Well, Besides Fortnite of Course
Whether you have a perfectly good 8th gen console or you’ve been lucky enough to snag a hard-to-find PS5 or Xbox Series X, there are several free-to-play console games that we recommend diving into right away.
Though Battle Royales are all the rage, you’ll be pleased to find there are classic-style deathmatch and cooperative games that are also worth your time.
Here are five excellent free-to-play console games we plan to play a lot in early 2022.
Rogue Company – For the Fashionable CS:Go Fan
Rogue Company has risen swiftly in the ranks as one of the most compelling competitive shooters on the market. Though it has some hero shooter elements for flavor, it’s far more akin to if Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six: Siege had a baby. Coordinated tactics, map knowledge, and sharp aim will always win out over fancy abilities. Death comes quickly, but a variety of modes ensures there’s something for every competitive fan with a sweaty trigger finger.
The other big selling point in Rogue Company’s favor? Total cross-play compatibility. Doesn’t matter if you’re playing on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch – you can play with anyone on any other system, and have a blast. Though it’s still a relatively new multiplayer shooter, it gained a sizable player base since launching on 8th gen. With new heroes and maps rolling out regularly, it’s a bleeding-edge thrill ride for those who want to push themselves to the limit.
Paladins – What if Overwatch Was Free to Play and Bigger?
Paladins is distinctly the opposite of Rogue Company. Though also a competitive shooter, Paladins’ focus is on being a fun hero shooter bursting to the brim with crazy character kits. If you’re tired of Overwatch’s sluggish updates or just want to play a shooter where you need to be a SEAL Team operative to seize the day, Paladins is for you. With three tight game modes and vs bots for practice, you can take things at your speed.
With over eight seasons of content updates, Paladins boasts dozens upon dozens of unique heroes, all with satisfyingly creative designs. Gunslingers who can hit targets around corners with a lucky coin, a dragon that rips across the map by rolling in a ball, a killer ballerina with Venom-esque tentacles, and more await you. Though you start off with a small portion of the roster, you can easily unlock more by just playing the game casually. Plus, like Rogue Company, Paladins supports full cross-play on all systems!
Warframe – An Entire Free to Play, AAA Sandbox Game?!
Warframe is a game that just keeps on growing. From its humble beginnings as “Mass Effect by way of Max Payne,” Digital Extreme’s intergalactic ninja simulator is staggeringly immense. It features infinite linear levels thanks to auto-generation tech. Plus multiple open-world sandbox areas. Oh, and an entire flight sim component with dogfighting in space. All with support for co-op with a team of three other players. Not to mention raids or PvP dojos.
And somehow, miraculously, you don’t have to pay a cent. Warframe, more than perhaps any other game on this list, really goes out of its way to make it reasonable to grind your way to success without paying a cent. The trick is learning the many systems involved in such an elaborate game. If you’re willing to check out a beginner’s guide, you’ll be treated to one of the best free-to-play PvE games on the market.
Sadly, Warframe currently lacks cross-play, but the developers have expressed exploring cross-progression functionality in the future.
Spacelords – Borderlands but Even Weirder
Spacelords is easily the strangest free-to-play game in a while. Originally the episodic Raiders of the Broken Planet, developer MercurySteam has now relaunched the whole game for free. Though it’s billed as a shooter, Spacelords has far more in common with classic Capcom arcade games. Over-the-top voice acting, wild character designs, crunchy hits with every blow, and gonzo action.
As if that weren’t enough, in addition to the cooperative four-player shenanigans, other players can invade campaigns as the game’s Antagonist. With a bunch of missions and a quirky cast of characters to play as there are hours of balls-to-the-wall combat to enjoy. There’s really nothing that plays quite like Spacelords, and you can team up with friends across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Splitgate – Free to Play Halo, With Portals!
Splitgate is what you get when you take Valve’s classic puzzle game Portal, and jam into classic Halo arena combat. You’ve got ludicrous physics, liquid-smooth gameplay, and rapid-fire gameplay pushing you to the limit across mind-bending combat arenas. If you miss the days of jaw-dropping maps in the Unreal Tournament, then you’re in for a real treat. Equally new school and old school, Splitgate is a forward-thinking retro FPS.
The gunplay is instantly understandable, letting you dive into the virtually boundless possibilities to flank, escape, and snipe with portals. Combined with crossplay home consoles (sorry Nintendo Switch fans), a widespread of game modes, and one hell of a gameplay hook, it’s worth trying out no matter what platform you’re playing on.
But That’s Not All!
It has never been a better time to dive into Free to Play games. These five titles, however great, are only a fraction of what’s on offer. Heck, Xbox players can dive into Halo Infinite multiplayer right now without paying a cent! So if you’re itching to team up or take down some friends online, you’ve got countless options.
Those are five of our current favorites but we’d love to hear which free-to-play console game is your favorite. Sound off in the comments!