Looking for the best free PC games? Whether you’re broke or just frugal, free is a price point that appeals to everybody’s purse. No matter your genre of choice, it turns out that zero can buy you quite a lot in the F2P game world, and even beloved classics are available at the steepest possible discount.
We’ve collated the top free games on PC guaranteed to deliver a near endless stream of complementary entertainment. All you need to spend is your time. From cultural landmarks like Fortnite, to all-time greats like Team Fortress 2, some entries on this list can easily make our list of the best PC games of all time. In no particular order, here are the best free games on PC.
The best free PC games are:
Raid: Shadow Legends
You can now play one of the best-known mobile RPGs for free on PC. Raid’s turn-based combat and squad management require some strategic thinking, even from veterans of the genre. The game features over 300 heroes for you to collect, each with their own stats and unique abilities, meaning you’ll have to tweak and optimise your squad to make the most of your characters’ strengths.
You can also take the fight online by either teaming up with other players in co-op, err, raids, or defeating their squad in battle to gain valuable rewards. Oh, and the game is cross platform, so if you sign up on Android or iOS, then you can share your progress.
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. Not sure where to start? Our War Thunder tips will help point your tank’s cannon in the right direction. If you’re looking for war games that put you in the thick of it then War Thunder is for you.
World of Warships
If you like the idea an ocean-based military simulation game, 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. Surprisingly deep, if you’ll excuse the submariner humour. The World of Warships esports scene is also far more exciting than it has any right to be.
World of Tanks
One of the mightiest PC tank 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.
Mech Arena was brought into the world by Plarium, the developer behind Raid: Shadow Legends. However, there’s very little that these two games have in common. Mech Arena is all about hopping into a mech suit and then doing battle against other players in their own mech suits. It’s a simple premise, but one that can be an awful lot of fun.
There are a number of different arenas to do battle in, which keeps things feeling fresh, but most interestingly, there are countless options available for customisation. Eventually, you’ll be able to customise your mech to the extent that it perfectly compliments your preferred playstyle, giving you a chance to cultivate and develop your own battle tactics. This Plarium game is cross platform, so if you sign up on Android, iOS, or PC and share your progress.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Thanks to CCG titan Hearthstone, there are a lot more card gaming experts around than there used to be. Recent card gaming converts can move onto games like Gwent or The Elder Scrolls: Legends for themed twists that boast a few new mechanics, but if you want a real challenge then you can’t beat Magic: The Gathering Arena.
Wizards of the Coast’s latest digital port of the revered paper card game is certainly not for the faint-hearted – it’s based on the trading card game that’s been going since 1993, so you can only imagine how many cards and keywords are at play. Magic: The Gathering Arena does an excellent job of shedding some of that historic baggage while retaining most of the complexity that makes Magic so special, and it comes complete with all of the board animations and sensory delights that we’ve come to expect of modern CCGs.
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 skilful 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 Crossout factions, different body types, guns, cannons, and armour ensures that there are many different ways to play… although they are all pretty deadly.
This Battlefield-esque tactical shooter prides itself on its historical accuracy, providing you with era-appropriate weapons and equipment as you lead your squad of AI soldiers through some of the most famous campaigns of WWII.
As in War Thunder (developer Gaijin’s F2P hit), you’ll also have access to a range of aircraft, tanks, and vehicles to help you on your way to victory, which are unlocked through the distinct skill sets of each of your squad members.
As squad leader, it’s up to you to command the actions of your troops throughout each battle, but should the worst happen and you’re taken out by a stray bullet, you’ll switch to the POV of a different member of your division. Surely, a welcome solution to those of us who’ve spent far too many hours face down in the mud, waiting to be revived by a teammate with different priorities.
Forge of Empires
If you’re aching to hone your management skills while quenching your thirst for historical strategy, then Forge of Empires’ browser-based realm building could be right up your street.
Beginning with a handful of Stone Age huts and spear-wielding warriors, you’ll lead your small settlement through a range of familiar time periods – conquering, expanding, and building your way to a modern metropolis. Lead your growing armies to victory in turn-based combat sequences, join other players to form guilds, and research groundbreaking discoveries that lead you from one century to the next.
