The best free PC games

Here are the top free PC games for 2023, including Fortnite, League of Legends, Sims 4, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, Fall Guys, Rocket League, and more.

Best free PC games: One red and one green dragon fly towards each other over a castle

What are the best free PC games? Whether you’re broke or just frugal, free is a price point that appeals to everybody’s purse. No matter your genre of choice, it turns out that zero can buy you quite a lot in the F2P game world, and even beloved classics are available at the steepest possible discount.

We’ve collated the top free games on PC guaranteed to deliver a near-endless stream of complementary entertainment. All you need to spend is your time. From cultural landmarks like Fortnite to all-time greats like Team Fortress 2, some entries on this list can easily make our list of the best PC games of all time. In no particular order, here are the best free games on PC.

The best free PC games are:

Raid: Shadow Legends

You can now play one of the best-known mobile RPGs for free on PC. Raid’s turn-based combat and squad management require some strategic thinking, even from veterans of the genre. The game features over 300 heroes for you to collect, each with its own stats and unique abilities, meaning you’ll have to tweak and optimize your squad to make the most of your characters’ strengths.

You can also take the fight online by either teaming up with other players in co-op, err, raids, or defeating their squad in battles to gain valuable rewards. Oh, and the game is cross-platform, so if you sign up on Android or iOS, you can share your progress.

Play Raid: Shadow Legends for free.

War Thunder

You don’t have to find a group of like-minded aviation enthusiasts on a message board and join their virtual squadron to enjoy War Thunder. You don’t have to choose between realism or accessibility, either. You just download it, and then you’re flying – or driving, or shooting, or even both simultaneously.

This massively multiplayer WW2 combat game effortlessly encompasses all of the explosions and excitement that planes and tanks are capable of. Not sure where to start? Our War Thunder tips will help point your tank’s cannon in the right direction. If you’re looking for war games that put you in the thick of it, then War Thunder is for you.

Play War Thunder for free.

World of Warships

If you like the idea of an ocean-based military simulation game, you need World of Warships. Introducing the navy to the concept of deathmatch, the controls are simple and welcoming but allow for interesting tactics in the submarine game.

World of Warships is more fun than Total War’s pondering naval engagements, more approachable than Silent Hunter, and far deeper than the Pirates games. Surprisingly deep, if you’ll excuse the submariner humor. The World of Warships esports scene is also far more exciting than it has any right to be.

Play World of Warships for free.

Best free PC games: a couple of tanks in a field in World of TanksPlay for Free

World of Tanks

One of the mightiest tank games there has ever been, World of Tanks is an accessible and exciting tank simulator that is built on a foundation of complex game mechanics. It pits two teams of tankers against each other in a classic deathmatch scenario.

There are hundreds of vehicles to unlock across ten different tiers, from speedy scouts to hulking heavies. You will be surprised at how many tanks Wargaming has managed to cram in. If you’re curious, here’s how not to play World of Tanks, and why millions of people still play to this day.

Play World of Tanks for free.


Crossout is a vehicular combat MMO in which you craft outlandish cars and drive them into battle alongside other players. Set to a Mad-Max-stye backdrop of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, there’s an emphasis on deep customization as well as skillful driving and aiming.

Crossout contains a variety of co-op and competitive game modes, as well as a marketplace full of tradable goods. The sheer number of Crossout factions, different body types, guns, cannons, and armor ensures that there are many different ways to play… although they are all pretty deadly.

Play Crossout for free.

Best free PC games: a soldier waving a Soviet flag in Enlisted.Play for free


This Battlefield-esque tactical shooter prides itself on its historical accuracy, providing you with era-appropriate weapons and equipment as you lead your squad of AI soldiers through some of the most famous campaigns of WWII.

As in War Thunder (developer Gaijin’s F2P hit), you’ll also have access to a range of aircraft, tanks, and vehicles to help you on your way to victory, which are unlocked through the distinct skill sets of each of your squad members.

As squad leader, it’s up to you to command the actions of your troops throughout each battle, but should the worst happen and a stray bullet takes you out, you’ll switch to the POV of a different member of your division. Surely, a welcome solution to those of us who’ve spent far too many hours face down in the mud, waiting to be revived by a teammate with different priorities.

Play Enlisted for free.

Best free PC games: League of Legends. Image shows a large group of warriors and fantastical creatures about to do battle.

League of Legends

Inspired by the original Dota, League of Legends takes the same 5v5 base attack concept but introduces a completely different roster of playable characters that is constantly being expanded. Many players find League of Legends is easier and more accessible than Dota, but it is still extremely nuanced; it has one of the highest skill ceilings in gaming, and the best players are considered tactical geniuses.

More than 100 million people play it every month, so you won’t struggle to find a game, and you’re guaranteed to find a few League of Legends champions that you can’t stop playing.

