Although Steam sales make it terribly easy to end up with a backlog of titles we'll need several lifetimes to get through, sometimes all we want is to download a game and play without having to pay an upfront fee. Free stuff is, after all, always good, as someone somewhere used to say. As it turns out, the PC has a hefty selection of free games that let gamers do just that.
It's a pretty varied selection, too. From card games to those focusing on vehicle combat, from MMORPGs to battle royale titles, there's something that's bound please everyone. Below, you'll find a list of The Best Free Games on PC, in alphabetical order and with links to their store pages. If you think we've missed any, drop us a line in the comments.
A surprise release from Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts, Apex Legends is a free-to-play first-person shooter battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe. While Titans don't make an appearance, the game features playable characters with different active and passive abilities, much like a hero shooter would. A total of 30 squads of three players duke it out across a map featuring a variety of terrain, searching for loot while evading a ring of death that constantly closes in on them.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Released back in 2012, the latest incarnation of Valve's team-based multiplayer first-person shooter series is still going strong. Not only is it one of the most played titles on Steam, but it also has a healthy competitive scene that boasts frequent E-sports events. Its high-stakes action is complemented by a satisfying if a bit steep, learning curve, which makes mastering each weapon's recoil and learning the maps feel like triumphs. Featuring maps and weapons both old and new, modding potential and, more recently, a battle royale mode, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available on Steam.
Dota 2 shouldn’t need any presentation by now. A well-known MOBA and successor to the original Warcraft 3 mod that had its fair share of fame, it’s yet another example of Valve striking gold. Out for more than five years, it’s a common sight on Steam’s Top 10 games with most concurrent users. You can find Dota 2 on Steam.
EVE Online’s fame precedes it but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s a community-driven spaceship MMO where you can fulfill a variety of roles, whether in industry, business, exploration or the military. It’s no stranger to massive space battles, has a player-driven economy and is home to both honorable and less honorable folk. You can get it on the EVE online website or Steam.
Fortnite Battle Royale
Quite possibly the biggest game in the world, Fortnite’s Battle Royale component switftly overtook PUBG upon launching. Adding the building system from its Save The World mode to the battle royale recipe, alongside its playful art style, did more than enough to set the now-global phenomenon apart. Its success has prompted Epic to open up its own store, but also brought lawsuits related to its dances. Fortnite Battle Royale is available via the Epic Games Store.
Guild Wars 2
NCSoft’s Guild Wars 2 started out as a buy-to-play MMORPG but made the base game available for free back in 2015. It’s a gorgeous sequel that features both PvE and PvP activities. Perhaps its biggest draw, the World versus World mode pits three servers against each other on a large map, often featuring large battles and sieges. Since its launch, the game has also received two paid expansions. You’ll find Guild Wars 2 on its website.
Blizzard’s Warcraft-based CCG has seen its fair share of expansions since launch when it was solely a PvP title. Its PvP component is still very much the focus, having both constructed and arena modes, but it now has several PvE campaigns to go through, courtesy of its expansions. There's also lots of RNG. You can get Hearthstone from its website or the Battle.net Launcher.
Taking inspiration from classic platformers, two-man project Horace tells, across its 15 hours, a heartfelt story of a small robot on its journey towards self-discovery. Players will encounter various 2D platforming challenges, metroidvania-inspired unlocks, minigames and quite a few popular culture references. Horace is free on the Epic Games Store between January 16 and January 23.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a veritable MOBA behemoth that's been around for a decade now. In its long run, the game has received a variety of updates, including a graphical and UI overhaul. Each new season brings about larger changes in terms of systems and items, while champion balancing and reworks were constant throughout the game's history. A roster of 142 champions welcomes those eager to play, whether casually or competitively, while the title's strong eSports scene is a good source of both learning and entertainment. Its matches reward teamwork and taking calculated risks, having the potential of being intense, lengthy engagements. League of Legends is available on its official website.
Path of Exile
Grinding Gear Games’ ARPG has entered its sixth year and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Constantly refreshed with new leagues that reset progress and add new gameplay elements, like entire new dungeons or item types, it gives plenty of reasons to return regularly. Add to that an in-game economy reliant on currency also used for modifying items, a massive passive skill tree and plenty of active skills lending themselves to a large number of builds and it's easy to see why it’s one of the major players in the genre. Get it on the Path of Exile website or Steam.
Smite is a MOBA with a twist. Instead of the traditional isometric view, Hi-Rez Studios’ title takes on a third-person perspective. Its roster further makes it stand out, being pulled from various mythologies. As with its peers, Smite is also free-to-play, available via its website or Steam.
Team Fortress 2
Nine distinct classes full of charisma, a good handful of modes and maps, alongside the level of quality expected from Valve titles make this over-a-decade-old game an absolute must-play for fans of team-based first-person shooters. It’s seen plenty of updates over the years, adding lots of new, wacky weapons plus cosmetic items, and still boasts a healthy playerbase. You can find it on Steam.
Who doesn’t want to be a space ninja? Well, there’s bound to be someone out there but they don’t know what’s fun. For everyone else, there’s Warframe. Digital Extremes’ unusual co-op third-person action lets you mow down aliens as one of many cool-looking space ninjas wielding a vast arsenal of weapons that includes assault rifles, bows, throwing knives, nunchucks and more. It’s very much a game that lets you set your own goals and the introduction of more open areas in later expansions gives plenty of content to play through. Find it on Steam and check out our guide on how to hunt down Silver Grove Specters for rare mods and Nightwave Challenges.
World Of Tanks
If the title isn’t enough of a giveaway, this one’s about tank battles where tanks battle other tanks and they’re all controlled by players. Wargaming’s action title features over 500 customizable vehicles from all over the world, including places like the US, USSR, Japan, Sweden, and Italy. Get it on its website or Steam.