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 PC games – 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, this is one of the best RPGs on this list. It is also fantastic for Forgotten Realms fan service: a place where you can meet both RA Salvatore’s Drizzt and Minsc from Baldur’s Gate.
Genshin Impact has drawn a lot of comparisons to Breath of the Wild, and it’s not hard to see why. Its open world is massive and jaw-droppingly pretty, but there’s also an abundance of resources to collect, craft, and cook with, not to mention puzzles and minibosses that can be bested by using elemental powers with the environment rather than starting a brawl.
The main story will keep you battling through the first 30 hours, but that’s mostly because the massive open world of Teyvat will keep pulling you in every direction with camps to clear out, puzzles to solve, and the promise of shiny new loot. There are some parts of the open world you won’t be able to engage with without accessing some of the characters who are hidden behind gacha mechanics, but you can enjoy the whole main story and the majority of the open-world relatively uninterrupted by paid mechanics.
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.
So many great things have started out as jokes: bacon flavoured cola, sincere Spinal Tap fans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and now CRSED. Formally known as Cuisine Royale, this free-to-play battle royale game where you strap pots and pans to yourself in place of plate armour started out as a spinoff for squad-based MMO shooter Enlisted, but quickly garnered its own player base. And it’s easy to see why as the freedom of being a ‘joke’ game has allowed developer Darkflow Software to experiment with mechanics PUBG wouldn’t dare consider, like demonic powers, Champions, and even jetpacks.
Launched in 2008, Wizard101 is a fantasy MMORPG that has been able to remain popular among gamers ever since. In it, you step into the shoes of a student at the Ravenwood School for Magical Arts. You choose whether you want to enrol in the school of Fire, Ice, Storm, Myth, Life, Death, or Balance, with each of these fields giving you access to a unique selection of magical abilities that will significantly affect the way that you approach enemies in battle. Teaming up with other players will give you the opportunity to experiment with different strategies as you consider how different types of magic pair together.
Meanwhile, the game has a fantastic story that initially sees you coming up against Ravenwood’s former Necromancy teacher, Malistaire. What at first appears to be a typical story about an evil wizard, soon turns out to be something much more nuanced. During the course of your adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a range of exciting fantastical locations, from enchanted forests, to ancient desert communities, and even a city under the sea. It’s a charming experience.
One of our favourite new MMO games, this one has been out in South Korea for a while, but has finally landed in the west. It’s a curious mixture of Final Fantasy XIV and Diablo, and so far people seem to be enjoying it very much, if they can get into a Lost Ark server, that is.
Lost Ark is free-to-play, but if you do fancy spending some money there are some starter packs you can check out:
Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV has earned its spot among the best free PC games the hard way. After a disastrous launch and many months spent recovery mode developers developer Square Enix has managed to right the course of its ambitious Final Fantasy MMO and build one of the best gaming communities along the way. And yes, while the full game isn’t free you can invest a solid chunk of time into the free trial version, which caps your progress at level 60.
A Realm Reborn isn’t just a great PC game, it really draws on everything that makes the Final Fantasy series so popular: beautiful worlds, eccentric characters, stylish cutscenes, and adorable critters. The widely acclaimed 2019 expansion, Shadowbringers, introduced a huge amount of new content, while the latest expansion has proven just as popular (and received 9/10 in our Endwalker review).
Tower of Fantasy
Since it came to the west in mid-2022, Tower of Fantasy has quickly become one of the most popular free PC games. Following a similar formula to Genshin Impact, this game is an open world, action RPG where you play as humans living on the planet Aida hundreds of years in the future. After a cataclysmic event, the settlement’s population was greatly diminished and the landscape of Aida has been filled with strange monsters.
In a shared world with other players, you’re then left in a position to explore the mysterious Aida landscape, while coming up against the Heirs of Aida who are opposed to the use of the energy source omnium (which was the cause of the historic catastrophe). The world is huge and the story is deep. Whether you want to just mess around fighting monsters with friends, gather resources to make all the game’s recipes, or try to unlock all the characters through the gacha mechanics, Tower of Fantasy has no shortage of things to do.
