If you’re looking for the best free to play PC games right now, then you’ve come to the right place.
The best free to play PC games offer hours of fun with no upfront cost, satisfying gameplay, an active playerbase, and consistent updates to keep you coming back.
In this list, we’ll be recommending the best free to play PC games to check out in 2021, including free to play staples that never go out of style as well as some hidden gems to look out for.
If we forgot to include your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new games in the future.
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Nomads of Driftland
Developer: Star Drifters
Publisher: Star Drifters
Nomads of Driftland is a free to play RTS game with built-in map editing and Steam Workshop support, allowing you to download and share new maps with other players. It was initially created as an add-on for Star Drifters’ previous title, Driftland: The Magic Revival.
It’s designed to appeal to strategy fans who find themselves overwhelmed by the economics and minimal control offered by most 4X games. You’re able to pick and control units directly just like you would in a classic RTS game.
Developer: Oddshot Games
Publisher: Oddshot Games
If you’re in the market for an arcade-style sports game with online multiplayer, then Slapshot: Rebound is a solid choice. It sees you playing physics-based matches of hockey with direct control of the puck at all times.
There’s no magical shoot button or imaginary force keeping the puck glued to your hockey stick, allowing for more unpredictable and exciting moments. It includes several training modes to hone your skills, character customization, leaderboards, and more.
Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
Brawlhalla is a 2D arena fighter that takes some cues from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. while introducing its own unique roster of 40+ playable characters. The goal is quite simple: fight your way to victory by knocking opponents off the stage and become the last player standing.
Outside of the main roster, it features numerous crossovers with TV shows, movies, and video game properties that add new fighters and skins. With simple controls and special moves that require a single button to perform, Brawlhalla is also easy for new players to pick up.
Now that Bungie has gained full control of their space shooter MMO, we’re beginning to see their true vision for Destiny 2 take shape right before our eyes. The biggest difference is a switch to free to play with Destiny 2: New Light.
The new version of the game allows players to access to all missions, strikes, and PvP modes released throughout Destiny 2 ‘Year One.’ This makes it much easier to navigate the shooter’s notoriously overwhelming breadth of content and removes many of the hurdles that typically hinder newcomers.
Dota Underlords sees you recruiting a variety of heroes and other units to use in strategic team battles. Players are able to arrange their units prior to battling but don’t have direct control during the combat phase.
Depending on whether you’re battling 1v1 or higher, matches can feel like strategic games of chess or chaotic and mayhem-fueled bloodbaths. Gold and EXP earned from matches offer a means for upgrading heroes and units while consumables provide a way to obtain stat bonuses.
Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Epic Games
Dauntless offers Monster Hunter-style gameplay without the monetary barrier to entry. The free to play action RPG sees you hunting down a variety of powerful creatures called Behemoths.
Tracking and hunting down each Behemoth presents a unique challenge determined by the monster’s distinct attack patterns and behaviors. Much like Capcom’s popular monster slayer, Dauntless rewards hunts with a variety of materials that can be used to craft and upgrade gear.
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Apex Legends sees squads of up to three players dropped on a map consisting of murky swamplands, compact villages, and sprawling tech facilities. It’s a constant mad-dash to find that next great weapon, attachment, ammo, or armor that will see you through to the end.
The game provides an addictive and rewarding gameplay loop that only benefits from the addition of new heroes, limited-time events, and seasonal rewards. This is one of those free to play games we like to check in on from time to time just to see what Respawn’s been cooking up.
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Epic Games
No one can deny Fortnite‘s dominance over both the Battle Royale and free to play genres as the game continues to add new content across multiple seasons. The formula is well known by now: players explore a shrinking map where they’ll have to loot, shoot, and build their way to victory.
The addition of Daily Challenges and a constantly shifting map has made the game’s most popular mode also one of the most replayable free to play experiences around. That’s before even mentioning its crossover events with high profile properties like Marvel and DC.
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
No stranger to best free to play game lists, Digital Extremes’ third-person shooter Warframe has been delivering a robust and engaging experience for years and seems to always be improving with new updates.
Although grinding can get tedious at times and mastering the many ins and outs of the game’s skill system will take you a while, Warframe is backed by one of the most welcoming and helpful gaming communities around.
