Welcome to 2023! Hope the holiday season was poppin’ and you’re in full recovery mode. Now that you have that new console or made some upgrades to your gaming PC, you’re probably not in a rush to spend more money. Not a problem. What was once a PC player’s advantage (and in quantity, they still have that advantage) is now available for all; free games. So, for you holiday winners out there, let me tell you about some of the best free games for your new system.
Warframe – PC, PS4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch
Space ninjas. That’s it. That’s really all you need to know. If I must continue though, Warframe is a free-to-play 3rd-person action title for basically every current gaming platform under the sun. Featuring an ever-evolving offering of mission types, locations, and warframes (essentially the characters in the game), you will be able to sink hours into this title long before you ever have to spend money on another game. Combine all that content with multiplayer co-op and you can get lost in this space odyssey with friends for as many weekends as you can keep from leaving the house.
Beautiful, expansive world? Check. Sharp, anime-inspired graphics? Check. A roster of over 40 characters? Check and counting. If you want a world to get truly lost in, Genshin Impact is definitely for you. Boasting an easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master online RPG (role-playing game) style, it is scary how easy it is to sink an entire weekend into this game before you realize it’s 1AM Monday morning. Reaching Adventurer level 16 further expands the game by allowing you and 4 friends to squad up and take on the world and its dangers together. Finally, the developer’s roadmap for the game shows that Genshin Impact will continue to grow for years to come. Guess it’s not hard to see why I’m not the only one that thinks this is one of the best free games for your new system.
Fortnite – PC, PS4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch
If you’re over 25 and you’re still reading after I said Fortnite, thank you. I appreciate you allowing me to plead my case. Yes, the game has a reputation for being a breeding ground for toxic youth interaction, but hear me out. . .you don’t have to play with them. For starters, you can do the famous battle royale mode solo. Yeah, that’s right. Not a teammate in sight. Second, if building is your issue, they have a specific “no-building” mode. Just running and gunning with no random walls saving an opponent you have in your sights. Finally, if you’re not the competitive type, they have a PvE (player vs environment) mode. Yep, you can just squad up with a couple friends and save the world. Don’t let what you heard about Fortnite scare you away from a title that’s not only more fun than it has any right to be but one that’s 100% free.
Rocket League – PC, PS4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch
Imagine The Beautiful Game played not with people but with supercharged, gravity-defying vehicles. I welcome you to the fever dream that is Rocket League. If you want to play something you’ve never played before, this is the one. The perfect title for those who just want something to jump into real quick for an insanely paced good time or something you can climb the leaderboards in on your way to going pro. That’s right. This free-to-play title can lead you to an esports career. Enjoy going nuts with randoms or friends in one of the most incomparable games you’ll likely ever see.
I couldn’t do a list of the best free games for your new system without a couple personal, under-the-radar favorites. Besides, I heard you. You said Genshin Impact is a little too colorful, too. . .light-hearted. Say less. Path of Exile gives you all the Diablo vibes without the price tag. After years of updates, the content on offer here is a feast for even the most hardened gamer. Of course, as with the other titles on this list, you can team up with some friends to loot death-filled dungeons and decimate demons. PoE 2 is actually being developed as we speak which will further build on the lore and gameplay of the first and STILL be free. What a time to be alive.
I really hope I can be the one to bring this to you. Yes, the multi-BILLION dollar Call of Duty franchise has a free-to-play title. Featuring two main game modes (the others require the purchase of Modern Warfare II), battle royale and DMZ, Warzone gets you into the action fast and possibly out of it just as quickly. The battle royale mode is basically a more realistic version of what you may find in Fortnite’s “no-build” mode. The DMZ mode teams you with two other players (randoms or friends) to accomplish certain objectives then get to the chopper for extraction. If the stylized art of Fortnite doesn’t appeal to you, this is a solid alternative that is excellent for some Friday night gaming with friends.
These are titles that have too much of their game behind a paywall to really be considered free-to-play or limit players who haven’t paid in some way.
The triple-A looter/shooter juggernaut is now free to play. Well, the base version of the game is anyway. That’s not to say there isn’t a solid amount of content to enjoy but almost every other icon you try to click on will prompt you to purchase one of their expansions. That’s all well and good, get your money. I do take issue with the game being a bit confusing for returning players who just want to hop back into what we know. If you’re new though? This is definitely your time to shine (you’ll get that light joke about an hour into the game).
One of the few MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) World of Warcraft hasn’t killed is the hit Final Fantasy 14. This would easily have made the list of best free games for your new system if it wasn’t for the level cap and the expansions being behind a paywall. That being said, it’s still an absolutely AMAZING title that provides weeks of entertainment that leads most to switch to the paid subscription. Customizing your character’s appearance, gear, and skills gives a level of immersion that’s second to none. Careful, you may end up lost in this one.
Ok, so no, these subscription services are not free BUT if you already have a subscription, you have access to a fair amount of content. Playstation Plus offers new “free” titles every month and, depending on which tier you have, you get access to an ever-changing game library of current and past titles. Gamepass gives players an almost overwhelming gaming library and first-party titles “free” on day one. Again, depending on your tier, you will even have access to EA Play, a service that gives discounts and early access to EA titles. Switch Online gives you some of gaming’s most classic titles including Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, and Super Metroid. Again, if you have any of these services already for online play, don’t forget to take advantage of the content on offer.
Here are some of the best games for your new system in my humble opinion. There are more out there for sure so check out your system’s online store and get into something new. Your new favorite title might not cost you anything more than some hard drive space.
Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.
Check out my other work here or reach out to me on LinkedIn.