Ranked! Mandatory Top 10 of 2020: Free-To-Play Video Games of the Year
“Free” is music to our ears (especially in this economy). “Free-to-play” hasn’t always sounded as alluring as one would think; so-called “free” bogged down by a stampede of microtransactions. These days, gamers can button-smash (forgive the term) for hours without ever “making it rain.” In a year where everyone’s watching their pocketbooks, free-to-play gaming is more relevant than ever. We’ve compiled some of the best and most popular free-to-play video games of 2020. No, Fornite will not be on this list. Yes, this list is perhaps overly concerned with shooters, battle royales, and MMOs/RPGs. When in Rome.
Cover Photo: Digital Extremes
10. Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile delivers on its titular promise: it is Call of Duty on your phone. While there's no campaign, there are many multiplayer modes (with zombies), including battle royale (of course). Although using a touchscreen isn't ideal, firing a weapon in Call of Duty: Mobile feels surprisingly good and highly addictive if you're waiting in line somewhere (not that we do that anymore).
9. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) is one of the most beloved role-playing games of all time. Aside from Obsidian's follow-up, the game never had a true sequel. Star Wars: The Old Republic was Bioware's MMO answer to fandom desire for another game (although we still want one). Nine years after its initial launch, The Old Republic is now free-to-play, offering up ambitious and varied stories set within a galaxy far, far away.
Riot Games' newest free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter, Valorant, successfully combines elements of Overwatch and Counter-Strike with solid gunplay and approachable specs; making it one of the fastest-growing games on the eSports scene this year.
The World of Warcraft spinoff, Hearthstone, is a deck-building strategy game based on Blizzard's aforementioned franchise. With a campaign, a variety of online game modes (along with over 3,000 playable cards), decks, and strategies, Heartstone is chock-full of free-to-play content.
6. Fallout Shelter
Fallout Shelter puts the player in control of their own Vault from Vault-Tec. Similar to the property management systems in other Fallout titles, Shelter allows you to build a vault, keep its occupants happy, and the Wasteland out. Bethesda recently introduced quests in version 1.6 and ported the game from Android and iOS to PC.
Bascially, Paladins is Blizzard's free version of Overwatch—which is a win. That, and a collectible card system that affects your ability to customize/build your characters.
4. Destiny 2
Bungie's Destiny 2: New Light lets new players play all of the title's premium content—expansions, public events, and more. Gone are the $60 price tag and tedious leveling system. Coming from the same developer as Halo (as you know), Destiny 2 has some of the best gun mechanics and combat in gaming and it's finally worth checking out...because it's free.
3. Apex Legends
Respawn's Apex Legends separates itself from the pack by bringing Titanfall mechanics to the team-based battle royale genre. Also, unique abilities (specific to characters) and 20 three-person teams make it feel much more balanced than ventures like Fornite of PUBG. Apex Legends is one of the fastest-growing free-to-play games ever and still one of the most popular.
2. Genshin Impact
Everyone seems to compare Genshin Impact to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild—which in itself is incredible considering it's free. That said, it's more than just a knockoff. Genshin Impact is a beautiful open-world RPG in its own right. Yes, the dialogue and story are cringey at times but there's still so much here to enjoy—you'll be 40 hours deep before you ever feel the pressure of loot boxes.
Warframe is a cooperative free-to-play third-person action game with a fantastic story and a staggering amount of customization. Warframe makes you feel like you should be paying for it. The fun of traversing maps as a custom space assassin, and slaying hordes of enemies, is ameliorated by a large community of players.
A step further: Playing Video Games is Fun, But Creating the Kind of Game You’d Like to Play Is a Lot Cooler
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