Tomb Raider is probably the most famous treasure hunting explorer in video games. The original Tomb Raider games play a huge part in the rise of puzzle-based action-adventure video games. The series has spawned many sequels like Rise Of The Tomb Raider as well as inspired other original games like Uncharted. The popularity of Tomb Raider and fan support has always made it one of the most famous points of discussion among the gaming community.

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This support is the reason people are always coming up with creative add-ons for Tomb Raider games even years after the release. Some of them are skin mods, and others are visual enhancements, which begs the question, "How many of these mods are a must-try?"

Updated January 5, 2022, by Tom Bowen: Despite several years having now passed since the release of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics' excellent reboot trilogy remains incredibly popular with fans today. So much so, in fact, that players continue to make new mods for the games, some of which can completely change and transform the settings and characters. For those looking to delve back into Lara's world or anybody who is thinking about visiting it for the first time after picking the games up for free from the Epic Games Store, these mods can really enhance the experience, often making these already realistic titles just that little bit more lifelike.

Dualshock Button icons MOD for DX11+ (Tomb Raider 2013)

Without modding, those hoping to play Tomb Raider with a DS4 have a somewhat difficult decision to make. Playing the game in DirectX 9 mode will give them access to the correct button icons, though this will come at the expense of compatibility with HDR and some of the more recent versions of ReShade. Thanks to IcemanSR's mod, however, they can now have the best of both worlds.

Given the high number of QTEs in the game, having the correct button prompts can be a real life-saver, particularly for those unfamiliar with the layout of an Xbox pad. Likewise, with the game being almost a decade old now, features like high dynamic range can really help to bring the visuals a little bit closer to modern standards, as too can some of the excellent ReShade presets found below.

Tomb Raider Enhance Graphic 2020 (Tomb Raider 2013)

The Tomb Raider Enhance Graphic 2020 mod is a Reshade preset that completely changes the look and feel of the game. Light sources become more vivid, colors more vibrant and Lara herself has never looked better. Ultimately though, it's the preset's handling of ambient light that really makes it shine.

It may not have been downloaded quite as many times as some of the other Tomb Raider mods on Nexus, but it's worth noting that this is one of the most recent mods released for the game. Installation is simple and causes no obvious frame rate issues either, making it a great way to explore the island of Yamatai.

Ellie TR2013 (Tomb Raider 2013)

Though the Ellie TR2013 mod doesn't really impact gameplay, being able to explore Yamatai as The Last of Us' leading lady really does change the whole tone of the game. It would perhaps have been better had the creator opted for Ellie's model from the second game instead, but it's an enjoyable addition nonetheless.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Ellie isn't the only character that can be swapped into the game. Among others, players can also switch Lara out for Ada Wong from the Resident Evil series, Clementine from Telltale's excellent episodic adventure The Walking Dead, or Alloy from Horizon Zero Dawn.

Tomb Raider Turning Point Edition (Tomb Raider 2013)

Despite having been released in late 2020, the Tomb Raider Turning Point Edition mod has already been downloaded thousands of times. Looking at some of the images uploaded by the mod's creator, it's very easy to see why. As far as mods go, they really don't get much better than this.

The mod aims to make Lara look more like she does in the game's promotional material, particularly the Turning Point trailer. The high-quality models help to create a cinematic vibe even during regular gameplay, while the cuts and scratches that Lara picks up throughout her adventure add some much-needed authenticity to proceedings.

Care Package (Tomb Raider 2013)

Tomb Raider 2013 marked the rebirth of the series with a new Lara Croft design and a complete reboot of the story. With blockbuster ratings and critical acclaim, it seems fair to say that the team over at Crystal Dynamics really outdid themselves when it came to building this AAA reboot.

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The game was carefully crafted to look good on any hardware, with the PC version even featuring realistic hair physics. The Care Package Mod polishes some of those effects that came with the original game. The impact really isn't drastic when compared to the vanilla version of the game, but it is enough for players to notice a difference.

TR Visual Redone Reshade (Tomb Raider 2013)

Tomb Raider 2013 is a beautiful game for its time. It checks all the boxes from good lighting to competent shading, but in the world of art and video games, there is always scope for improvement. That is the reason that the TR Visual Redone Reshade mod was created.

The mod is a graphical improvement add-on for the game, that impacts the lighting, color balance, tones, and much more. By improving the vibrancy of the game, the mod changes the whole visual experience for players. The fact that it doesn't affect the performance of the game is a cherry on the top.

Angelina Jolie (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

Much like TR2013, Rise of the Tomb Raider features its fair share of skin swaps. The pick of the bunch is arguably xRaq's Angelina Jolie mod, which, as the name might suggest, replaces the default Lara model with an impressively lifelike model of the very first actress to portray the intrepid adventurer on the big screen: Angelina Jolie.

Though neither of the two movies in which Jolie portrayed Lara were particularly well-received, they did perform strongly at the box office and were enjoyed by many fans of the series. Those looking to see how the actress handles in video game form can now do so, with five unique outfits available.

Pretty Eyes (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

Rise of the Tomb Raider is vibrant and graphically better compared to its 2013 sibling, and the reason is pretty simple. It was released two years into the PS4 and XBox One generation. Which meant the developers could go a high mile with the added boost in hardware. The new consoles redefined realism in games, but there was always a scope.

That's why the modding community gave birth to Pretty Eyes and Armpit Mod to tweak and change some of the minute details about Lara. Because why not? These mods add a flare of realism to Lara's character. Remember, beauty is in the "eye" of the beholder.

Tactical Outfits (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

Tactical Outfits Mod is simply a costume mod for the game. The full release of Rise of the Tomb Raider comes with many outfits, but there can always be more for the players who feel like they need it. Tactical Outfits Mod builds on that and provides many new outfits textures for players to try.

