The free-to-play genre gets a bad name. While some of the criticism is well earned, there are a lot of excellent free-to-play titles available. For those tired of spending $60 for the latest AAA games, here are the best free PlayStation 4 games that you can download and play immediately at no cost.
Call of Duty: Warzone
It may not be the first Call of Duty battle royale, but it’s certainly the best — not just in the franchise, but in the entire genre. Warzone has already amassed incredible acclaim, garnering a whopping 30 million players in little over a week since its release. The sprawling world map of Verdansk is an incredible sight to see and well equipped for the 150-player matches.
Infinity Ward has certainly delivered an experience that evolves the atypical battle royale, with its introduction of the Gulag, wherein players are dropped into a one-on-one deathmatch after elimination in an effort to return to the battlefield. The most recent release of season 3 beckons all-new weapons and skins, in addition to four-player squads and the potential for duos on the near horizon.
Even if the battle royale gets to be a little too boring or frustrating, there’s a Plunder mode, which basically challenges players to amass the most cash in the allotted time. With respawns available and no ever-closing gas cloud, Plunder allows newcomers to try out the Call of Duty experience for themselves and to learn its myriad mechanics, like mounting weapons on surfaces and the various weapons color coordination.
Fortnite really doesn’t need an introduction at this point. It’s by far the most played game across the globe. That also means it’s the most popular free game on PS4.
The 100-person battle royale, filled with cartoon silliness and elaborate building mechanics, has become more than a game over the past couple years. It’s a cultural phenomenon. The third-person shooter is easy to pick up and play, and you’ll never have a problem finding a lobby filled with eager competitors. The long-awaited release of season two of the game brought along a brand new map, helicopters and spy games, and an unlockable Deadpool skin from Marvel.
With Smite, League of Legends, and Dota 2 at the forefront of the MOBA game sphere, there aren’t too many worthwhile competitors besides the lovely sci-fi action of Genesis. Completely free and devoid of predatory pay-walled content, Genesis launches out of the gate with 28 unique characters, loads of various battlefields, and action-packed arena-based combat.
This stellar MOBA was made entirely via Unreal engine and was intricately designed with the PS4 controller in mind. Say goodbye to the keyboard and mouse, not to mention paying for an exceptional experience, as Genesis pulls out all the right stops from performance to extended replay value without ever asking for a dime.
PS4 players don’t even have to be long-time MOBA fans, as the game is as welcoming as it is loads of fun for newcomers and veterans alike. Download it today on the PSN store and experience the action-packed arena-based sci-fi might available only in Genesis.
Destiny 2 has come quite a long way since its 2017 debut. Despite its age, the sci-fi looter shooter still maintains an avid player base and continues to be updated regularly by the developer. Bungie’s split with Activision in early 2019 helped to pave the sequel’s future and ensured its reach, allowing for it to go free-to-play. Now, everyone can enjoy Destiny 2, fighting across multiple planets while acquiring new weapons and armor after every intense challenge.
The $35 DLC expansion, called Shadowkeep, isn’t a necessity to play further once the main story has been completed. Not only are there loads of quests to take on and bosses to overcome, but there’s likewise the high-octane PvP mode, Crucible. This is the best place to test out the effectiveness of newly acquired gear against friends and strangers alike.
Published by Ubisoft, Brawlhalla is a free-to-play fighting game in a similar vein as the Super Smash Bros. series. The objective: Knock other players off the stage using one of the game’s 40-plus cartoon fighters.
Brawlhalla has simplistic controls making it easy to jump in on the action. Like Super Smash Bros., weapons fall from the sky. Each character has their own play style, and Brawlhalla features a multitude of game modes and stages.
Each week, a batch of six fighters are playable without spending any money. If you like what you play, though, you can spend $20 to unlock all current and future characters.
Mobile Suit Battle Operation 2
Gundam fans, meet your new favorite free-to-play experience: Battle Operation 2. When you’re not too busy watching all of the best anime on Crunchyroll and Funimation, hit the PS4 for some incredible online 6v6 action. It’s the shining feat of this Gundam title, and what makes it even more special is that it doesn’t even require a PS Plus subscription.
Luckily, this online versus isn’t the only mode to grace Mobile Suit Battle Operation 2, as the Infantry Battle makes for a completely new and varied experience. In this mode, players will be challenged outside of their mechs as mere pilots, scrambling to place bombs on enemy bases. Who says it all has to be done inside of a Gundam?
Speaking of which, with a whopping 130 Gundams at a player’s disposal, there’s few if any alternatives for a free-to-play experience as stacked as Battle Operation 2. Grab a few friends and join the fight today.
Adding to an already extensive list of battle royale games to choose from, Apex Legends is EA’s breakout experience, which nearly toppled Fortnite in prolonged Twitch viewership. From the minds of Respawn Entertainment, the developer behind the Titanfall series and Jedi: Fallen Order, the trio-specific battle royale breathed new life into the mode with team revives and an intricate pinging system.
Though it may not have ever toppled Fortnite’s incredibly large player count, Apex Legends still gave the battle royale counterpart a run for its money. It’s still going strong to this day, with an average PS4 player count of 39 million. With all-new characters being added and new weapons to unlock, like the high-powered Charge Rifle, there’s no better time to jump in and experience the intense action at World’s End.
In Warframe, players take control of members of the Tenno race, ancient ninja-like warriors that woke from a lengthy cryogenic slumber to find the world at war with multiple factions, including a frightening race of human clones. Since its 2013 launch, the third person co-op shooter has been all about the grind.
Armor suits known as Warframes serve as highly customizable character classes, with more than 30 to choose from. Each suit has four active skills and one passive skill that players can switch back and forth from. Weapons, of which players wield three, can be upgraded and tweaked via loot dropped by enemies.
