There’s plenty to play with zero to pay
If you want to experience free games on Steam, there’s thankfully a lot that the store has to offer. You can gallivant with your friends on hostile planets in Destiny 2 or fight Superman with Bugs Bunny’s ACME rockets in MultiVersus.
The best free games on Steam offer a ton of content and have as few restrictions as possible. These 15 titles certainly do that in spades.
One of the best battle royales in the market right now is Apex Legends. It provides the high-precision gunplay from Titanfall 2 and brings it into the competitive battle royale space. Sliding down hills and using each hero’s powers is satisfying to perform in the game. There will be many intense moments as you contend against opposing teams, and the game provides many opportunities to fail or succeed. The free-to-play model is a little on the expensive side if you want cosmetics and more characters, but playing from the base roster is also entertaining to start Apex Legends with.
If you’re annoyed you can’t play Super Smash Bros. on PC, check out Brawlhalla. It features a smooth platform fighter experience that plays great online. It also has a vibrant cast of characters to choose from. Many will be locked behind payments or in-game progression, but there is a regularly updated free rotation of characters to choose from. One of the game’s unique strategic elements is switching two weapons available to each player. Each weapon’s moveset is radically different, and you’ll need to decide which option best suits the situation.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the definition of a great first-person shooter. The controls are highly responsive, there are deep tactics involved with your equipment selection, and a few of the maps like Dust 2 still remain one of the greatest in the genre’s history. It’s gained a strong following for a reason, so if you’re bored of Call of Duty and want something free to play, you can’t go wrong with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
One of the hardest genres to get into is the MOBA. They require pinpoint accuracy, attention to detail, and communication between team members. However, once you have all the kinks figured out and win game after game, it’s all worth it. DOTA 2 provides a long list of characters to play as, each with their own role and powers they can offer to the battle, providing many hours of gameplay. When DOTA 2 first came out, Destructoid called it “a modern multiplayer masterpiece” and it can be argued that remains to be the case today, 10 years later.
Emily is Away
Emily is Away is a nostalgic journey back into the Windows XP era of communication. There was no Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. Instead, you used to chat on AOL Instant Messenger. This unique storytelling device isn’t just a gimmick, however. There’s a beautifully told narrative about two friends who have grown apart from each other since high school and are trying to reconnect. Despite there being no voice acting, all the emotional beats are there, as you await Emily’s response. Try this one-hour game out when you can. It’s one of the best free games on Steam.
Guild Wars 2
Can’t afford Final Fantasy XIV Online or don’t want to bother with the Battle.net client on PC for World of Warcraft? Guild Wars 2 is a good third option for an MMO. You can play the entirety of the engaging core campaign for free. However, there are restrictions you should keep in mind, like locked content until you reach a certain level. Despite that one fault, Guild Wars 2 offers a stunning world enriched with entertaining MMORPG gameplay.
Halo Infinite multiplayer
While the series is certainly going through a downturn in terms of public reception, Halo Infinite is still a solid multiplayer outing on PC. It offers stellar gunplay you’d expect from the legendary series and engaging maps to fight inside. The campaign itself isn’t available for free, but if you want to spend a night playing Halo like old times on the Xbox 360, you can’t go wrong with Halo Infinite multiplayer.
Want to play a game like Diablo but don’t have the money? Lost Ark is a good free-to-play option for you. It has vibrant graphics, exhilarating combat, and MMORPG mechanics that will bring all of your friends together. You can explore the game’s open world and fight PvE or go PvP against players around the world.
Everyone knows and loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so a card game based on the property could be a cheap cash-in. Fortunately, Marvel Snap is a cherished title for fans of card games, and it’s free to play. “At work and at home, I just can’t put it down,” said CJ Andriessen in his review. “With its structure and speed, it doesn’t feel as tactical as some of the other card games I’ve played, but it finds a way to be satisfying in its brevity.” Each match in Marvel Snap also only lasts for three or so minutes, as opposed to Hearthstone, making this quick and easy to play.
MultiVersus struggles to keep its user base, but this free-to-play fighting game remains absolutely stellar. Each character’s moveset is unique and fits in line with what you’d expect from a great platform fighter. The stages are well-crafted. Unlike PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, there’s also a sense of quality behind the animations, music, and even the menu UI. With some lacking characters like Black Adam and Marvin the Martian, it has fallen off the hype train but hopefully, it can excite players again soon. Maybe a character like Goku, Gandalf, or Walter White could excite the fanbase again.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile, despite it being a free Steam game, is an excellent alternative to the Diablo series if you crave more ARPG goodness. It features a tonne of passives to unlock through the huge skill tree system. It also includes plenty of classes, including the Duelist, Marauder, Ranger, Scion, Shadow, Templar, and Witch. Path of Exile will offer hours upon hours of content for the low, low price of $0, and it also has PvP modes like tournaments and Capture The Flag.
Team Fortress 2
A cherished multiplayer game for many Team Fortress 2 is an absolute classic. This team-based shooter has you playing different roles. One can be the Heavy, dealing a lot of damage with his mini-gun. Another player can send out Sentries and Teleporters throughout the map as the Engineer. There are many options available, so you can find the right playstyle. Despite the game being over a decade old, it still holds up visually with a cartoony art style. Give it a go if you haven’t already.
The Sims 4
Living out your dreams as a Sim doesn’t necessarily sound fun, but The Sims 4 somehow sucks you in for many hours at a time. You’re building your own house, family, and wealth in the game which will feel rewarding. You also grow relationships with other sims by hanging out with them and performing a variety of activities in the community. All of this is now free to play on Steam, so go ahead and download The Sims 4, if you want a chill simulation game to play.
MOBA games like League of Legends are sometimes inaccessible due to their control scheme. Smite makes it easier with a third-person camera. The game also presents over 100 mythological beings from Greek, Roman, and other pantheons. The combat is energetic, and each character’s moveset is themed perfectly to their origins. Ymir is one of the best tanks, for example, with his frosty breath and ice walls.
It’s been a decade, but Warframe still pulls in players today. This game is extremely fast with powerful guns and delightful swordplay. It’s been supported thoroughly by developer Digital Extremes. The game added an open world, and there is spaceship warfare to be had. The art style is also unabashedly strange as it embellishes its sci-fi genre with pride.