NCR soldiers patrol the entrance to Helios One. A sign saying "Helios One" is visible in the background.
Image via Bethesda Softworks

The Best Fallout: New Vegas Mods for Beginners

Every mod a beginner needs to get their Fallout: New Vegas adventure going.

The new Fallout TV show introduced a lot of new fans to the series and reinvigorated many veterans’ love for the iconic post-apocalypse RPGs. It has also left many of them wanting for more: something meatier, something heavier, something that only a 60-hour-long CRPG can provide. Something like Fallout: New Vegas. But coming back to this 2010 classic by yourself can be a little traumatic; hopefully, this list of best mods for beginners will help.

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This list is meant for first-time Fallout: New Vegas players, so I didn’t include any restored cut content mods, wholly new characters and quests, or unique gameplay additions. That doesn’t mean you can’t use those mods, but I suggest you get a feel for the vanilla game first. Besides, many great mods that don’t fit in this list, like the murder mystery side quest Autumn Leaves, can be added without needing to start a new game.

Patches and Essentials

If you want to experience Fallout: New Vegas exactly how it was at launch, but without the constant crashing and memory leak issues, install those mods only. Some are near-essential, while others make the game more stable and the loading times faster. Others are essential to install many other mods while also improving performances on their own.

xNVSEAlmost every mod for New Vegas requires xNVSE
FNV 4GB PatcherBrings the game into the new decade (the 2010s) by upping RAM use to 4 GB
Yukichigai Unofficial PatchFixes bugs, avoids crashes, optimizes load times
New Vegas Anti CrashFixes bugs, avoids crashes, optimizes load times
lStewieAl’s Engine OptimizationsFixes bugs, avoids crashes, optimizes load times
NVTF – New Vegas Tick FixFixes bugs and lets you play the game above 60 FPS
Mod Organizer 2Not a mod, but helps with organizing mods
Mod Configuration MenuCreates an in-game menu to edit configure some mods
Patches and other essential mods for Fallout: New Vegas

General Quality-of-Life Mods

The companion command wheel from Fallout: New Vegas, featuring many different commands to give to companions.
Image via Bethesda Softworks

If you want to make your adventures in the wasteland go by just a little bit smoother, you’re in luck. Most of what you could want is contained in just two mods: ySI – Sorting Ycons and JAM – Just Assorted Mods. The first is quite simple, adding icons next to each entry in the inventory to make everything more legible.

Meanwhile, JAM – Just Assorted Mods is a collection of mods that include a lot of subtle visual and quality-of-life improvements, as well as two big gameplay additions. Those are contained in the modules Just Vanilla Sprint and Just Bullet Time. If you want to keep the game as-is on the gameplay front, keep away from those two.

JAM – Just Assorted ModsAdds a lot of QoL improvements
ySI – Sorting YconsAdds icons to the inventory
Quality-of-life mods for Fallout: New Vegas

Make sure you install the necessary prerequisite mods for those additions. ySI – Sorting Ycons only needs yUI – User Ynterface, while JAM has a lot of requirements that are explained in full on the mod‘s page on NexusMods.

Better First-Person Animations

On the other hand, if you’re likely to spend most of your time in the Nevada desert in first-person mode, consider installing some of the visual enhancements and quality-of-life mods from the list below. The last two mods don’t do anything on their own but are required by other mods.

Anniversary Anim PackFixes and improves some first-person gun animations
FNV Clean AnimationsImproves other gun animations
Smooth True Iron Sights CameraMakes the iron sight aiming less janky
Viewmodel Shading Fix – NVSEAdds nice-looking reflections over metal guns
kNVSE Animation PluginRequired by FNV Clean Animations
ISControl Enabler and Ironsights AdjusterRequired by Anniversary Anim Pack
First-person animation mods for Fallout: New Vegas

Better Third-Person Animations

Boone the companion aims down the scope of a rifle while on top of a wooden dinosaur.
Image via Bethesda Softworks

If you plan on playing in third person for much of the time, you might want to add those mods. They’re not essential, but they help make the game look a pinch less silly. Those three mods are meant to be used together.

Diagonal MovementMakes diagonal movement in third person look more natural
360 MovementFurther improves third person movement (requires NV Compatibility Skeleton)
Enhanced MovementFeatures different modules to improve different aspects of movement in the game
Third-person animation mods for Fallout: New Vegas

Make sure to load 360 Movement‘s 360.esp file after the EM.esp in your mod loader. Make sure to disable the Just Vanilla Sprint module in JAM – Just Assorted Mods if you’re using that mod as well as Enhanced Movement. Both packages include a sprinting mod, and the two aren’t compatible with each other. If you want to avoid big mechanical changes, you should disable the Sprinting, Prone, and Leaning modules altogether.

Visual Overhauls and Fixes

While graphical overhaul mods can hardly be considered “essential,” a little extra care toward the visual appeal of a game as old as this can really help what beauty there is shine. That said, keep away from the most transformative mods if you want to get a glimpse of how Fallout: New Vegas might have looked like at launch. Those include Desert Natural Weathers and especially Yellow Goodbye.

Yellow GoodbyeMakes the ever-present yellow tint of the sky look more natural
High Resolution Water Fog – Water AliasingFixes a bug that makes underwater objects look jagged
Landscape Texture ImprovementsFixes a visual bug with the terrain textures
Desert Natural WeathersMakes the sky look a lot nicer (but it’s a pain to install)
Cloud Upgrade NVSEAdds moving clouds
Interior RainLets you hear the sound of rain from inside buildings
Climate Control RainFixes the triggers for rain and makes it look nicer while it’s at it
Visual overhauls for Fallout: New Vegas

That is all for our Fallout: New Vegas modding list for beginners. If you still have questions about the game, like which missions you should definitely take first, visit our New Vegas guides hub.


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Author
Diana Croce
Diana is a freelance Gaming Writer for GameSkinny and loves all kinds of stories, even though she’s too lazy for most things that aren’t games. She likes writing about the smaller, unique indie games that slip through the cracks, and she's been doing so since 2022.