If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, or you just fancy something different, there are hundreds of completely free computer games available online, ready to download to your desktop PC or laptop. So in no particular order, here’s a list of some of the best free computer games you can play without spending a single penny.
Over the last few months we’ve amassed quite a collection of free content, so feel free to browse around or click on the links below to jump to the section of your choice.
Trion Worlds, Inc.
Games based on movies or TV shows are almost always a complete let down. They often try too hard to copy the same formula as the TV show/movie, which usually fails to capture the initial magic, or they try something completely different which loses everything that made it great in the first place. With that in mind, Trion Worlds has partnered with the SyFy channel to create a dual video game-TV series. Player events which happen in the game are reflected in the show’s storyline, meaning that the game is both true to the source material and a solid MMO style game.
A third-person persistent MMO shooter, the game takes place in the San Francisco Bay area several years after a devastating battle between an alliance of aliens and humans. The Earth’s surface has drastically altered in the war, ending in the extinction of all animals and plant life and resulting in the introduction of a new dangerous insectoid species. You take the role of an Ark Hunter, one of a group of survivors paid to hunt for advanced extra-terrestrial technology.
You complete story missions to progress the main game arc or complete side missions for experience points and currency, which allows you to level up and improve your characters. You can collect weapons, equipment, vehicles and outfits to help you out along the way too. You meet characters from the TV series throughout the game too, fresh from what they’ve been getting up to in the TV show.
Heroes & Generals is a massive and deeply immersive first-person shooter, set in World War 2 and featuring a strategic multiplayer campaign. There are two types of game included: the first involves you taking the role of a Hero with an active part in each battle, and the second is a strategic game where Generals determine the overall direction of their army and support the Heroes on the battlefield.
In the action game, the overall gameplay has an arcade feel to it, but some elements such as realistic bullet drop and armour penetration enhance the immersive effect. Gunplay has been setup so that it is quite difficult to take down enemies. Weapons aren’t very accurate unless you’re stationary and crouched. This means that a more strategic approach is needed compared with other online multiplayer shooters – which makes a refreshing change. The game features a huge number of weapons, side arms, heavy explosives and both land and air vehicles. Generals can also call in air support to aid their troops in battle in the form of bombing runs or care-package drops. This can be prevented by the enemy team by using anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down the incoming planes.
Maps are generally expansive and normally feature domination-style gameplay where you must fight to control command points. Attackers have 30 minutes to take control over all command points and are awarded extra time for each successful takeover. The overview map of Europe allows you to see the towns they control and which towns are accessible. Enemy-controlled towns can only be attacked from an ally-occupied town but the front lines are always changing. Generals can also download the Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command companion app for Android & iOS and go into battle on the go!
Phantoms is a third-person multiplayer shooter set in the near-future Tom Clancy universe. You take on the role of a highly skilled operative known as a Ghost with the ability to deploy cutting-edge equipment and weaponry on futuristic battlegrounds against players across the world.
You choose a class before going into battle and can select either an Assault, Support or Recon class which all have their own specialist attributes to suit a particular style of play. You can equip yourself with support equipment to gain an advantage over the enemy with passive benefits. This equipment can boost damage capacity, improve radar coverage and provide more ammunition.
Three different game modes are available to try out at the moment called Conquest, Onslaught and Holdout. Conquest is a well-known point-capturing exercise where players fight to capture and hold a number of conquest points. Onslaught is similar to Conquest but places a team of defenders against a team of attackers where the defenders hold all the points at the start of the round and the other team must capture them. Finally, Holdout has you battling it out to attack and hold a single capture point until the end of the round.
Set in the cloud kingdom of Opulencia, the Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a tongue-in-cheek game where defence-building strategy meets isometric RPG hack-and-slash adventuring. Or, if you aren’t new to PC gaming, think Dungeon Keeper meets Diablo.
You initially choose a hero from an exotic cast, featuring a powerful evil mage, a heroic but pompous knight, a surly one-eyed archer and a newly released axe-wielding runaway teenage rebel. Once you’ve chosen a hero and learned the controls, you’re awarded a castle of your own which will be filled with the loot plundered from other players. As your castle can also be attacked by other players, you must defend it with a host of hazardous traps and populate it with all kinds of over-the-top minions and boss characters.
The task is to level up your character while adventuring and find all kinds of weapons, armour and loot to plunder. This treasure can then be used to upgrade your character with new equipment or to build stronger castle defences to throw off any unwanted intruders. Some items can be bought with real money to speed up progress through the game, but it can all be achieved for free by putting in extra play time.
Released on Steam Greenlight as part of the Early Access program, Hawken is a first-person shooter where players pilot death-dealing mechanized war machines in battles against other machines on futuristic battlefields. Battles are frantic and fast-paced and are brimming with a vast variety of weapons and gadgets to help crush the opposition into scrap metal.
Battlefields quickly becoming littered with broken mechs, swirling dust clouds and red-hot tracer fire to create a seriously impressive visual aesthetic. Gunfire, explosions and stomping steel create a brilliant audio landscape which only adds to the game’s appeal. Respawn Entertainment’s recent Titanfall revolutionised the FPS genre with its mixture of free-running and mech combat, and although Hawken may not have free-running, it excels in the latter.