Forge of Empires

If you’re aching to hone your management skills while quenching your thirst for historical strategy, then Forge of Empires’ browser-based realm building could be right up your street.

Beginning with a handful of Stone Age huts and spear-wielding warriors, you’ll lead your small settlement through a range of familiar time periods – conquering, expanding, and building your way to a modern metropolis. Lead your growing armies to victory in turn-based RPG game combat, join other players to form guilds, and research groundbreaking discoveries that lead you from one century to the next.

Play Forge of Empires for free.

Star Trek Online

Who wouldn’t want to take control of a starship, explore the fringes of the galaxy, battle dangerous aliens, and train an elite crew of pangalactic professionals?

Star Trek Online is your chance to show the internet that you’d make a much better Picard than Picard. Each quest in this MMO is like an episode of the show, and each mission series is an arc, complete with the occasional filler episode. Packed full of the best pieces from Roddenberry’s universe, this is the only MMO for a true Trekkie.

Play Star Trek Online for free.


Neverwinter comes from a long line of ambitious, multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons PC games – including both the original Neverwinter Nights – the first ever MMOs with graphics – and the BioWare game of the same name. Neverwinter, however, is the cheapest yet at a tempting zero bucks, and benefits from the massively-multiplayer expertise of City of Heroes studio Cryptic.

Packed with action-focused combat, challenging dungeons, and amazing locations to explore, this is one of the best RPGs on this list. It is also fantastic for Forgotten Realms fan service: a place where you can meet both RA Salvatore’s Drizzt and Minsc from Baldur’s Gate.

Play Neverwinter for free.

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact has drawn many comparisons to Breath of the Wild, and it’s not hard to see why. The open-world game is massive and jaw-droppingly pretty, but there’s also an abundance of resources to collect, craft, and cook with, not to mention puzzles and minibosses that can be bested by using elemental powers with the environment rather than starting a brawl. That said, there are plenty of Genshin Impact weapons and artifacts to get your hands on if character customization is your jam.

The main story will keep you battling through the first 30 hours, but that’s mostly because the massive open world of Teyvat will keep pulling you in every direction with camps to clear out, puzzles to solve, and the promise of shiny new loot to craft the best builds. There are some parts of the world you won’t be able to engage with without accessing some of the Genshin Impact characters hidden behind gacha mechanics, but you can enjoy the whole main story and the majority of the open world relatively uninterrupted by paid mechanics. If you’re itching to get started, our list of active Genshin Impact codes can certainly give you a head start.

Play Genshin Impact for free.

Star Conflict

A shiny, colorful space sim that places you in a massively multiplayer universe, Star Conflict drops you right in the middle of an interplanetary skirmish that encompasses both PvE and PvP. Its void is as roomy as any other sector of space you might name, while its busy, man-made surface environments recall the twisty tunnels of the Descent series.

Play Star Conflict for free.


So many great things have started out as jokes: bacon-flavored cola, sincere Spinal Tap fans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and now CRSED. Formally known as Cuisine Royale, this free-to-play battle royale game where you strap pots and pans to yourself in place of plate armor started out as a spinoff for squad-based MMO shooter Enlisted but quickly garnered its own player base. And it’s easy to see why as the freedom of being a ‘joke’ game has allowed developer Darkflow Software to experiment with mechanics PUBG wouldn’t dare consider, like demonic powers, Champions, and even jetpacks.

Play CRSED: F.O.A.D for free.


Launched in 2008, Wizard101 is a fantasy MMORPG that has been able to remain popular among gamers ever since. In it, you step into the shoes of a student at the Ravenwood School for Magical Arts. You choose whether you want to enroll in the school of Fire, Ice, Storm, Myth, Life, Death, or Balance, with each of these fields giving you access to a unique selection of magical abilities that will significantly affect how you approach enemies in battle. Teaming up with other players will give you the opportunity to experiment with different strategies as you consider how different types of magic pair together.

Meanwhile, the game has a fantastic story that initially sees you coming up against Ravenwood’s former Necromancy teacher, Malistaire. What at first appears to be a typical story about an evil wizard soon turns out to be something much more nuanced. During the course of your adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a range of exciting fantastical locations, from enchanted forests to ancient desert communities and even a city under the sea. It’s a charming experience.

Play Wizard101 for free.

Final Fantasy XIV

FFXIV has earned its spot among the best free PC games the hard way. After a disastrous launch and many months spent in recovery mode developers developer Square Enix has managed to right the course of its ambitious Final Fantasy MMO and build one of the best gaming communities along the way. And yes, while the full game isn’t free, you can invest a solid chunk of time into the free trial version, which caps your progress at level 60.

