The 10 best free games on console

Free-to-play doesn't have to be a gamble, check out these steals.

The word free-to-play used to send cold shivers down our spines and while many games still use this model to coerce us into paying for myriads of micro transactions, there are a few that deliver some completely free experiences. Downloading and playing free-to-play games can often feel like a gamble, especially when you feel pressured into splurging your hard-earned cash. However, not all free-to-play games are out there to get you and your wallet. In fact, there are plenty of fantastic free games that you can play without spending a dime. Below are 10 of the very best cross platform free-to-play games you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

Fortnite Battle Royale

© Epic Games
© Epic Games

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS

Fortnite has taken the video game world by storm and its combo of tense loot-based gunplay and lightning fast base-building delivers a truly action-packed experience. The 100-player PvP mode is completely free and there are no advantages given to those that decide to splash out on the game’s Battle Pass or cosmetics. Fortnite’s building mechanics can take a little time to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be building rings – or boxes around your enemies. While many developers seem to be desperately trying to tap into the battle royale bandwagon, Epic Games delivers a truly fresh experience that is genuinely fun to play. Grab a few mates and let the carnage begin.

Warframe

© Digital Extremes
© Digital Extremes

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Warframe is the pinnacle by which many players judge free-to-play games, as you can enjoy the entirety of its futuristic world without having to remortgage your house. If you like the idea of leaping through the air and slicing and dicing your way through hordes of alien troops while looking like a space-age samurai, then Warframe is the game for you. Warframe’s core loop of kill, loot, and upgrade is highly addictive, while using the game’s various alien Iron Man suits keeps the gameplay fresh. Each Warframe has unique abilities and playstyles that all feel fantastic to play, so there’s always plenty of variety and experimentation.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

© CD Projekt Red
© CD Projekt Red

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The Witcher 3’s distracting card-collecting minigame certainly stopped our hunt for Ciri on many an occasion, but CD Projekt Red has given us yet another excuse to sit inside and play Gwent all day. This addictive TCG is filled with iconic Witcher factions and characters from across the series’ games and books, but you don’t need to be a fan to understand the game’s nuances. Unlike many online card games, Gwent puts an emphasis on both skill and accessibility instead of complexity and random luck. Every faction plays differently and you can quickly accumulate cards simply by playing through casual matches. With the upcoming overhaul and official campaign release in October, there’s never been a better time to jump into the world of Gwent.

SMITE

© Hi Rez Studios
© Hi Rez Studios

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

SMITE is one of the only MOBAs that is available to those on both PC and console, so you can enjoy the tense team-based action no matter your platform. In SMITE, you take control of a god, goddess, or a mythological figure and are pitted against other player-controlled gods. Players are formed into two teams of five, and the objective is to push your way into the enemy base via the map’s three lanes. The third-person nature of this battler makes for an interesting take on the MOBA experience, and while it may not be as big as League of Legends or Dota, it’s still kept fresh with regular character and map updates. Every character can be bought and earned by simply playing the game, but you can purchase the Ultimate God pack for just $29.99, which nets you both past and present characters.

Paladins

© Hi Rez Studios
© Hi Rez Studios

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Hi-Rez Studios’ Paladins may have received a lot of heat due its close resemblance to Overwatch, but it does feel and play differently. The game is filled with colorful characters and maps, while gameplay is fast and frantic thanks to the ability to summon mounts. However, the most interesting feature is Paladins’ card system which allows players to amplify, reduce, and alter various abilities. At the beginning of a match, players can choose their loadouts and tailor decks to towards their playstyle. The card system certainly adds an interesting dynamic and greatly changes the way certain champions play. If you’re tired of the Overwatch grind and are looking for an interesting alternative, why not give Paladins a go?

Path of Exile

© Grinding Gear Games
© Grinding Gear Games

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

It’s easy to shrug Path of Exile off as a poor man’s Diablo, but that would be far from the truth. Path of Exile is arguably one of the most in-depth action RPGs to be released in recent years, giving players endless amounts of customization through the game’s enormous skill tree. There are initially six classes to choose from and you’re tasked with exploring vast underground caves, dungeons, killing bloodthirsty monsters and fulfilling quests in order to gain experience and equipment. Your active skills can be modified through the use of Support Gems, while primary attacks can be fitted with numerous attributes. For example, your character can modify their attacks so that they have increased attack speed, multiple projectiles, chaining hits, lifesteal, critical strikes, and more. The sheer amount of customization is crazy, so grab a few mates and get looting those dungeons!

Killer Instinct

© Microsoft Game Studios
© Microsoft Game Studios

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Killer Instinct allows for some beastly cross-platform combo play between both PC and Xbox One, and while you’ll only have access to one fighter, it’s not a bad way to see the brutal Mortal Kombat-esque finishers and insane 80+ Ultra Combo attacks. There’s a lot of strategy present in Killer Instinct’s flashy fighter, so getting to grips with its mechanics can take a little while, especially if you’re new to the series. However, the free character changes weekly and individual fighters can be bought with real money, so even if you choose not to spend anything, you'll still be able to enjoy the modes and features of Microsoft's flagship fighter.

Blacklight: Retribution

© Zombie Studios
© Zombie Studios

Platforms: PC, PS4

Blacklight: Retribution takes the core Call of Duty run and gun loop and puts a cyberpunk twist on it. The classic FPS games types are all present, with the likes of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination, King of the Hill and Kill Confirmed, so there’s plenty of variety to choose from. Thankfully, Blacklight is more than just a CoD clone as it features various mechanics that differentiate it from the FPS crowd. For example, the Hyper Reality Visor (HRV) allows players to locate enemies, mines, weapon depots and Hardsuit weak points through walls and other obstacles for a very short amount of time. However, you can’t shoot while using this mechanic, making gameplay tactical and fair. You can even deploy pilotable mechs, tools and weapons mid-game with the points you earn in-game. If you like futuristic shooters, then give Blacklight: Retribution a go.

World of Tanks

© Wargaming.net
© Wargaming.net

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360

If driving tin cans of destruction and blowing things up sounds like fun, then World of Tanks offers just that. This post-apocalyptic world is seemingly teeming with sentient tanks, but unlike the movie, Cars, there is a lot more death and destruction on the menu. World of Tanks rewards strategic minds and sheer firepower over anything else, but you’ll also need to communicate with your allies if you wish to blow your enemies to smithereens. Matches are fought and won either by destroying all vehicles on the opposing team or by capturing the opposing team's base. Outfit your tank to fit your playstyle and get blowing stuff up. It’s that simple.

Planetside 2

© SOE / Daybreak
© SOE / Daybreak

Platforms: PC, PS4

Planetside 2 is as old as the free-to-play model itself, but it still delivers one of the best large-scale FPS experiences to this day. Battles can have up to 2000 players on a single map and these conflicts are fought both on foot and in the air. It’s hard not be taken aback by the sheer volume of chaos that inhabits these war-torn worlds, but the real surprise is that you can take part in these futuristic warzones for free. The game also features a day and night cycle, which opens up different approaches to gameplay, making battles feel fresh each time you login. You can level up by simply participating in any of the epic battles, but be prepared to spend a bit of money if you want the very best gear the game has to offer.

Writer

James is a journalist who has written for the likes of PC Gamer, Games Radar, Kotaku, LoL Esports, and many more. If you’d like to get in touch with James you can contact him via email at james.busby@allgamers.com or by following him on Twitter

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