Looking for the best free PC game? Whether you're broke or just frugal, free is a price point that appeals to everybody's purse. We've collated the top free PC games guaranteed to deliver a near endless stream of complementary entertainment. All you need to spend is your time.
If you're feeling a bit more specific, check out our list of free MMOs.
From military to sci-fi to fantasy, from MMOs to block-builders to card battlers, it turns out that zero can buy you quite a lot in the F2P game world – and that some classics are available at the steepest possible discount.
TERA has been a mainstay in the MMO stable for many years, and with good reason. Rejecting traditional point-and-click combat, TERA is an all-out actioner that draws from games like Devil May Cry. If that fact doesn’t grab your attention, perhaps its new event server will. Manahan is an alternate reality where level progression is quicker, dungeons are tougher, battlegrounds are switched up, and special changes are added to pretty much everything. Regardless of if you are a new or returning player, TERA’s most recent update has something for everyone.
Closers is an episodic anime MMORPG where you can fight battles with jumps, dodges, and combos in your quest to save Earth. You play as a titular ‘Closer’ - a character with a customisable personality and character arc - in your fight against horrific interdimensional beasts.
Each Closer has their own combat style and that, combined with the thousands of weapons at your disposal, makes the experience different every time you play. And, if you fancy engaging in some beat ‘em up action with your friends, there are modes for co-op and head-to-head PvP, too.
You don’t have to find a group of like-minded aviation enthusiasts on a message board and join their virtual squadron to enjoy War Thunder. You don’t have to choose between realism or accessibility, either. You just download it, and then you’re flying – or driving, or shooting, or even both at the same time. This massively-multiplayer WW2 combat game effortlessly encompasses all of the explosions and excitement that planes and tanks are capable of generating.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is one of the best MMOs available. Even better: you can play a huge chunk of it for free. There’s a lot to do, from traditional questing for NPCs to zone events where everyone can suddenly get involved and work as a massive team to bring down a boss, or help a burning village. You’ll need to pay to get into the Heart of Thorns expansion, but the base game is huge enough as it is, and the backlog of Living World stories now available to play means there’s plenty to see, explore, and get involved with.
Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul's story is of a journey to the West: well-regarded enough in Asia to prompt a 10,000 signature petition for wider release, this martial arts MMO has since blown up under NCSoft West's stewardship. The keys to its success? High-wire swordplay pulled straight from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a propulsive revenge plot akin to that of Kill Bill. It is a highlights package of the best of Wushu.
Crossout is a vehicular combat MMO in which you craft outlandish cars and then drive them into battle alongside other players. Set to a Mad-Max-stye backdrop of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, there’s an emphasis on deep customisation as well as skilfull driving and aiming. Crossout contains a variety of co-op and competitive game modes, as well as a marketplace full of tradable goods. The sheer number of different body types, guns, cannons, and armor ensures that there are many different ways to play… although they are all pretty deadly.
World of Tanks
One of the mightiest PC free-to-play games there has ever been, World of Tanks is an accessible and exciting tank simulator that is built on a foundation of complex game mechanics. It pits two teams of tankers against each other in a classic deathmatch scenario. There are hundreds of vehicles to unlock across ten different tiers, from speedy scouts to hulking heavies. You will be surprised at how many tanks Wargaming have managed to cram in.
World of Warships
If you like the idea of World of Tanks but the battlefields just are not wet enough, then you need World of Warships. Introducing the navy to the concept of deathmatch, the controls are simple and welcoming, but allow for interesting tactics. World of Warships is more fun than Total War’s pondering naval engagements, definitely more approachable than Silent Hunter, and far, far deeper than the Pirates games. Surprising deep, if you'll excuse the submariner humour.
In Armored Warfare, the tanks of today and tomorrow are at war. The idea is that you're fighting as part of a modern-day private military company. Big player-versus-player rucks are exciting, but if you're not into that, there's a co-op campaign you can play with your mates.