Embrace your inner knight as you engage in epic siege warfare in Conqueror’s Blade. Pick a hero from a selection of medieval classes and lead them into battle, commanding a small battalion of troops into seemingly-insurmountable sieges.
The gameplay switches between third-person combat and top-down views of the 30-player battles, so it’s important to make best use of your siege equipment and give astute tactical orders so that your troops emerge victorious – and alive.
Everything’s better in space, and Warframe proves exactly that by taking ninjas, and putting them in space. It is a co-op third-person game where teams of ninjas suit up in powerful ‘Warframe’ armour and 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.
It’s also not without depth; you can easily pour hundreds of hours into perfecting Warframe builds. 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. Though the original developers were bought out by Tencent, Warframe remains “creatively independent”.
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.
Even if you’re not after one of the best pirate games, 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. Some of that armour is on the backs of dragon mounts – majestic killers raised by players who want to tame the skies as well as the seas. ArcheAge: Unchained, a version of ArcheAge that requires a one-time purchase, was released in 2019 – but the original is still one of the best free MMOs around.
Trove may look a lot like Minecraft, but in reality it’s a thoroughbred MMO replete with classes inspired by sword and sorcery classics. Just like those MMO greats, Trove is also all about grinding for more and more gear, making it a great hobby game especially as it regularly receives hefty updates that add everything from new dungeons to PvP game modes for you to try out.
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. The free-to-play base game is huge, and if you choose to purchase the Path of Fire expansion, they’ll throw in the Heart of Thorns expansion for free.
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. Its steep learning curve can be quite daunting, so we highly recommend reading our Eve Online beginner’s guide if you’re just getting started.
Albion Online’s classless sandbox MMO is a refreshing journey into a medieval world where you’re not bound to a certain playstyle. Albion is less about character builds and more about strategy and tactics in a PvP driven environment that focuses on building a guild with fellow players.
It’s a high-stakes venture and creates battles that quickly turn on their head. Although Albion Online’s environment leaves much to be imagined, the player-controlled economy and unforgiving loot system make for hours lost battling foes, delving into dungeons, and riding through lush green fields on your loyal steed.
Sure, Monster Hunter may have finally made the leap from console, but Dauntless offers the same brilliant monster-slaying gameplay in a the form of a free PC game. Dauntless lets you buddy up with up to three friends in co-op and take on a series of increasingly challenging Behemoths (you can read our Dauntless tips guide if you need help), each one offering a new set of attacks and abilities to learn and overcome. Just make sure that your party is packing a variety of weapons as you will need to chain abilities and combos to stand any chance of taking down these challenging beasts.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2
As the sequel to one of the best battle royale games ever, this free-to-play Call of Duty game takes the chaotic 150-player game mode from the first iteration and injects it with updated guns and mechanics from Modern Warfare 2. Like its predecessor, it strips away many complicated looting systems from other BR titles and updates the Warzone 2 gulag – a way to make a comeback if someone eliminates you – with new twists and turns from its previous incarnation. There is also a new DMZ mode, which scratches the itch of those who want the peril of permanently losing loot.
To help you get the upper hand in matches, we’ve prepared a list of the best Warzone loadouts for a range of different scenarios, as well as some intel on the Warzone 2 map so you can find all the best hiding spots in Al Mazrah.
Swooshing onto the scene from a well-placed zipline, Apex Legends has more than earned its place among the best battle royale games. From the developers behind Titanfall, Apex Legends takes the BR formula and adds a roster of intriguing Apex Legends characters that infuse each round with new tactical possibilities depending on your team composition. They’ve also stirred up the genre by adding intuitive contextual pings – making communication with your team a piece of cake – and introducing the ability to respawn your downed teammates, ensuring you can blame your squad for your demise at least twice a game.
As we discuss in our Apex Legends review, the game has particularly satisfying movement – you’ll be skidding down slopes, clambering through buildings and launching yourself into the sky to reposition – and character abilities that make you feel like you’ve got the chance to steal the edge in combat, even against the champion squad. If you’re ready to get started, be sure to check out our Apex Legends tier list, as well as the best guns, to pair with the best character.