A Realm Reborn isn’t just a great PC game; it really draws on everything that makes the Final Fantasy series so popular: beautiful worlds, eccentric characters, stylish cutscenes, and adorable critters. The widely acclaimed 2019 expansion, Shadowbringers, introduced a huge amount of new content, while the latest expansion has proven just as popular (and received 9/10 in our Endwalker review). It can be daunting when you’re just starting out, so be sure to brush up on our guides to FFXIV classes, races, and leveling if you want to get up to speed quickly.

Friday Night Funkin’

Since its release in 2020, Friday Night Funkin’ is a game that has won a place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. For those who haven’t encountered it before, this simple rhythm game is enormously addictive and packed with endless charm. You play as an innocuous backward cap-wearing kid named Boyfriend who engages in sing-offs and rap battles against several different opponents to impress your girlfriend.

The gameplay is quite similar to something like Dance Dance Revolution, but instead of a dance mat, you use your arrow keys. Meanwhile, the songs are slapping, and the character’s electronic voices are quite cute. It’s really easy to get into it, and one of those games where you want to play for a minute but end up spending hours with it.

Play Friday Night Funkin’ for free in Opera GX.

Best free PC games: Lost Ark. Image shows a large beast.

Lost Ark

One of our favorite new MMOs, this game has been out in South Korea for a while but finally reached Western shores back in 2022. It’s a curious mixture of Final Fantasy XIV and Diablo. Once you’ve chosen your preferred Lost Ark server, you can choose from various classes and refine their build while leveling up. Complete epic quests to unlock Lost Ark Awakening skills and jump into PvP for exclusive rewards. Lost Ark is free-to-play but comes bundled with a seasonal battle pass that includes both free and premium rewards.

If you do fancy spending some money, there are some starter packs you can check out:

Best free PC games: Magic: The Gathering Arena. Image shows a game in progress.

Magic: The Gathering Arena

Thanks to CCG titan Hearthstone, there are many more card gaming experts around than there used to be. Recent card-gaming converts can move onto games like Gwent or The Elder Scrolls: Legends for themed twists that boast a few new mechanics, but if you want a real challenge, you can’t beat Magic: The Gathering Arena.

Wizards of the Coast’s latest digital port of the revered paper card game is certainly not for the faint-hearted – it’s based on the trading card game that’s been going since 1993, so you can only imagine how many cards and keywords are at play. Magic: The Gathering Arena does an excellent job of shedding some of that historic baggage while retaining most of the complexity that makes Magic so special, and it comes complete with all of the board animations and sensory delights that we’ve come to expect of modern CCGs.
Best free PC games: Tower of Fantasy. Image shows a man in a black coat leaping through the air with some mushrooms ahead of him.

Tower of Fantasy

Since it came to the West in mid-2022, Tower of Fantasy has quickly become one of the most popular free PC games. Following a similar formula to Genshin Impact, this game is an open-world, action RPG where you play as humans living on the planet Aida hundreds of years in the future. After a cataclysmic event, the settlement’s population was greatly diminished and Aida’s landscape was filled with strange monsters.

In a shared world with other players, you’re left to explore the mysterious Aida landscape while coming up against the Heirs of Aida, who are opposed to using the energy source omnium (which was the cause of the historic catastrophe). Whether you want to mess around fighting monsters with friends, gather resources to make all the game’s recipes, or try to unlock all the Tower of Fantasy characters through the gacha mechanics, there’s no shortage of things to do. Our Tower of Fantasy tier list will kit you out with the best simulacra weapons ideal for leveling, while our Tower of Fantasy map primer can keep you on the straight and narrow.

Best free PC games: Conqueror's Blade. Image shows a row of warriors preparing or battle.

Conqueror’s Blade

Embrace your inner knight as you engage in epic siege warfare in Conqueror’s Blade. Pick a hero from a selection of medieval classes and lead them into battle, commanding a small battalion of troops into seemingly-insurmountable sieges.

The medieval game switches between third-person combat and top-down views of the 30-player battles, so it’s important to make the best use of your siege equipment and give astute tactical orders so that your troops emerge victorious – and alive.

Best free PC games: Warframe. A screenshot shows a character in futuristic attire pointing a gun at someone off camera.


Everything’s better in space, and Warframe proves exactly that by taking ninjas and putting them in space. It is a co-op third-person game where teams of ninjas suit up in powerful ‘Warframe’ armor and head out to slice up bad guys – or hang out at the dojo. It blends some MMO elements with the sensibilities of a more straightforward action game, creating something slick, exciting, and very sociable.

It’s also not without depth; you can easily pour hundreds of hours into perfecting Warframe builds. The game is often compared to Destiny, and Warframe players will even tell you that it is far better than Bungie’s triple-A shooter. Though Tencent bought out the original developers, Warframe remains “creatively independent”.

Best free PC games: Archeage. Image shows a dragon looking down on a settlement from on a hill.