Path of Exile
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
Path of Exile is a free to play dungeon crawler that has you exploring procedurally-generated environments, battling monsters, and completing quests in exchange for EXP and more powerful loot.
Each class focuses on one or two of the game’s three core attributes: Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. Items drop with different rarities and can have increasingly powerful properties that make replaying older missions a lot more enjoyable.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Since switching to free to play, CS: GO has seen an uptick in popularity that’s resulted in a bolstering community for what was already a well-supported game. It also helps that Valve has removed most of the paywalls that prevented players from accessing new content.
Combine this all with the game’s reputation for focusing on gameplay balance and updates in the form of new maps, operators, weapons, and modes from year to year, and it’s clear to see why CS: GO is so revered.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda’s free to play base builder is just as addictive today as it was when it released in 2017. In it, players are put in charge of designing and operating their very own fallout bunker in hopes of ensuring mankind’s survival.
The main goal of Fallout Shelter is to foster a community of survivors by providing the best working and living conditions the Wasteland has to offer. As your vault expands and new amenities are added, new vault dwellers will be inclined to come and move in.
Developer: Titan Forge Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios, Tencent Games
With a combined estimate of over 30 million registered users across all gaming platforms, Smite is one of the most popular MOBAs at the moment, partially due to Hi-Rez’s decision to port the game to traditional gaming consoles.
In it, you control various gods and goddesses primarily based on Greek mythology. What separates Smite from the competition is its customization, which offers a wide selection of cosmetic items to help players stand out.
Developer: Evil Mojo Games
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Paladins has managed to carve out its own unique identity by blending elements of MOBA and first-person gameplay. The fantasy-themed hero shooter sees players competing in 5v5 team battles in familiar game modes like Siege, Team Deathmatch, and Onslaught.
The main appeal stems from the game’s diverse roster of 40+ “Champions” combined with its unique deck-building system that allows players to customize a Champion’s abilities to fit their playstyle.
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
There’s a good reason why Blizzard’s card battler remains one of the most popular deck building games on the market. Blizzard has always focused on making Hearthstone appealing to a broad demographic of players, even those who typically don’t play card games.
The game features an easy-to-read UI, engaging animation and sound design, matches with consistent pacing, and a slew of card expansions released throughout the years. Add the fact that it’s free to play, and it’s easy to see why it’s still the go-to deck builder for many players.
Developer: Gigantic Duck Games
Publisher: Gigantic Duck Games
Inspired by the Bomberman series, Bombergrounds: Battle Royale sees you taking part in explosive battles with up to 25-players, represented in-game as cute animals. Combat is carried out by placing bombs on a grid-based battlefield with a limited range.
Any player who finds himself unfortunate enough to be in the radius of a bomb when it detonates is unceremoniously tossed out. Meanwhile, the remaining players are pushed closer together as the perimeter of the battlefield continues to shrink.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Developer: Infinity Ward, Raven Software
Each match of Warzone consists of up to 150 players spread out across a massive map split into five sectors. Where the game differs from other battle royales is its addition of the Gulag, a prison where players spawn after they’ve been killed.
Here, you can compete in 1-v-1 battles to the death, with the victor granted a chance to respawn and join their team. Combine this with the ability to bring back teammates by spending in-game cash at Buy Stations, and your squad’s chances of winning are significantly increased.
Developer: Proletariat, Inc.
Publisher: Proletariat, Inc.
Spellbreak is a fantasy-themed battle royale that sees you developing your skills as a ‘Breaker,’ powerful mages who can take flight and cast a variety of elemental spells using magical gauntlets.
It places a bigger emphasis on traversal than most battle royales, with players able to levitate, dash, fly, and even teleport across the map as an ever-shrinking storm surrounds them.
Developer: Riot Games
Publisher: Riot Games
Valorant draws inspiration from some of the best shooters of the last decade while putting its own spin on things. Presented as a 5v5 tactical shooter, the game sees you joining either Defending or Attacking sides as you compete in objective-based rounds.
There are several playable characters called ‘Agents’ to choose from, each one unlockable for free in-game. Each one features a unique skill set that can give players a leg up on the competition and help turn the tide of battles.