Destiny 2 arrived on Steam with the Shadowkeep expansion in October 2019, and simultaneously opened up the base game, the Leviathan raid, and several PvP modes to everyone for free. Team up with your friends and go on adventures in search of shiny loot like Destiny 2 Exotic weapons, or duke it out against other players in the Crucible. Destiny 2 has something to offer everyone, from casual players looking for somewhere to hang out, to hardcore raid fans and collectors. The Destiny 2 classes boast a surprising degree of nuance, though it’ll take some dedication to craft the best builds of the bunch.
The Sims 4
The Sims has reigned supreme as the quintessential life sim series since the turn of the millennium. Ahead of the Sims 5 release date, EA has opted to The Sims 4 free-to-play, lighting a fire under its thriving community. Using the extensive Sims 4 creation tools, you’re granted the freedom to design your Sims however you like, from their looks to their sparkling personalities. If you’re partial to construction, you can also build their house from the ground up, and fill it with as much kitsch as their budgets will allow – or you can use the extensive Sims 4 cheats to build to your heart’s content. From there, it’s getting to know the neighbourhood, establishing your Sim’s career, and eventually starting a family. Life, death, and all the messy bits in between serve as The Sims 4’s playground.
The free-to-play version of The Sims 4 provides you with a solid foundation to experience the game without spending a single penny. Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the enormous variety of expansion packs available to expand your horizons. If you’d like to keep it free, there’s also an avalanche of Sims 4 CC creators and packs available to install.
Blizzard’s hero shooter returns in a free-to-play format, and while it’s received some welcome quality-of-life adjustments, it remains at its core the same game that captivated its playerbase back when the original version released back in 2016. The Overwatch 2 maps take players to various locales to engage in standard match formats such as escorting a payload or capturing a point. It’s also expanded to include an arcade suite for non-standard game modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch – all staples of the best FPS games.
The biggest draw for Overwatch, however, is its ever-growing roster of heroes. With over 30 Overwatch 2 characters available to choose from, there’s sure to be a hero whose aesthetic and playstyle appeal to you. The 5v5 combat encourages you to switch up your hero to counter your opposing team, and a carefully timed ult can turn the tide of a match. Be sure to take a look at our Overwatch 2 tier list for the best heroes and their roles, so that you can rise through the Overwatch 2 ranks faster than ever.
Legends of Runeterra
One of the newer card games on the block, Legends of Runeterra arrived in early 2020 and has proven to be a big hit. From the minds behind one of the best MOBAs, League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra promises to shake up the languid card game scene with a back-and-forth approach.
Unlike some of its card game rivals, Legends of Runeterra lets you earn card packs through gameplay instead of asking you to fork over real paper for digital cards. Get to grips with the rules with our guides on how to play Legends of Runeterra and the Legends of Runeterra cards.
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.
Multiversus is a platform fighter that takes the compelling formula of Super Smash Bros. and repurposes it to pit all your favourite Warner Bros. characters against each other, from Superman to Steven Universe. This multiversal madness makes for an accessible, team-based brawler that features a 2v2 format.
Many of the voice actors reprise their roles for their respective characters, giving Multiversus an air of authenticity that the likes of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl missed at launch. What’s more, each character’s abilities and animations capture their personalities, like Bugs Bunny’s pie barrage or Taz’s signature tornado. If you’re itching to jump into Multiversus, we recommend checking out our Multiversus tier list for the best fighters, as well as our guide on how to unlock characters in Multiversus.
When it comes to mini-games, the card-based collect-a-thon enjoyed across Temeria in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt doesn’t get more detailed or compulsive. The world might be being threatened by menacing, masked bad guys and an all-consuming frost, but it was Gwent to which we lost countless hours.