ArcheAge is the closest thing we’ve got to a proper pirate MMO. You can try to master the endless sea as a notorious pirate or choose to be a humble peddler of crafted goods. The labor system – how ArcheAge gates its content – may take time to get used to, but nevertheless, it is a really solid free-to-play experience.

Even if you’re not after one of the best pirate games, there are plenty of classic fantasy MMO elements to keep you happy. Yes, magical swords and fancy armor are still a huge part of ArcheAge. Some of that armor is on the backs of dragon mounts – majestic killers raised by players who want to tame the skies and the seas. ArcheAge: Unchained, a version of ArcheAge that requires a one-time purchase, was released in 2019 – but the original is still one of the best free MMOs around.

Best free PC games: Trove. Image shows a group of blocky characters in a cave.


Trove may look a lot like Minecraft, but in reality, it’s a thoroughbred MMO replete with classes inspired by sword and sorcery classics. Just like those MMO greats, Trove is also all about grinding for more and more gear, making it a great hobby game especially as it regularly receives hefty updates that add everything from new dungeons to PvP game modes for you to try out.

Best free PC games - Guild Wars 2: A character with a flaming sword and shield stood on a rock

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is one of the best MMOs available. Even better: you can play a huge chunk of it for free. There’s a lot to do, from traditional questing for NPCs to zone events where everyone can suddenly get involved and work as a massive team to bring down a boss or help a burning village. The free-to-play base game is huge, and if you choose to purchase the Path of Fire expansion, they’ll throw in the Heart of Thorns expansion for free.

Best free PC games: EVE Online. Image shows a huge ship flying through space.

Eve Online

No MMO can claim to be as player-driven as Eve Online, with the space game boasting mega-corporations run by legions of players and, very occasionally, gigantic space battles with upwards of 5,000 participating pilots.

Eve Online’s free-to-play model lets players experience all of that space madness (bar access to some of the end-game ships and skills) without having to pay a subscription fee. Its steep learning curve can be quite daunting, so we highly recommend reading our Eve Online beginner’s guide if you’re just getting started.

Best free PC games: Albion Online. Image shows a character standing outside a house on a snowy day, with lots of the game's UI visible.

Albion Online

Albion Online’s classless sandbox MMO is a refreshing journey into a medieval world where you’re not bound to a certain playstyle. Albion is less about character builds and more about strategy and tactics in a PvP-driven environment that focuses on building a guild with fellow players.

It’s a high-stakes venture and creates battles that quickly turn on their head. Although Albion Online’s environment leaves much to be imagined, the player-controlled economy and unforgiving loot system make for hours lost battling foes, delving into dungeons, and riding through lush green fields on your loyal steed.

Best free PC games: Dauntless. Image shows a character facing a large beaver-like monster.


Sure, Monster Hunter may have finally made the leap from console, but Dauntless offers the same brilliant monster-slaying gameplay in the form of a free PC game. Dauntless lets you buddy up with up to three friends in co-op and take on a series of increasingly challenging Behemoths (you can read our Dauntless tips guide if you need help), each offering a new set of attacks and abilities to learn and overcome. Just make sure that your party is packing various weapons, as you must chain abilities and combos to stand any chance of taking down these challenging beasts.

Best free PC games - a soldier with a helmet sprayed with the number four is beckoning you to jump out of an airplane alongside two other operators. One looks outside and has a full mask, while the other looks at you with a smirk.

Call of Duty: Warzone 2

As the sequel to one of the best battle royale games ever, this free-to-play Call of Duty game takes the chaotic 150-player game mode from the first iteration and injects it with updated guns and mechanics from Modern Warfare 2. Like its predecessor, it strips away many complicated looting systems from other BR titles and updates the Warzone 2 gulag – a way to make a comeback if someone eliminates you – with new twists and turns from its previous incarnation. There is also a new DMZ mode, which scratches the itch of those who want the peril of permanently losing loot.

To help you get the upper hand in matches, we’ve prepared a list of the best Warzone loadouts for a range of different scenarios, as well as some intel on the Warzone 2 map so you can find all the best hiding spots in Al Mazrah.

Best free PC games: Apex Legends. Image shows a colourfully dressed man aiming a gun at another man.

Apex Legends

Swooshing onto the scene from a well-placed zipline, Apex Legends has more than earned its place among the best battle royale games. From the developers behind Titanfall, Apex Legends takes the BR formula and adds a roster of intriguing Apex Legends characters that infuse each round with new tactical possibilities depending on your team composition. They’ve also stirred up the genre by adding intuitive contextual pings – making communication with your team a piece of cake – and introducing the ability to respawn your downed teammates, ensuring you can blame your squad for your demise at least twice a game.

As we discuss in our Apex Legends review, the game has particularly satisfying movement – you’ll be skidding down slopes, clambering through buildings, and launching yourself into the sky to reposition – and character abilities that make you feel like you’ve got the chance to steal the edge in combat, even against the champion squad. If you’re ready to get started, be sure to check out our Apex Legends tier list, as well as the best guns, to pair with the best character.