Several mech types are available ranging from fast, lightly armoured Infiltrators to hulking, behemoth Vanguard types. Primary and secondary weapons can be configured to suit a particular play style. Assault rifles, flak cannons, railguns and rocket launchers are but a few of the vast arsenal available to you in gameplay. There are also a huge number of consumable gadgets to deploy during combat, including EMP mines, auto-turrets, holograms and shields. The range of customisation is extensive, so there’s a setup to suit every playing style.
Starting life as a Half Life 2 mod, this standalone version aims to be a realistic approach to surviving a zombie apocalypse. The world is over and civilisation has been brought to a standstill with only a few non-infected survivors remaining. Playing as one of these survivors, you can work with other players co-operatively to scavenge each map for weapons, limited ammo and scarce supplies.
Different game types exist in the form of objective and survival modes. In objective mode, a randomisation system is used to create different branching objectives for each game to enhance replayability. Survival mode sees the players defend pre-determined safe zones from waves of zombies while also fighting to stay alive. Each wave becomes increasingly more difficult, with more zombies in each wave and with more dangerous zombie types such as runners and burning zombies added to the mix.
Realism takes a front seat here too, because whenever you’re attacked by a zombie, there is a chance that you’ll become infected. Infection is almost certainly a death sentence but this can be delayed by locating Phalanx medication. Upon death, you’ll rise to become a member of the undead and will fight against the group. The big question – should you announce the affliction to keep the group safe or keep it hidden in the hope of finding a cure?
Renegade X is a spiritual successor to the great but flawed Command and Conquer: Renegade, which was originally released in 2002. 12 years later, a dedicated team of volunteers has crafted an expertly realised remake to revolutionise the FPS/RTS genre using Unreal Engine 3. Players fight for supremacy in 64 player battles as either the militaristic Global Defence Initiative or the devious Brotherhood of Nod.
In the ‘Command and Conquer Mode’, players can take advantage of Tiberium refineries to earn valuable in-game currency. This currency can then be used to acquire upgrades, buy weapons and gain special items. Further credits can be earned by killing enemy players, destroying rival buildings and healing allies. Tanks, artillery and helicopters can be purchased for large amounts of currency but can quickly help change the outcome of skirmishes.
Buildings can also be destroyed from within by infiltrating the base with infantry and planting explosives or orbital weapon beacons to cause devastating damage. Engineer classes can be used to repair damaged buildings and allied vehicles but are vulnerable due to their lack of powerful weaponry. Weapons factories, power plants and automated defence towers are all priority targets to win the battle. Currently in open beta at time of writing, so some technical issues are to be expected, but this is certainly worth a look.
Released in 2008 to extremely negative reviews, Age of Conan was considered a colossal flop due to how broken the finished product was. A game with huge potential, many reviewers believed that with a few extra months’ worth of development to clear out the bugs, glitches and broken content, this game might have been a worthy contender to rival the mother of all MMOs: World of Warcraft. In 2011, Conan was ‘unchained’ and made free to play for everyone. Since the initial launch, the game has had plenty of extra work done on it and many of the original issues have been resolved.
The game is playable either as a single player experience or with other people playing with you. The game also features a surprisingly deep combat system where weapons can be swung from different directions. Enemies will move to defend attacks from some directions so there is a welcome need for tactics to overcome foes.
Each environment of the game is vastly different from the next, and each has its own distinct atmosphere. The game is graphically stunning and well worth exploring with countless hours of questing, looting and discovering. It’s a massive game however, so expect to wait quite a while for it to download a minimum of 20GB of game data before you can play!
Warframe is a free-to-play third person shooter. It’s set in a futuristic interstellar battlefield where the player takes the role of an ancient warrior of the Tenno race at war with a facist, militarised human war machine called the Grineer and a mechanised merchant guild known as the Corpus. The Tenno have advanced armour suits called Warframes to aid them in battle; each with their own unique characteristics. The player is armed with a primary weapon (usually an assault rifle or shotgun), a secondary weapon (usually a pistol) and a melee weapon. Gameplay is fast and frantic as the player can run, jump, slide and evade enemy fire while battling through each level.
As players gain Affinity points from accomplishing objectives and destroying enemies, further upgrades to the Warframe combat suits and weaponry become available and can be purchased with these points. Micro –transactions exist as with most free-to-play games and can be used to purchase new weapons, warframes and equipment without having to earn credits in-game.
Up to 4 players work co-operatively to carry out a series of mission types which range from assassinations to sabotage, raids to rescues and defence and extermination. Some missions are more urgent than others, with small windows of opportunity to complete; from 30 minutes to 24 hours. They’re usually much harder to accomplish but the rewards are greater. Missions are also procedurally generated meaning that no two levels are alike, which should lead to greater replay-ability.
Sony Online Entertainment
Planetside 2 is a first-person shooter on a massive scale, with up to 2000 players simultaneously involved in battles over three continents on the world of Auraxis. Technically, Planetside 2 stands up to many paid-for games availible on the market. There are several infantry classes to choose from, but you have the freedom to do as you please – provided you have the resources which trickle through at a steady rate. You can spawn vehicles and aircraft to support your team, or join in the infantry grind as you try to capture territory.
As long as your skills are up to scratch, you should be able to hold your own. Teamwork is the key. A well organised squad can make a massive difference, not only in terms of success but also in terms of the fun you’ll have – and the new online friends you’ll meet along the way. It’s an incredibly rewarding game. The action is fast and furious and pretty daunting at first. But stick with it and things will soon start to fall into place.