The best free PC games

Here are the top free games for 2022, including Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, Warframe, Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering Arena, and more

Best free PC games: two dragons flying into each other.

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 games on PC guaranteed to deliver a near endless stream of complementary entertainment. All you need to spend is your time.

To get started in your journey to playing the best free PC games, you need just look at this very extensive list we’ve put together. Finding these free download PC games reminded us just how far the world has come; you really can get triple-A quality games without spending a penny.

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. From cultural phenomenons like Fortnite, to all-time classics like Team Fortress 2, there are good games for free that suit literally every type of PC player. Here are the best free games on PC, in no particular order!

The best free PC games are:

Best free PC games: War Thunder has you fly around in war jets, shooting down enemy aircraft.

War Thunder

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.

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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.

Play War Thunder for free

Best free PC games: five heroes are fighting against a golem armed with a sword and hammer in Raid: Shadow Legends.

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.

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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.

Play Raid: Shadow Legends for free

Best free PC games: a couple of tanks in a field in World of TanksPlay for Free

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.

World of Tanks Play Now Free to Play World of Tanks StrategyMilitaryMMOPlay Now 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.

Play World of Tanks for free

Best free PC games: a soldier waving a Soviet flag in Enlisted.Play for free

Enlisted

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.

Enlisted Play Now Free to Play Enlisted MMOMilitaryFPSPlay Now

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.

Play Enlisted for free

Best free PC games: a warship lining up to fire against three enemy vessels in World of Warships

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.

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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.

Play World of Warships for free

Splitgate: Arena Warfare

Halo and Portal may not be free, but thankfully Splitgate: Arena Warfare is, and it’s a beautiful hybrid of both of them. It takes everything that’s good about Halo’s online battles and then cranks up the fun a notch by adding in Portal gun mechanics.

Created by indie developers, 1047 Games, Splitgate gives you an FPS experience quite unlike any other. By giving players the ability to create portals around the arena, they’ve added so much nuance to the classic formula. The portals allow you to create quick escape routes or vantage points and really reward players who are good at thinking outside of the box. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you should try this game.

Play Splitgate for free

Best free PC games: the nameless hero standing on a hill in Genshin Impact. A beacon is lit in the distance underneath a tree.

Genshin Impact

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.

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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.

Play Genshin Impact for free
Best free PC games: a city landscape in Forge of Empires, with a building similar to Seattle's space needle.

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.

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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.

Play Forge of Empires for free

Best free PC games: a squad of knights in Conquerer's Blade running towards the enemy who has raised their shields.

Conqueror’s Blade

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.

Play Conqueror’s Blade for free

Best free PC games: several space ships shooting at each other in Star Conflict.

Star Conflict

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.

Star Conflict Play Now Free to Play Star Conflict SpaceMMORPGPlay Now

Play Star Conflict for free

Best free PC games: a woman with purple hair and wearing a leather jacket, aiming a shotgun in CRSED.

CRSED: F.O.A.D.

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.

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Play CRSED: F.O.A.D for free

Best free PC games: two vehicles crashing into each other in Crossout.

Crossout

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.

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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.

Play Crossout for free

Play for free

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 free.

Play Guild Wars 2 for free

Best free PC games: a wizard shooting magic at an enemy in Neverwinter.

Neverwinter

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.
Neverwinter Play Now Free to Play Neverwinter MMORPGFantasyPlay Now

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.

Play Neverwinter for free

Best free PC games: a Federation Enterprise ship taking fire in Star Trek Online.

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 Play Now Free to Play Star Trek Online SpaceMMORPGPlay Now

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.

Play Star Trek Online for free

Best free PC games: a hero running towards a giant reptile in Lost Ark.

Lost Ark

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:

Play for free

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.

Play Magic: The Gathering Arena for free

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).

Warframe

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.

Although it’s not without depth: you can 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”.

Best free PC games: a dragon breathing fire on a town in Archeage.

ArcheAge

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.

Best free PC games: several players exploring some ruins in Trove.

Trove

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.

Best free PC games: a giant space colony in the orbit of a planet in Eve Online.

Eve Online

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.

New to Eve? Read our Eve Online beginner’s guide

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.

Best free PC games: a player is using a forge in Albion Online.

Albion Online

Albion Online’s class-less 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.

More of this ilk: Here are the best free online games

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.

Best free PC games: a hunter facing off against a giant rodent-like monster in Dauntless.

Dauntless

Sure, Monster Hunter: World may have finally made the leap from console, but Dauntless offers the same brilliant monster-slaying gameplay in 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 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.

Best free PC games: two survivors firing their guns at unseen enemies in Call of Duty Warzone.

Call of Duty: Warzone

There’s finally a free way to play Call of Duty, and while it doesn’t include the campaign, co-op, or standard multiplayer, Warzone’s 150-player battle royale is still one of the best additions to CoD in recent years. Infinity Ward has stripped away many of the complicated looting systems of other BR titles and added in plenty of respawn mechanics to ensure you can always fight your way back into a match.

It’s a much more simple take on the formula, but ultimately that means you just need to focus on one thing: winning gunfights. We’ve prepared a list of the best Warzone PC settings to help you gain an edge, plus the best Warzone loadouts for a range of different scenarios.

Best free PC games: a plane shooting at another plane in World of Warplanes

World of Warplanes

Seize the free-to-play concepts behind World of Tanks, take them to the skies, and you have World of Warplanes, a game of whirling dogfights and nail-biting bombing runs for teams of jet bombers and biplanes alike. It’s getting sleeker and shinier with every release, and is certainly one of the best World War 2 games going.
Best free PC games: an aggressive looking car in Heavy Metal Machines.