Best free PC games: Destiny 2. Image shows a character in armour firing a gun at a monster.

Destiny 2

Destiny 2 arrived on Steam with the Shadowkeep expansion in October 2019 and simultaneously opened up the base game, the Leviathan raid, and several PvP modes to everyone for free. Team up with your friends and go on adventures searching for shiny loot like Destiny 2 Exotic weapons, or duke it out against other players in the Crucible. Destiny 2 has something to offer everyone, from casual players looking for somewhere to hang out to hardcore raid fans and collectors. The Destiny 2 classes boast a surprising degree of nuance, though it’ll take some dedication to craft the best builds of the bunch.

Best free PC games: A group of four Sims designed in the Sims 4 character creation suite.

The Sims 4

The Sims series has been the quintessential life game ever since the turn of the millennium. After the Sims 5 release date, EA has opted to make The Sims 4 free-to-play, lighting a fire under its thriving community. Using the extensive Sims 4 custom content tools and mods, you’re granted the freedom to design your Sims however you like, from their looks to their sparkling personalities. If you’re partial to construction, you can also build their house from the ground up, and fill it with as much kitsch as their budgets will allow – or you can use the extensive Sims 4 cheats to build to your heart’s content. From there, it’s getting to know the neighborhood, establishing your Sim’s career, and eventually starting a family. Life, death, and all the messy bits in between serve as The Sims 4’s playground.

The free-to-play version of The Sims 4 provides you with a solid foundation to experience the game without spending a single penny. Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the enormous variety of Sims 4 expansion packs available to expand your horizons. If you’d like to keep it free, there’s also an avalanche of Sims 4 CC creators and packs available to install.

Best free PC games: A team of playable characters in Overwatch 2, including Reinhardt, Mercy, Tracer, Mei, and Genji, some of the most popular heroes available in the free PC game.

Overwatch 2

Blizzard’s hero shooter returns in a free-to-play format, and while it’s received some welcome quality-of-life adjustments and a brand-new battle pass, it remains, at its core, the same game that captivated its player base back in 2016. The Overwatch 2 maps take players to various locales to engage in standard match formats, such as escorting a payload or capturing a point. It’s also expanded to include an arcade suite for non-standard game modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch – all staples of the best FPS games.

The biggest draw for Overwatch 2, however, is its ever-growing roster of heroes. With over 30 Overwatch 2 characters available to choose from, there’s sure to be a hero whose aesthetic and playstyle appeal to you. The 5v5 combat encourages you to switch up your hero to counter your opposing team, and a carefully timed ult can turn the tide of a match. There’s also plenty of additional content on the horizon, including the highly anticipated Overwatch 2 PvE mode, as well as talents to refine your hero’s performance. Be sure to take a look at our Overwatch 2 tier list for the best heroes and their roles so that you can rise through the Overwatch 2 ranks faster than ever.

Best free PC games: Legends of Runeterra. Image shows the card game in progress.

Legends of Runeterra

One of the newer card games on the block, Legends of Runeterra arrived in early 2020 and has proven to be a big hit. From the minds behind one of the best MOBAs, League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra promises to shake up the languid card game scene with a back-and-forth approach.

Unlike some of its card game rivals, Legends of Runeterra lets you earn card packs through gameplay instead of asking you to fork over real paper for digital cards. Get to grips with the rules with our guides on how to play Legends of Runeterra and the Legends of Runeterra cards.

Best free PC games: Shadowverse. Image shows a game in progress, with various character tokens laid down on the table.


Shortly after Shadowverse’s mobile release in Japan in 2016, it became the biggest strategic card game in the country, and with good reason. This charmingly designed CCG eases you in gently with its tutorial and single-player story mode and keeps you coming back with complex gameplay and new card packs every three months.

You have seven different leader classes to choose from, and they each allow significant strategic depth. Whether you are an aggressive, cautious, or sneaky player, Shadowverse will cater to your playstyle.

Best free PC games: Gwent. Image shows a player about to use a card in a match.


When it comes to mini-games, the card-based collect-a-thon enjoyed across Temeria in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt doesn’t get more detailed or compulsive. The world might be being threatened by menacing, masked bad guys and an all-consuming frost, but it was Gwent to which we lost countless hours.

Fans of Sapkowski’s fantastical world cried out for more tactical goodness, and the much deeper Gwent: The Witcher Card Game duly arrived, sporting prettier graphics and higher production values to match. The increased variety of unit types and abilities leaves the original mini-game in the dust. What’s more, you can do battle with this free-to-play online game in casual and ranked matches, too – make sure you check out our Gwent decks guide before you jump in. This free PC game only receives updates on the mobile and PC platforms, as CD Projekt Red discontinued support for consoles on December 9, 2019.

