The free-to-play genre gets a bad name, and although some of the criticism is well earned, there are a lot of excellent free-to-play titles available. For those tired of spending $60 for the latest AAA games, here are the best free PlayStation 4 games that you can download and play now.
Call of Duty: Warzone
It may not be the first Call of Duty battle royale, but it’s certainly the best — not just in the franchise, but in the entire genre. Warzone has already amassed incredible acclaim, garnering a whopping 30 million players in little over a week since its release. The sprawling world map of Verdansk is an incredible sight to see and well equipped for the 150-player matches.
Infinity Ward has certainly delivered an experience that evolves the atypical battle royale, with its introduction of the Gulag, wherein players are dropped into a one-on-one deathmatch after elimination in an effort to return to the battlefield. The most recent release of season 3 beckons all-new weapons and skins, in addition to four-player squads and the potential for duos on the near horizon.
Even if the battle royale gets to be a little too boring or frustrating, there’s a Plunder mode, which basically challenges players to amass the most cash in the allotted time. With respawns available and no ever-closing gas cloud, Plunder allows newcomers to try out the Call of Duty experience for themselves and to learn its myriad mechanics, like mounting weapons on surfaces and the various weapons color coordination.
Fortnite really doesn’t need an introduction at this point. It’s by far the most played game across the globe. That also means it’s the most popular free game on PS4.
The 100-person battle royale, filled with cartoon silliness and elaborate building mechanics, has become more than a game over the past couple years. It’s a cultural phenomenon. The third-person shooter is easy to pick up and play, and you’ll never have a problem finding a lobby filled with eager competitors. The long-awaited release of season two of the game brought along a brand new map, helicopters and spy games, and an unlockable Deadpool skin from Marvel.
Destiny 2 has come quite a long way since its 2017 debut. Despite its age, the sci-fi looter shooter still maintains an avid player base and continues to be updated regularly by the developer. Bungie’s split with Activision in early 2019 helped to pave the sequel’s future and ensured its reach, allowing for it to go free-to-play. Now, everyone can enjoy Destiny 2, fighting across multiple planets while acquiring new weapons and armor after every intense challenge.
The $35 DLC expansion, called Shadowkeep, isn’t a necessity to play further once the main story has been completed. Not only are there loads of quests to take on and bosses to overcome, but there’s likewise the high-octane PvP mode, Crucible. This is the best place to test out the effectiveness of newly acquired gear against friends and strangers alike.
Published by Ubisoft, Brawlhalla is a free-to-play fighting game in a similar vein as the Super Smash Bros. series. The objective: Knock other players off the stage using one of the game’s 40-plus cartoon fighters.
Brawlhalla has simplistic controls making it easy to jump in on the action. Like Super Smash Bros., weapons fall from the sky. Each character has their own play style, and Brawlhalla features a multitude of game modes and stages.
Each week, a batch of six fighters are playable without spending any money. If you like what you play, though, you can spend $20 to unlock all current and future characters.
Adding to an already extensive list of battle royale games to choose from, Apex Legends is EA’s breakout experience, which nearly toppled Fortnite in prolonged Twitch viewership. From the minds of Respawn Entertainment, the developer behind the Titanfall series and Jedi: Fallen Order, the trio-specific battle royale breathed new life into the mode with team revives and an intricate pinging system.
Though it may not have ever toppled Fortnite’s incredibly large player count, Apex Legends still gave the battle royale counterpart a run for its money. It’s still going strong to this day, with an average PS4 player count of 39 million. With all-new characters being added and new weapons to unlock, like the high-powered Charge Rifle, there’s no better time to jump in and experience the intense action at World’s End.
In Warframe, players take control of members of the Tenno race, ancient ninja-like warriors that woke from a lengthy cryogenic slumber to find the world at war with multiple factions, including a frightening race of human clones. Since its 2013 launch, the third person co-op shooter has been all about the grind.
Armor suits known as Warframes serve as highly customizable character classes, with more than 30 to choose from. Each suit has four active skills and one passive skill that players can switch back and forth from. Weapons, of which players wield three, can be upgraded and tweaked via loot dropped by enemies.
