Free games are an attractive option on the PlayStation 5. This category of games has changed dramatically in recent years. With the explosion in popularity of titles like Fortnite and Genshin Impact, many games are adopting a free-to-play formula.
The best free-to-play games are probably the ones without microtransactions. Here’s a look at some of the best free PS5 games.
The Best Free PS5 Games 2023
Super Smash Bros may not be available outside of Nintendo’s ecosystem, but there are other options for those who don’t own a Switch. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl debuted to a fairly decent reception and will undoubtedly attract fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, SpongeBob SquarePants and company; however, over the past few years, Brawlhalla has established itself as one of the definitive alternatives to Smash.
Brawlhalla, a platformer with a strong roster of legends, including Rayman, should be instantly recognizable to Smash alumni, even though the free-to-play game has no shortage of new features. For example, the movements are a little less restrictive in Brawlhalla. As only a few fighters are free, it may be worth investing in the « Legends Pack » to unlock all characters.
PlayStation Store Link Brawlhalla
Take Halo, add a little Portal and you get Splitgate. Splitgate is a fun first-person shooter with neat mechanics. If we focus only on the handling of weapons, Splitgate respects the basic principles: the fights reward skill, the weapon pool is diversified and some balancing is in place. Even without the portals, Splitgate is a satisfying multiplayer shooter to play.
Portals take it up a few notches, adding a unique strategic element to team play. Although weapon handling is immediately accessible, the portals introduce a learning curve that makes repeated matches more rewarding.
PlayStation Store Link Splitgate
3. The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 experience
Released for free in anticipation of the Matrix resurrections, The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience is an effective look at the evolution of technology since the late 1990s. Taking players on a journey through some of the famous scenes from the original Matrix, this PS5 experience is little more than a technical demonstration of the Unreal Engine 5, but it’s still an incredible sight to see.
This game is mainly aimed at fans of the film franchise who have always dreamed of sitting next to Neo and Trinity. Those who are not particularly interested in The Matrix should still try this version, as it is free, short and a technical marvel.
Playstation Store Link The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 experience
4. Super Animal Royale
With so many battle royale games on the market, it has become difficult to get excited about a newcomer to the genre. Super Animal Royale deserves to be an exception. Played in 2D, Pixile Studios’ game is essentially a two-round shooter, but pits 64 adorable creatures against each other in battles to the death.
The games are fast-paced and someone can be dead within seconds of falling in the park. Don’t be fooled by the game’s graphics, Super Animal Royale is a real cutthroat. Fortunately, the game is fun enough to overcome the frustration of a quick defeat.
Playstation Store Link Super Animal Royale
Epic Games’ Fortnite has never looked better than on the PlayStation 5. The game offers DualSense controller support, which creates immersion like no other controller. Loading times are faster, and the game plays in 4K at 60 frames per second.
In addition, split-screen multiplayer offers 60 fps support, providing an unprecedented experience for Fortnite. Fortnite continues to dominate the free-to-play scene, despite being released in 2017, and it seems unlikely that will change in the near future.
Link to Fortnite on PlayStation Store
6. Apex Legends
After the proliferation of Fortnite to the forefront of the online scene, developer Respawn Entertainment has struck back with Apex Legends. Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale game differs from Fortnite in that it is more combat-oriented and does not have a building component.
The games have 60 players and are played in teams of three, pushing coordination and communication to the forefront. Apex Legends is also a first-person shooter, which sets it apart from Fortnite. Finally, Respawn’s game falls into the category of hero shooters, as it contains several characters that correspond to different play styles.
Link to PlayStation Store Apex Legends
Dauntless tends to be considered the free-to-play alternative to Monster Hunter, and while Phoenix Labs’ game has similarities to Capcom’s franchise, it also goes above and beyond to differentiate itself. The PS5 version is a fast-paced action RPG with lots of content. Killing behemoths remains the main objective, however, Dauntless has regularly added new elements to diversify the gameplay. Today, combat is complemented by exploration episodes, creating a more enjoyable and lasting overall experience.
The gameplay loop consists of defeating Behemoths to collect the loot needed to craft new items, which should keep most players coming back. Dauntless is also very accessible, as the combat is immediately satisfying and the difficulty level is well balanced. However, the mechanics are deep and must be mastered once players have faced the more difficult Behemoths.