Best free PC games: Fortnite. Image shows a female character holding a gun and look out over a forest.


Do we need to tell you what Fortnite is? You probably already play it, since Fortnite’s player count is 250 million and counting. Among them are the biggest Twitch streamers, sports stars, and celebrities. Epic’s battle royale really needs no introduction: it’s the biggest cultural shift in gaming since League of Legends.

Aside from being free to play, there are several reasons why Fortnite has wiped the floor with the competition. Despite being thrown together in a couple of months and bolted onto the side of the original Fortnite: Save the World game, this cartoony last-man-standing is the ever-evolving foundation for weekly updates, seasonal changes, and a plethora of genre-defining new ideas.

However often you log in, there’s always a new challenge to complete, and the Fortnite Battle Pass system rewards the most devout players with heaps of rewards. Casual players need not fear, though; simple shooting and rules keep it accessible, and the building mechanics offers depth to chase. Not sure where to start? Our Fortnite tips will guide you to a Victory Royale.

Best free PC games: Two allied combatants wielding personalised guns in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, one of the most popular and long-running free to play FPS games.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive has been going strong for over a decade, and while many new free-to-play FPS titles have risen to prominence during that time, CS:GO continues to hold its own against that tide. Part of its appeal is its dedication to realism; CS:GO’s gameplay is grounded in a way that sets it apart from more modern military shooters, which tend to include power-ups and perks that can drastically upset the emerging outcome of a match. The result is an exceptionally balanced FPS game that relies on player skill and strategy over luck, with a deceptively high skill ceiling that keeps its audience locked in for the long haul. Keep an eye on the Counter Strike 2 release date, which should launch sometime in Summer 2023 to see the future of CS:GO.

Best free PC games: Paladins. Image shows a lady jumping and holding two knives. She has vibrant hair.


Paladins is a team-based hero shooter that pits teams of colorful, ability-laden heroes against each other. Yes, it is a bit like Overwatch, but it shares many of Blizzard’s titan’s merits as a tactical murder simulator and provides them at a fraction of the cost. You can play as a mecha-goblin or gigantic rolling bomb and work in conjunction with your comrades to knock the numbers out of your opponents before diving onto the objective. Bonus: everyone gets their own horse. If you’re not sure where to start, our guide to the best Paladins champions will help you out.

Best free PC games: Hearthstone. Image shows a selection of tiles portraying different monsters on a game board.


Blizzard’s world-dominating card game is about as moreish as chips. Who’s ever had enough chips? You’ve always got room for more chips, and you’ve always got time for another game of Hearthstone. With a gargantuan selection of cards, the game now supports hundreds of different play styles, which you can easily tailor by building your perfect Hearthstone decks. The heart of Blizzard’s CCG is in its competitive multiplayer matches, but Dungeon Run provides an excellent and moreish solo card experience few other games can match.

If you’re a fan of autobattler games, Hearthstone has got its own tavern-tinged take in Hearthstone Battlegrounds, which pits you against seven other players and offers you a random selection of Hearthstone Battlegrounds cards to build your hand with each round.

Best free PC games: Dota 2. Image shows the character Pudge throwing a hook at a Bounty Hunter

Dota 2

Two teams of five choose their Dota 2 heroes from a selection of hundreds before taking to the battlefield to destroy their opponent’s base. It is no mean feat, as both teams’ bases spawn waves of creatures and are protected by powerful towers. Each player will need to make the best of their hero’s abilities in what is not only a game but a sport.

It is tough, complex and inspires fanaticism in its fans. It is one of the most played games on Steam and draws in hundreds of thousands of players every day. If you’re feeling a bit daunted, our Dota 2 beginner’s guide goes into the building blocks of how to play and hopefully win your first match.

Best free PC games: Team Fortress 2. Image shows a selection of familiar characters holding guns and ready for battle.

Team Fortress 2

Valve’s class-based shooter, Team Fortress 2, has achieved legendary status thanks to its varied game modes, impeccable sense of fun, and being home to more hats than the world’s millinery stores combined. The whole game is free-to-play these days, from the standard shoot-everything-that-moves deathmatches to the fantastic Mann vs. Machine co-op mode where teams fend off waves of robots. Not to mention it’s constantly being cared for with regular seasonal updates.

Best free PC games: Path of Exile. Image shows a worried with flaming armour and a flaming sword.

Path of Exile

An action RPG in the mold of Diablo, Path of Exile is one of the most polished, well-executed games on this list. Adventure with a friend or two through hundreds of areas in a dark fantasy world that provides a dizzying collection of monsters to click on until they squish repeatedly. Path of Exile does feature a microtransaction system, but it’s admirably unobtrusive. If you’re partial to hack-and-slash looters, we have a list of the best games like Diablo, just for you. That said, if Path of Exile is the one for you, check out the best PoE builds and how to craft them.

