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.
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.
PLAY EVE ONLINE FOR FREE
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. You just download it, and then you’re flying - or driving. This massively-multiplayer WW2 combat game effortlessly encompasses all of the explosions and excitement that planes and tanks are capable of generating.
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Want more? Here's our War Thunder review.
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 hides some complex game mechanics. It pits two sets of tankers against each other in team deathmatch. There are hundreds of vehicles to unlock across ten different tiers, from speedy scouts to hulking heavies. You’ll never believe so many tanks existed.
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Want more? Here's our World of Tanks review.
World of Warships
This isn’t a sim, and it isn’t an arcade game. World of Warships is something in-between - a pastiche, but a loving one. The controls are simple and welcoming, but allow for interesting tactics. It's more fun than Total War’s pondering naval engagements, definitely more approachable than Silent Hunter, and far-far deeper than the Pirates games. Surprising depth, if you'll excuse the submariner humour.
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Want more? Here's our World of Warships review.
A plush, colourfully-paletted space sim that takes the genre massively multiplayer, 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.
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Want more? Read our Star Conflict review.
Combining the turn-based tactics of XCOM and the Pixar-like characters of Overwatch, Atlas Reactor is a PvP game unlike any you’ve played before. Across a series of discrete phases, players must make simultaneous turns involving movement, dodges and attacks - there’s no point firing at an enemy's current position because the moment the action starts they’ll have dived out the way. Mix this novel method of strategy with the kind of glitzy abilities you’d expect of a MOBA, and you’ve got one of the most compelling and intriguing free games on PC.
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Lord of the Rings Online
Turbine’s free-to-play MMO is the third most popular in the world, depending on who you ask, and it’s all because they ditched the subscription model and went full throttle towards a cash-free future. The LOTRO Store is where premium players can drop pennies, but frugal adventurers can lose themselves in Middle-earth just as easily.
PLAY LOTRO FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Lord of the Rings Online review.
Lots of people like to play golf, and golf games. MMOs are designed for lots of people. Therefore… And the good news is that Winning Putt has all the trappings you’d expect from that genre, wrapped around a perfectly serviceable set of thwack-the-ball-into-the-hole mechanics. There are plenty of upgrades and wardrobe items to be had, plus all kinds of friendly and competitive play options. And a man with a really nice voice gently encourages you throughout - something which, frankly, more games should have.
PLAY WINNING PUTT FOR FREE
Hex: Shards of Fate
At its heart, Hex is a two-player card game. Hex’s rules are a little more complex than Hearthstone’s but we found it to be a more rewarding game. Both players have 20 health and draw cards from their decks to summon creatures and cast spells against each other. The spells and creatures can weave their abilities together to make powerful combinations. Hex is free on Steam right now, and with hundreds of different cards available, players are still finding new ways to combine them.
PLAY HEX FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Hex: Shards of Fate review.
League of Legends
Inspired by the original Dota, this takes the same concept but introduces a different roster of playable characters that is constantly being expanded. Many players find League of Legends is both easier and more accessible than Dota, but it’s still extremely nuanced. 12 million people play it every day. You won’t struggle to find a game.
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Want more? Read our League of Legends review.
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.
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Want more? Read our Path of Exile review.
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.
PLAY STAR TREK ONLINE FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Star Trek Online review.
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.
PLAY GUILD WARS 2 FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Guild Wars 2 review.
Everything’s better in space, as Warframe proves with its Ninjas in space theme. It’s 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.
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Want more? Here's our Warframe review.
Archeage is the closest thing we’ve got to a proper pirate MMO. You can try and master the endless sea as a notorious pirate or choose to be a humble peddler of crafted goods. Its labour system - how it gates content - may take time to get used to, but nevertheless it’s a really solid free-to-play experience. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t give this a try.
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Want more? Here's our ArcheAge review.
Trove is the MMO equivalent of Minecraft, and exactly as good as that sounds. It's fast-paced and fluid, with you exploring and dominating voxel worlds. What's neat is just how much you can customise the look of your character: every item dropped can be used to change your style.
PLAY TROVE FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Trove review.
Rift was a phenomenal subscription-based fantasy MMO - World of Warcraft in new trousers, essentially. It made its name by updating and improving itself at a ferocious pace, with new raids, new zones, new world events appearing on a monthly basis. Now, it's entirely free-to-play: you can play it without spending a penny. That's a brilliant option: you can sink hours into it. Highly recommended.
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Want more? Here's our Rift review.
Chronicle: Runescape Legends
If you want to have a crack at conquering the ever-growing Collectable Card Game genre, you'd best do something different and special in order to make your mark. Chronicle: Runescape Legends' USP is that it features a book. A big, open, colourful, animated book, laid out on the table in front of you, acting as the playground where you and your opponent do battle. It’s an approach that leads to a seriously beautiful card battler, and one that also benefits from featuring characters lifted from Jagex’s MMO Runescape, instantly opening the game up to an established fanbase.
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Want more? Here's our Chronicle: Runescape Legends review.
Now, turn to Page 2 to find more priceless games - and please do share your own recommendations in the comments.