Free games gained immense popularity during the pandemic,. People needed to be entertained while staying at home, and this created a perfect environment to discover quality games without spending a lot of money. However, the recent increase in price of new games from $78.99 to $99.99 has left many discouraged.
Thankfully, some sites like Microsoft, provide alternatives that do not require any investment. In this article, we present to you a list of the proven best free games, in no particular order of importance, that will surely provide you with endless hours of incredible entertainment. As a bonus, we compiled the list of best upcoming free games to look forward to.
Best Free Game No.1 – PATH OF EXILE
Path of Exile is available on multiple platforms, including Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series. In my teenage years, I used to spend hours with a 56K connection interacting with other players using broken English, and those were some memorable days. The simplicity and potential of the concept amazed me, which is why Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction expansion hold a special place in my heart.
Many game studios have attempted to emulate Diablo’s success, with Nox being a lesser-known example that I enjoyed. Torchlight is another game that comes to mind, but Path of Exile replicates and even surpasses Diablo in many ways.
Grinding Gear Games has made Path of Exile available for free, with an abundance of content to keep players occupied full-time. However, the game’s complexity is a common criticism, with the skill tree being vast and featuring synergies that can make the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X appear meager in comparison.
Grinding Gear Games releases a significant update for Path of Exile every three months, with the most recent update at the time of writing being Scourge, which has received positive reviews. The game’s league concept is another fantastic feature that sets it apart from other similar games.
Path of Exile is one of the top free-to-play games to download, and I’ve spent countless hours playing it without ever having to spend a penny. The cosmetic items are sold separately, and you can choose to ignore them entirely, just like I have for years.
Best Free Game No.2 – ROCKET LEAGUE
Rocket League, a game based on soccer but with cars, was released on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, and Xbox One. As a soccer fan, I was thrilled when I heard about this development.
Psyonix, the creator of Rocket League, made the game free-to-play in the summer of 2020. This addictive game requires each team to score by hitting the ball into their opponent’s goal with their cars.
Although the game is easy to play, it offers a lot of complexity under the hood. Rocket League has a very active Esports scene, with professionals from all over the world competing against each other.
Unfortunately, the community can be toxic at times, but this is a common flaw of online games that become popular.
Best Free Game No.3 – LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Mac and PC users can both enjoy League of Legends, a renowned game in the Mobile Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre. It has been available since 2009 and features 154 champions with unique strategies. The objective is to destroy the enemy camp’s core (known as the Nexus) in a team-based game of five versus five.
League of Legends is an intensely strategic game with a steeper learning curve than the average MOBA game. It takes time to master the game’s terminology, positioning, maps, and how to counter specific heroes.
If you are not intimidated by the game’s complexity, League of Legends by Riot Games is one of the most successful games in its category. It is entirely free to play, but players should be prepared to pay a premium for cosmetic items.
Best Free Game No.4 – FORTNITE
Accessible across various platforms, Fortnite by Epic Games has been a game-changer in the gaming industry since its early access launch in 2017. This game popularized the Battle Royale concept (which also happens to be one of my favorite Japanese movies). The gameplay revolves around parachuting off a bus onto an island, exploring it, and surviving until the end.
Fortnite pits 100 players against each other in a relatively small space where players have to scavenge for weapons and also make items with their pickaxe. This feature is what sets it apart from other games in the genre.
As of May 2020, over 350 million players have participated in this massive phenomenon, making it one of the most significant gaming trends of the past few years.
Best Free Game No.5 – COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE
In the past, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a tactical FPS game by Valve, became free-to-play in December 2018. Unlike its predecessor Source, the game increased the number of players per team to five in the competitive mode. This change aimed to emphasize the strategy aspect of the game, which was lacking in Source’s arcade experience.
Despite being released in 2012, CS:GO remained relevant in 2021. The game remained one of the most popular games on Steam, which indicates its continued popularity. Valve’s decisions to keep the game fresh and free-to-play have contributed to its success over the past decade. Today, CS:GO is considered one of the best FPS games of all time and a beloved game among its dedicated fan base.
