to your whims. Arm choices have options for the various weapon picks in the game, adding some much-needed visual flair to help entice players. However, the mod itself doesn’t make any mechanical changes.
|This mod greatly enhances the visual appearance of all cyber arm equipment.||It doesn’t make any mechanical changes to the different arms.|
|The visual changes are varied and well done.||Some arms can look out of the place with the setting, like the Iron Man themed skins.|
Using the Best Cyberpunk Mods: What to Know
If you’re new to the world of PC gaming, modding can be somewhat daunting. While there is a history of modding games to increase playability, fix technical issues, and more, it has generally been the domain of more savvy users. Thankfully, gaming in 2023 has made modding simple — provided you don’t mind reading a few tutorials first.
Aim of Modding
What are you looking to do with your install of Cyberpunk 2077? Some players might opt for visual enhancements, like a new coat of paint to make the next playthrough completely different. Other players might choose to incorporate multiple gameplay changes, making the game feel completely different mechanically.
Whatever you’re aiming to do, make sure you read a bit about what sort of dependencies these mods have. While most mods are a one-and-done installation, they might require external resources to function to the best of their ability.
Making Sure Mods Are Compatible
It can be tempting to download tons of mods to tailor your game to your whims. However, you’ll find this can pose certain issues when using mods with some overlap. Sometimes, mods aren’t 100% compatible with one another, leading to disabled functionality, or even crashes in more extreme cases.
You can typically look around online to see what sort of load order and installation requirements are needed to use mods. That said, you might just have to accept that certain mods don’t want to play nicely together. Thankfully, there might be compatible mods that accomplish similar goals.
Maintaining Mods with a Manager
Long ago, maintaining mods was a nightmare. You’d have to check online constantly to see if updates were released. If the game was patched, there was a good chance you’d have to uninstall the mods or wait until its developer updated it to fit the new game version.
This is a very real possibility as Cyberpunk’s 2.0 update and Phantom Liberty come out this month. However, most modders are aware of this fact and are preparing appropriately. All of the mods featured in this guide are hosted on Nexus, so you can easily use the Vortex Mod Manager.
This piece of software makes it as easy as can be to keep your mods updated. Since it syncs to your Nexus account, it can determine if mods are compatible with your installed game version. All while allowing the means to automatically download and install updates. It’s a crucial piece of software to have installed and comes heavily recommended for any serious Cyberpunk fan.
Playing with Best Cyberpunk Mods: What It’s Like
Playing mods on your copy of Cyberpunk can be like playing the base game with new visual touches or a completely different experience. The beauty of modding PC games is how much of the game can change to fit your whims. While Cyberpunk doesn’t have the same vibrant scene as something like Skyrim or Fallout, it has plenty to change the feel of the game.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©RSplaneta/Shutterstock.com.