Best free PC games: Lord of the Rings Online. Image shows an elf and a hobbit standing in the trees near a town.

Lord of the Rings Online

Standing Stone Game’s free-to-play MMO transports you to perhaps the most famous fantasy setting there has ever been. Explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth, from The Shire to Mordor, and build up a character that will be worthy of 1v1ing Sauron himself. The Lord of the Rings Online store is where premium players can drop pennies, but frugal adventurers can lose themselves in Middle-earth just as easily.

Best free PC games: Star Wars: The Old Republic. Image shows a lightsabre battle about to commence.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

After a long, slow start, Star Wars: The Old Republic is now a stellar MMO – particularly thanks to the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, which is basically ‘BioWare does a proper KOTOR sequel’. It is a fast-paced action RPG with lightsabers, space combat, Jedi houses, and bounty hunters, and if you go full dark side, you can fire lightning from your fingertips. It really is one of the best Star Wars games around.

Best free PC games: Smite. Image shows a small fighter about to do battle with a large armoured being.


Following the same formula as League of Legends and Dota 2, Smite has teams of five players trying to fight their way into their opponent’s base. Rather than giving players a top-down view of the battlefield, however, it chooses a third-person perspective, switching the game’s focus from tactics to action. Plus, instead of a roster of colorful fantasy characters, each player takes on the role of almighty Smite gods inspired by real religions, from Norse to Celtic to Chinese.

Best free PC games: Planetside 2. Image shows a group of four armed futuristic looking soldiers.

Planetside 2

Battles have never been so big. Imagine entire continents at war, with tanks, trucks, and fighter craft alongside hordes of infantry. Throw that into the far future, and you’ve got PlanetSide 2, a never-ending conflict on an incredible scale that’s pretty damn good-looking, to boot. There is nothing else quite like this out there, especially when it comes to free Steam games.

Best free PC games: Simon Belmont and Alucard from Castlevania go head to head in platform fighter Brawlhalla.


Brawlhalla is another platform fighter that takes its inspiration from Super Smash Bros. While Brawlhalla’s core roster consists of a selection of original characters – otherwise known as legends – that wield a variety of weapons, from pistols to rocket lances, the main draw is definitely the selection of crossover characters available from various established IP. Depending on the weekly rotation schedule, you can play as Street Fighter’s Chun Li, Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio, Rayman, or even Shovel Knight. This eclectic mix of fighters is compelling in its own right, but Brawlhalla uses a range of arcade modes, online competitive ranked, and casual free-for-all formats.

Best free PC games: D&D Online. Image shows a large dragon being fought by a group of warriors.

D&D Online

Do you want a chance to adventure in some of the most famous fantasy worlds there ever were? With D&D Online, you can set foot in the Forgotten Realms and the land of Eberron, stepping into the well-worn boots of a thief or a spellcaster as you fight dragons and demons. It’s not often you get high fantasy for free.

Best free PC games: Runescape. Image shows a knight and a skeleton at a table together. The skeleton is alive.


This golden oldie continues to be one of the largest MMORPGs ever made and holds the record for being the most updated game in history. Runescape has an enormous player base and a massive, ever-evolving world to explore, full of challenges you can choose according to your interests. Want to fight, complete quests, or to play minigames? In Runescape, it is entirely up to you.

Best free PC games: Heroes and Generals. Image shows soldiers parachuting down into battle.

Heroes and Generals

Do you want to shoot all the guns and make all the decisions? War isn’t all about what happens on the front line, but nor is it about the decisions made back at headquarters, so Heroes & Generals is the perfect game for players who want to try a bit of both. The game has been tailored for a variety of Heroes & Generals players, so there’s something for all different skill levels.

Plus, it’s still getting massive updates on the regular, which have added new game modes, seasonal events, and control overhauls. The game also now gives you the first soldier for free when you unlock a new class, meaning it’s even easier for new players to find their favorite.

Best free PC games: Spelunky Classic. Image shows the pixelated caves into which you delve in the game.

Spelunky Classic

It says something about how special PC gaming is that one of the best platformers we’ve ever seen is still free. Spelunky is inspired by the best old games from the 8-bit era, but it procedurally generates its levels so you’ve always got somewhere new to explore every time you play. It also has snakes, boulders, ice caves, and more bats than you can shake your shotgun at – if you can find one in the dark.

Best PC games: A group of Valorant agents pose with their signature abilities, the primary draw in the free-to-play tactical hero shooter.


Valorant is a 5v5 hero shooter that’s a little more tactical than the likes of Overwatch or Apex Legends. Like in CS:GO, all Valorant characters begin a match with a baseline weapon, with the opportunity to purchase heavier firepower using the points you’ve accrued from completing objectives and defeating opposing players. However, Valorant agents also have their own signature powers that reinforce their designated role in their team and provide a bit of added flavor that you expect from a more traditional hero shooter.