Fans of Sapkowski’s fantastical world cried out for more tactical goodness, and the much deeper Gwent: The Witcher Card Game duly arrived sporting prettier graphics and higher production values to match. The increased variety of unit types and abilities leaves the original mini-game in the dust. What’s more, you can do battle with this free-to-play game online in casual and ranked matches, too – make sure you check out our Gwent decks guide before you jump in. This free PC game only receives updates on the mobile and PC platforms, as CD Projekt Red discontinued support for consoles on December 9, 2019.
Do we need to tell you what Fortnite is? You probably already play it, since Fortnite’s player count is 250 million and counting. Among them are the biggest Twitch streamers, sports stars, and celebrities. Epic’s battle royale really needs no introduction: it’s the biggest cultural shift in gaming since League of Legends.
Aside from being free to play, there are several reasons why Fortnite has wiped the floor with the competition. Despite being thrown together in a couple of months and bolted onto the side of the original Fortnite: Save the World game, this cartoony last-man-standing is the ever-evolving foundation for weekly updates, seasonal changes, and a plethora of genre-defining new ideas.
However often you log in, there’s always a new challenge to complete, and the Fortnite Battle Pass system rewards the most devout players with heaps of rewards. Casual players need not fear though; simple shooting and rules keep it accessible, and the building mechanics offers depth to chase. Not sure where to start? Our Fortnite tips will guide you to a Victory Royale.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Counter Strike: Global Offensive has been going strong for over a decade, and while many new free-to-play FPS titles have risen to prominence during that time, CS:GO continues to hold its own against that tide. Part of its appeal is its dedication to realism; CS:GO’s gameplay is grounded in a way that sets it apart from more modern military shooters, which tend to include power-ups and perks that can drastically upset the emerging outcome of a match. The result is an exceptionally balanced FPS game that relies on player skill and strategy over luck, with a deceptively high skill ceiling that keeps its audience locked in for the long haul.
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. If you’re not sure where to start, our guide to the best Paladins champions will help you out.
Blizzard’s world-dominating card game is about as moreish 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 perfect Hearthstone decks. The heart of Blizzard’s CCG is in its competitive multiplayer matches, but Dungeon Run provides an excellent and moreish solo card experience few other games can match.
If you’re a fan of autobattler games, Hearthstone have got their own tavern-tinged take in Hearthstone Battlegrounds, which pits you against seven other players and offers you a random selection of Hearthstone Battlegrounds cards to build your hand with each round.
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, and you’re guaranteed to find a few League of Legends champions that you can’t stop playing.
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. If you’re feeling a bit daunted, our Dota 2 beginner’s guide goes into the building blocks of how to play – and hopefully win – your first match.
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. Not to mention it’s constantly being cared for with regular seasonal updates.
Path of Exile
An action RPG in the mould of Diablo, Path of Exile is one of the most polished, well-executed games on this list. Adventure with a friend or two through hundreds of areas in a dark fantasy world that provides a dizzying collection of monsters to repeatedly click on until they squish. Path of Exile does feature a microtransaction system but it’s admirably unobtrusive. If you’re partial to hack-and-slash looters, we have a list of the best games like Diablo just for you. That said, if Path of Exile is the one for you, check out the best PoE builds and how to craft them.
Lord of the Rings Online
Standing Stone Game’s free-to-play MMO transports you to perhaps the most famous fantasy setting there has ever been. Explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth, from The Shire to Mordor, and build up a character than will be worthy of 1v1ing Sauron himself. The Lord of the Rings Online store is where premium players can drop pennies, but frugal adventurers can lose themselves in Middle-earth just as easily.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
After a long, slow start, Star Wars: The Old Republic is now a stellar MMO – particularly thanks to the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, which is basically ‘BioWare does a proper KOTOR sequel’. It is a fast-paced action-RPG with lightsabers and space combat and Jedi houses and bounty hunters and, if you go full dark side, you can fire lightning from your fingertips. It really is one of the best Star Wars games around.
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 almighty Smite gods inspired by real religions, from Norse to Celtic to Chinese.
Battle has never been so big. Imagine entire continents at war, with tanks, trucks, and fighter craft alongside hordes of infantry. Throw that into the far future and you’ve got PlanetSide 2, a never-ending conflict on an incredible scale that’s pretty damn good-looking to boot. There is nothing else quite like this out there, especially when it comes to free Steam games.
