This Ultimate YourGlobalGamer Guide looks at the best free PC games on the market in 2023.
PUBG Battlegrounds | Final Fantasy XIV | Wizard101 | Dota 2 | Albion Online | Guild Wars 2 | Warframe | Paladins | Hearthstone | Brawlhalla | The Sims 4 | Destiny 2 | Runescape | Dauntless | Lost Ark | Smite | Apex Legends | League of Legends | Counter Strike: Global Offensive | Legends of Runeterra | Team Fortress 2 | Path of Exile | Spelunky Classic | Rocket League | Fortnite | Lord of the Rings Online | Eve Online | Teamfight Tactics | Planetside 2 | Heroes and Generals | Multiversus | Gwent: The Witcher Card Game | Shadowverse | Call of Duty Warzone 2 | Super Crate Box | Star Wars: The Old Republic | Conqueror’s Blade | Overwatch 2 | Trove | Fall Guys
The game that started the Battle Royale genre. Though not completely original on its own, but rather a culmination and amalgamation of other game design ideas, the PUBG Battlegrounds is where it began and continues to this day. In PUBG Battlegrounds, players duke it out, whether solo against all others or with a team, as they try to survive the chaos in an island setting.
Once a game that requires a purchase to experience, PUBG Battlegrounds is now a free-to-play game accessible via Epic Games Store or Steam, with microtransactions as a means of revenue for the publisher. With that being said, cosmetics also play a big part in this third-person shooter title, which showcases each individual’s unique character and varying tastes.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is another entry into the Final Fantasy franchise, but with an MMORPG twist, similar to Final Fantasy XI. Mixing what makes MMORPGs and the series fun in general fun, this fourteenth installment has many classic elements that are familiar to its established audiences. Players can choose to build many characters as they pursue various classes and even engage in quests, whether by themselves or with friends—nonetheless, there is never a dull moment with this game.
While the game retains its subscription-based service, Final Fantasy XIV can now also be experienced by non-premium users via an extensive trial program. For up to a certain level, players may be able to immerse themselves in the world of the game, with some caveats. Still, players who are looking only to spend some time with friends or others online, without spending a single penny, can never go wrong with it.
At roughly 14 years of running time, the Wizard101 is a franchise that has a lot going on for it to ensure its mainstay. While today’s MMORPGs capitalize on immersive visuals, this longstanding title around wizarding students thrives in its engaging gameplay and amid aging graphics. Fans of Harry Potter, more or less, are certainly part of this game’s existing and still growing player base.
Although it would take a continuing premium user to enjoy Wizard101 in its entirety, newcomers may still have a slice of the enjoyable experience by choosing to play the game’s first arc, charge-free. From there, players will have to subscribe to continue their immersion in the game.
Improving upon which the original Defence of the Ancients (DoTA) started as a mod for Warcraft III, DoTA 2 is a vastly improved MOBA through its mechanics and upgraded visuals. It has been almost a decade since the game was released to the market and since then, it has seen a constant stream of new content, such as it has an overall 124 heroes to choose from to date.
Already a game of its own, DoTA 2 is a freely accessible title, exclusively on Steam. But while players can choose to experience this MOBA title completely without ever costing a dime, microtransactions offer unique aesthetics to everyone in the game’s expansive hero roster. And with interest in the game remaining strong in the community, players can expect more additions to that list in the foreseeable future.
Many MMORPGs offer long-term playability to players by offering class systems, such as those seen in the likes of Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. But Albion Online is different in that it offers an extensive and varied character progression that sets a player’s character significantly distinct from others. Whether you are pursuing a character that is largely a combat or gatherer build, or anything else, this game has a lot to offer, each of which takes a significant amount of time to fulfill.
But a major highlight in Albion Online is certainly in its diverse PVP aspects that see players rushing to power to compete against others, whether for prestige or reward.
While Albion Online can be played completely free of charge, there is a perk that comes with paying subscribers in terms of faster character progression, if they so choose.
Guild Wars 2
Just taking a look at Guild Wars 2 and its visual quality is enough to hook you in, which speaks a lot for a roughly over a decade-old game. But more than just the fancy graphics, this MMORPG is everything that makes the genre a classic—and yes, it has all the traditional elements in it, such as exploration, quests, leveling system, combat, etc., but with a few twists on its own.
With installment after installment of DLC, Guild Wars 2 is a game that will still have plenty going for it in the years to come. And for anyone looking to jumpstart their journey in the world of Tyria for the first time in 2023, that is certainly a good prospect.
For a game rich in content and constantly growing due to ceaseless developer support, it is hard to believe that a game as massive and amazing as Warframe is completely free to play. But that is exactly what this game is.
