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.
Disclosure: some of the games on this list will earn PCGamesN a small referral fee if you sign up to play.
From military games to to sci-fi to fantasy and back, MMOs to block builders to card battlers, it turns out that zero can buy you quite a lot in the F2P game world.
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. It's a brilliant option: you can sink hours into it. Highly recommended.
PLAY RIFT FOR FREE
Want more? Here's our Rift review.
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.
PLAY WAR THUNDER FOR FREE
Want more? Here's our War Thunder review.
World of Tanks
One of 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.
PLAY WORLD OF TANKS FOR FREE
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.
PLAY WORLD OF WARSHIPS FOR FREE
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.
PLAY STAR CONFLICT FOR FREE
Want more? Read our Star Conflict 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.
PLAY ARCHEAGE FOR FREE
Want more? Here's our ArcheAge review.
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 otherwise 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.
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 in free open beta 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.
Lots of people like and play golf, and golf games. MMOs are designed for lots of people. Therefore… And the good news is that this 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 to be had, wardrobe items, and all kinds of friendly and competitive play options. Plus a man with a really nice voice gently encourages you throughout - something which, frankly, more games should have. Winning Putt is new to our list and one to try for sure.
PLAY WINNING PUTT FOR FREE
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.
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 players play it every day. You won’t struggle to find a game.
PLAY LEAGUE OF LEGENDS FOR FREE
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 and ethical.
PLAY PATH OF EXILE FOR FREE
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.
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 straight-forward action game, creating something slick, exciting, and very sociable.
PLAY WARFRAME FOR FREE
Want more? Here's our Warframe 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. Taking place across a series of discrete phases, players must make simultaneous turns involving movement, dodges, and attacks.
The simultaneous nature of the turns means you have to think ahead of your enemy; there’s no point firing at their current position because the moment the action starts they’ll have dived out the way. So where to shoot? Behind that cover where they’re likely to hide? Or perhaps right by your teammate, who’s crying out to be the enemy’s next target?
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.
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, something 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.
PLAY CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS FOR FREE
Want more? Here's our Chronicle: Runescape Legends review.
Two teams of five choose their Dota 2 heroes from a selection of hundreds, before taking to the battlefield to destroy the other side’s base. It’s no mean feat, as both 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’s tough, complex and it inspires fanaticism in its fans.
Want more? Here's our Dota 2 review.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
After a long, slow start, SWTOR is now pretty great - particularly thanks to the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, which is basically 'Bioware does Star Wars'. It’s 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. Really.
Want more? Read our Star Wars: The Old Republic review.
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. Oh, and it looks pretty great on phones and tablets too.
Want more? Here's our Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft review.
Heroes of the Storm
It wasn’t going to be long until Blizzard entered the MOBA fray, and Heroes of the Storm is their stab at taking on Dota and League of Legends. 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’s intensely fun.
Want more? Here's our Heroes of the Storm review.
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.
Want more? Here's our Team Fortress 2 review.
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 from Crounching Tiger and a propulsive revenge plot from Kill Bill.
Want more? Here's our Blade & Soul review.
Wildstar is built for lapsed World of Warcraft players. It's a sci-fi MMO that looks and feels like a Blizzard game, but with one important difference: it's for the hardcore. Ignore the cutesy looks: at the top end of the game, you'll find raids that make Warcraft's easy-mode dungeons look like something for kids.
Want more? Here's our Wildstar review.
Following the same formula as League of Legends and Dota 2, Smite has teams of five gods trying to fight their way into their opponent’s base. Rather than giving players a top-down view of the battlefield, it chooses a third-person perspective, switching the focus of the game from tactics to action.
Want more? Here's our Smite review.
Warface is a fast action military shooter: but less concerned with realism than it’s po-faced peers. Warfare wants you to do two things: co-operate with your team in fast urban deathmatches. And slide along on your arse while firing a machine gun.
Want more? Here's our Warface review.
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