Did you just fork out for a brand-new gaming PC and forgot to budget for some games? Or maybe you just want a change of pace and don't want to shell out top dollar for a new game. Whatever the reason - what you seek lies below - the best free PC games available in 2020.
There is something for everyone - from hyper-competitive first-person shooters, top-down dungeon explorers, MMORPG, and one that is arguably the most popular game ever.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
One of the oldest entries in this list but surely one of the best. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive went free 2 play back in December of 2018 and in that time it has only gotten more popular. It recently reached 901,305 concurrent players setting a new CS: GO record - pretty impressive for a game that is almost 8 years old.
For the unaware CS:GO is a multiplayer team-based FPS. Matches are played in 5v5 game mode with players separated into terrorists (T) or counter-terrorists (CTs). Depending on the map, terrorists either need to plant a bomb or stop the counter-terrorists from rescuing hostages. The game is played in short rounds, with money award to players depending on how well they fared in the prior round. The more money you have the better guns and equipment you can buy.
At its core though is a game all about aim, positioning and game sense - with a skill ceiling so high you may find yourself rage quitting when you inevitably get shat on in your first few games. But stick with it and you will find a deeply rewarding experience and with plentiful maps, a top-class ranking system, and casual game modes like the new battle royale mode, means there are literally thousands of hours of game here.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can be downloaded via Steam.
You'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Fortnite. Epic Game's take on the battle royale game mode took the world by storm when it was released in late 2017, quickly becoming one of the most successful games of all time with a reported 250 million players.
The reasons for its unbelievable success are myriad but one of the more obvious ones is just how good it is.
It goes like this - 100 players dive into the colourful Fortnite world with nothing more than a pickaxe, you'll then loot for weapons and harvest materials before battling it with the goal of being the last man standing, all on a play area that is constantly shrinking.
What sets it apart from other battle royales, like PUBG or H1Z1, is its unique build mechanics. Using their harvested materials players can place walls and stairs and engage in what is known as “build fights” - by building, and editing those builds - players attempt to gain the upper hand on their opponent.
It’s a mechanic that has engrossed the player base and quickly took over the meta of the game, mastering these build mechanics is now vital to compete with the best in the game.
Our beginners guide to building in Fortnite can get you up to speed before you jump in.
The game is continually updated with new weapons and items, with a whole host of cosmetics to buy or unlock through the “Battle Pass” system - meaning that whenever you fire up Fortnite there is always something new to do.
Fortnite is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS and Android and can be downloaded from the Epic Games store.
Path of Exile
Fans of Diablo will find a lot to love in our next game. Path of Exile is a free to play online action roleplay game where players can level up their character by doing quests, exploring dungeons and killing orcs and stuff… you know, all the usual RPG stuff.
The game is a mix of massively multiplayer cities, where hundreds of players from around the world trade, barter and quest together, and instanced dungeons which you can tackle either on your own or with a merry band of warriors.
The game has been continually updated since its release in 2013 and is supported by what the developers Grinding Gears Gaming call "ethical micro-transactions" meaning players can’t gain a competitive advantage by acquiring items and weapons from behind a paywall.
Path of Exile can be downloaded via Steam.
Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends caused quite a stir when it was released in February of last year. For a time it seemed that every streamer and content creator in the world was playing it and while many of them were paid huge sums to do so it still is a game worth checking out.
This futuristic battle royale game sets itself apart with its well-designed gunplay, think Call of Duty at its pomp, and diverse selection of legends - playable characters each with their own unique skills and abilities.
The game gets regular updates through the season system - with new legends, weapons and an ever-changing map.
Players can play as Solos or team up as a Trio in the battle for supremacy and with frequent limited-time modes like the most recent one domination style game mode, “Winter Express” keeping it fresh for the player base.
Apex Legends is available on PC via Origin, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
League of Legends
If you are a fan of MOBA’s you can probably skip to the next game because there is no way you haven't heard of this.
If you are a MOBA virgin then the idea is this. Games are played 5v5. Both teams have a base on opposite sides of the map, players must get into the enemies base and destroy a building there called a Nexus, while at the same time protecting their own.
Players can select one of over 140 champions to play as, each with their own unique abilities and skills. Players earn XP throughout games which can be used upgrade and level up their champion unlocking new abilities. It’s addictive, hyper-competitive and a lot of fun.
The developers Riot Games are continually adding new champions and tweaking the meta so things are kept fresh. In fact, they recently released an entirely new game within a game in the form of Team Fight Tactics - which is set for a standalone mobile release in the near future.
“But anonymous internet man why are you mentioning a game that was released in 2009 in a list of the best free PC games in 2020?”
Well because it’s still one of the best games in 2020! And it’s free! So download it off the official League of Legends website and see what all the fuss is about.
If you have never played PlanetSide 2 before there has never been a better team to start. The massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) is unbelievable in its scale and unique in the gameplay it serves up.
This month sees the release of the massive Escalation game update which promises to introduce new content for players of all levels, including the Bastion Fleet Carrier - capable of engaging enemies at long distances with mannable turrets, and serving as an air vehicle spawn point, think the Star Destroyer in Star Wars.
Players join one of three factions, called Outfits, embroiled in a three-way intergalactic war. Players can be one of thousands of boots on the ground or battle it out in player-controlled tanks, hovercraft and spaceships. The goal is simple to attack enemy bases and structures and bring them under control of their faction.
The scale of the battles is unlike anything seen in other games at times thousands will descend on hotly contested zone and carnage ensues.
Planetside 2 is available on PC via Steam and on PlayStation 4.