But while players may have an on-and-off relationship with this looter shooter title, Warframe is certainly something any player will keep on coming back to every so often—partly, in an attempt to continue an unfinished business or otherwise pursue new ones, no matter how seemingly endless the feat is.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm
Hi-Rez Studios’ Paladins: Champions of the Realm may seem like your typical team-based shooter from the surface. But while the game does capitalize on the tried-and-true formula of the genre, it adds its flairs to it, somewhat separating it from the pack—such as the use of the card system which adds to the depth of customizing each hero.
New players, however, will certainly find Paladins: Champions of the Realm’s expansive roster of heroes a good reason to immerse themselves in the game, while they still learn the ropes. But nothing that is ever too complex for anyone who has at least seen how a game of the genre plays.
There are only a handful of card-based games that captured the market, and Hearthstone is certainly at the top of the game. But this game’s rise to fame is not without its merit. Not only is the game easily accessible as a free-to-play game with multiple platform support, but its simple gameplay design also makes it especially appealing to newcomers in the genre.
Like its contemporaries, Hearthstone’s enduring stay also boils down to its seemingly endless content updates, countless in-game possibilities, optional microtransactions, and fair matchmaking scheme.
In just one look at Brawlhalla, it is apparent where its inspiration draws from. While many may criticize it as simply a clone of a popular Nintendo franchise, Brawlhalla has efforts of offering something new through its wide range of playable characters and unique fighting mechanics. Free-to-play and with the support of multiple platforms, Brawlhalla is surely an easy-to-pick-up game.
However, it is also worth noting that Brawlhalla, while can be enjoyed completely with cost, is a game with contents locked behind a paywall. This suggests that those who are truly invested in the game will have no choice but to spend on it—possibly, to a degree of satisfaction.
The Sims 4
Fans of the simulation will certainly find it hard to overlook the Sims franchise. And with its latest iteration—The Sims 4—the game is seeing the biggest entry in the series yet, thanks to multiple expansions from across many years. But The Sims 4 is not only rich in content but gameplay-wise, it is also more complex than ever, which opens so much room for possibilities—be it good or bad.
It will certainly take a lot of money to own The Sims 4 in its most comprehensive form. Fortunately, Electronic Arts have decided to offer the base game for free since October 18, 2022, giving interested players a chance to immerse themselves in the latest pinnacle of simulation gaming.
Drawing from the success of its predecessor, Destiny 2 enhances the formula that makes the seminal title such a hit among fans. As a first-person co-op shooter, this game plays heavily in teamwork, although players may also choose to go solo. But if there is something that makes this Bungie title exciting, it is its role-playing game elements as well as looter shooter mechanics.
While players might be on it for the intense action experience, others who are looking to invest their time in a good story will not be disappointed with Destiny 2. The game’s campaign is so good in itself, players would be spending their time coursing through it from start to finish.
With over 2 decades of staying power, one can tell that there is something about Runescape that keeps it going for a very long time. And true enough, this MMORPG does things that are truly classic in a sense—such as a vast sandbox world, rich virtual habitat, various quests, random events, and more.
And while Runescape has seen a few iterations throughout its 21 years, players can choose to experience the world of the game either in its most modern or its archaic form. Whichever version it may be, it is still the same game that players knew and loved.
What do you get when you combine the visuals of Fortnite and the gameplay mechanics of Monster Hunter? In a nutshell, that is what Dauntless is. But while that description may seem offputting for diehard Monster Hunter fans, this game is much better than what a mere copy may insinuate—not to mention, an overall lighter experience.
For the cost of admission of literally zero, Dauntless offers a generous experience that is familiar, fun, and engaging. From the range of weapons to choose from and master, to the number of monster types to slay, to the diversity of easy loots, this game is all about giving something good, without necessarily punishing you first for it.
After taking both South Korea and Japan, and subsequently the rest of the world, by storm, Lost Ark has finally reached West-side and does so with a bang. And fans of the Diablo franchise will easily find themselves at home playing this game for their similarities in play style and presentation—action-oriented as seen in the isometric view.
With a game as immersive and expansive as Lost Ark, players can easily sink 50 hours of their time into the game and barely even scratch the surface. Quite ironically, the same can be also as true around the endgame, which meant that there is a lot of playtime in store with this game.
But amid the addictive nature of this MMORPG, Lost Ark is a game that values the idea of rest for its players by rewarding those who chose to temporarily break free from the game for a while, such as the increased likelihood of getting loot from late-game events.