Star Trek Online
Who wouldn’t want to take control of a starship, explore the fringes of the galaxy, battle dangerous aliens and train an elite crew of pangalactic professionals? Star Trek Online is your chance to show the internet that you’d make a much better Picard than Picard. Or, at least, than they do. Each quest in this MMO is like an episode of the show, and each mission series is an arc, complete with the occasional filler episode. Packed full of the best pieces from Roddenberry’s universe, this is the only MMO for a true Trekkie.
Neverwinter comes from a long line of ambitious, multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons RPGs – including both the original Neverwinter Nights - the first ever MMOs with graphics - and the BioWare game of the same name. Neverwinter, however, is the cheapest yet at a tempting $0.00, and benefits from the massively-multiplayer expertise of City of Heroes studio Cryptic. Packed with action-focused combat, challenging dungeons, and amazing locations to explore, it is also fantastic Forgotten Realms fan service: a place where you can meet both RA Salvatore’s Drizzt and Minsc from Baldur’s Gate.
Skyforge blends sci-fi and fantasy together for an action-heavy MMO that’s happy to ditch many of the rules so many other games adhere to. There’s no levelling or strict classes: instead you develop your character however you like and can swap between different combat roles whenever you wish. As you gain more power you’ll eventually become a god incarnate, complete with your own followers.
Warface is a fast-action military shooter, but less concerned with realism than its po-faced peers. Warface wants you to do two things: cooperate with your team in urban deathmatches, and slide along on your arse while firing a machine gun. Made by Crytek, the developers behind Crysis and the original Far Cry, you can be assured it is crafted from top-tier shooter DNA.
A shiny, colourful space sim that places you in a massively multiplayer universe, Star Conflict drops you right in the middle of an interplanetary skirmish that encompasses both PvE and PvP. Its void is as roomy as any other sector of space you might name, while its busy, man-made surface environments recall the twisty tunnels of the Descent series.
Everything’s better in space, as Warframe proves with its Ninjas in space theme. It is a co-op third-person game where teams of ninjas suited up in powerful ‘Warframe’ armours head out to slice up bad guys, or just hang out at the dojo. It blends some MMO elements with the sensibilities of a more straightforward action game, creating something slick, exciting, and very sociable. The game is often compared to Destiny, and Warframe players will even tell you that it is far better than Bungie’s triple-A shooter.
Duelyst is a free PC CCG that offers players something a little more strategic than just laying down cards. Instead of a standard deck and board, Duelyst offers a five-by-nine grid straight out of a top-down tactical game like Blood Bowl. Cards in Duelyst spawn in units rather than simply casting effects, which makes for a game that is like a CCG twist on chess. Order your units across the grid, out-maneuver your opponent, and score a worthy victory. Counterplay Games Inc. have also lavished their game with a beautifully crisp 16-bit art style that’ll have you collecting cards for the art just as much as than their effects.
Total War: Arena
Total War: Arena does not sound like a game that should work, stripping away as it does the series’ megalomaniacal thrust, leaving behind only overland battles between formations of ancient warriors.
And yet, Arena is Total War at its most focused - a game of precise positioning and well-timed charges that gives you more than enough to think about. Never have those real-time battles felt as tense or satisfying as in competitive multiplayer. It is a generous free-to-play offering too, tiering unlocks in the fashion of World of Tanks, but letting you pay to access those elephants sooner. Just make sure you are ready for the onagers when you do.
Shortly after Shadowverse’s mobile release in Japan in 2016, it became the biggest strategic card game in the country, and with good reason. This charmingly designed CCG eases you in gently with its tutorial and single-player story mode, and keeps you coming back with complex gameplay and new card packs every three months. You have seven different leader classes to choose from, and they each allow significant strategic depth. Whether you are an aggressive, cautious, or sneaky player, Shadowverse will cater to your playstyle.
Archeage is the closest thing we’ve got to a proper pirate MMO. You can try to master the endless sea as a notorious pirate or choose to be a humble peddler of crafted goods. The labour system – how ArcheAge gates its content – may take time to get used to, but nevertheless it is a really solid free-to-play experience.