Brawlhalla is another platform fighter that takes its inspiration from Super Smash Bros. While Brawlhalla’s core roster consists of a selection of original characters – otherwise known as legends – that wield a variety of weapons, from pistols to rocket lances, the main draw is definitely the selection of crossover characters available from various established IP. Depending on the weekly rotation schedule, you can play as Street Fighter’s Chun Li, Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio, Rayman, or even Shovel Knight. This eclectic mix of fighters is compelling in its own right, but Brawlhalla uses a range of arcade modes, along with online competitive ranked as well as casual free-for-all formats.
Do you want a chance to adventure in some of the most famous fantasy worlds there ever were? With D&D Online you can set foot in the Forgotten Realms and the land of Eberron, stepping into the well-worn boots of a thief or a spellcaster as you fight dragons and demons. It’s not often you get high fantasy for free.
This golden oldie continues to be one of the 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.
Heroes and Generals
Do you want to shoot all the guns and make all the decisions? War isn’t all about what happens on the front line, but nor is it about the decisions made back at headquarters, so Heroes & Generals is the perfect game for players who want to try a bit of both. The game has been tailored for a variety of Heroes & Generals players, so there’s something for all different skill levels.
Plus, it’s still getting massive updates on the regular, which have added new game modes, seasonal events, and control overhauls. The game also now gives you the first soldier for free when you unlock a new class, meaning it’s even easier for new players to find their favourite.
It says something about how special PC gaming is that one of the best platformers we’ve ever seen is still free. Spelunky is inspired by the best old games from the 8-bit era, but it procedurally generates its levels so you’ve always got somewhere new to explore every time you play. It also has snakes, boulders, ice caves, and more bats than you can shake your shotgun at – if you can find one in the dark.
Valorant is a 5v5 hero shooter that’s a little more tactical than the likes of Overwatch or Apex Legends. Like in CS:GO, all Valorant characters begin a match with a baseline weapon, with the opportunity to purchase heavier firepower using the points you’ve accrued from completing objectives and defeating opposing players. However, Valorant agents also have their own signature powers that reinforce their designated role in their team, and provide a bit of added flavour that you expect from a more traditional hero shooter.
While only five agents are available to play at the game’s outset, Valorant gives you the opportunity to expand your roster by completing individual agent contracts, without opening your wallet. There’s also plenty of game modes, from the standard unranked and competitive matches to non-standard formats such as Deathmatch, Escalation, and Replication. Whether you’re dead-set on climbing through the Valorant ranks or just playing casually, it’s worth brushing up on the best Valorant guns to prioritise during a match.
Super Crate Box
Super Crate Box is a super-fast, super-dangerous platformer where enemies constantly drop from the top of the screen. Score points not by killing them, but by collecting crates, each of which has a new weapon for you, though some are much better than others.
Let any of the monsters past you and into the fire below and they respawn more powerful than before. Repeat this formula and enjoy ad infinitum. It’s a shame that Vlambeer is no more, but at least this game is still here for us to play.
This free autobattler game by Riot takes the most beloved characters from League of Legends and places them on a chess-like board to duke it out until there’s only one player’s team left standing. Playing against several opponents, you get the chance to pick a hero from a shared pool and slowly build a team by earning coins and trading heroes.
There’s plenty of strategy in this fast-paced autobattler, whether that’s ensuring your heroes compliment each other, factoring in a counter for every enemy type, or combining items to buff character stats. By aligning attributes you’ll grow a strong team, earning perks from synergies and class bonuses. Like League of Legends, TFT undergoes regular updates and balance changes, such as rotating the hero pool or adding new items. It’s always kept fresh whether you want to jump into a casual game, or take on ranked mode.
There you have it, our complete list of the best free PC games. As you can see, there are loads of experiences you can enjoy without spending a penny, and the top free games will keep you hooked for hundreds of hours. For more free goodness, check out our definitive list of the best free Steam games, along with the free MMOs you should take for a spin if you’re looking to lose a few hundred hours.