With this much variety, this is easily a must-have add-on for the game. The mod has around 100k views on the website, making it one of the most popular mods for the game. Coming in at just 42MB, it has to be worth the gamble for those looking to expand Lara's closet.

UHG Reshade (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

UGH Reshade is one of the most popular graphical mods for Rise of the Tomb Raider and has been downloaded thousands of times. It enhances the already-beautiful game to give players more variety in visuals. The main idea is to bring the game a little closer to its sequel.

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The mod does impact the overall performance a little, but the beefy PCs of 2021 should easily be able to handle it. Based on the pictures, there are multiple color filters like warm, cool, and pure, and players can easily switch between them in order to find the look that they want.

Tank Top Outfit Pack (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

Tank Top Outfit Mod brings the colors to the outfits. Most of Lara's outfits in-game are dark, brown, or muddy, which fits the game, but there are always players looking to play the game with a twist. This mod contains extremely high-resolution textures that will just be something to try out.

This colorfulness will make Lara look like she is coming right from a party that probably could have taken place somewhere in Sunset Overdrive. The mod is only 13MB in size too and is, therefore, a must-try for those looking for a little extra outfit variety as they play.

Cam Tools (Rise Of The Tomb Raider)

Cam Tools is a camera mod for Rise of the Tomb Raider. This mod is mainly for video game photography enthusiasts. Cam Tools is easy to inject and lets people experiment with camera angles while they play the game. This added feature of camera control makes it easy for players to take the best shot in the game.

These amazing screenshots can be later used as wallpapers or personal collections. Players who want their creative juices flowing are going to appreciate this. This mod can also be used to study in-game environments for people pursuing a career in video game design.

No Mud And Dirt On Lara (Shadow of the Tomb Raider)

In all three installments of Crystal Dynamics' reboot trilogy, Lara gets dirtier and dirtier as she makes her way through the games. It's actually a really nice touch that helps to capture the physical toll that the experience has on her body and also provides an additional layer of realism. Some may feel, however, that the developers took this concept just a little too far in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Lara spends the vast majority of the game completely caked in mud, which may not be to everybody's tastes. 1Mrp1's mod looks to rectify this issue, providing players with a cleaner character model with only the slightest signs of dirt. It still feels weathered, with all of Lara's cuts and bruises remaining intact, but should be a lot more visually pleasing to those with an aversion to dirt and mud.

Canonical Lara (Shadow of the Tomb Raider)

Lara has changed a lot since first debuting on the Sega Saturn back in the late nineties, but while there can be no denying that she looks a lot more lifelike these days, some may not be too happy about the drastic changes made to Lara's face. As is so often the case though, there's a mod for that.

The Canonical Lara mod aims to make the game's heroine look a bit more like her former self without clashing with the game's realistic art style. For the most part, it works incredibly well, replacing Lara's facial texture with one that much more closely resembles her nineties and early two-thousands look.

Apex Photorealistic Reshade (Shadow of the Tomb Raider)

Released in late 2018, the Apex Photorealistic Reshade mod is one of the more popular Reshade presets for Shadow of the Tomb Raider and has now been downloaded almost ten thousand times. Once installed, everything looks noticeably sharper and ambient lighting looks considerably better too.

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The preset is a must-try for anyone looking for realistic visuals and is particularly impressive when combined with ray tracing technology. That said, it still looks incredible without and is arguably the next best thing for those whose rigs aren't yet capable of delivering ray tracing at decent frame rates.

Outfit Mod (Shadow Of The Tomb Raider)

Outfit Mod for Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is the best clothing mod for this game on the internet. As most new Tomb Raider games natively do not support modding tools, this is a texture mod for the outfits that are already in the game, similar to the Rise Of The Tomb Raider outfit mods.

Even with certain restrictions though, the players can now modify how Lara looks in all of her costumes providing certain conditions have been met. To access all the outfits that are available on the mod page, players will need their counterparts unlocked in-game.

4k Diffuse And Specular Maps (Shadow Of The Tomb Raider)

These diffuse and specular maps in 4k resolution are for players looking to make Lara Croft from Shadow Of The Tomb Raider look similar to its prequel. As the new game looks pretty different and dark compared to Rise of the Tomb Raider, this mod is an attempt to blend the line in-between both games.

With this mod, the texture on Lara's face is replaced with 4k textures from the previous game, with completely redone specular maps. Thanks to this texture replacement mod, Lara can therefore look a lot more similar to how she does in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Shadow Reshade (Shadow Of The Tomb Raider)

Shadow of The Tomb Raider looks genuinely good in its vanilla form, but Shadow Reshade allows players to take this one step further. The mod makes the already beautiful world of the game truly awe-aspiring. It is a shader upgrade that works as a filter in-game and improves the overall visual fidelity.

Shadow Reshade is light, easy to use, and comes with all the clear-cut instructions on-page. Graphics enthusiasts can now enjoy a better-looking game without having to push their GPUs to their absolute limits. It looks fantastic, particularly in darker scenes, and really helps to put the "Shadow" into the game's title.

How To Install Mods

The majority of the mods available for the Tomb Raider trilogy on Nexus provide detailed instructions on how players can install them. In order to use ReShade presets, for example, players will need to download a copy of ReShade and then extract it into the same folder as the game's launcher together with the .ini preset.

For mods with custom assets or textures, on the other hand, players will often need to download a piece of software called Special K and extract it to the game's directory together with all of the mod's assets. Although these mods and pieces of software should all be safe to use, it's always worth scanning them with Antivirus software before installing them just in case.

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