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More Great Games That Don't Cost A Dime

by Cameron Koch on Mar 06, 2014 at 11:44 AM

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A few weeks back we took a look at some of the best free games currently available. We heard some of your favorites in the comments, and now we are back with another list of stellar free-to-play titles worthy of your attention. Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced shooter, an MMO, or a side-scrolling adventure, you can find almost any genre you’re looking for without a box cost attached. As free-to-play or just plain free titles, the games below offer quality gameplay without taxing your wallet. 

More of these games continue to make their way to consoles, allowing for even more gamers to partake in what has traditionally only been available to PC and mobile players. Check out the list below, and feel free to chime in on the comments as to what other free or free-to-play titles you think are worthy of attention.

Hawken (PC)

Titanfall may be the talk of the town, but there are mech alternatives. Those itching for some fast-paced, mech-on-mech action can’t go wrong with Hawken. A wide assortment of customizable mechs, ranging from light and fast scouts to heavily armored walking tanks are at players’ disposals, as are several game modes. Experience points from matches are spent to unlock upgrades for your mech, and like many other free-to-play titles, cosmetic customization options are reserved for those who choose to spend money on premium currency. Hawken recently released on Steam with new content and a number of improvements, making it the perfect time to take the game for a spin.

Smite (PC)

Imagine a game like League of Legends or Dota 2 but with a twist – instead of playing from a top down, RTS perspective, what if you were closer to the action? The result is Smite, a MOBA played from an over-the-shoulder perspective more akin to a third-person shooter. Action in Smite is fast-paced, but still requires the precision and teamwork seen in other MOBAs to truly succeed. The game features a host of mythological gods from a variety of pantheons ranging from Norse to Egyptian. Like League of Legends, there is a weekly rotation of gods to choose from, and starting players begin with five gods as well, with more gods able to be unlocked by playing the game or through microtransactions. Spending $30 nets you every current god available and all the gods yet to be released. The game is currently in open beta with a full release slated for March 25.

Cave Story (PC)

This Metroid inspired side-scroller has been free on the net since 2004, but recent popularity led to new versions of the game being created, like Cave Story+ and Cave Story 3D, and sold on Steam and Nintendo eShops. While the newer versions of the game are great and come with various improvements, the original version is still available for free and features the same top notch gameplay and story that made the game so popular in the first place.

Blacklight: Retribution (PC, PS4)

Blacklight: Retribution is about as close to a free-to-play Call of Duty as you are going to get. A near-future military shooter, Blacklight emphasizes use of the game’s Hyper Reality Visor to see enemies and objectives through walls at the cost of defensive capabilities. An in-game store allows for the purchase of new weapons, gear, xp boosts, and cosmetic options through premium currency, but most gear can be unlocked with good old-fashioned play time. Blacklight’s tight, quick-paced combat partnered with deep weapon-customization options make the game a gem for FPS fans.

Rift (PC)

Like many MMOs, Rift was once a subscription game that made a transition to the free-to-play model. Players can still subscribe and obtain benefits – discounts, in-game currency boosts, special mounts – but the majority of Rift’s content is open for any and all to enjoy at no cost. All this free fun does come with one major drawback. Unless you spend real world money, the ability to put items up on the game’s auction house is closed to you. Any MMO player knows how much of a handicap this can be. With that in mind, Rift is still one of the best free-to-play MMOs on the market. 

Click on to page two for more free games including the re-imagining of a PC classic and a mobile favorite.

PlanetSide 2 (PC, PS4 later this year)

The scale of Planetside 2’s battles is massive, with huge numbers of players equipped with futuristic weaponry and vehicles fighting for control of continents in a persistent online campaign. It’s easy to dive in and start assaulting a fortified base alongside a small army of teammates, but dedicated players will find a huge amount of upgrade and customization options available to them as they continue to earn experience. These upgrades will come much faster to those who decide to pay for XP boosts, and new weapons can also be purchased outright. With that in mind, Planetside 2 still gives players plenty of reasons to drop into combat.

DC Universe Online (PC, PS3, PS4)

Who hasn’t wanted to be a superhero? DC Universe gives players across multiple platforms that opportunity, with an array of hero-customization options and a story that has players teaming up with some of the DC universe’s most iconic heroes and villains. However, some restrictions do apply. Bank slots, inventory space, and character slots are all limited, with the ability to either purchase more individually or cough up the dough for a subscription fee to get more or all of the above. Trading is also disabled for free players. If you can live without having a huge amount of bag room or sharing items with others, DCUO is a fun romp through the world of DC Comics.

Tribes Ascend (PC)

A “pay to win” business model in a game as heavily skill based as Tribes could have meant disaster, but thankfully developer Hi-Rez recognized the importance of keeping their game honest – money won’t help you here. The result is a lightning-fast shooter with a steep learning curve unlike anything else on the market, with players soaring through the air using the game’s unique “ski” mechanic to zip around the battlefield. Acquiring new weapons in the game is a little slow, but the starting weapons and classes manage to pack enough punch to stand toe to toe with players who have either played for much longer or spent money to unlock new gear.

Black Mesa: Source (PC)

The original Half-Life still plays exceptionally well today, more than 14 years after the game’s original release. If you need proof, look no further than Black Mesa: Source. At first glance, Black Mesa may just look like a prettier version of Half-Life, which it is. But it is also so much more – new music, dialogue, animations, voice-acting, altered environments, and enemy encounters make Black Mesa: Source a perfect reason to revisit a classic game or play it for the first time. While the entire game isn't recreated – currently 8-10 hours of the game are playable for free – a more complete version of the game is under development and will go on sale in the future. 

Jetpack Joyride (iOS, Android, PS3, PS Vita)

Released in 2011, Jetpack Joyride continues to prove it is among the cream of the mobile gaming crop by being ported to nearly every platform imaginable. Like most mobile titles, Jetpack Joyride is simple yet addictive. Using a jetpack to maneuver through obstacles, players complete missions and collect coins which are used to buy various upgrades. More coins can be purchased with real money through the game, but are in no way necessary to succeed. The game’s mission structure and spot-on controls may make Jetpack Joyride the most addictive free game on this list. 

What are some of your favorite free games, either on consoles, PC, or mobile? Let us know in the comments below.