Link to Dauntless on PlayStation Store
Although not yet released on current-gen consoles, Smite is available on the PlayStation 4, which means PlayStation 5 owners can play the MOBA. Developed by Hi-Rez Studios and Titan Forge Games, Smite is one of the most exciting free-to-play games on the market.
In Smite, players control gods or goddesses in the third person. With unique abilities and team battles, players must work together to win several PVP modes. It’s no wonder Smite has dominated eSports for so long.
Link to Smite on PlayStation Store
Enlisted is a military shooter set during World War II. At first glance, there’s nothing exceptional or impressive about it, but this free-to-play game has developed well since its debut in early 2021. In its beta phase, Enlisted’s unique feature is that it puts players in charge of a squad or vehicle, combining first-person gameplay with man management in the form of instructions given to AI soldiers. This feature adds a distinct dimension to the battles and allows Enlisted to stand out from other WWII games on the market.
With over 20 classes and a variety of maps spread across five campaigns, Enlisted continues to grow, with the developers releasing frequent updates and improvements. That said, it’s a pretty painful game, especially for those who don’t invest in the premium packs.
Link to Enlisted on PlayStation Store
Have you always wanted to become a war mage in a battle royale game? Spellbreak places players in a large-scale multiplayer arena, challenging them to unleash their inner mage by coordinating with their teammates.
This game has role-playing elements but is largely considered a battle royale. Spellbreak pays homage to retro games like Unreal Tournament and Quake, but brings enough new features to set it apart. There are certainly more popular free games on the PS5, but Spellbreak is a unique alternative for those looking to add a little magic to their gaming sessions.
Link to Spellbreak on PlayStation Store
11. War Thunder
Considering its beta stage, War Thunder has been around for nearly a decade, though it made its official debut in 2016. Now available on almost every system not named Nintendo Switch, War Thunder is arguably the top vehicle combat game on the market, and that goes beyond just free-to-play titles.
With its wide range of modes, War Thunder offers something for just about everyone, whether they’re looking for a realistic or more casual experience. Since its inception, War Thunder has evolved into a much more ambitious title that seeks to capture the feeling of being on a battlefield.
Link to War Thunder on PlayStation Store
12. Genshin Impact
There are only a handful of role-playing games that are free-to-play. Genshin Impact is quickly becoming one of the most popular free-to-play games of all time. The game is story-based, but it includes a multiplayer mode and a single player mode.
To make Genshin Impact stand out even more from the crowd, it is an open world game. The ending of the game has been criticized, but the gameplay and freedom of exploration is phenomenal. Genshin Impact arrived on the PlayStation 5 on April 28, 2021, and updates are constantly being released for the game. There is already a ton to do in Genshin Impact and this universe will only expand more in the future.
Link to Genshin Impact on PlayStation Store
13. Knockout City
Dodgeball – that sums up this project. Knockout City moved to a full free-to-play experience in June 2022, a move that helped revitalize interest in the game since it had lost quite a bit of momentum since its launch in 2021. While it will probably never reach Rocket League’s numbers, Knockout City has a decent player base at the moment, and the 2022 summer season might be the best time to jump into this title.
By injecting the basic dodgeball concept with a healthy dose of over-the-top destruction, Knockout City manages to be both accessible and profound. In matches, teams compete to eliminate each other using different types of balls, which may take some time to master.
Playstation Store Link Knockout City
14. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt
After more than a decade of inactivity in the video game industry, the World of Darkness series has recently made a comeback, producing a range of titles across a spectrum of genres. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt is the battle royale version of the franchise, and it does an impressive job of mixing the conventions of that concept with ideas unique to the franchise. For the most part, Bloodhunt sticks to the same structure as most battle royales: be the last vampire (or team) standing while avoiding the ever-shrinking map.
As solid as these basic principles are, Sharkmob has chosen to shake things up. Bloodhunt incorporates a PVE aspect that comes with an ingenious balance between risk and reward. The game uses a clan/class system that diversifies combat as players have access to an arsenal of powers that gradually upgrade to complete the loot. These elements combine to create a familiar yet singular experience in an oversaturated genre that could use a little more creativity.
Link to PlayStation Store Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt
Basically the Overwatch of the free-to-play world, Paladins is an online first-person shooter that is playable on the PlayStation 4, which means it can be started on the PS5. It takes place in a world called « Realm », a science fiction fantasy universe with medieval and futuristic themes. There are two factions, i.e. two teams that players can play as. The games are goal-oriented and the two competing teams play each other with five players.
