April 17, 2021

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The best free games on Xbox One (September 2020)

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. It’s a lot cheaper than buying video games, plus the library is packed to the brim with excellent experiences. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need an

for most games on this list, which is included with Game Pass. There aren’t many single-play free-to-play games.

Apex Legends came out of nowhere, attracting millions of players at launch and maintaining them since. It’s a battle royale game that adds a MOBA-like character roster to the typical battle royale format. Although not the first or last game to add this feature, Respawn got things right with Apex Legends. Each character feels different, with unique abilities and a unique personality. Beyond the characters, Apex Legends simply feels good to play. Respawn knows how to make a shooter feel fast and fluid.” data-reactid=”39″>Respawn’s Apex Legends came out of nowhere, attracting millions of players at launch and maintaining them since. It’s a battle royale game that adds a MOBA-like character roster to the typical battle royale format. Although not the first or last game to add this feature, Respawn got things right with Apex Legends. Each character feels different, with unique abilities and a unique personality. Beyond the characters, Apex Legends simply feels good to play. Respawn knows how to make a shooter feel fast and fluid.

expertly-balanced weapons and a slew of attachments for them. Apex Legends is battle royale at its finest from a team of some of the best FPS designers around.” data-reactid=”40″>Building on many mechanics shown in Titanfall 2, Apex Legends is a game all about movement. Sliding, climbing, and sprinting is the name of the game as you dart around Apex Legends‘ constantly-evolving map. Gunplay is equally as refined, with expertly-balanced weapons and a slew of attachments for them. Apex Legends is battle royale at its finest from a team of some of the best FPS designers around.

Early reviewers have called attention to a clunky combat system and repetitive NPCs and side quests, but others have praised it for its challenging, yet easy to pick-up leveling system and creature design. The game is still new to Xbox and developers are regularly updating it — expect improvements the longer the game is out, with plenty of input from players.

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”69″>$0 from Microsoft

Call of Duty: Warzone

knowing your guns, closing doors behind you and listening for footsteps around every corner. But fans of the Call of Duty series will be pumped to add an active battle royale mode to the series’ already serious multiplayer pool and Plunder definitely adds an interesting alternative game mode to the mix.” data-reactid=”88″>In terms of gameplay, Warzone doesn’t bring anything drastically new to the table — you’ve still got to focus on the battle royale basics like knowing your guns, closing doors behind you and listening for footsteps around every corner. But fans of the Call of Duty series will be pumped to add an active battle royale mode to the series’ already serious multiplayer pool and Plunder definitely adds an interesting alternative game mode to the mix.

Call of Duty: Warzone review” data-reactid=”89″>Read our full Call of Duty: Warzone review

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”90″>$0 from Microsoft

Darwin Project

Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Darwin Project joined is an under-the-radar but complex addition to the genre. While most battle royale games don’t have much of a story behind them, Darwin Project is set in a Hunger Games-esque dystopian future where overpopulation has led to the practice of reality TV-style battle royale contests to keep the masses manageable. In this fight to the death, nothing is handed to you. Players must chop down trees, gather natural resources and loot building to build weapons and tools. The environment is a serious factor as well — be sure to chop wood to build yourself a fire in cold weather or you might die before you even see another player.” data-reactid=”108″>In the middle of a battle royale boom that focused on high-profile shooters like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Darwin Project joined is an under-the-radar but complex addition to the genre. While most battle royale games don’t have much of a story behind them, Darwin Project is set in a Hunger Games-esque dystopian future where overpopulation has led to the practice of reality TV-style battle royale contests to keep the masses manageable. In this fight to the death, nothing is handed to you. Players must chop down trees, gather natural resources and loot building to build weapons and tools. The environment is a serious factor as well — be sure to chop wood to build yourself a fire in cold weather or you might die before you even see another player.

The unique part of this game is the reality TV angle — these fights are being produced. Each game, someone takes on the role of the director, a robot camera master of ceremonies hovering overhead. This player can heal players, change the environment, drop loot, adjust the safe zone, et cetera, to make the show more interesting if players are getting passive.

Darwin Project review” data-reactid=”111″>Read our full Darwin Project review

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”112″>$0 from Microsoft

Dauntless

Monster Hunter: World, but free-to-play and with a Fortnite character style and battle pass, this action RPG is all about tracking down and slaying massive monsters. There’s no grinding away at small creatures and working your way up to the big leagues though — this game is all boss battles, all the time.” data-reactid=”134″>If you’re a fan of gathering a group of friends online with different weapons and tackling lumbering beasts, Dauntless might be the title for you. Similar to Monster Hunter: World, but free-to-play and with a Fortnite character style and battle pass, this action RPG is all about tracking down and slaying massive monsters. There’s no grinding away at small creatures and working your way up to the big leagues though — this game is all boss battles, all the time.

