If you upgraded or even got a brand-new gaming PC over the holidays, you’ll be wanting to put it to the test right away, with a whole bunch of games to keep you busy over this quiet new year’s period. Well, the best place to start is undoubtedly the wide array of free-to-play games available on PC right now, giving you the chance to try your hand at a range of games without having to commit to purchases. Especially beneficial if you’re a new PC gamer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at just some of the top free-to-play games on PC right now, but your choice is by no means limited to just these five. There are so many free-to-play or free-to-start games that it’s unlikely anybody has enough hours to even touch the sides. To find them, simply search “free” on your favorite games store, such as Steam, Epic Games or Microsoft Store. Also, be sure to keep an eye on companies doing promotions, like the current Epic Games Store freebies.
The top free-to-play PC games
Fortnite is undoubtedly still one of the biggest games around, over four years since its release. Even if you’ve never played, you’ll surely still know about the colorful, third-person battle royale shooter.
We’re currently fairly new to Chapter 3, Season 1, so even if you are new to the game, it’s a great time to drop in. There’s plenty of time to get involved and level up your Battle Pass before the season ends, and get familiar with the immense backstory that Fortnite has to offer.
While Fortnite is free to download and play, you will need to part with your real money if you want the full Battle Pass. To claim the full pass, you’ll need to spend 950 V-Bucks, which can be purchased with real money. However, by fully leveling up your Battle Pass each season, you have the chance to earn enough free V-Bucks to get the Pass at the start of the next season. So, play enough, and you should only ever need to pay with real money once. And don’t fret, you can still play and level up the free Battle Pass and still earn some of the awesome rewards.
Call of Duty Warzone
Another free-to-play shooter, COD Warzone has taken the Call of Duty franchise, and turned it into a hugely popular Battle Royale. If the more unrealistic style of Fortnite doesn’t appeal to you, then you may be better suited to the wartime realism of Warzone.
The Call of Duty Battle Royale also uses a seasonal system, with both a free and paid-for Battle Pass. As with most of these free-to-play games, you will still get the same gameplay experience from the free version, you’ll just miss out on mostly cosmetic items which bear no competitive edge. And, you can still level up the free Battle Pass, you’ll just earn additional cosmetic items and COD Points with the paid-for track.
Drop into COD Warzone Pacific now to experience the new Caldera map, introduced in early December, 2021.
Another brand new game at the end of 2021, Halo Infinite immediately made its mark as one of the biggest games of the year. And while the Halo Infinite campaign is paid-for, the already hugely popular multiplayer is free-to-play on Xbox consoles and Windows PC. Whether you’ve got experience with previous Halo titles or not, there’s no reason not to give the Xbox and PC-exclusive first-person shooter a try.
As with most of these free-to-play games, there is an in-game store, and microtransactions to spend your real life money on if you so wish. Since these purchasable items are, again, avatar, weapon and profile customization options, there is no competitive benefit in-game.
Other similar first-person shooters, such as CS: GO and Valorant should also be on this list, but we think we need to discuss some games that aren’t shooters. But if they are your thing, then those two are definitely worth checking out as well.
Genshin Impact is a beautiful action RPG featuring an anime style and has been likened to Breath of the Wild for its stunning open-world map. This is a much more peaceful game than the shooters above, so if you’re not into taking down enemies on the battlefield, perhaps you might get on better fishing the waters of Teyvat, making friends with a varied array of NPCs.
Now, Genshin Impact does also have microtransactions, and these are a little less cosmetic-only than the other games on this list. You will be able to buy certain items that do help you in your gameplay. However, that’s not to say that, as long as you can resist the lure of the in-game store, you can’t get through Genshin Impact successfully without parting with any real money. It might just take a little longer. But, hey, more time to explore Teyvat.
Finally, just to take things in a different direction again, we’re finishing the list with Brawlhalla. A platform fighter reminiscent of some of the best, classic fighting games, Brawlhalla is a colorful and stupidly fun game filled with both original chibi-characters and some familiar faces. Battle against gaming royalty like Rayman and Shovel Knight, TV favorites such as Princess Bubblegum and Steven Universe, or comic book characters Hellboy and Nimue.
Another game that is entirely free-to-play with no game-changing paywall, you can get stuck into this entertaining fighter right away, and no that you won’t have to stop just when you’re getting into it.
If you are new to PC gaming or you have a new setup, find out what games your PC can run, how to find out your PCs specs, and take a peek at some of our system requirements pages, like Fortnite, Genshin Impact and Valorant.