Can anyone imagine playing a game like DoTA and yet letting the player have more control over their “hero” by not being solely point-and-click and in a third-person perspective? That on a surface is what Smite is like as a game, but with a twist on its own—instead of playing heroes, players are instead given autonomy over their preferred deity—or Gods—of choice.
But while many games of this genre have trouble setting the balance between their playable characters through their nuances, Smite does its best for keeping the playground fair with its more or less similarly powered supreme beings, though not less fickle to easily tip the scales to any one side’s favor.
Made from the same company that brought the Titanfall series into the mainstream, expectations were high about Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends as an addition to the list of titles in the Battle Royale sub-genre. But for a team of game makers comprised of former Call of Duty developers from Infinity Ward, this game does an excellent job of making a squad-based game and satisfying gunplay mechanics.
While most games in the genre rely heavily on individual effort to climb through the ranks of best players in the server, Apex Legends does it quite differently by putting more emphasis on a team-based effort—hence, the squads, consisting of three players, that enter each match. But as each player can only choose a unique Legend, every match opens a lot of experimentation with varying degrees of results.
League of Legends
From being a contender to being the biggest title in the genre, it speaks volumes about how League of Legends has come a long way since it was introduced to players several years ago. Although this title takes a lot of inspiration from DoTA, this game by Riot Games does better than it is such that it holds the crown of the most-played title in the genre—and that’s counting millions of players day by day.
For players who may be new to MOBA and are looking for a title that they can immerse themselves in, they can never go wrong by choosing to play League of Legends, thanks to its vast number of heroes, the lore, and of course, solid gameplay.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
From being simply a mod to Half-Life to subsequently being a game on its own after a few iterations, Counter-Strike is finally at its most modern with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and it fine-tunes everything that made the franchise appealing to play, such as unique customizations and intense team-based shooting gameplay. Competitive players who have a penchant for shooting their way across the ranks of the best players in the server will certainly find a home with this game.
But while the game can now be played freely and allow the players to experience the game in its entirety, it comes with a caveat—it takes a Prime Status membership for players to participate in Ranked Matchmaking. Nevertheless, if players are only looking to have a good time playing cooperatively with friends or competitively with others, CS:GO has plenty of both.
Legends of Runeterra
It comes as no surprise at this point that Riot Games has a clever way of taking inspiration from existing franchises, putting a twist to the idea, and making them successful. In Legends of Runeterra, this is a case of the developer wanting to expand on the League of Legends into something else entirely on a groundwork that is also already laid out by the likes of Magic: The Gathering, the Card Collecting Game (CCG) genre.
While some may lay claim that Legends of Runeterra is not at the pinnacle of the genre, as it is a title held by Hearthstone, still the game’s large and growing fan base speaks to how successful it has become over the years. And considering the game’s low barrier to entry, the expectation is still good that those numbers are still likely to expand in the foreseeable future.
Team Fortress 2
At 15 years of age as of 2022, Team Fortress 2 may find it hard to compete with more modern team-based shooters when it comes to presentation. But while it is not shabby either, the game’s genuine appeal lies in its fast-paced gameplay—similar to the game it originally modded to come into existence as a franchise, Quake—and of course, engaging gameplay mechanics. In retrospect, it is hard to look at games like Overwatch, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege without giving TF2 a bit of credit for the features that they employ that give them their success.
But while it takes a bonafide fan to still like Team Fortress 2 to this day when there are fresher and better alternatives, there is no denying the nostalgia that the game offers, such that it remains to have a player base, despite not aging like fine wine. Of course, this is largely the case among people in groups who had established strong bonding memories within the game—and that alone is impossible to replace.
Path of Exile
Many have tried to cash in on the accomplishments of the tried-and-true formula popularized by the games like the Diablo franchise, but only a few succeeded—and Path of Exile is one of those successes. But a clone alone is not enough to gain prominence in this genre. For that reason, PoE attempted to differentiate itself by adding layers of depth to its character progression mechanics—which, to say the least, is open to a lot of experimentation and lots of patience.
Certainly, to fully enjoy Path of Exile is to invest a good deal of time in it. Now, this is undoubtedly a costly trade-off for a game whose only return on the investment is a promise of a fantastic experience. But those who do, find themselves having a great time in their lives and plenty of memories to look back to.
Players who have a thing for gathering treasures amid obstacles are easily at home with Spelunky Classic for its rogue-like platformer-style gameplay. Not only is the game simple enough to pick up even by beginners, but it gets especially engrossing, too, as more players familiarize themselves with it. Pair that with each level—or cave—that is never always the same due to the randomization mechanics built-in in its world design, and what you get is a game with limitless potential.
