10 extremely good games that are completely free

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By Teo Borconi – 7th February 2014
10 extremely good games that are completely free

Feel like playing something new, but you’re on a tight budget? Well, there’s certainly a wide array of great games available for free on the PC, and we’ve comprised a list of some of the very best titles out there. While these games all have an in-game shop, none of them are pay-to-win. Apart from microtransactions that offer customization options and which are not necessary to be successful in them, they cost absolutely nothing. All you’ll need to play them is an internet connection and as much free time as you can muster. We’ll cover several different genres, just to make sure there’s something here for everyone’s taste.

Dota 2

Dota 2 represents the MOBA genre at its very best!

Dota 2 represents the MOBA genre at its very best!

Dota 2 is no longer in a closed beta, it’s now available to the general public, and is currently one of the best MOBAs available on the market. That’s not surprising, considering the original Dota mod for Warcraft 3 was the game that actually started the entire MOBA frenzy, inspiring other successful titles such as Heroes of Newerth or League of Legends. Dota 2 comes with a competitive, well-balanced gameplay, surprisingly good visuals, and of course, no price tag. The game’s microtransactions offer players the possibility to acquire HUD skins or custom announcer voices, but none of them have any influence on gameplay, so you don’t need to spend money to do well in the game. Definitely worth a try!

War Thunder

A great soundtrack, combined with a fun multiplayer combat system make War Thunder a great choice!

A great soundtrack, combined with a fun multiplayer combat system make War Thunder a great choice!

I was surprised by how enjoyable War Thunder really is. It’s a flight combat simulator based on World War 2 planes (and the early Cold-War years) that features a huge diversity of realistically designed planes. It has several different types of maps, with different objectives, and can be both extremely user-friendly (with some basic controls), and can also satisfy flight-sim fans through a more complex and realistic game mode. Several types of airplanes are available, from the most┬ámaneuverable fighter planes, to the heaviest and most fortified bombers. The gameplay is surprisingly addictive, and it looks great visually. There’s also no advantage for purchasing in-game merchandise, so playing for free is perfectly viable. The game receives constant content updates, and the variety of nations and unique planes will keep you busy for weeks.

Loadout

Funny, engaging and addictive. Loadout is easy to pick up and hard to put down!

Funny, engaging and addictive. Loadout is easy to pick up and hard to put down!

Released just a few days ago on Steam, Loadout is a great dose of comedy and brutal shooter action. It’s a bit like Team Fortress 2 meets Borderlands, and have a baby that resembles the grandfather that’s Quake. It’s funny, fast-paced and addictive as hell. Blowing off the limbs of your opponents with outrageous weapons that are completely customizable can be incredibly fun. The in-game shop thankfully doesn’t allow for overpowered weapon mods, being limited to character skins and the like. That way, you can support the devs and differentiate yourself from the crowd, but at no point do you feel a need or obligation to spend a single cent. Loadout’s weapon upgrades are unlocked only by playing, and there are daily experience boosts that help with that, so there’s nothing to ruin your experience or make the game dull.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile is a great alternative to Diablo or Torchlight!

Path of Exile is a great alternative to Diablo or Torchlight!

If you’re a fan of clicking and you like action-RPGs, Path of Exile is definitely worth picking up. It’s a worthy contender to Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2, but it comes at no cost. Everything that is essential to the gameplay experience is completely free, from loot options and classes to difficulty settings and PvP. Sure, you can spend a few bucks on customization options such as pets, but none of these are essential for the overall Path of Exile experience. Sure, it’s similar in many ways to Diablo 2, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it contains the same addictive factor that is so representative of Blizzard’s popular franchise.

League of Legends

League of Legends is extremely popular and has a great eSports scene!

League of Legends is extremely popular and has a great eSports scene!

