Don’t have the budget to drop on the lastest AAA game? Check out these 11 highly satifsying free-to-play games on Steam instead!
PC gaming often gets a bad rap for being “too expensive” to get into because a lot of non-console gamers think that you have to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming computer in order to run today’s top games. And, of course, that simply isn’t true. In fact, you can build an affordable gaming computer for $500 or less that will work fine for 1080P gaming—especially when you consider that a lot of today’s top titles are non-demanding esports games (like League of Legends, Rocket League, Dota 2, Fortnite, Overwatch, etc.).
But, aside from the “high-cost-of-entry” myth that is typically associated with PC gaming, there is one benefit that PC gamers get that no other class of gamers get… and, that is highly entertaining free-to-play games. In fact, a few of the most popular titles on the PC are free-to-play (League of Legends, Dota 2, and Fortnite.) However, while those are the more well-known free-to-play games on PC, there are a ton more games on the PC—and, more specifically, on Steam—that are free-to-play.
In this post, we’re going to list 11 of the best free games on Steam that you can play right now. So, whether you’re a PC gamer already and you’re looking for a new game to jump into, or you’re thinking about getting into PC gaming and you’re looking for a list of games that you can try out for free, this list will give you plenty of titles to jump into and try out without you having to open up your wallet.
Paladins is a first-person-shooter free-to-play game. A deck of cards with special abilities is its ticket to victory. The cards help a team to score control points by sending a siege engine to an enemy’s fortress doorstep. Paladins comprises of over three dozen playable characters. It has maps and vibrant visuals to make the game more appealing.
Moving up a play level improves the abilities of the cards to modify a character from the onset of the game. You can adjust a character’s movement speed, health and ability to cool down. The features enable the game to be suitable for strategic play.
Paladins is very similar to Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch. It has some MOBA qualities because all the characters have their own abilities and weaknesses. Players are categorized into four categories: front line fighter, damage dealer, flanking hero, & support character.
A well-executed strategy is really important for this team-based game. Paladins is ranked among Steam’s top 10 selling games.
War Thunder was released in August 2013. The game is set in World War 2 and it is an MMO combat military-style game. A team of up to 16 players chooses a war vehicle of their choice to man during matches. The war vehicles range from sky-based aircrafts to sea-based naval ships to ground-based combat vehicles. So, there is a pretty wide-range of options to choose between.
While War Thunder is one of the best free-to-play games on Steam, the game is a cross-platform game that can also be played on PlayStation 4 and XBox One.
Picture yourself playing the role of a robot space ninja. That’s the role Warframe imposes on you. Goons and other spaceships fight out among themselves in this action game for their rightful space. The characters are donned in elegant war frames that cause extraordinary capabilities and define your playing style.
There are several enemy factions with varying strengths and weaknesses that players are bound to face. Players can customize their load outs to their liking. Warframe has a larger player base because of its popularity. The more you play, the more you unlock cool combat gear, and that is what Warframe is all about.
Warframe currently ranks first on Steam’s list of top-selling free-to-play games. The game is updated frequently, and so players stand to enjoy new experiences regularly. War Frame won the “Labour of Love” Steam award in 2017.
SMITE is a third person MOBA game that was released in September of 2015. The multi-player game is based on combat between two teams of five players on either side. Each of the characters available features a passive trait, is assigned a basic attack, and comes with special abilities to help them attack the enemy in unique ways.
SMITE’s third person style differentiates from traditional MOBA’s top-down view, while maintaining the traditional MOBA gameplay (work your way into your enemy’s base and destroy it).
Team Fortress 2
For a game that was released way back in October of 2007, Team Fortress 2 still maintains a highly active player base. In fact, TF2 won the Test of Time award in 2016. The game is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter with nine different playable classes.
There are also a number of different game types to choose between, including: Control Point, Capture the Flag, Attack/Defend, Payload, King of the Hill, and Man vs. Machine.
Team Fortress 2 is still updated with new gaming modes, equipment, and maps. It currently ranks 4th on Steam’s top-selling free-to-play games.
Realm Royale was launched through Steam’s Early Access program in June 2018 and it is a spinoff of Paladins (listed above). It is a free-to-play third-person battle royale shooter game. Realm Royale revolves around different classes, skills, mounts, and an arsenal of weapons. Players can choose between the following classes: Warrior, Assassin, Engineer, Mage, and Hunter.
Realm Royale has seen a bit of a dropoff in its player base since its initial release, but the game is still worth checking out if you prefer a fantasy setting for your battle royale style game.
Brawlhalla is a multi-player fighting game that has a similar style to Super Smash Bros. Brawlhalla has a few different game styles to choose between, but in the majority of them, your goal is to knock your opponent(s) off of a platform until they have no lives left, or to have the most points accumulated at the end of the game.
You can choose between eight different characters for free and those characters change on a weekly basis. You can also purchases your favorite characters with in-game currency that is earned through playing matches, or by purchasing them with real money.
Dota 2 is the most-played game on Steam and is one of the most-played games across any platform. It is also one of the most prominent esports games currently available and Dota 2 professionals earn more money on average than the professionals of other esports titles.
Dota 2 is a MOBA-style game where you can choose between a large library of characters, each of whom have different abilities and play styles, to help you beat your opponent. The game has a bunch of game modes, but the most popular mode is 5v5.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile is an action-based RPG game that was developed, published, and released by Grinding Gear games in October 2013. The game garnered hit five million users just one year after its development.
Gamers play exiled characters that need to fight monsters, level up, and upgrade their gear in order to progress further into the game. Characters can be customized with a fairly complex talent tree-system. You can choose to play as a ranger, duelist, marauder, witch, templar, scion, or shadow.
Despite being free-to-play, Path of Exile is updated frequently. It was nominated for the Labour of Love Award in 2017, but it lost to War Frame. It ranks third on Steam’s top-selling games.
Ring of Elysium
Ring of Elysium is a multiplayer battle royale shooter action game released under Steam’s Early Access program in September 2018. It was developed by Tencent games and published by Tencent Games in conjunction with Garena. Ring of Elysium is a survival-style game in which characters have to fight their way through a snowstorm against other players to be one of only a few players who can be saved.
A lot of Early Access players have commended the developers of Ring of Elysium for solving a lot of the issues that players have disliked about other popular battle royale style games (namely, PUBG and Fornite), all while still keeping the elements that have made battle royale games so popular.
The game currently ranks 8th on Steam’s list of the Top Selling free-to-play games (which, for free-to-play games, just means top downloaded.)
Black Squad is another early access game that has released with good results. Black Squad is a military-based first-person shooter made in Unreal Engine 3. The game is known for its fast-paced action-packed combat and its realistic graphics.
The game was released in July of 2017 and is currently one of the top-rated free-to-play games on Steam. While the game is free-to-play, players can purchase in-game skins with real money. However, the skins are cosmetic only and have no impact on gameplay.
If you’re a PC gamer on a budget and you don’t want to commit to dropping ~$50-$60 on a new title that you might not even like, you’d probably be better off checking out one of the free-to-play games on Steam that are listed above. A lot of the game listed above have large player bases and can be just as addictive—if not more so—than some of today’s AAA titles.
Whether you’re looking for a MOBA-style game, a first-person shooter, or a battle royale game, there is likely a free-to-play option on Steam that should suit your needs.