Games become more expensive every year, and collections become obsolete. If you don’t feel like spending a lot of money to top them up, you can look for a new favorite on the list of free PC games. I have compiled the top 10 best representatives of the industry in completely different genres – here everyone will find something to their liking. By the way, “PC boyars” were more fortunate than others: on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch, the range of free-to-play games is much less bright.
The top 10 is an incredibly small sample, which definitely does not fit all the games that deserve it for various reasons – “for long service”, “for a good story”, “for a responsive community”, “for maintaining traditions.” If I handed out medals, and not tried to determine the top that will appeal to many gamers based on my own gaming and journalistic experience, then each free title would receive a unique title. However, this time the selection is tough, and not everyone had enough space on the podium.
To make things easier, games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, as well as CS: GO and Valorant, were not included in the top. Everyone knows that there are only “two genders” – from the armies of Riot Games and Valve.
10th place. CrossFire
Genre: A tactical MMO shooter.
Although playing the free version of StarCraft II is a special kind of gamer perversion, it is impossible not to mention the founder of esports. In 2017, Blizzard made the Wings of Liberty multiplayer and story campaign free.
I don’t recommend buying the Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void campaigns right away. Firstly, fans of online battles will have enough multiplayer, which is quite self-sufficient. Secondly, Wings of Liberty is, in my opinion, still the best SC2 has to offer you.
Despite the fact that in 2023 Blizzard announced the end of support for SC2, in the near future it will not affect it in any way, at least if you are not looking for a free game in order to start an esports career. “Starcraft” no longer needs any improvements – the main thing is that the servers work stably.
8th place. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Apex Legends from Respawn Entertainment has incorporated the best of Battle Royale. The authors already had before their eyes both PUBG and Fortnite, so all that remained was to successfully compile the “chips”, avoiding the obvious mistakes of their predecessors. It turned out well: an attractive plot appeared, revival beacons for comebacks, a system of abilities and locations filled with pleasant trifles. Finding something new on the map after a year of playing is a frequent occurrence.
Another cheat – I’ll put Fortnite here, which is also free to download. And although the two games have little visual similarity, it’s hard to argue that battle royale has a lot in common. But for me personally, Apex Legends is better, because you don’t have to … build in it.
6th place. Fallout shelter
Blizzard’s Hearthstone isn’t the first game of its genre that MTG fans are constantly reminded of. But it is the main promoter of the CCI network format. Until now, HS can be played without investment, and the more you play, the more content you can unlock for in-game currency. A beginner will not be able to buy all the adventures on the first day, but this is not required: PvE modes are far from the most interesting part of the CCG.
Many people think that there is nothing to do without a good collection in HS. This is a delusion, since you can collect one strong deck in a couple of weeks, and save up for a ticket to the Arena in one hour of play, if you complete quests daily. In addition, there are brawls where building a deck is often not required, seasonal chests with a large number of rewards and themed holidays, after which you can open a dozen free packs with new cards.
4th place. War thunder
Genre: tank MMO, simulator.
Team Fortress 2 is a free-to-play classic. The title switched to the free-to-play model in 2011 and for a long time remained one of the most popular in the world. By 2023, online Team Fortress 2 is no longer overwhelming, but online games are still quickly sought after. By the way, Valve even releases balance patches for it.
The Team Fortress 2 in-game store sells cosmetic items. Due to the fact that this game is one of Valve’s flagships so far, it is not necessary to buy skins for real money. By knocking out rare items during matches, you can sell them on the Steam Marketplace – for example, “Hana Airstrike” in “slightly worn” quality now costs ₽150,000.
Thanks to the variety of game modes, Team Fortress 2 itself is almost never boring. Tired of Special Delivery Mode? We drove to drive carts in Payload Race. I know gamers who have been playing TF2 for over ten years and would never trade it for another game. Maybe you will come too!
2nd place. Eve Online
Genre: space MMORPG.
PoE is one of the few games in the world where you don’t have to pay for anything. It does not have subscriptions, XP boosters or drops, seasonal Battle Pass and other FTP items that developers make money from. In the store, you will only find cosmetic items and tickets to expand your inventory.
I started playing Path of Exile with the Talismans league, started out on hardcore. I had a guild and a tube community created by a streamer, and thanks to the team, I didn’t even think about trading for several years – a very important part of the game. In general, I have been farming Dried Lake with my SRSs for several months and storing the loot in standard chests. Honestly enough.
Years later, having studied many of the nuances of the game, which by that time got rid of the strange three-level pumping system and the need to “hang” on Dried Lake, I unlocked all the available compartments for currencies, maps, fossils and other items and bought premium sections. Of course, it is more convenient with them, but these are not essential things, without which the game is not cute.
PoE itself does not get boring even after several seasons – it is constantly updated. Grinding Gear Games relied on a session game: the user gives all the best in the first two weeks after the start of the league, farm as usual for a couple of months, takes a little rest and starts from scratch. For opponents of sessions and hero changes, there is a megaserver, where all characters from leagues and the resources they have accumulated go. There you can always try to knock out the “Mirror of Kalandra” with your own hands and kill the most powerful bosses with one blow.
During the formation of the top, I noticed that many free games are similar to each other. Genres favorable to unlocking the commercial potential of the free-to-play model are densely overgrown with good games. There are many free MMORPGs, tank action games, CCGs and battle royale, but the range of strategies and RPGs is extremely scarce. However, there is an endless ocean called “indie”. Even a sophisticated user can dive to the very bottom of Steam and find a masterpiece there – both released yesterday and at the beginning of the century.
Many gamers do not like buying games, even if they have the financial ability to do so. With the advent of home PCs in the CIS, a culture of torrents and discs from the market arose. Those days are far behind, and I think that in 2023 pirates are ashamed. It’s a stretch to justify someone who downloads an unlicensed copy to try out the game. Although in this case, it is better to use the refund function with a small number of hours played, available on all major platforms. It is impossible to find an excuse for those who have been playing GTA V “torrent edition” for years or download The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is sold several times a year for modest money in all services known to mankind. Buy good games – this is the only way your favorite developers will be able to “cut useful content” over and over again.