It’s the most profitable f2p game for a reason. League of Legends provides a great alternative to Dota 2, it has an extremely fast-growing competitive eSports scene, and it has more than 70 million unique players each month. That in itself speaks miles about the game. It’s probably more easy to get into than Dota 2, it’s a bit more user friendly, but it can be just as engaging and complex when played professionally. League of Legends has some great alternative maps too, such as Dominion, which stray a bit from the regular MOBA gameplay. You get an array of champions for free each week, and you can buy champions from the IP points you generate while playing, so shedding out cash is not necessary. However, if you want to throw Riot Games a thank you for their work, you can buy some custom champion skins and many other customization features.

World of Tanks

World of Tanks, vehicular warfare at its best!

World of Tanks, vehicular warfare at its best!

Over a million players logged in consecutively to World of Tanks in a single day. That’s how popular and good this game is. It’s pretty much War Thunder with tanks. You can either grind levels and new vehicles by completing missions (aka actually playing the game), or you can buy your way to whatever tank you want. You won’t lose your edge if you go free-to-play, it will just take more time to unlock everything. Still, the game provides ample tactical teamplay possibilities and a competitive, fun combat mode, so there’s really no reason to shed out cash, as you’ll progress by having fun anyway.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Questing in Star Wars: The Old Republic never feels like a boring grind!

Questing in Star Wars: The Old Republic never feels like a boring grind!

Initially launched as a subscription-based MMORPG, SWTOR faced financial troubles, and went for a F2P model instead. Of course, there’s still a subscription model which brings obvious benefits, and the limitations of the free version are evident. Luckily, you can gain access to additional toolbars or warzone access by purchasing these unlocks from other players through in-game currency, which isn’t exactly hard to obtain. The best part of Star Wars: The Old Republic is the fully voice-over main quest-line, which is captivating and complex enough to keep you busy for a long time. Player versus player is also rather fun, and the game just received a major expansion which brings space combat as well. It might be a bit harder to start off as a free player, but once you do, there’s plenty to see and do. SWTOR is not a bad game, but it was initially pulled back by a lack of end-game content, which has since been addressed. Definitely worth a shot, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Warframe

Warframe brings cooperative gameplay to the front-line!

Warframe brings cooperative gameplay to the front-line!

If competitive multiplayer is not your thing, then Warframe is the answer to your problems. Warframe is centered around cooperative multiplayer, and it’s all about blasting your foes to bits using interesting game mechanics and a vast arsenal. Sure, the game can be somewhat of a grind, but if you’re really impatient, a couple of dollars will get you ahead. The reason why it’s not a pay-to-win game is hidden in the fact that it’s cooperative, so you will never feel like your opponents are overpowered from purchasing gear. And, where’s the fun in taking shortcuts anyway? The game looks great and plays great, so if you want some memorable adventures with your friends, give this free shooter a try!

Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a great card-game, and it's quite addictive

Hearthstone is a great card-game, and it’s quite addictive

How can we not include Hearthstone here? Sure, it’s still in a beta phase, but it’s polished enough to be completely playable. It’s a card-game with a rough learning-curve, but it becomes highly addictive if you stick with it. Strategy is necessary to win, not only within a game, but in the deck-creating phase as well. You’ll have to consider the pros and cons of your hero, and create a deck tailored to his or her abilities. You’ll also get plenty of chances to unlock more powerful and rare cards, through daily quests and arena fights, so buying game-cards for real-life money is not a necessity. Lastly, you can be extremely successful even with the most basic cards, and you don’t need a deck filled with legendary cards to defeat your opponents. A keen wit, an iron will and the patience to learn the game is all you need, and you’ll have plenty of satisfactory moments to keep you playing.

Planetside 2

For a F2P title, Planetside 2 looks stunning

For a F2P title, Planetside 2 looks stunning

Planetside 2 is an extremely fun FPS that includes both infantry combat, as well as vehicles, so the gameplay is definitely engaging enough. The game has some moderately high requirements, but looks really good for a F2P title. Planetside 2 has a minor pay-to-win factor, but it’s easy to overcome through practice and skill. Some purchasable weapons give players a bit of an edge, but nothing that makes the game any less enjoyable. After all, buy anything you want, a rocket to the face will still see you to a quick demise. The addition of vehicles is a nice touch, and the various full-scale battles provide an engaging experience.