Best Free Game No.6 – GENSHIN IMPACT
In 2023, gamers have a plethora of free games to choose from across various platforms such as Android, iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Switch. One game that has piqued the interest of many gamers since its release in September 2020 is Genshin Impact.
Developed by the Chinese studio miHoYo, Genshin Impact is an action role-playing game that cleverly mixes elements of MMOs and games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Despite the similarities, the game boasts a solid foundation and is set in the enchanting world of Teyvat, with charming visuals that draw inspiration from anime.
While Genshin Impact is a free game, it does have mechanisms in place to monetize its content. The gacha and its probabilities can be discouraging, especially since the best heroes are challenging to obtain by pure chance. However, exploring the beautiful world of Teyvat and uncovering its secrets is a joyous experience that makes Genshin Impact worth playing.
Best Free Game No.7 – WARFRAME
In 2023, there are several free games that you should definitely download. These games are available on various platforms including PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series.
One of the best free games you should check out is Warframe, a third-person action role-playing game developed by Digital Extremes studio. It was first released in March 2013 and features a science fiction storyline.
What sets Warframe apart from other games is the ability to choose from different biomechanical armor called warframes, each with their unique powers. Your choice of armor greatly affects the course of your mission, adding a strategic twist to the gameplay.
Initially, Warframe had a slow start on PlayStation 3. However, Digital Extremes continued to improve and add content to the game, resulting in its current enviable position. It is now a loot-based game with important decision-making elements.
For those new to the game, the first few missions can be overwhelming due to the frenetic pace of the game. However, the game offers many tutorials to help players ease into it, and it is recommended to take your time to discover the game at your own pace.
Best Free Game No.8 – CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE
As of 2023, there are numerous free games available on various platforms, including PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series. Among them, Call of Duty: Warzone stands out, as it was developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software, positioning Activision in the Battle Royale genre.
Despite not being the most original game, Warzone has gained immense popularity due to the prestige of the Call of Duty franchise. This first-person shooter game challenges players to survive until the end, much like other Battle Royale games.
In contrast to the main Call of Duty franchise, which can be considered static, Warzone’s developers have been experimenting with several new ideas. For instance, players can re-enter the arena after being eliminated by ending up in prison. If they manage to eliminate another prisoner, they can rejoin the main battle of Call of Duty: Warzone.
In conclusion, Call of Duty: Warzone is a must-try game for Battle Royale enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy the Call of Duty franchise.
Best Free Game No.9 – VALORANT
Only available on PC, Valorant is a recent addition to the list of top free games. Developed by Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, Valorant is a five-on-five tactical FPS.
Although Valorant’s gameplay shares similarities with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s tactical side, it has a more colorful style. However, the hero-based gameplay reminds me of Overwatch.
Players control a hero or agent, each with unique powers, and start each round with a pistol and a loaded skill. Weapons are purchased at the beginning of each new round, similar to Counter-Strike.
Valorant’s learning curve is not too steep, making it accessible to new players, while experienced players will enjoy the game’s accurate gameplay.
Best Free Game No.10 – APEX LEGENDS
The pandemic has passed, and as we look forward to 2023, gaming remains a popular pastime. Whether you prefer Android, iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, or Xbox One, there are plenty of free games available for download.
One standout title is Apex Legends, created by Respawn Entertainment. As veterans of the FPS genre, the studio brought their expertise to the Battle Royale trend with great success. Apex Legends delivers a fresh and strategic gameplay experience, complete with an innovative communication system that has garnered industry praise.
With fewer players on the map than Fortnite (60 instead of 100), Apex Legends still manages to provide exciting battles in both solo and cooperative modes (with squads of up to three players). It’s a must-download for any gamer looking for a thrilling and immersive experience.
List of Best Upcoming Free games to Look forward to
Here’s our compiled list of the best upcoming free games to look forward to:
- Dead Matter
- Ark 2
- Forza Motorsport
- The Outlast Trials
- The Last of Us (Part 1)
- Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
- Street Fighter 6
- Sherlock Holmes The Awakened
- Smalland – Survive the Wilds
- Diablo 4
- Payday 3
- System Shock
- Dead Island 2
- Skull & Bones
- Cities – Skylines 2
- The Front
- Crime Boss – Rockay City