Heavy Metal Machines

Love crunchy guitar riffs and destruction derbies? Of course you do. Heavy Metal Machines is a 4v4 car battle brawler that marries the two. The aim is simple: you and your three teammates must rush to collect the bomb and fire it into the other team’s goal, or rather, jaws of death. You can try and avoid the carnage or master the mayhem in this brutal take on Rocket League’s balletic car combat.

Best free PC games: a champion in Apex Legends aiming down their machine gun's sights.

Apex Legends

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.

 Best free PC games: a player is shooting at mechanical goblins with their electrified rifle in Destiny 2.

Destiny 2

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 Exotics, 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.

Best free PC games: Two players attacking, blocking and casting spells in Legends of Runeterra.

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.

Best free PC games: two players fighting against each other in a card game duel in Shadowverse.

Shadowverse

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.

Best free PC games: a card is played in Gwent

Gwent

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.

Best free PC games: a player with a sniper rifle looks down upon the map in Fortnite

Fortnite

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.

Best free PC games: a hero jumps down from above, ready to fight, in Paladins

Paladins

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.

Best free PC games: a game of Hearthstone has descended into a Murloc invasion, but luckily the player has just the spell to deal with the encroaching horde.

Hearthstone

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 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.

Play away: The best laptop games around

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.

Best free PC games: Champions clash in artwork from League of Legends.

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 LoL champions that you can’t stop playing.

Best free PC games: Pudge throws a hook at Bounty Hunter in Dota 2

Dota 2

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.

Best free PC games: Tracer and Zarya firing their guns at a Tauren in Heroes of the Storm

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. You can also expect a consistent stream of new characters like the massive dragon Deathwing from Warcraft lore.

Best free PC games: the pyro and the engineer mowing down foes in Team Fortress 2.

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.

Best free PC games: a convoy of tanks comes under fire Armored Warfare

Armored Warfare

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 and heaps of events like the Asian-themed Spirithaven season.

Best free PC games: lasers shoot across an asteroid field in Dreadnought

Dreadnought

Normally if you want to take charge of massive airships, you’ll need a fair amount of cash and hours of training. With Dreadnought, a team-based dogfighter from Yager Development, you can pilot massive spaceships across the skies of many different planets for absolutely zero cost.

Dreadnought gives you access to a variety of ships equipped with massive, earth-shattering weapons that you can customise down to the last thermal exhaust port. The combat is a tactical affair, with a combination of slow methodical broadside assaults and rapid, piercing strikes. There are several game modes to choose from in this space game, and doing well in the tactical team-based warfare will reward you with an ever-growing fleet of ships.

Best free PC games: a kitted out character with a flaming sword in Path of Exile

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, plus there’s a massive free expansion every few months such as Expedition in July 2021.

Best free PC games: Elves on a hill over a city in Lord of the Rings Online

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.

Best free PC games: a force user points his purple lightsaber at the camera in Star Wars: The Old Republic

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.

Best free PC games: gods face off in a battleground in Smite

Smite

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.

Best free PC games: a man sitting on the floor and pointing a gun at somebody just off camera in Rogue Company.

Rogue Company

It’s strange to think that Rogue Company released a whole two years ago, but if you have yet to give this tactical third-person shooter game a try, make today the day you finally do so. The game was inspired by the Counter-Strike series, so if you enjoy CS:GO, you’ll probably find yourself drawn to Rogue Company.

There are a number of different playable characters to choose from (called Rogues), who each bring their own abilities – one of them, for example, can see outlines of enemy players through walls, while another can create a radar system that’ll alert them whenever enemies are near it. All the different Rogues create a nuanced way to play and even though it’s free, microtransactions are only used on characters and emotes.

Best free PC games: a squad of four teammates ready for battle in Planetside 2

Planetside 2

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.

Best free PC games: a party of heroes fighting a huge, toothy dragon in Dungeons and Dragons Online

D&D Online

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.

Best free PC games: an armoured skeleton at a table with a man in Roman Centurion-esque gear in Runescape

Runescape

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.

Best free PC games: soldiers parachute down into a village in Heroes and Generals.

Heroes & 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.

Best free PC games: a procedurally generated cave in Spelunky. It looks much more pixelated than the paid-for versions, but is still rather good.

Spelunky Classic

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 8-bit old games, but it procedurally generates its levels so that you have something 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 darkness.

Best free PC games: aliens take a flamethrower to the face in Alien Swarm.

Alien Swarm

A top-down, team-based action game where each of you takes the role of an engineer, medic, gunner, and so forth. Alien Swarm takes its inspiration from a certain very famous sci-fi film and throws hordes of horrific extraterrestrials at you across a series of ever more difficult levels.

Race against the clock and coordinate with your team to get to the shuttle or to put up your sentry guns before time runs out.

Best free PC games: several green and red skull enemies littered dangerously across the screen in Super Crate Box 2. #

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.

Best free PC games: a carousel phase where players draft their champions.

Teamfight Tactics

This free autobattler game by Riot takes on the same characters and lore as League of Legends and places them on a chess-like board to fight 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.

Prefer mobile? Here’s Pocket Tactics’ guide to Coin Master free spins

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 for nothing, and the top free games will keep you hooked for hundreds of hours.  For more free PC games goodness, check out our definitive list of the best free Steam games and the free MMOs you should try. And, if you’re in the market for dropping some cash, find out about the best PC games around – you don’t want that hard-earned money to go to waste, after all.