Interestingly, Spelunky Classic is a game that can be played with others, too, whether cooperatively with friends or competitively against others or bots, which adds a layer of interest and more likely, a far more engaging encounter within the game.
It is worth noting that Spelunk Classic is not an officially-released retail game, but rather is a freeware made by a developer by the name of Derek Yu, which saw release back in 2009.
What do you get when you combine fast cars and the sport of soccer? Taken literally, it is Rocket League, of course. While the premise may seem absurd from the surface but this game has quite literally put a twist on the popular sport that takes the whole of Europe and the rest of the world by storm and to so much fandom and fanfare.
Imagine being able to choose your favorite set of wheels that you can personalize at a whim as you compete for victory in a unique match of football on a field. This in a nutshell is what makes Rocket League appealing, particularly among fans of the prominent sport. But whether you like four-wheel cars or soccer, or both, there is something in this game that certainly hits the mark.
One of the titles that sought to compete against the growing popularity of the pioneering PUBG, Fortnite is a Battle Royale game that did manage to beat the original in its own game. Despite the somewhat cartoonish look, takes its entire gaming mechanics seriously and it managed to set itself apart from the competition because of them.
But there is more to Fortnite than simply being the better title in the subgenre. Looking into its other aspects, it, too, is a game of many attractions that are largely fueled by its regular stream of content that keeps things fresh in it with every new season, such as new characters, skins, weapons, items, etc.
Lord of the Rings Online
Based on the same book created by J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings Online is a game set in the expansive world of Middle-Earth, its varied inhabitants, and storied events. But while the audience may already be familiar with the adventures of its protagonists, this MMORPG tries to keep things fresh by putting the players in the shoes of unknown characters, giving insight into some of the events that took place but through the lens of each player.
While gameplay-wise, the game feels like your run-off-the-mill MMORPG, still it has features that make it engaging on its own, such as its deed and trait system, mounted combat, housing mechanics, etc. And if you are truly a fan of the franchise and are looking to lavish on it, there is no better option than to play Lord of the Rings Online.
Eve Online is a game that lets you choose who you want to become as set in the expansive world of its universe, the New Eden. In this MMORPG, players can be anyone, such as a miner, trader, mercenary, or even pirate, as they go through their adventure. While a large part of the encounter for each player may revolve around players’ specific goals, the game’s simulation aspect brings surprising dynamics that slightly distract but keep the immersion unique.
However, Eve Online is never a simple game to play. With a steep learning curve, this game demands its player base to learn the ropes first and rewards those who do by knowing how to effectively play the game.
What do you get when you pit together League of Legends’ Champions in a map small enough for no escape to come? Certainly, that has to be Teamfight Tactics, which is Riot Games’ take on the Auto Chess subgenre which was pioneered in DoTA as a mod. Itself a mod but in League of Legends, this auto-battler does things that made the original better in its way.
Newcomers may find the gameplay mechanics of Teamfight Tactics daunting, but under the hood, the game is easy to pick up. But be warned, this is a game that likes to keep its players for long with every play session as each match can last up to 45 minutes. Nevertheless, players who are simply looking to spend some time will find something with this game.
There are not that many FPS titles that offer support for a massive number of players in a vast landscape for a game of dominating the opposing group—and Planetside 2 is certainly one of those games, even heralding it as the best in the MMOFPS genre. Imagine pitting together hundreds of human players on a single map in a futuristic setting where carnage and chaos happen—this is what this game is about in a nutshell.
Thanks to the inclusion of various classes that players can choose from and different vehicles that they can use to their advantage in each combat, battles in Planetside 2 have enough depth to keep it from becoming contrite. Additionally, upon the creation of their character, players are also given a choice between three factions, which will shape their course of experience in the game through subsequent progression and storytelling.
Heroes and Generals
Set in World War II, Heroes and Generals is a first-person shooter and real-time strategy hybrid game. The game lets you choose between three factions—namely, Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States—and duke it out in warfare in the name of supremacy and domination.
Players can also select to play one of four modes—Encounter, Assault, Skirmish, and Specialist versus Specialist—each of which gives players a unique experience of WWII-era warfare but with the commonality of taking over the opponent’s main control point as a means for victory.
Multiversus, in a nutshell, is what happens when a group of developers substitutes a roster of Warner Bros. characters for Super Smash Bros.’s own. What players get access to a game that plays similarly to the latter but with a refreshing list of playable characters to enjoy.
