Free games. Are there two more beautiful words in the English language? We’re no linguists, but we don’t reckon there are. As the world commits to staying at home in isolation, we naturally turn to video games as a way to pass the time. But as the economy crumbles and jobs disappear every day, it can be hard to justify the purchase of new games. Thankfully, as a way to promote good isolation and social distancing practices, numerous video game publishers have gifted players with sweet ways to while away the hours — all for free, or pretty close to it. Here’s a look at what you can get your hands on right now.
As a part of the #StayHome initiative, PlayStation is giving out two of their most popular games for free. First up is Thatgamecompany’s masterpiece Journey. You can grab it for free on PS3 and PS4. It’s one of the most beautiful games ever released on either system and you actually owe it to yourself to play it if you haven’t yet.
Also going free is Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection. This anthology contains the original Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. That’s at least 60-80 hours of gameplay right there if you were to smash through all three.
Both free games are available right now on the PlayStation Store for zero dollars. You don’t need a PlayStation Plus subscription to get them or anything. They are only available temporarily so grab them while you can.
Additionally, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s Legacy is a part of this month’s free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. That means if you DO have a PS Plus sub, you can actually grab all four mainline Uncharted adventures in one fell swoop. Also in this month’s PS Plus lineup is Dirt Rally 2.0, which is perfect if you’re looking for a little driving in between adventures.
A PS Plus subscription will normally run you AUD $11.99 a month, but you can trial it for 14 days free of charge.
Xbox doesn’t currently have any free games right now. What they have instead is one of the best deals in video games. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gets you access to a Netflix style library of video games — new titles, classic titles, favourites, and forgotten gems alike — all available to download and play on demand. Better still, Game Pass works across Xbox and Windows PC so you can jump between systems, or grab titles that are exclusive to either platform. But wait there’s more — Game Pass Ultimate also gets you all the privileges of an Xbox Live Gold subscriber so you can play online and grab monthly freebies. Brand new Xbox exclusives like next week’s Gears Tactics? They’re available at launch on Game Pass. You can play them right away, no questions asked.
How much should you expect to pay for a service like this? You should expect AUD $15.95 per month. BUT if you’ve never signed up before, you can actually get your first month of Game Pass Ultimate for a measly AUD $1. A single dollar for all those games. As many as you want, on whichever platform you want, for the whole month. Grab some for you, grab some for the kids. Honestly, why aren’t you signing up already?
But what about those Games with Gold freebies? They’re included in Game Pass too! This month has four titles going totally free for subscribers. You’ve got the excellent driving simulator Project Cars 2, and the classic Fable Anniversary remaster for RPG fans. For those who love a good indie party game, you’ve also got Knights of Pen and Paper and Toybox Turbos to help keep the kids entertained.
Nintendo knows that people come to them for the classics, and this month they’ve gone pretty deep into the vault. If you have an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription, this month you’ll have access to four classic NES and SNES titles. Pop’n Twinbee and Smash Tennis for SNES fans and Shadow of the Ninja and Eliminator Boat Duel for the Team NES have just been added to the classic games section.
Nintendo Switch Online also lets you play online with others and is one of the cheaper subscription programs around. A mere AUD $29.95 will sort you out for a whole year, or $5.95 for a single month.
PC gamers are the most bargain conscious players in the hobby. We’re sure that you’ll be well aware of all the following deals, so pass it on to friends who might not be as cluey.
First things first, the Epic Games Store offers free games every week. This week’s offerings are Just Cause 4 and Wheels of Aurelia. Next week you can look forward to For The King. Once they’re bound to your Epic account, they’re yours to keep for good.
Xbox Game Pass for PC is the PC-only version of the aforementioned Game Pass subscription service. This is the one to grab if you only have a PC at home and no Xbox. At AUD $4.99 per month, it’s a little cheaper than the Ultimate tier subscription but it’s also subject to the same sign-up deal. If you’ve never signed up before, your first month is only AUD $1. Get around it.
Itch.io is a massive hub of wild indie game creativity. Many of the games that go up on Itch are completely free. We encourage you to dive in and try a little of everything. You never know what might become your new favourite game.
Twitch Prime is a premium service tied to every Amazon Prime subscription. When used in conjunction with your Amazon Prime sub, you can get everything from free games to unique loot for games you already own. This month sees a number of choice indie titles going free for Twitch Prime subs including Turok Remastered, Earthlock, Kathy Rain, Etherborn, and Lightmatter. They’ll all be available for the rest of the month so grab em while they’re hot. An Amazon Prime subscription will set you back AUD $6.99 per month.
Free to Play
So what if you don’t want to deal with hunting deals and installing different apps? What if you just want one game that you can play reliably every day and not have to pay for it? Good news. There’s plenty of free-to-play titles out there with huge player counts. Here’s a quick list of ones we think you should check out and where you can find them:
Call of Duty: Warzone (PS4, XBO, BattleNet)
Apex Legends (PS4, XBO, EA Origin)
Fortnite (PS4, XBO, Switch, Epic Games Launcher, iOS, Android)
Dauntless (PS4, XBO, Switch, Epic Games Launcher)
StarCraft 2 (BattleNet)
Hearthstone (BattleNet, iOS, Android)
Warframe (PS4, XBO, Switch, Steam)
Destiny 2 (PS4 , XBO , Steam)
Path of Exile (Steam)