Phoenix Laboratories, Ubisoft
When you drop hundreds of them on a brand new console, whether it’s for yourself or your kids, dropping a new load of cash on games isn’t exactly appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of great free titles available on all major systems.
There is, however, one thing we want to note before we dive in. Many free games have in-game purchases to support themselves. These “microtransactions,” as they’re commonly referred to, can range from something as simple as cosmetic skins to items that actively affect gameplay. We’ve made sure to narrow our selection so that games with particularly bad microtransactions are not included. For almost all of the games here, microtransactions are limited to purely cosmetic items, but we’ll be sure to rate games that don’t stick to that.
Also, since most of these games are web focused, we will be sure to mention games that are compatible with cross play between different platforms.
Fortnite (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
You’ve probably heard of Fortnite, but it’s as important as that for a reason. Outside the popular kind of battle royale, you take part in 100-player matches where you have to fight to be the last player (or team) standing, while collecting a variety of weapons and items around the map. The gameplay is easy to pick up, but still offers plenty of room for improvement for dedicated gamers, especially with the unique building system where you can build structures on the fly. And with a variety of events and updates taking place throughout the year, there is always something new to discover.
Rocket League (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Rocket League takes the sport of soccer, replaces humans with rocket-powered cars, and lets you go crazy with it. There are few limits to what you can achieve in Rocket League, and the few that do exist are mostly down to your own skills. You can spend hundreds of hours tweaking your mechanics so that you can do crazy tricks to win competitive matches, or just play them every once in a while for a quick fun. Rocket League works either way, and that’s why it has remained so popular for the past five years.
Paladins (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Choose from one of 46 unique characters in this action-packed team shooter game. Each character has their own unique abilities and playstyles, and you can upgrade them mid-game with different cards for an added level of strategy. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Paladins draws heavily on the popular game. Overwatch, But the unique characters and mechanics make it a new experience, even though the gameplay is similar.
Brawlhalla (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Do you have fond memories of the Smash Brothers Series? Well, Brawlhalla takes that formula of play, adds some unique mechanics, and offers good online play to boot. Whether you are playing against friends for fun or trying to climb the competitive ranks, Brawlhalla is sure to provide you with plenty of chaotic battles. You can play 51 characters, including several crossover characters such as Lara Croft, Shovel Knight, and Finn from Adventure Time.
Apex Legends (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
If you prefer a more realistic battle royale, Apex Legends is your best bet. Not only are the firing mechanics more realistic and the tone more grounded than something like Fortnite, but the game puts a huge emphasis on your overall movement. Between rabbit hopping and kicking the wall, there’s a lot to master here, and the huge selection of unique characters only promotes that. And, of course, if you can bring in a friend or two to join your team (games are limited to teams of two or three players each), that makes matches even more enjoyable.
Spellbreak (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
The final battle royale on this list, Spellbreak introduces some interesting insights into the genre. Instead of your standard weapons, your characters equip various gauntlets capable of harnessing elemental powers. You can cause earthquakes or throw massive fireballs to deal damage, but it goes beyond that. You can equip two Gauntlets at a time to create unique elemental combinations, such as Toxic Fire or Electrified Water. If you’re into the battle royale genre, Spellbreak is worth a look for the unique ideas it brings to the table on its own.
Dauntless (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Dauntless is clearly inspired by Monster Hunter Series, but hey, there are definitely worse places to take ideas. While the base game loop of battling monsters, crafting new gear, and then battling more difficult variations of the same monsters is here and virtually unchanged, Dauntless still has plenty of unique ideas up its sleeve. Even if you are a veteran of the Monster Hunter series, it is still worth checking out. And if you’ve never touched any of the Monster Hunter games, this is a perfect introduction to the genre.
Astro Games Room (PS5)
This 3D platformer is a love letter to previous Sony systems, but even if you don’t know anything about the company’s past, there’s still a lot to enjoy here. Astro’s Playroom is a free included game exclusive to PlayStation 5. It uses various features of the new DualSense Controller to show what it can do, including gyro controls, haptic feedback, and the touchpad. There are plenty of standard rigs to enjoy, and all around Astro’s game room is a short, sweet adventure worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre.
Warframe (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Warframe is an MMO, but it doesn’t fall into the same pitfalls as other games in its genre. It’s user-friendly and free, involved combat mechanics, and the massive open world is a sight to behold. The alien worlds you will explore are vast and detailed with many quests and events to participate in. And if you have some friends to play with, that makes it even better.
Genshin Impact (PS5 / Switch)
In this great open world RPG you will explore the magical world of Teyvat. The world is full of unique things to find and plenty of items to collect. The different characters all have unique perks and abilities with a lot more that you can unlock as you level up. If you have played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildYou will certainly notice some similarities in the movement and the way the world is designed, but Genshin Impact still provides a lot of unique ideas, such as full co-op multiplayer.
Be careful though, Genshin Impact has some pretty glaring microtransactions compared to other games here. While you can have a great time playing for free, there are plenty of characters and some unlockables that are locked behind loot crates.
Genshin Impact is available on Playstation 5 with a Switch version planned later.
World of Tanks (PS5 / Xbox)
World of Tanks is a game where you control tanks – surprising isn’t it? The tanks feel as powerful and heavy as you would expect, and while that does mean there is a bit of a learning curve, it makes it a lot more satisfying once you finally get the hang of the controls. And the well-detailed maps only enhance the gameplay with plenty of buildings and structures to walk through while destroying your opponents.
Microtransactions are present here and go beyond purely cosmetic options. You can pay to upgrade your tanks in this game to give yourself an advantage over your opponents and progress faster through the game leveling system.