Although Multiversus does not necessarily surpass Super Smash Bros. doing just that, still it makes for an easily accessible title for anyone who did not own the latest Nintendo console, the Switch. The very same platform that’s presently the home to the most comprehensive list of video game characters in the SSB franchise.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Originally a mini-game included in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game soon became a game of its own due to its popularity. Improving upon the source material by adding more cards and layers of depth, this game breathes life into everything in it.
Like every other game in the card collecting game (CCG), a big portion of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game’s appeal boils down to the vast number of cards that players can collect and the experimentation that comes therein.
For a card game that is labeled as number one in Japan, it speaks volumes as to the popularity of Shadowverse as another game in the genre. Competent enough to become one of the bests, it went toe-to-toe with other prominent titles in the genre, like Hearthstone, with a favorable result.
At its core, Shadowverse did not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, which makes a large part of the game already familiar to those who played a card game before. But it does have a unique twist on its own that makes it stand out from the pack.
Call of Duty Warzone 2.0
Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 is the COD franchise’s take on the Battle Royale, but mainly from the first-person perspective, except when the player is on board a vehicle. Stemming from the first Call of Duty Warzone game, Warzone 2.0 brings more of the same game but with the addition of new features for the players to enjoy.
Some of the changes found in Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 includes a revamp to the Gulag, the addition of the exfiltration-centered DMZ, as well as the reintroduction of Resurgence and the loot-based Plunder game modes.
Super Crate Box
Despite its simple presentation as a 2D shooter, Super Crate Box is an addicting game for its fun gameplay. When the premise of its game is simply having to survive as long as possible against the deluge of varying opponents, this game is arcadey at its finest.
Set in a vertical sandbox, Super Crate Box may seem like a game that easily outlives whatever amusement it offers. Fortunately, thanks to the game’s 14 diverse weapons, players are presented with some dynamics that significantly offset the boredom of its tedium. But, hey, if players only want to spend time on some mindless fun, they can do worse than choosing to experience this game for hours on end.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
It would be a lie to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s strength lies in its combat—because it is not. But if you are looking for an MMO that has a strong emphasis on storyline, this game is certainly it.
SWTOR is more than a decade old now and it is not necessarily aging like fine wine. While that is given for games of that age in general, this sci-fi MMO is certainly something to be remembered for the story it provides while putting the player at the center of it. As such, it might take a serious Star Wars fan to remain committed to this game.
Conqueror’s Blade is an ambitious MMO that is best described as a fusion between Mount & Blade and Dynasty Warriors. Essentially, it is a game where you take control of an army and adapt to the challenges that take place in each mission in real-time. For a game that revolves around armies, this game features a lot of warriors on-screen but not necessarily to the same extent as the one seen in the Total Wars franchise.
Playing Conqueror’s Blade might seem easy after defeating your initial bot foe. But the real challenge with the game comes with fighting against other sentient players. For the most part, there is a rude awakening in facing a bitter defeat after the player has familiarized themselves with the game’s mechanics—but at the same time, it is also what makes this MMO exciting as it presents the challenge to be better in the game.
Not everyone will agree that Overwatch 2 is substantially better than the original, but for a game that is intended to supersede the first, there is still plenty to like about this intentional sequel. From the outset alone, it is apparent what makes this team-based shooter better—the visuals, particularly on character models, and the improved resolution of the maps.
While graphics quality alone may not be a good reason to jump to Overwatch 2, the original game’s servers are pretty much dead at this point. But then again, this only suggests that this follow-up MMO will only get better over time—players will only have to give the game a chance at it. Nevertheless, OW2 retains the same tried-and-true formula that made the franchise so beloved.
From the visual perspective, Trove is what happens when you give Minecraft an MMORPG treatment, which anyone familiar with the former should agree on due to its unique, blocky aesthetics. As for the MMORPG element, the game lets you choose among different classes, master abilities, and upgrade equipment, and it also lets you engage in quests or sidequests and explore a procedurally-generated world, whether alone or with friends.
Trove is not just a game that looks similar to Minecraft, it also has a major element of it in it—letting you build anything you want from scratch. Whether it is the world around you, the things you put on it, or the costumes that the player wears, everything can be made from scratch.
Described as a platform battle royale, Fall Guys is a game that lets players compete in a series of obstacles but only considers a single surviving player as the winner. The game might seem easy to play from the outset. But with its in-game physics involved, not to mention other players occupying the screen, this game is not a game that is easy to conquer, even by experienced players.
Yet, that is where the beauty of Fall Guys comes from—its unpredictable nature and dynamics can make it hard for everyone, which puts luck, in addition to skill, at the highlight of the picture. But as rewards often taste sweet after a struggle, the prizes, borne from memorable encounters to get them, in this game are certainly valuable and pleasing.