A wide range of game modes such as Siege, Onslaught, Team Deathmatch and Ranked give Paladins tremendous replay value. In addition, the hero shooter offers many customization options, allowing users to tailor the characters to their preferences.
Paladins link on PlayStation Store
Warframe continues to be one of the most played free-to-play games due to its abundance of content. The PlayStation 5 version was ported to November 2020. Developer Digital Extremes injected more content into the game after launch than any other game of its kind.
The structure of the game is based on completing quests and upgrading Warframe’s armor. With the game’s currency, platinum, players can upgrade and customize their spaceship and trade with other players. Warframe’s clan features are exceptional.
Link to Warframe on PlayStation Store
17. Astro’s Playroom
When someone picks up a PS5, the very first game they should play is Astro’s Playroom. This free title is mainly designed to showcase the console’s capabilities, including the DualSense controller. Its status as a technical demo may not inspire confidence, but Astro’s Playroom pays a nice tribute to Sony’s PlayStation brand while being a very good 3D platform game.
Charming, beautiful and full of references, Astro’s Playroom is close to the perfect free-to-play game. The campaign lasts about five hours, which is about the right amount of time for a technical demo that is also a real platformer.
Playstation Store Link Astro’s Playroom
18. Yu-Gi-Oh ! Master Duel
Whether in the form of a trading card game, manga or anime, Yu-Gi-Oh! has been an integral part of pop culture for over two decades. The license gave birth to many games, most of which went unnoticed or were not even released in Western countries. Master Duel is Konami’s latest attempt to perfect the formula, and it’s a solid representation of the franchise.
The free-to-play title gets rid of distractions such as a story – it’s a pure digital trading card game. Master Duel lives up to its title, as it does not simplify the mechanics of the franchise. Newcomers to the series may be overwhelmed by the options and rules, although a tutorial covering the basics is included.
PlayStation Store link Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
19. World Of Tanks
World of Tanks may seem similar to War Thunder at first glance, but the two vehicle combat games are very different. While the latter is more of a simulation, the former opts for an arcade-style experience. As a result, the game is faster and easier to learn, but the choice of the best game depends on the player’s preferences.
With six game modes, the World of Tanks loop usually involves players in a large battlefield of two armies. With some modes focusing on short battles, World of Tanks has a quality of play that makes this MMO stand out from many other games in the genre.
Playstation Store Link World of Tanks
20. Rogue Company
When it comes to multiplayer shooters, the free-to-play scene has no shortage of representatives, which might explain why Rogue Company tends to go unnoticed. While not exactly innovative, First Watch Games’ tactical shooter offers a confident and comforting experience.
With a robust roster of playable characters called Rogues, teams compete on a map as they attempt to complete objectives. The battles are enjoyable, the graphics are colorful and Rogue Company has personality to spare.
Playstation Store Link Rogue Company
21. Destiny 2
Developer Bungie’s online-only multiplayer first-person shooter has arrived on PlayStation 5 with free updates for the next generation. The free-to-play version of Destiny 2, called Destiny 2 New Light, contains most of the game’s content before Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, one of the game’s major expansions.
Destiny 2 has been free-to-play since the last generation of video game consoles, and it continues to be a phenomenal shooter on the PS5 at no cost. Please note that the free version of Destiny 2 doesn’t contain much content or variety, and is more of a sample of what you can expect than a complete and satisfying package.
Destiny 2 PlayStation Store Link
22. Rocket League
Now that Rocket League has joined the free-to-play club, it is one of the most played games in the industry. It is a vehicle-based soccer game that has been described as a mix of racing, soccer, basketball and field hockey.
With more stable frame rates, playing Rocket League on PlayStation 5 could give players a competitive edge. Even though a native PlayStation 5 version has not yet been released, this will not prevent many people from getting into this sports phenomenon via backwards compatibility.
Link to PlayStation Store Rocket League
23. Call Of Duty: Warzone
The free-to-play battle royale game Call of Duty: Warzone is one of the most streamed games on Twitch. Although Warzone was followed by another entry in the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the former remains a huge success.
There is an in-game currency called « Cash » that allows players to purchase perks and items in the game. Call of Duty: Warzone is criticized for its pay-to-win aspects, but it is praised for its map design and different game modes. You can play solo, in duo or in teams of four.
Playstation Store Link Call Of Duty: Warzone