While only five agents are available to play at the game’s outset, Valorant gives you the opportunity to expand your roster by completing individual agent contracts without opening your wallet. There are also plenty of game modes, from the standard unranked and competitive matches to non-standard formats such as Deathmatch, Escalation, and Replication. Whether you’re dead-set on climbing through the Valorant ranks or just playing casually, it’s worth brushing up on the best Valorant guns to prioritize during a match.

Best free PC games: Super Crate Box. Image shows small creatures running around on red girders, all rendered in a pixelated art style.

Super Crate Box

Super Crate Box is a super-fast, super-dangerous platformer where enemies constantly drop from the top of the screen. Score points not by killing them but by collecting crates, each of which has a new weapon for you, though some are much better than others.

Let any of the monsters past you and into the fire below, and they respawn more powerful than before. Repeat this formula and enjoy ad infinitum. It’s a shame that Vlambeer is no more, but at least this game is still here for us to play.

Best free PC games: Teamfight Tactics. Image shows a circle of characters within a larger circle of characters who are themselves surrounded by circles of magic.

Teamfight Tactics

This free autobattler game by Riot takes the most beloved characters from League of Legends and places them on a chess-like board to duke it out until there’s only one player’s team left standing. Playing against several opponents, you get the chance to pick a hero from a shared pool and slowly build a team by earning coins and trading heroes.

There’s plenty of strategy in this fast-paced autobattler, whether that’s ensuring your heroes compliment each other, factoring in a counter for every enemy type, or combining items to buff character stats. You’ll grow a strong team by aligning attributes, and earning perks from synergies and class bonuses. Like League of Legends, TFT undergoes regular updates and balance changes, such as rotating the hero pool or adding new items. Whether you want to jump into a casual game or take on ranked mode, it’s always kept fresh.

Best multiplayer games - a Hot Wheels-style Rocket League car blasting through the air with a Hot Wheels lunchbox on top of it.

Rocket League

Many games on this list exploded in popularity, but Rocket League may be the most surprising of them all. What is essentially soccer with rocket-powered cars, Rocket League had several factors going for it which made it a smash hit: it launched at a quiet time in terms of game releases, Psyonix partnered up with Sony to release the game on PS Plus to give it an instant audience, and the game itself was excellent.

As a free-to-play game with full crossplay compatibility across every game platform out there, the Rocket League audience continues to grow as more people learn about the game’s spectacular esports scene. Give our Rocket League tips guide a read to learn how to control your car to a high-level standard. If you want to learn more about the game’s development, check out our interview with Psyonix, which goes into the making of Rocket League.

Best games to play at Christmas: Fall Guys

Fall Guys

If you’ve ever wanted to play a version of Takeshi’s Castle as a cute little bean, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout lets you live the dream as 60 players fight across a range of minigames. From platforming challenges to memorization puzzles, Fall Guys features a range of unique hurdles to test each player’s skills in short bursts. Once the initial group of players gets whittled down to the final ten, things start to heat up as every challenger vies for the crown.

A lot has changed for Mediatonic, the indie developers behind Fall Guys. Shortly after the game’s launch, Mediatonic Games was acquired by Epic Games. This brought about some huge changes to Fall Guys, including cross-platform play, the switch to the free-to-play model, and plenty of crossover events with other video game IPs. Check out our Fall Guys review to see what we thought about the game when it launched. If you’re wondering what mini-games are in the current rotation, check out our Fall Guys team rounds guide.

PUBG update transforms battle royale meta, makes winning even harder: An operator from battle royale game PUBG

PUBG: Battlegrounds

One hundred players drop onto the battlefield, but there can be only one winner. PUBG: Battlegrounds, formerly known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is arguably the first battle royale game to kickstart the entire genre truly. At its peak as a premium title, PUBG had over three million concurrent players in 2017, obliterating the previous record set by DOTA 2. PUBG isn’t as popular as it used to be these days, but it has since moved to the free-to-play model in 2022 and still maintains a healthy player base on Steam.

PUBG has a strong audience of new and returning players, making it easy to get into for the first time. You’ll want to check out our PUBG tips guide before dropping into the arena, as there’s a lot to learn right away. We also have a guide on the best PUBG guns to clue you into which weapons you need to keep an eye out for. Don’t forget to check out one of the most ambitious crossovers in history as some of the Street Fighter 6  cast joins PUBG.

There you have it, our complete list of the best free PC games. As you can see, there are loads of experiences you can enjoy without spending a penny, and the top free games will keep you hooked for hundreds of hours.  For more free goodness, check out our definitive list of the best free Steam games, along with the free MMOs you should take for a spin if you’re looking to lose a few hundred hours.