The fighting in this game is very much about strategy. You won’t be rewarded for running into battle spamming the attack button without a plan. Fighting monsters revolves around picking the right weapon for the job and learning your enemy’s attack plan, knowing the right attack combos and evasive maneuvers to slay the beats and come out alive.

Having a set strategy and making sure your party is equipped properly is key to successful monster hunting, so make sure your whole squad is on the same page before rushing into battle.

$0 from Epic Games Store” data-reactid=”137″>$0 from Epic Games Store

Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Crimson Days

to be successful.” data-reactid=”159″>Destiny 2 is a sci-fi, open-world, first-person shooter developed by Bungie. The game takes place in the distant future, when a conglomerate of alien armies have invaded the solar system and threaten the last vestiges of humanity. Between the game’s story and its competitive multiplayer modes, Destiny 2 gives players a lot of content for absolutely no cost. Players will need to build their character and customize it to their strengths, while gathering loot and building weapons to support their class of choice to be successful.

looking into bringing cross-platform play to the game, but it doesn’t look like the update is in the works to be released anytime soon. Thankfully, cross-save is already in the game.” data-reactid=”160″>Destiny 2 has only expanded since its launch and shows no signs of slowing down, making it a great world to join if you’re looking for an immersive gaming experience and a larger community. Bungie has publicly stated that it’s looking into bringing cross-platform play to the game, but it doesn’t look like the update is in the works to be released anytime soon. Thankfully, cross-save is already in the game.

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”161″>$0 from Microsoft

Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 are great, full-priced experiences for Xbox One, but if you’re looking to save a whole lot of bottle caps, the stylish colony management simulation Fallout Shelter is a great alternative. Tasked with growing a community of vault-dwelling survivors after the nuclear apocalypse, you must manage resources, construct new rooms, venture out into the unknown to complete quests, and defend your home from raiders, all while attempting to increase the population. Most of your actions are on timers, so it’s a great game to play in-between multiplayer sessions or as you’re watching Netflix on your Xbox One. It’s also part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, so you can pick up where you left off on a Windows 10 PC.” data-reactid=”179″>Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 are great, full-priced experiences for Xbox One, but if you’re looking to save a whole lot of bottle caps, the stylish colony management simulation Fallout Shelter is a great alternative. Tasked with growing a community of vault-dwelling survivors after the nuclear apocalypse, you must manage resources, construct new rooms, venture out into the unknown to complete quests, and defend your home from raiders, all while attempting to increase the population. Most of your actions are on timers, so it’s a great game to play in-between multiplayer sessions or as you’re watching Netflix on your Xbox One. It’s also part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, so you can pick up where you left off on a Windows 10 PC.

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”180″>$0 from Microsoft

Fortnite

catching fish to riding loot sharks. In short, Fortnite is a lot more than just looting and shooting.” data-reactid=”198″>One of the most popular games worldwide, Fortnite doesn’t need much of an introduction. The top battle royale shooter from Epic Games is always evolving through map changes, weapon additions, and other in-game content, so it’s a great title to have in your rotation. Currently, the game is late in season 3, with challenges ranging from catching fish to riding loot sharks. In short, Fortnite is a lot more than just looting and shooting.

$97 from Walmart” data-reactid=”200″>$97 from Walmart

Hawken

Best Free to Play Games

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favorite MMO title for PC, but its short action bar and linear level design translate extremely well to an Xbox One controller, and you can play nearly the whole game for free. It is set within the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe, and you’ll select from D&D-inspired character archetypes to create your adventurer.” data-reactid=”242″>If bringing MOBA to consoles was difficult, then doing the same for an MMO is indeed a challenging endeavor. Still, it has happened more and more in recent years, with games like The Elder Scrolls Online and DC Universe Online proving that the genre can survive on a gamepad, even if it doesn’t offer the same freedoms as a keyboard-mouse combo. Neverwinter wasn’t our favorite MMO title for PC, but its short action bar and linear level design translate extremely well to an Xbox One controller, and you can play nearly the whole game for free. It is set within the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe, and you’ll select from D&D-inspired character archetypes to create your adventurer.

The game lacks in MMO features — namely, groups are limited to five, and there are few options for communicating in-game — but the combat feels weighty and satisfying, striking a good balance between depth and simplicity.

