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.
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.
To get started in your journey to playing the top 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. Warframe is bigger than Destiny, Paladins as stylish as Overwatch, and League of Legends the only MOBA you need to care about. So without further ado, here are the best free games on PC.
The best free PC games are:
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Thanks to CCG titan Hearthstone, there are 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 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.
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. 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. Surprising deep, if you’ll excuse the submariner humour. World of Warships esports scene is also far more exciting than it has any right to be.
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 free-to-play base game is huge enough as it is, and the backlog of Living World stories now available to play means there is plenty to see, explore, and get involved with.
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 pulled straight from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a propulsive revenge plot akin to that of Kill Bill. It is a highlights package of the best of Wushu. If you’re a little wary of starting out in a new MMO then check out our Blade & Soul beginner’s guide.
Warface is a fast-action military shooter, but less concerned with realism than its po-faced peers. Warface wants you to do two things: cooperate with your team in urban deathmatches, and slide along on your arse while firing a machine gun. Made by Crytek, the developers behind Crysis and the original Far Cry, you can be assured it is crafted from the DNA of top-tier FPS games.
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 skilfull 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 armor ensures that there are many different ways to play… although they are all pretty deadly. Launched in May last year Crossout was one of the best free PC games of 2017.
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 Tanks
One of the mightiest PC tank games there has ever been, World of Tanks 1.0 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.
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 RPGs – 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 Forgotten Realms fan service: a place where you can meet both RA Salvatore’s Drizzt and Minsc from Baldur’s Gate.
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.
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. It’s still in Early Access but Heavy Metal Machines is a well built and intense ride.
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 35.
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. You can also look forward to plenty of sprawling expansions like Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, as well as a constant stream on new characters and jobs like the FFXIV Blue Mage.
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.
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.
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.
Sure, Monster Hunter: World may have finally made the leap onto PC, but Dauntless offers the same brilliant monster-slaying gameplay at a budget of zero. 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.
Skyforge blends sci-fi and fantasy together for an action-heavy MMO that’s happy to ditch many of the rules so many other games adhere to. There’s no levelling or strict classes: instead you develop your character however you like and can swap between different combat roles whenever you wish. As you gain more power you’ll eventually become a god incarnate, complete with your own followers.
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.
Closers is an episodic MMORPG where you can fight battles with jumps, dodges, and combos in your quest to save Earth. You play as a titular ‘Closer’ – a character with a customisable personality and character arc – in your fight against horrific interdimensional beasts.
Each Closer has their own combat style and that, combined with the thousands of weapons at your disposal, makes the experience different every time you play. And, if you fancy engaging in some beat ‘em up action with your friends, there are modes for co-op and head-to-head PvP, too. If you’re looking for anime games and don’t want to spend any money then Closers is an excellent choice.
Do we need to tell you what Fortnite is? You probably already play it, since Fortnite’s player count is 125 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.
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 the 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 the dragon mounts who arrived in the recent Legends Return update – majestic killers raised by players who want to tame the skies as well as the seas.
Revelation Online may look overly familiar at first thanks to its classic eastern visuals, but there is one very specific feature that sets it apart from the likes of ArcheAge and Blade & Soul: flight. Your champion, rather than being chained to the floor by gravity, can simply spread their wings and soar through the skies of Nuanor. The seamless open world is yours to explore on your terms, with nothing deemed out of bounds. Flying is not just for exploration, either. The numerous PvP modes include an aerial combat arena, adding a new dimension to multiplayer battles.
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.
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.
New to Eve? Read our Eve Online beginner’s guide
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.
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.
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.
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 new hero Imperius from Diablo.
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 updates like the Jungle Inferno event.
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 recent Armored Warfare Black Sea Incursion campaign.
Rift was once a subscription-based fantasy MMO – like 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 is entirely free-to-play: you can explore its colourful, exciting world without spending a penny. And when you consider how many hours you can sink into Rift, that’s not a bad deal at all.
Duelyst is a free PC CCG that offers players something a little more strategic than just laying down cards. Instead of a standard deck and board, Duelyst offers a five-by-nine grid straight out of a top-down tactical game like Blood Bowl. Cards in Duelyst spawn in units rather than simply casting effects, which makes for a game that is like a CCG twist on chess. Order your units across the grid, out-maneuver your opponent, and score a worthy victory. Counterplay Games Inc. have also lavished their game with a beautifully crisp 16-bit art style that’ll have you collecting cards for the art just as much as than their effects.
Think Battlestar Galactica meets Dota 2, and you’ll be somewhere close to the award-winning Fractured Space. Control gigantic ships and shoot your intergalactic foes in intense battles as you use your tactical nous to capture bases.
The complexity of developer Edge Case Games’ meta has only grown deeper in the years since release – and that’s on top of the game’s time in early access, too. From solo scraps in PvE to 5v5 quickplay, there are plenty of modes to get your teeth into if you are low on time. But, if you’re looking to get into something meatier, Fractured Space has the tactical complexity to rival the best MOBAs.
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.
Lots of people like to play golf, and many of them like to play golf videogames, too. MMOs are designed for lots of people. Therefore the two should combine, and they do in Winning Putt. The good news is that this free PC game has all the trappings you would 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.
Combining the turn-based tactics of XCOM and the Pixar-like characters of Overwatch, Atlas Reactor is a PvP game unlike any you have played before. Across a series of discrete phases, players must make simultaneous turns involving movement, dodges and attacks. There is no point firing at an enemy’s current position because the moment the action starts they will have dived out the way. Mix this novel method of strategy with the kind of glitzy abilities you would expect of one of the best MOBA games, and you have got one of the most compelling and intriguing free games on PC.
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 the recent Path of Exile: Betrayal.
Lord of the Rings Online
Turbine’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 LOTRO Store is where premium players can drop pennies, but frugal adventurers can lose themselves in Middle-earth just as easily.
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.
Read more: Here are the best card games on PC
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.
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.
TERA has been a mainstay in the MMO stable for many years, and with good reason. Rejecting traditional point-and-click combat, TERA is an all-out action game that draws from games like Devil May Cry. If that fact doesn’t grab your attention, perhaps its new event server will. Manahan is an alternate reality where level progression is quicker, dungeons are tougher, battlegrounds are switched up, and special changes are added to pretty much everything. Regardless of if you are a new or returning player, TERA’s most recent update has something for everyone.
Pledge your loyalty to a great house or sign up for a mercenary company in this mech simulation. Whether you’re piloting a light or heavy mech, you’ll have to manage your weaponry and keep an eye on your system temperature. In the Mechwarrior universe, piloting a giant robot can be a technical and rather nuanced occupation. There is also stomping for the more violently-inclined player.
Dungeons & Dragons 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.
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.
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.
Related: New to the game? Here is our Runescape guide for beginners
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.
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.
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.
Dwarf Fortress is a seemingly impenetrable simulation that mixes Dungeon Keeper, roguelikes, and ridiculous levels of detail to create something truly unique in games. Manage an expanding fortress of dwarves by mining materials, setting up industries, defending from goblin attacks, and satisfying the whims of nobles.
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.
Read more: check out our list of the best police games
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.