With hundreds of great free-to-play games to choose from, from Fortnite: Battle Royale to League of Legends to Kingdom Rush, it’s possible to never spend a nickel in your efforts to thwart alien invasions, destroy evil orcs, and deliver a beating to unsuspecting opponents. “Free-to-play” no longer indicates a low level of quality, either, and we’ve played plenty of titles that give full-priced video games a run for their money. Here are some of the best free-to-play games available right now, broken down by genre, regardless of whether you’re a PC or console gamer.
Combining the futuristic science-fiction aesthetic of games such as Mass Effect and Halo with slick, martial arts-inspired combat, Warframe 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 — and though it’s free-to-play, Warframe still serves as an excellent example of the technical capabilities of both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. It should be among the first games you try when you get your new console.
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. You even have access to your own personal spaceship, which you’ll use as your base when between missions. Once you touch down on-foot, however, your mobility won’t be limited; seven different parkour moves allow you to navigate hard-to-reach areas and get the drop on enemies.
‘World of Tanks’
It has spawned spin-off games focusing on 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 absolutely massive, with teams constantly vying 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 own level of protection against incoming fire.
For those willing to risk their skin a little bit more, the “self-propelled gun” class will allow you to take out a large number of enemies, provided they don’t immediately spot you and blow you to oblivion. A detailed guide — available on the game’s official website — will get you started with your first tank from any of the available classes, and it offers some additional tips to keep your tank in one piece during your first few matches. Once you’re feeling comfortable with the game’s combat, 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.
‘World of Warships’
World of Tanks with naval ship combat is an accurate 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 available on PC. 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 skies.
Set during World War II, this combat-oriented flight simulator 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.
‘Let it Die’
From Grasshopper Manufacture, Let it Die is one of the most hardcore games on this list. It’s a grueling hack-and-slash game with a premise as weird as you’d expect from the development studio behind the No More Heroes series. It’s 2026 and Tokyo has split in half. A tower has ascended from the depths of the ocean. 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. What follows is an addicting but challenging tower run that sees you fighting through floor after floor of nefarious creatures and enemies. When you die, and you will, your play data is shared with other players, adding yourself into their games as enemies (and vice versa). Free-to-play action games like Let it Die or somewhat rare, so if you have a PS4 you should definitely give it a go.