Another 10 great free games you should try
Yesterday, I composed a list of 10 great free-to-play titles that provide quality gaming on the PC without a cost and without a pay-to-win factor attributed to them. Those were all great titles, but I quickly realized that a list consisting of 10 games isn’t nearly close enough to include all the quality options out there. As a consequence, I’m bringing another list of 10 titles to add to the original, in case there was nothing interesting enough for you the first time around. So, let’s dive in!
Team Fortress 2
Valve’s Team Fortress 2 is a great example of you can make a relatively simple, but extremely addictive and engaging game. It’s a shooter with a cartoony feel to it, and it’s absolutely great. With 9 available classes, a multitude of weapons (which can be bought, but also earned) and multiple game modes, it’s a game that will keep you busy for a long time. Bought weapons aren’t stronger or weaker, just different, and the fact that weapons have advantages and disadvantages means that the pay-to-win factor is pretty much nullified. Valve is also constantly updating the game with new maps, game modes and gear, so it’s clear that Team Fortress is here to stay for a long, long time.
Tera was pretty anticipated when it launched, and was initially a game you had to buy. It went free-to-play later on, and instead adopted a microtransaction option which allows for custom (and shiny) weapon or armor skins, and other commodity advantages, but nothing that influences gameplay. Thus, it’s one of those MMORPG’s that you can really enjoy without spending a single dime. It has a really, REALLY good combat system that’s both complex and engaging. You have to time your skills, dodges and blocks, and the variety of tactics necessary for defeating bosses is big enough to keep you focused for a long time. It looks really good (especially if you’re into the over-the-top or half-naked Asian artwork style), and plays well. PvP is also interesting, and provides for some tactical decision making. Definitely a game worth trying.
Smite is a free-to-play MOBA that sets itself apart from League of Legends or Dota 2, through the simple fact that it plays like an MMORPG. You control your character in 3rd person, and move around like any such game. Other than that, it’s pretty much the standard MOBA gameplay, with laning, 3 skills + an ultimate, and every other aspect you’d expect to see. Gaining heroes in Smite is tough if you don’t want to spend money, but it’s not impossible. It just takes time. Still, you get a couple right as you start, so you definitely have the tools to have fun. And fun Smite is! Other than buying heroes and bundles, skins and the like are also available.
Rift is also one of those MMORPG’s that started off as a subscription-based game, and went free-to-play. The standard pay-for-comfort rules apply, but the core of the game is accessible without compromise to non-paying players. There’s a lot to do, and Rifts are actually lots of fun. Rift manages to look good (if not exactly breathtakingly so), and the rivaling factions offer a good set-up for some PvP. Boss fights are pretty fun, and it does take some time to reach the end-game phase (especially when you’re new), so Rift will probably keep you busy for a few months at least.
World of Warplanes
World of Warplanes is pretty much the same thing as World of Tanks, but with planes, obviously. The same free-to-play model is applied, and the game manages to be fun and competitive. It’s definitely a worthwhile opponent for War Thunder, and which one you like more is a matter of preference. World of Warplanes brings a nice combination of tactics, teamwork and on-the-spot thinking, with an extremely rewarding and satisfying feeling when you manage to get out of a rough spot and turn the battle around. The same situation applies as in World of Tanks…getting ahead is a grind, and of course, you can purchase anything from planes to xp boosts, but none of them are gameplay altering, and if you have the time, World of Warplanes can be extremely enjoyable without any investment.
Mech Warrior Online
This is one heavily under-rated game. Mech Warrior Online launched last September, and it somehow never managed to captivate a wide enough audience. Regardless, those that have tried the game have been positively surprised, and the gameplay manages to be captivating and engaging. It’s a bit hard to get into it as a newbie, and it’s hard to understand all the various systems, but once you give it some time, things do become a lot clearer. The only real downside is that buying mechs can be extremely expensive (there are mechs selling for $500, which is pretty outrageous), so if you want to look good, expect shedding out some serious cash. If you’re content with the average-Joe outfit though, you have no reason to spend anything.
Neverwinter is an action-oriented RPG based on the 4th Dungeons & Dragons rule-sets. It has nothing in common with the previous Neverwinter Nights franchise. It’s one of those MMORPGs that makes it easy for players to get going, and it’s instance-based in a lot of cases, meaning that you won’t have to battle hoards of players for loot most of the time. It’s definitely not the very best MMORPG out there, but Neverwinter is definitely a good one. The in-game shop is limited to customization options, special mounts and materials used to create gear. Of course, some of these materials can actually be used to get extremely strong end-game stuff, but you can always get it the hard way. And, when you have the possibility to customize and create your own dungeons that others can explore, it’s a small price to pay.
Due to the multiple features added into Runescape over time, it’s probably the most pay-to-win title on the list. Not that you’re at a disadvantage in the end-game phase necessarily, but you can buy armors and weapons outright in Runescape’s in-game shop, which normally you would have to work for and grind. Still, Runescape is worth a mention, simply because there’s so much to do and so many game modes to try. Because it’s fairly olt, the content for it has been expanded to astonishing levels. Don’t be scared by the fact that people have been playing it for ages now, it’s still going to be here for a long time, and it’s a great way to spend a few evening hours.
Stunning visuals combined with a very dynamic and competitive multiplayer – that’s what Tribes: Ascend is all about. It’s one of the highest rated FPS F2P games out there, and for good reason. It feels more like a solid, well-designed game than many other competitors, and it never feels like a cheap money-grab. Futuristic weapons, vehicles and rewards for doing well (kill-streak rewards) make for a captivating experience, all packaged in a beautiful game world that’s brought to life by a strong engine. It does have some moderately high PC requirements, but you won’t need NASA’s computers to handle it. The standard recipe applies here too – unlockables can be acquired the easy way (real-life money) or the hard way (by playing the game).
Firefall looks great and plays great. It’s not without it faults, as progression isn’t properly solved yet and can be frustrating, but when you’re actually blasting through enemies, you’ll have one hell of a smile on your face. The game brings some interesting new concepts, and the classes (while still not perfectly balanced) are all fun to play, and make you want to try them out individually. Even the medic packs quite the punch, so you don’t have to worry about a low damage output, regardless of what class you go with. Firefall is also a visually pleasing experience, and is among the best looking free-to-play FPS shooters out there.