There’s a competent PvP mode, but Warframe is primarily a PvE experience. Up until now, Warframe has tasked players with linking up and fighting through randomized linear levels, completing objectives along the way.
Now is the perfect time to jump into Warframe and learn the ropes, as later this year, its identity will receive its biggest overhaul yet. The next major expansion, Plains of Eidolon, will introduce player hubs (a la the Tower in Destiny) where you can meet fellow Tenno and join up for specific missions. Fast and fun (if a bit repetitive), Warframe is one of the most popular free-to-play games on PS4, and for good reason.
Don’t Even Think
Adding a whole new twist on the battle royale format, Don’t Even Think is unlike any free-to-play PlayStation 4 title on the market. It’s designed as a pseudo-survival action game with some interesting caveats, such as a day-night cycle and the werewolf mechanic. As all human players are in-fighting across the medium-sized map of Prism City, another group of shapeshifters awaits the forthcoming darkness to transform and overcome their human counterparts.
The odds are clearly stacked up against the humans, which makes this asymmetrical, survival battle royale all the more tense and terrifying. The added layer of intensity is outweighed only by the array of weaponry at one’s disposal, from a golden revolver to the always-trusty AK. The best moments in Don’t Even Think, however, are when playing as the fierce werewolf. Opponents don’t even stand a chance as the monster rips and tears through enemies across the map. It’s a spectacle, to be sure, and only crystalizes the game’s title.
Let It Die
Let it Die is a grueling action game that attempts to deliver Dark Souls–esque difficulty in a twisted world brought to you by Grasshopper Manufacturer, the maker of Killer7 and Shadows of the Damned.
With the guidance of a skateboarding grim reaper called Uncle Death, you embark on a daunting journey up the Tower of Barbs (a structure that literally cuts through clouds). Filled with quirky characters like Mushroom Magistrate and Kommodore Suzuki, Let it Die is surprisingly rich in narrative for a free-to-play title.
The thing about Let it Die is you’ll probably love it or hate it. The combat itself, with simplistic one-button attacks and weapons that break almost as quickly as it took you to scoop them up, isn’t likely to impress many. That, combined with the game’s devastating difficulty, blends into a game that may not work for everyone, even the Dark Souls fans who should theoretically make up the game’s core fan base.
But for those who stick with it, Let it Die may offer dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of intense fights — and maybe frustration. Certainly, if you are a fan of No More Heroes creator Suda51, Let it Die’s aesthetic alone might be enough to keep you playing.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Drawing Nathan Drake’s four-part epic narrative to its breathtaking conclusion while still introducing fans to new characters and mechanics alike, Uncharted 4 remains a staple in PlayStation 4 gaming. Available to play for free via the April PlayStation Plus subscription exclusive, A Thief’s End brings Nathan Drake face to face with his treasure hunter identity, reconciling his past in order to grow toward his ultimate future.
The globetrotting and death-defying adventures brought to life by Naughty Dog will never be forgotten. Uncharted 4 pits the player against extreme tests. From booby-trapped ruins to shipwrecked islands, it’s got action and adventure wrapped into one amazing story that brings the whole saga full circle. Plus, it births arguably the series’s most compelling villain, Rafe. Uncharted 4 isn’t just a must-have current free-to-play title. It’s a PlayStation 4 necessity.
In what is undoubtedly the first truly revered MOBA to grace consoles, Hi-Rez’s Smite successfully transferred the feel of MOBA to consoles — no small task, considering that mouse and keyboard is generally considered a requirement for a MOBA.
You’ll choose between more than 100 different gods drawn from eight different “Pantheons” such as Greek or Norse mythology. Each god belongs to one of five character classes: Mage, Hunter, Assassin, Warrior, or Guardian.
Unlike Dota 2 or League of Legends, Smite gives players a more traditional behind-the-character camera angle (like a 3D action game). But like those MOBAs, Smite has a pretty steep learning curve, meaning that it will probably take a little while for you to get your bearings.
Thankfully, besides the wealth of character and customization options, there’s a myriad of game modes to choose from. Teams can be composed of three, four, or five players, and along with the standard MOBA lane-based format, there are options like Arena, which tasks players with escorting little minions across the enemy line. While not for everyone, Smite is certainly one of the most polished and beloved free-to-play games on PS4.
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