After completing Grand Theft Auto IV‘s campaign back in 2008, I, like many others, didn’t exactly walk away overly thrilled or impressed with the game’s main plot and narrative. It was lacking in numerous capacities and flat-out stale in others, but mainly because it was hampered by its inability to rise above the cliches and typical story elements present in practically every previous title in the series. Suffice it to say, I had no plans of ever really revisiting GTA IV’s single player campaign, save for a few punctuated sessions of pure unadulterated violence after a long and irritating shift at my day job. That was then, though.
Fast forward almost four years to 2011 and a man by the name of Boris Vorontsov, creator of the “ENBSeries” of graphic modifications, has set the wide spectrum of PC games “modding” communities ablaze and wrangled the attention of countless PC gamers and geeks alike, when he released a complete, mind-bending graphical overhaul mod for GTA IV called, ICEnhancer. Ever since, I’ve been gleefully traipsing back through the shoes of Niko Bellic, GTA IV’s fast-talking, Eastern European protagonist, and let me tell you — it has never felt better! Sure, the core mechanics and components of the the game largely remain the same, but the point is that I’ve been drawn back into a world I had long since placed in a forgotten corner of my mind. And best of all? Due to its brand new sheen, it almost feels new again, but without a quiver of a doubt looks just like a game released in 2011. The same can be said about some of the total overhaul mods out there for games such as Crysis or S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which not only bring those aforementioned games up-to-date, but basically improve upon their core strengths, components, and mechanics in nearly every possible aspect.
Ultimately, mods possess the ability of reawakening forgotten or neglected areas of the PC gaming world, and have come to represent a very substantial place in the annals of PC gaming conventions when we get right down to it. Almost all PC gamers these days have now come to expect the developers and/or publishers to release the software tools that make graphic and other varied types of mod creations possible. And usually when the developers or publishers refuse, you can almost hear a collective disappointing sigh echo loudly across the vast reaches of the internet from the many disillusioned fans — and rightfully so. After all, modding is, and has always been, driven by the passion and love of individual fans and communities; it has become a gaming sub-culture all its own. And it is a culture that is continually evolving with each new generation of hardware and software, proving that age really does not mean a thing and, we can almost always revitalize what was once old, into new again.