If you’re not into piracy, there’s plenty of classic fantasy MMO elements to keep you happy. Yes, magical swords and fancy armour are still a huge part of ArcheAge. In fact, the Maelstrom update made dramatic improvements to item upgrades, so that you can now steer your equipment in more specific and exciting directions. Which is just as well, since Maelstrom also filled Bloodsalt Bay with massive, toothy monsters. Better bring the best equipment you’ve got.
Paladins is a team-based hero shooter that pits teams of colourful, ability-laden heroes against each other. Yes, it is a bit like Overwatch, but shares many of Blizzard’s titan’s merits as a tactical murder simulator and provides them at a fraction of the cost. You can play as a mecha-goblin or gigantic rolling bomb and work in conjunction with your comrades to knock the numbers out of your opponents before diving on the objective. Bonus: everyone gets their own horse.
Following the same formula as League of Legends and Dota 2, Smite has teams of five players trying to fight their way into their opponent’s base. Rather than giving players a top-down view of the battlefield, however, it chooses a third-person perspective, switching the focus of the game from tactics to action. Plus, instead of a roster of colourful fantasy characters, each player takes on the role of an almighty god inspired by real religions, from Norse to Celtic to Chinese.
Blizzard's world-dominating card game is about as addictive as chips. Who's ever had enough chips? You've always got room for more chips, and you've always got time for another game of Hearthstone. With a gargantuan selection of cards, the game now supports hundreds of different play styles, which you can easily tailor by building your perfects decks. The heart of Hearthstone is in its competitive multiplayer matches, but Dungeon Run provides an excellent and moreish solo card experience few other games can match.
No MMO can claim to be as player-driven as Eve Online, with the space game/lifestyle boasting mega-corporations run by legions of players and, very occasionally, gigantic space battles with upwards of 5,000 participating pilots. Eve Online’s free-to-play model lets players experience all of that space madness (bar access to some of the end-game ships and skills) without having to pay a subscription fee.
League of Legends
Inspired by the original Dota, League of Legends takes the same 5v5 base attack concept, but introduces a completely different roster of playable characters that is constantly being expanded. Many players find League of Legends is easier and more accessible than Dota, but it is still extremely nuanced; it has one of the highest skill ceilings in gaming, and the best players are considered tactical geniuses. More than 100 million people play it every month, so you won’t struggle to find a game.
Two teams of five choose their Dota 2 heroes from a selection of hundreds before taking to the battlefield to destroy their opponent’s base. It is no mean feat, as both teams bases spawn waves of creatures and are protected by powerful towers. Each player will need to make the best of their hero’s abilities in what is not only a game, but a sport. It is tough, complex, and inspires fanaticism in its fans. It is one of the most played games on Steam, and draws in hundreds of thousands of players every day.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s stab at taking on League of Legends and the MOBA crowd. Yet this 5v5 arena game isn’t just another Dota clone. Instead of a single map, Heroes of the Storm has many themed arenas that ask you not only to defeat the enemy but also complete side quests to help improve your chances. Not only does this provide variety, but it is intensely fun. Combined with the All-Stars approach that pulls maps and characters from every Blizzard game - from Warcraft to Overwatch - Heroes of the Storm is the most polished of the MOBA gang, and the easiest to pick up and play.
Team Fortress 2
Valve’s class-based shooter, Team Fortress 2, has achieved legendary status thanks to its varied game modes, impeccable sense of fun, and being home to more hats than the world’s millinery stores combined. The whole game is free-to-play these days, from the standard shoot-everything-that-moves deathmatches to the fantastic Mann vs Machine co-op mode where teams fend off waves of robots.
This golden oldie continues to be one of largest MMORPGs ever made, as well as holding the record for being the most updated game in history. Runescape has an enormous player base and a massive, ever-evolving world to explore, full of challenges that you can choose according to your own interests. Want to fight, complete quests, or just to play minigames? In Runescape it is entirely up to you.
Now, turn to Page 2 to find more priceless games – and please do share your own recommendations in the comments.