The Xbox Series X/S is home to a litany of great games, from the biggest triple-A experiences to smaller indie projects. However, not every Xbox owner out there might be willing or able to cough up the dough to get all the best titles. Thankfully, the console also offers quite a number of brilliant free-to-play games.
Most of these are supported through in-game economies, urging players to spend money on microtransactions or implementing gacha mechanics that reward players with things like new characters or skins. But many can still be enjoyed for countless hours without spending a single dime, which is never a bad thing in the eyes of the frugal gamers among us. So with such titles in mind, here are a few of the very best free games on the Xbox Series X/S.
Updated October 31, 2022 By Ben Jessey: Many people consider new games for the Xbox Series X/S to be very expensive. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to break the bank to find enjoyable things to play on the system. This is because there are also a bunch of good free games available on the console.
This list already contained a bunch of the best ones. But there were more out there that deserved to be mentioned. So, we’ve updated this list to add a few of the good ones that missed out last time.
10/10 Fall Guys
Not all free-to-play games start that way. For instance, you used to have to spend your hard-earned cash to experience this colorful title. Now Fall Guys is free, and it’s just as great as ever. If you’ve never played it before, it’s a unique type of online battle royale.
Instead of your combat skills, it’s your platforming abilities that are put to the test. How exactly they’re tested depends on the round. You may have to race, play soccer, leap over spinning obstacles, grab tales, or do whatever else the game asks. The ultimate goal is to survive every round and win the crown.
9/10 The Sims 4
For many years, The Sims series has provided some of the best life simulation games ever. And you can get one of the best entries for nothing, as The Sims 4 is now free-to-play.
If you’ve played a Sims game before, you know what to expect. You create a family, buy or build them a house, and control their lives. This means tending to their careers and relationships, as well as catering to their needs. The Sims 4 comes with plenty of content to make that process as enjoyable as ever.
8/10 killer instinct
Despite being free, Killer Instinct has always managed to rival the best fighting games on the planet from a pure gameplay standpoint. This is because the title provides very slick and well-polished fighting mechanics. Another feather in the title’s cap is its visuals, as both the stages and the fighters look amazing.
The only thing holding the game back from true greatness is a lack of content. This isn’t a surprise, considering the game costs nothing. What’s there, though, is a lot of fun.
When it comes to platform fighters, Super Smash Bros. has generally been the star of the genre. However, MultiVersus gives it a run for its money. After all, this is a fast-paced and enjoyable title that has a bit of strategy due to the ability to assign perks before fights.
The most eye-catching aspect of the game, though, is the roster. The game includes classic characters from various Warner Bros. properties, such as Wonder Woman, Bugs Bunny, and Arya Stark. And the said roster is continually being updated to include more recognizable faces.
Brawlhalla is another game that attempts to dislodge the monopoly that the Super Smash Bros. series has over the platform fighter genre. And it does a good job of matching the genre leader, as the game provides fluid and frantic fun.
As with most games of this type, the goal is to weaken your opponents and knock them off the map. Or at least that’s the objective in the standard mode. There are several other game modes that mix things up a bit. Whatever you’re doing in the game, you’ll always get the chance to admire Brawlhalla’s adorable character models.
5/10 PUBG: Battlegrounds
PUBG is often credited with helping popularize the battle royale genre. Its basic premise is simple: up to 100 players are airdropped onto a remote island where they must scavenge for weapons and resources while fighting each other until there is only one left standing. And if any of that sounds familiar, you’ll have no problem seeing the breadth of its influence.
The fact that the game continues to support a sizable player base five years after first making its debut on Steam early access and Xbox Game Preview speaks to its longevity. It only just recently transitioned to being a free-to-play title on consoles as well, making it a good time for new players to jump in and take part in some of its mayhem.
4/10 Apex Legends
Apex Legends is another free-to-play game that players can sink many hours into on their Xbox Series X|S. Set within the Titanfall universe, the game mixes battle royale and hero shooter concepts. Unlike the free-for-all nature of other battle royales, though, players are divided into teams of up to three squad members and must work together in order to take out other teams.
Each player also gets to choose from a pool of 20 playable characters, with each one having unique special abilities that cater to different playstyles. The game famously shadow dropped in 2019 with very little fanfare before quickly growing to a player base of more than 25 million players within the span of its first week alone.
3/10 rocket league
The only thing better than soccer (or football as it is called in the rest of the world) is soccer played with rocket-powered vehicles. At least that is the presiding logic in Rocket League, a popular sports game by Psyonix. It has players using their cars to knock an oversized ball into their opponent’s goalposts, which sounds easy enough until you factor in its physics-based gameplay.
The game has since grown to support its own esport, with a casual player base of over 40 million. And much like PUBG, Rocket League didn’t begin its life as a free-to-play title. But now that it is free to download for anyone with an Xbox Series X or S, there is no harm in doing so and trying it out for yourself.
Fortnite is one of the most popular online games across multiple consoles and even smartphones. Much of that popularity can be credited to its free-to-play battle royale mode, which like other battle royales has up to 100 players duking it out across a vast open map that gets smaller over the course of a match.
Its defining feature comes in the form of a building mechanic that lets players use gathered resources to build structures on the fly. This can be used for both defensive and offensive purposes, with advanced players being able to erect towering structures of all shapes and sizes in a matter of seconds. The newly-introduced Zero Build mode seeks to reverse that though, taking that aspect of its gameplay out of the equation to create something resembling a more traditional battle royale game.
1/10 Halo Infinite
When it was first announced that the multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite would be completely free-to-play, many were stoked and skeptical at the same. But following a number of test flights and an early beta release, a lot of that skepticism was assumed. The game was, quite simply put, quintessential Halo at its best.
Players get the same triple-A multiplayer shooter experience they’ve come to expect from the series, without any compromise to its overall quality. This is not to say that the game itself is perfect or free of problems, as they’ve been several ranging from matchmaking issues to a lack of post-launch events. But considering that 343 Industries is committed to keeping the game going with updates and downloadable content, we can be rest assured that they’ll be plenty to keep players coming back for years to come.
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