There’s a competent PvP mode, but Warframe is primarily a PvE experience. Up until now, Warframe has tasked players with linking up and fighting through randomized linear levels, completing objectives along the way.
Now is the perfect time to jump into Warframe and learn the ropes, as later this year, its identity will receive its biggest overhaul yet. The next major expansion, Plains of Eidolon, will introduce player hubs (a la the Tower in Destiny) where you can meet fellow Tenno and join up for specific missions. Fast and fun (if a bit repetitive), Warframe is one of the most popular free-to-play games on PS4, and for good reason.
Dauntless is the amalgamation of Fortnite graphics with the gameplay of Monster Hunter. It’s a stellar free-to-play PS4 experience that even allows for friends across consoles to enjoy it together with its crossplay feature, an ever-growing new component in gaming. Dauntless was first released as a beta back in 2018. Fast-forward only a mere two years and the game is now among the best free RPGs on the PS4.
In Dauntless, players will go up against ruthless creatures in a fantasy land ripped asunder. These Behemoths, as they are called in-game, carry within them a variety of craftable components and supplies, which can then be used by players, known as Slayers, to build and equip so as to take on larger, more dangerous foes. Although the game is dripping in the Monster Hunter aesthetic, much of what inspired the team behind Dauntless was the Dark Souls games, making this a prime experience for the Soulsborne crowd.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
Say what you will about the rebooted Lara Croft outings and their underwhelming story beats, but there is no denying that they are mesmerizing in graphical fidelity. Case in point is Rise of the Tomb Raider, which has now become a graphics benchmark for PCs and is also among Sony’s free PS Plus games for July.
Although players will have to be a PS Plus subscriber to get it, there’s no reason not to download and enjoy Rise of the Tomb Raider. As a sequel to the 2013 reboot, simply titled Tomb Raider, Rise takes Lara on a quest of epic proportions with PTSD from the previous game’s experiences overlapping her newfound mission into Siberia.
For hardcore Raiders and series newcomers alike, this second entry into the rebooted Croft storyline is a spellbinding adventure that would put even Uncharted to shame with its unrelenting action and above-par graphics. Do you have what it takes to step into the shoes of Lara Croft?
Let It Die
Let it Die is a grueling action game that attempts to deliver Dark Souls–esque difficulty in a twisted world brought to you by Grasshopper Manufacturer, the maker of Killer7 and Shadows of the Damned.
With the guidance of a skateboarding grim reaper called Uncle Death, you embark on a daunting journey up the Tower of Barbs (a structure that literally cuts through clouds). Filled with quirky characters like Mushroom Magistrate and Kommodore Suzuki, Let it Die is surprisingly rich in narrative for a free-to-play title.
The thing about Let it Die is you’ll probably love it or hate it. The combat itself, with simplistic one-button attacks and weapons that break almost as quickly as it took you to scoop them up, isn’t likely to impress many. That, combined with the game’s devastating difficulty, blends into a game that may not work for everyone, even the Dark Souls fans who should theoretically make up the game’s core fan base.
But for those who stick with it, Let it Die may offer dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of intense fights — and maybe frustration. Certainly, if you are a fan of No More Heroes creator Suda51, Let it Die’s aesthetic alone might be enough to keep you playing.
Yet another among Sony’s free PS Plus games for July is Take-Two Interactive’s NBA 2K20. Although it may be littered with some predatory content, like a fully functional slot machine, there are some awesome subversive modes that give it a certain flair (and necessitate its place among the current best free PS4 games).
For starters, the Neighborhood mode, which is unlocked after players enjoy their first drafted game, allows for loads of awesome on- and off-the-court action. From dodgeball and casino games to skateboarding and bighead basketball, Neighborhood mode in NBA 2k20 is the best thing nobody has heard about.
There’s also the tried and true MyTeam and MyCareer modes, which offer an insane amount of content for all types of basketball fans to enjoy; the 5v5 Scrimmage offering; and Freestyle, which basically allows players to enhance their skills to the max. For absolutely nothing, aside from the PS Plus subscription requirement, there’s no reason not to grab NBA 2K20 for some much-needed sports action.
In what is undoubtedly the first truly revered MOBA to grace consoles, Hi-Rez’s Smite successfully transferred the feel of MOBA to consoles — no small task, considering that mouse and keyboard is generally considered a requirement for a MOBA.
You’ll choose between more than 100 different gods drawn from eight different “Pantheons” such as Greek or Norse mythology. Each god belongs to one of five character classes: Mage, Hunter, Assassin, Warrior, or Guardian.
Unlike Dota 2 or League of Legends, Smite gives players a more traditional behind-the-character camera angle (like a 3D action game). But like those MOBAs, Smite has a pretty steep learning curve, meaning that it will probably take a little while for you to get your bearings.
Thankfully, besides the wealth of character and customization options, there’s a myriad of game modes to choose from. Teams can be composed of three, four, or five players, and along with the standard MOBA lane-based format, there are options like Arena, which tasks players with escorting little minions across the enemy line. While not for everyone, Smite is certainly one of the most polished and beloved free-to-play games on PS4.
Self-titled as the “craziest battle royale yet,” Cuisine Royale sure knows how to market itself, and it’s as promising as it is over the top. It’s got the perfect dose of comical relief blended in with third-person and first-person shooting, as well as loads of melee combat. The added dose of demonic abilities, supernatural rituals, mystical traps, and an assortment of craftable items alleviates the mundanity of more popular battle royale experiences, like Fortnite and PUBG. Gaijin Entertainment’s stellar and hilarious battle royale offering gives this rather oversaturated mode a welcome spin, resplendent with consistent updates and hours upon hours of hilarious fun — all free, of course.