Fallout 4's free high-resolution texture pack will make even the brawniest gaming PCs sweat

Prettying up the post-apocalypse.

fallout 4

Fallout 4 might look a smidge better (and more colorful!) than its last-gen predecessors, but it could always look better, right? As “a love letter to our amazing PC fans,” Bethesda announced on Monday that a high-res texture pack is coming to The Commonwealth sometime next week, for free.

The catch? You’re going to need one hell of a PC to run it. The official recommendations from Bethesda include a six-core i7-5820K and 8GB of dedicated VRAM on your graphics card (a GeForce GTX 1080 is specifically listed). Oh, and on top of that you’ll need a whopping 58GB of storage space for all these hot textures. That’s in addition to 30+ GB for the game itself.

There’s only a single picture so far, embedded below. Click on it for the full effect:

Fallout 4 - Texture Pack Fallout 4

Now sure, you could possibly find better textures through extensive piecemeal modding. But if you’re still playing Fallout 4 or haven’t started yet, then this is a presumably stable first-party solution a la Skyrim HD. Pretty cool.

The irony though is that many of the popular texture mods on NexusMods take things the other direction: They further compress Fallout 4’s textures, many of which are already huge for seemingly no reason.

For instance, here you’ll notice the most downloaded mod is the “Fallout 4 – Texture Optimization Project,” which aims to reduce stuttering by “replacing the high-resolution textures with properly compressed and resized textures.” Yes, the mod description terms Fallout 4’s existing textures high-resolution, because many of them already are.

Anyway, the free texture pack will be at least a slight boost for the few, the proud, who manage to run it. Not as noticeable as a lighting overhaul perhaps, but hey, never before have trash and rusty cars been so crisp and lovingly rendered.

Whether it’s worth playing Fallout 4 at all? Well, that’s a different question.

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At a Glance
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    Fallout 4's setting and conceit are strong as ever, but it feels quite a bit less daring and honed than its predecessor. Read the full review

    Pros

    • The Commonwealth (Boston) is home to some fantastic Fallout lore
    • Gorgeous lighting effects
    • Retains the signature Bethesda feeling of exploration

    Cons

    • Too much padding
    • New systems feel arbitrary and kill the pacing
    • Retains the signature Bethesda bugginess
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