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The best free PC Games

Our breakdown of the best free to play pc games you can try today!

There are seemingly infinite free PC games online, but which are the best? It’s a tricky market to navigate, with no end of games all vying for your attention. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best free-to-play PC games, from old stalwarts to (relatively) new kids on the block.

 
  • Fortnite

Fortnite

Maybe you’ve heard of this one. While ‘Save the World’ mode is still a paid experience, the wildly popular 100-player battle royale mode is undoubtedly one of the best free PC games online. Taking its lead from PUBG and H1Z1, Epic’s spin on the genre incorporates impressively deep on-the-fly crafting and building into the equation, along with a world map that evolves over time to accommodate limited time events and even takeovers like Thanos’ cameo earlier in 2018. If you know Fortnite only as that game the tabloids love to write about, or the one footballers’ imitate their celebration dances from, it’s time to educate yourself.

 
World of Tanks

World of Tanks has one of those wonderfully demonstrative titles: in its own fantastical world, there are only tanks. Tanks tearing strips off of each other in eternal combat, punctuated only by upgrading your vehicle and buying new models for your garage. This formula has proven exceptionally popular over the years, with World of Tanks garnering a staggering 1.1 million concurrent players at its peak. Like most free-to-play games it’s an ever-evolving entity, and there are numerous ‘premium’ features behind a paywall, but the fundamentals of navigating a mid-century battlefield in WW2-era machinery and hammering opponents with your artillery remains intact.

 
  • Dota 2

Dota 2

Dota began as a mod for crusty old RTS game Warcraft III. Since then it’s become one of the most played games on the planet, birthed a thriving eSports scene, and even received a musical ode from Swedish trance maestro Basshunter. And it’s available for free. What a world we live in, eh? If you’re not familiar with the MOBA genre, think of it as an RTS broken down into just a handful of characters doing battle. On a map with three distinct lanes, and towers at each end that decide victory and defeat when they’re destroyed, two teams of heroes do battle against AI and human opponents.

 
  • League of Legends

League of Legends

Another all-time great in free PC games, LoL is the Ronaldo to Dota 2’s Messi. Two perennial rivals, both at the top of their game (MOBAs in the case of theis laboured metaphor), each pushing the other to ever-higher standards. Also host to a massive eSports league and hugely popular multiplayer scene, the broad strokes of LoL are the same as Dota’s but the specifics of mastering a Champion and outsmarting enemies to victory requires lots of time in-game. They’re different beasts, both with a wealth of content going gratis.

 
  • Path of Exile

Path of Exile

Home to what’s surely the biggest and most complex character upgrade tree in all of PC gaming, Path of Exile imagines what Diablo III would be like if the character progression and challenge never ended, and it adds new dungeons and areas on a frighteningly regular cadence. Free-to-play dungeon crawling with fantastic depth and a nigh limitless skill ceiling.

 
  • Hearthstone

Hearthstone

Still going strong after kickstarting the CCG revolution in 2014, Hearthstone is the best free PC card game. It’s brimming with Blizzard’s trademark polish and attention to detail, and you can tell that many talented designers spent many hours ensuring that dropping a powerful card, smashing an opponent, and opening a card pack all feel scandalously satisfying. As the old saying goes about CCGs, the rules of Hearthstone are simple enough: do more damage to your opponent and their deck and you win. But as your deck increases and with it come ever-more complex cards that unlock new strategies, the tactical richness just keeps increasing.

 
  • War Thunder

War Thunder

Ok, now imagine another battlefield full of tanks, this time joined by planes soaring about in the sky locked in countless dogfights, and warships turning the waves into an aquatic killing field. If you’re into vehicular combat, War Thunder does it all. Seriously: there are over 1,000 vehicles across land, sea and air here, and 80 different multiplayer maps to master them on. Would-be modders can get further involved by creating custom content and making it available via the in-game marketplace.

 
  • Warframe

Warframe

Warframe is probably the most feature-rich action game on the planet, and that’s saying something considering it is - of course - free-to-play. The melee combat feels slick and triple-A, while added wrinkles such as parkour and stealth elements raise the skill ceiling and reward character specialisation. Missions are PvE co-op affairs, so there’s an MMO-like experience here if you want it - but you’re equally welcome to play solo and treat Warframe like an uncharacteristically vast and deep single-player adventure.

 
  • EVE Online

EVE Online

Few games can boast the longevity, depth, and capacity for wild anecdotes that CCP’s EVE Online can. There’s a real, player-moderated economy worth million within this space sim, corporations with thousands of employees, and violent conflicts between them that bring in collateral damage bills worth hundreds of thousands of real-world dollars. Not just a game about whizzing through the stars and blasting t stuff, then. You could play EVE Online for the rest of your life and pass over huge swathes of it (and some people have - it was first released in 2003).

 
  • Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

It began as one third of Valve’s hyperbole-defying Orange Box, one of the most celebrated releases in PC gaming history. Since the heady days of 2007 Team Fortress 2 has changed a lot, and dropping the price tag is just one of those transformations. This is class-based multiplayer FPS gaming at its most tactical, but somehow also at its most circus-like. The pantomime villainy of the Spy as he backstabs another unsuspecting opponent before running off in disguise. The simple pleasure of watching a Scout batter a far bigger Heavy to death with a tiny baseball bat. Pushing the payload into the zone in the dying seconds of Goldrush - they still don’t make multiplayer shooters like this, so the fact it comes free makes TF2 a no-brainer.