Best free games on Xbox One

Free games are slowly taking over. Here are the absolute best on Xbox One.w

 Best free games on Xbox One

Free games have quickly become more prevalent in the gaming industry in the past few years. Even five years ago, very few games were available to play completely free, and most of them were not worth your time. Nowadays, with the emergence of microtransactions and battle passes, it is entirely feasible for a game company to allow their game to be free for everyone if they have a dedicated player base that is playing and supporting the developers putting in new content regularly.

Any current platform has at least a few notable standouts when it comes to free games. Here are the ten best free games on the Xbox One.

Fortnite

Fortnite
Image via Epic

Fortnite is still everywhere in the gaming industry and set the standard for how to handle not just battle royale games, but many free games in general.

Anyone who plays video games knows the story with battle royale. Many players drop into a massive map and loot weapons and items to help them take out other teams until they are the last one standing. As the match goes on, a storm creeps in, pushing players into a smaller circle to incentivize more fights. The feature that differentiates Fortnite from other battle royales is its building mechanic. Collecting resources allows you to put up quick structures that act as a cover and can turn the tide of battle in your favor.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone
Screengrab via Activision

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare released a free update that allows players, even ones that don’t own Modern Warfare, to play a new battle royale mode entirely for free. What makes Warzone stand out from other battle royales (and also Blackout, the previous Call of Duty battle royale in Black Ops IV) is the gulag and money system.

If you die in Warzone, the match isn’t automatically over for you, like many other battle royales. You are taken as a prisoner of war and transported to the gulag, where you will be set up in a 1v1 battle against another prisoner. If you win this matchup, you get a second chance and are automatically spawned back in. If your teammates gather enough money, they can also use it to bring you back into the game.

Apex Legends

Image via EA

Apex Legends is a battle royale with hero shooter mechanics. Each match starts with all three people on your team choosing from a roster of unique characters with varying abilities and personalities. Each hero is placed into a class and has an ultimate that impacts the game in different ways. Everything from Wraith’s teleporter to Lifeline’s care package is on the table.

Apex was the first game to popularize the ping system. With the simple press of a button, you can direct your team to items or enemies, suggest locations to go to, and more. It is a quick and intuitive system that has not been bested yet.

Destiny 2

Destiny 2
Image via Bungie

Destiny 2 started as a fully priced game but made a move to free to play alongside its Shadowkeep expansion. The free to play version of Destiny 2 includes the base game that initially released in 2017, as well as the Warmind and Curse of Osiris expansions. The more dedicated players will be focused on later expansions. Still, for no money down at all, playing Destiny 2’s story is absolutely a win for anyone who has not played through it previously.

Destiny 2 is one of the biggest looter shooters out there. It features Bungie’s great feeling first-person shooting along with the grind of continually finding better gear to level up your guardian. There is a lot to play here for new players with dozens of hours available for you with your friends.

Brawlhalla

tomb raider brawlhalla
Screengrab via Blue Mammoth Games

Brawlhalla is the closest thing to Super Smash Bros you are going to find without dropping $60. Up to four characters on a screen fight each other and try to knock each other off of the screen.

While there are well over 40 characters total, only eight are available for all players. You can purchase more at anytime, but there is a constant rotation, so you will eventually have a chance to play new characters before dropping money on them. Like Smash, Brawlhalla has leaned into its crossover opportunities. Crossovers in the game include Rayman, Lara Croft, Adventure Time, WWE, and more.

Warface

Warface screen
Image via Crytek Kiev

Warface is a first-person shooter that is centered on online firefights in either PvP or PvE matches where each player chooses between five different classes: Sniper, Rifleman, Engineer, Medic, or SED. While not the most in-depth game on this list, Warface doesn’t require players to spend real money to remain competitive and provides highly enjoyable online-focused gameplay.

Dauntless

Dauntless
Image via Phoenix Labs

Dauntless is essentially a free version of Monster Hunter World. A cataclysmic event has torn the world apart, releasing monsters known as behemoths that are feeding on the surviving humans. You and other players need to hunt down behemoths and take the loot from those battles to craft and upgrade your weapons and equipment, allowing you to take on bigger foes continually. If you do not have the fund to drop money on Monster Hunter World, Dauntless will be your next best option. The grind is there, but battles against behemoths with up to three other people are always a fun way to spend about 20 minutes at a time.

Warframe

Hidden Messages
Image via Digital Extremes

In Warframe, players take control of a member of the Tennos, a race of warriors awoken from cryosleep to intergalactic war. The game is filled with many procedurally generated levels to keep things fresh, but over time has added in vast open-world areas that help nail the feeling of an MMO-like game. 

Warframe features plenty of grinding for your gear and upgrades, but through various updates has included many different aspects of other games. From shooting and melee to parkour and RPG elements, your Tenno will continually get more robust. While Warframe started slow, the developers have stuck with it and, along with a very dedicated fanbase’s help, have made it one of the best free games available.

Smite

SMITE Splash screen
Image via Hi-Rez Studios

Smite is a MOBA that pits mythological gods against each other in a battlefield. Dozens of gods from various periods and locations are present, and each has abilities tailored to their respective backgrounds. If playing on the free route, there is a significant chunk of gods you can play with at all times, and gods behind a paywall are also available to be rented or will be free during specific periods.

There are two main ways to play Smite, each revolving around team combat. First, there is the more traditional MOBA style mode of conquest or a much more straight forward brawl between teams in the arena. Choosing which is best for you will depend on your affinity with MOBA games.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2
Image via Sega

We end the list with a game that was only available in Japan for years before finally making it’s way to Xbox One. Phantasy Star Online 2 is an action RPG MMO with tons of customization to further set your created character as yours alone. Battles are carried out in real-time combat with combos, with endless adventures, and what they describe as Hybrid Custom Action. Players become a member of a research expedition called Arks, a fleet of interplanetary cruising ships researching a variety of planets. Players can embark on mission quests and play in groups of 12 players.