Gaming is one of those pastimes previously reserved for nerds or hardcore enthusiasts. Now in today’s modern age the variety of platforms and types of games have made gaming a worldwide market accessible to everyone. Looking for a competitive atmosphere? Try a First Person Shooter (FPS) or a team-oriented Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game. If you’re not a fan of high stakes games, relax and build your dream world in a Simulation game or explore a new universe in a Role Playing Game (RPG). Even budget isn’t a factor anymore for those looking to dip their toe into gaming. Some of the most popular games on the market are currently free to play. The best free games offer a variety of playstyles and endless content that will keep you immersed for hours.
The pandemic years saw the rise of gaming to mainstream media, as more people turned to games for entertainment and escape when they were stuck inside. According to statistics from TrueList, approximately 3 billion people worldwide play video games, and around 85% of all gaming revenue comes from free-to-play games. Both large and small studios have started releasing more titles that use the Free-to-Play model, hooking players with immersive gameplay or storylines, and utilizing in-game purchases to profit.
Gaming is often viewed in a negative light, associated with social isolation or an unhealthy addiction to escapism. But in moderation gaming can actually boost many different types of skills. A study by OnePoll of 2,000 Americans found that 47 percent say gaming prepared them for success. Another six in 10 believe they gained a keener creative eye or better problem-solving skills. A similar amount (59%) add video games improved their hand-eye coordination, while others learned time management skills (50%). Spending an hour on a free game that interests you could have more subtle benefits than you’d imagine!
So, what are the best free games to play? StudyFinds researched and found five of the most commonly recommended titles across 10 expert websites. Let us know what free games are your favorites in the comments below!
The List: Best Free Games, According to Gaming Pros
1. Best Shooter: Fortnite
Fortnite took the world by storm in 2017, developing a steady audience for one of the best Battle Royale style games available. Battle other players in a race to be the last one standing. Fortnite is also known for hosting virtual events in the game or collaborating with different celebrities on features like skins. “Fortnite is a social space as much as it is a game,” writes Engadget. “Where else can you see Spider-Man doing John Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” taunt next to Indiana Jones dancing to a Dua Lipa song, or Ariana Grande hanging out with Goku while you catch up with friends in voice chat? It also happens to be a great video game with a clear path to victory.”
Fortnite stays relevant by adding new modes and content regularly – the most important being Zero Build mode, which prevents players from building structures for cover. This lowers the learning curve and retains newer players. “Aside from being free to play, there are several reasons why Fortnite has wiped the floor with the competition. This cartoony last-man-standing is the ever-evolving foundation for weekly updates, seasonal changes, and a plethora of genre-defining new ideas,” says PCGamesN.
GamesRadar similarly ranks Fortnite as number one on its list. “It’s become the start of a true cultural platform. Fortnite has become the unlikely social hub of musical performances, trailer debuts, and virtual hangouts for folks all over the world. There’s also the free Creative mode, and the casual event-hosting Party Royale, but Battle Royale is the beating heart of the Fortnite behemoth,” they write in their review.
2. Best RPG: Genshin Impact
Largely influenced by Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this adventure quest game by Chinese developer Mihoyo is multi-platform for PC, mobile and Playstation. Start a game on PC and pick up where you left off on mobile and vice versa. “Genshin Impact is a rather fruitful albeit pocket-sized RPG adventure that proves to be pretty fun without needing to spend a penny. As you level your character and unlock more, you put together the perfect team of four to take on the lands which are packed with quests, ruins, and monsters to engage with,” writes VG247.
Genshin Impact is a never-ending world with different opportunities to suit your mood. Go on quests to find items or battle enemies and upgrade your characters and weapons. “A wide-open world full of beautiful vistas, tough enemies to overcome, and fun new characters to team up with have all helped instantly elevate Genshin Impact to near the top of this list,” writes GamesRadar.
Engadget adds, “While battles with foes form a major part of the game, a lot of the joy and satisfaction comes from customizing that army of characters, building up a collection of loot and strengthening them further. While there is an entire microtransaction system baked into the game, much of the game is playable (and enjoyable) without having to spend a dime. Did we mention it’s totally gorgeous?”
3. Best Fighting: Multiversus
If you’re a fan of Super Smash Bros or team brawl games like Street Fighter, you’ll want to try Multiversus. “MultiVersus has taken the world by storm,” remarks GameRant. “Warner Bros’ crossover fighting game is the alternative to Super Smash Bros that non-Nintendo players have been demanding for years, and it comes with a roster that could eventually blossom into one that can rival most of its contemporaries.”
Pick different characters from different universes to be on your team and start smashing! Multiverse is a great game to play with friends. “Regardless, it’s hard to criticize too much when MultiVersus is completely free-to-play and a great brawler to play with friends which is why it deserves a coveted spot on our list,” writes Rock Paper Shotgun.
You will probably recognize a few of the characters you can choose from. “The roster of characters you get to pick from consist of various familiar faces from Warner Bros. various franchises. This includes Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Giant, Jake the Dog, Shaggy, Velma, and even Morty Smith,” mentions VG247.
4. Best MOBA: DOTA 2
If you’re a fan of team fights and collaborative strategy, DOTA is the game for you. DOTA is known as League of Legends’ older sibling, with both games’ maps structured in the same way, with 2 teams of 5 working together to bring down structures and destroy the enemy team’s nexus. “It’s fiendishly difficult but also utterly addictive, with nearly limitless combinations of possible outcomes to account for at all times,” writes Pocket Lint.
DOTA has a higher learning curve but is very rewarding once you get the hang of it. “The game’s combat is hectic, and you’re likely to get beaten into oblivion during your first round, but should the addiction take hold, you might not need to play another game for months to come,” says Digital Trends.
Don’t know where to start? GamesRadar advises, “it’s not only for obsessives or professionals. Instead, dive into the Steam Community forms, read some guides, talk to some players, and then rope in a few friends to help you get hooked on the original MOBA, and one of the biggest PC games in history.”
5. Best Simulation: The Sims 4
The Sims 4 is now free-to-play and is perfect for players who just want to unwind without stressing in a competitive atmosphere. “If you’re less interested in saving the world and just want to relax with a game that lets you build things and live your digital life, The Sims 4 is a great option,” says CNET.
Create your dream life by adding characters and building their personalities, careers, and more. “The social simulation game allows your imagination to run free as you can virtually do anything that your heart desires. You can create a life and live it exactly the way you want to,” writes Dual Shockers.
“The Sims has reigned supreme as the quintessential life sim series since the turn of the millennium,” PCGamesN raves. “Life, death, and all the messy bits in between serve as The Sims 4’s playground.”
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