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”244″>$0 from Microsoft

Phantasy Star Online 2

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Realm Royale

Unlike most battle royales right now, players must choose between one of five classes when jumping into a game: Hunter, warrior, assassin, engineer, or mage. Each class has its own skills on the battlefield. For example, Assassins have the ability to teleport between short distances and Engineers have the ability to deploy a pretty powerful shield to absorb incoming damage.

Roblox

Since game creation here is so simple, there are almost too many games to choose from. Games range from scuba diving simulators, amusement park builders, pizza joint cooking games, and even prison escapes. The possibilities are essentially endless. The game includes plenty of solo experiences but it’s always more fun when you team up with a friend to collaborate on developing a new game or enjoying one together.

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”304″>$0 from Microsoft

Smite

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Warframe

Best Free to Play Games

The eponymous “Warframes” — aka armor suits that act as character classes — are the main draw here. There are more than 30 frames to choose from, each with four unique skills, and you can switch between them at will once they’re unlocked. Each frame operates differently, allowing for myriad play styles, and you can customize everything — weapons, frames, etc. — with mods that tailor skills even more specifically. The game feels a bit arcade-y and repetitive at times, but c’mon, it’s free!

$0 from Microsoft” data-reactid=”348″>$0 from Microsoft

World of Tanks

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Killer Instinct

The new version is a recreation of Rare’s own Killer Instinct, which was unleashed onto arcades back in 1994. Although the full game remake is $39.99, you can download and start playing for free. You still have access to all of the game modes, though only with a single fighter. You can buy additional fights or, if you want them all, upgrade to the definitive edition. Of course, the best course of action is to just sign up for Game Pass and get it all for free.” data-reactid=”387″>The new version is a recreation of Rare’s own Killer Instinct, which was unleashed onto arcades back in 1994. Although the full game remake is $39.99, you can download and start playing for free. You still have access to all of the game modes, though only with a single fighter. You can buy additional fights or, if you want them all, upgrade to the definitive edition. Of course, the best course of action is to just sign up for Game Pass and get it all for free.

$20 from GameStop, Inc.” data-reactid=”388″>$20 from GameStop, Inc.

Path of Exile

Grinding Gear Games could have slapped a $30 price tag on Path of Exile at launch, and we wouldn’t have batted an eye. It’s an action RPG in the vein of Diablo with surprisingly high production quality. You can start playing for free, and you may never want to invest any cash in the available options. There are, of course, microtransactions. However, for as much paid content as there is, there’s equally as much free content. Grinding Gear has lovingly built out Path of Exile over the past seven years. The game is still receiving substantial content updates to this day, so you may never run out of playable elements.” data-reactid=”406″>Grinding Gear Games could have slapped a $30 price tag on Path of Exile at launch, and we wouldn’t have batted an eye. It’s an action RPG in the vein of Diablo with surprisingly high production quality. You can start playing for free, and you may never want to invest any cash in the available options. There are, of course, microtransactions. However, for as much paid content as there is, there’s equally as much free content. Grinding Gear has lovingly built out Path of Exile over the past seven years. The game is still receiving substantial content updates to this day, so you may never run out of playable elements.

At a minimum, in the free version, you’re getting a 30ish-hour action RPG with a robust character creation system. Plus, there are multiple PvP modes. If you dump a little money into the game, you can unlock exclusive armor sets, weapon effects, attachments, and more. Be warned, though: Path of Exile’s bundles are expensive. Presumably, accounting for no pay-to-win elements, some of the packages are a few hundred dollars. Hundreds of hours of gameplay come with those options, though. That means the up-front cost is merely a drop in the bucket.” data-reactid=”407″>At a minimum, in the free version, you’re getting a 30ish-hour action RPG with a robust character creation system. Plus, there are multiple PvP modes. If you dump a little money into the game, you can unlock exclusive armor sets, weapon effects, attachments, and more. Be warned, though: Path of Exile’s bundles are expensive. Presumably, accounting for no pay-to-win elements, some of the packages are a few hundred dollars. Hundreds of hours of gameplay come with those options, though. That means the up-front cost is merely a drop in the bucket.

With so many free-to-play options on Xbox One, you can enjoy countless hours of gameplay without spending a dime. Small buys can add up, though, so we still think Game Pass is a smart option if you want more than what’s available for free.” data-reactid=”408″>With so many free-to-play options on Xbox One, you can enjoy countless hours of gameplay without spending a dime. Small buys can add up, though, so we still think Game Pass is a smart option if you want more than what’s available for free.

$0 from Steam” data-reactid=”409″>$0 from Steam

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