The free-to-play genre gets a bad rapport and rightfully so. In its early years, free-to-play games were littered with paywalls, enabling only those with the biggest pockets to win the day. However, games like Warframe and Destiny 2 prove that it’s possible to sustain a free-to-play game without endless attacks of microtransactions. Here are 8 Best Free-to-play Games.
The best free games offer you many hours of playtime without charging anything, with some ethical microtransactions for super-fans. We’ve rounded up the best free-to-play games that hold to that, including free FPS games and MMORPGs. With everything from genre-bending games like Frog Fractions to open-world JRPGs like Genshin Impact, you will find something for everyone.
Free-to-play 8 best games
1. Genshin Impact
When it was released, many considered it as a Breath of the Wild clone and nothing more. But perceptions quickly changed when the game launched. Genshin Impact certainly borrows a lot from Breath of the Wild, from the art style to the stamina-based climbing. However, in almost every other way, it separates itself with deep RPG systems, a diverse roster of 23 characters, and hundreds of hours of gameplay.
And it’s free. Genshin Impact offers a full-action RPG experience in great open world without asking for a fortune. There are microtransactions in the game, but they never feel unfair. Buying a few key items may help you level up your character faster, for example, but you can still get through all of the content in the game without resorting to mindless grinding.
Combining the futuristic science-fiction aesthetic of Mass effect and Halo games with slick, martial arts-inspired combat, Wireframe is one of the most impressive action games available right now, and you can play it on both consoles and PC.
It launched in 2013 and has only seen its player-base grow substantially over the last few years — more than 26 million people have played it so far. Though it’s free-to-play, Warframe still serves as an excellent example of the technical capabilities of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Warframe also includes a remarkable number of customization options, which allow you to modify your weapons and “Warframe” exo-armor, thus letting you better cater your gear toward your specific playstyle.
3. World of Tanks
It has spawned spin-off games targeting ferocious naval and air battles, but nothing can top the intense warfare offered in the original World of Tanks. Featuring armored destroyers from America, England, Germany, China, France, and the Soviet Union (among other nations), World of Tanks’ multiplayer matches are massive, with teams combating to gain tactical positions over one another as they fire long-range shots, flank enemies, and protect their allies. Tanks have roughly a dozen different armored plates, too, each with their level of protection against incoming fire.
You get a detailed guide on the game’s official website. You will get started with your first tank from any of the available classes, and it offers some extra tips to keep your tank in one piece during your first few matches. Once you’re feeling comfortable with the gameplay, you can join a clan and attempt to take control of the “global map,” which not only earns you bragging rights but also special vehicles and in-game currency.
4. PUBG Mobile
If you want to enjoy some strategic battle royale action on the go and aren’t in the mood for Fortnite, PUBG Mobile is a great alternative. Inspired by the PC version, and includes touch controls so you can still aim down your weapon’s sights, loot buildings, drive across the game’s enormous map, and whack people with a frying pan.
PUBG Mobile isn’t a hastily-built cash-in, either. The game has been optimized for mobile devices, running at a framerate that can often put the Xbox One version to shame. Depending on your device — iPhone 6s is the oldest supported phone — the game will automatically pick graphical settings, but you can change them at any time to maximize detail or improve performance.
5. War Thunder
Set during World War II, this combat-oriented flight simulator game lets players enter the cockpit of planes hailing from five world powers. If you want a serious simulation, where controlling a plane is a complicated endeavor, you can do that in War Thunder. But if you want to play it more as an arcade game, you can do that, too. Once you’re confident with your skills, you can jump online and compete in epic 16v16 dogfights or objective-based missions. While planes are the focal point here, War Thunder also has anti-aircraft vehicles and tanks. As a free-to-play game, many of the planes and perks are locked behind paywalls. You can, however, unlock new content without dropping a dime, though it will take you longer.
6. Let It Die
Produced by Grasshopper Manufacture, it is one of the most hardcore games on this list. It’s a grueling hack-and-slash game with a weird premise that you’d expect from the development studio behind the No More Heroes series. Uncle Death, a version of the grim reaper with a penchant for skateboarding, compels you to head to the tower to find out what’s at the very top. Free-to-play action games like Let It Die are somewhat rare, so if you have a PS4 or PC, you should give it a go.
7. World of Warships
World of Tanks with naval ship combat is the right description of World of Warships. Featuring four types of ships — cruisers, battleships, destroyers, and aircraft carriers — and multiple game modes, World of Warships is a strategic open water combat simulator with deep customization options. Whether you’re playing the PvE Operations mode or squaring off against a real opponent in PvP, World of Warships should satisfy anyone looking for great ship combat. It’s a multiplayer PC game. Also, if you aren’t a fan of naval combat or tanks, perhaps check out World of Warplanes, another quality free-to-play combat simulator that takes players to the clouds.
8. Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone isn’t Call of Duty’s first venture into the battle royale genre, but it is the best. Formally, Activision left the battle royale duties to Call of Duty: Blackout, which would be a competent enough battle royale game if it weren’t hidden behind the $60 paywall that is Black Ops 4. Warzone is not only a better battle royale game, it’s also a free-to-play and cross-platform game. Those two things are what sell Warzone. The game functions as an extension to 2019’s Modern Warfare. It utilized the same excellent engine and matchmaking capabilities. As long as you have a PC, Xbox One, or PS4, and you can download Warzone and play with your friends.