The best free games on the Xbox One – ExtremeTech

Xbox One Free to Play

Considering how much money is being generated by mobile games like Clash Royale and Pokémon Go, it’s no surprise that free-to-play games have begun to proliferate on consoles. While we’ve all done our fair share of groaning about the nickel-and-diming that’s so common on the App Store and Google Play, there’s a lot to like about the free-to-play model when handled properly.

The PC has F2P games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, and they’re some of the most popular games in existence. Clearly, this is more than just a passing fad, and console devs are dying to get in on some of that sweet micro-transaction cash. So let’s jump in, and explore what the free-to-play model has to offer the average Xbox One owner.

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If the idea of fighting in your own custom battle mech excites you, you definitely need to check out Hawken. Originally released on the PC nearly four years ago, this free-to-play first-person shooter has arrived on the Xbox One. Go up against other players in any of six modes, earn experience, and alter your mech in any way you desire. We recommend you jump in, play the tutorials, and get familiar with the combat. If you enjoy yourself, throwing 10 or 20 bucks towards new upgrades will make your experience much smoother. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Hawken” class=”slider-232689 slide-232819″ />
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Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) are incredibly popular these days, but most of them require a keyboard and mouse to stay competitive. Smite aims at taking the core concepts from a MOBA, and making it fit the console experience. Instead of a bird’s eye view, the camera is over the shoulder. And instead of point-and-click controls, you have direct control over your character. As it turns out, that works surprisingly well. For $30, you can instantly unlock all current and future god characters in the game. If you find yourself spending a lot of time playing Smite, that seems like a smart purchase. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Smite” class=”slider-232689 slide-215817″ />
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World of Tanks

If tank combat is your jam, World of Tanks is exactly what you need. Jump into 30-person online skirmishes, and explore what tank warfare is all about. With different historical tanks from around the world, even the most finicky of tank enthusiasts will find something to love. And since this is compatible with the Xbox 360 version of the game, you can play along with friends (and enemies) who haven’t invested in the current generation just yet. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”World of Tanks” class=”slider-232689 slide-215816″ />
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AirMech Arena

Real-time strategy games have traditionally been PC-focused, but we’ve seen numerous excellent attempts at representing that genre on consoles. Red Alert 3 and Halo Wars worked surprisingly well on controllers, so it’s no surprise that AirMech Arena has made its way to the Xbox One. And truth be told, it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely more limited than something like StarCraft II, but this snappy little game is worth playing for fans of the genre. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”AirMech Arena” class=”slider-232689 slide-215815″ />
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Magic Duels

If collectible card games are closer to your speed, Magic Duels is a good place to start. Set in the popular universe of Magic: The Gathering, this installment is available on iOS, Steam, and the Xbox One. And since you can either earn gold by playing the game, or by simply spending real money, this is a perfect entry point for players new to the Magic setting — a very small barrier to entry. (Download for free on Xbox Live,
find out more on IGN)” alt=”Magic Duels” class=”slider-232689 slide-215814″ />
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While this game still isn’t available for everyone just yet, what we’ve played of this five-on-five action-oriented MOBA has shown a lot of promise. Gigantic offers a fast-paced gameplay experience, but with enough variety to allow for vastly different play styles. We’re not entirely sure what the business model is going to look like, but the folks at Motiga promise that it will definitely be a free-to-play game upon release. (Sign up for release info, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Gigantic” class=”slider-232689 slide-204280″ />
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Killer Instinct

This classic fighting franchise has finally returned to the limelight, and this time it’s a free-to-play release exclusive to the Xbox One. After being dropped by its original developer, the folks at Iron Galaxy stepped in, and now the game has benefited from two additional seasons worth of content updates. Without dropping a single cent, you get to play as a rotating cast of free fighters, and you can slowly unlock more content by playing the game. Alternatively, you can simply buy two seasons worth of content for just 30 bucks. And if you want to play as the season three characters, that’ll cost another $20. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Killer Instinct” class=”slider-232689 slide-224183″ />
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Made by Cryptic Studios (the developer that brought us City of Heroes and Star Trek Online), this action-based MMORPG is set in and around the city of Neverwinter. By combining the popular Forgotten Realms backdrop, fierce action gameplay, and the free-to-play model, the description alone is enough to get a certain subset of fantasy enthusiasts frothing. Aimed at tackling the World of Warcraft market, this free-to-play MMO has you teaming up with friends to explore a truly beloved setting. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Neverwinter” class=”slider-232689 slide-204290″ />
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Happy Wars

If fighting games and fantasy RPGs are a bit too serious for your tastes, consider downloading Happy Wars instead. This colorful and cartoony multiplayer game allows for both co-op and competitive gameplay both online and off. Sit down with your family, and enjoy the four-player split-screen mode as you work your way through this goofy and joyous world. The in-game currency is sold in packs ranging from $2 to $40, but beware. Since this game is clearly aimed at kids, you need to lock down your purchase settings before handing over the controller. The last thing you want is a bunch of unintended purchases showing up on your bill. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Happy Wars” class=”slider-232689 slide-204281″ />
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Pinball FX2

If you like pinball, Zen Studios has a treat for you. With Pinball FX2, you can play dozens of tables featuring some of your favorite franchises. From Marvel superheroes to Star Wars to The Walking Dead, Pinball FX2 sports an incredible amount of variety, and rewards skilled play with a superb leaderboard system. And if you know other pinball enthusiasts, you can compete asynchronously against each other for the top spot. When you download the core client, you automatically get access to the Sorcerer’s Lair table for free. If you only have a passing interest in pinball, this table is more than enough to satiate your desires. If you’re a hardcore pinball fanatic, you can choose to buy single tables or combo packs à la carte. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Xbox One Pinball FX2″ class=”slider-232689 slide-192584″ />
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Powerstar Golf

Up for a few holes of golf? Take a look at Powerstar Golf from Zoë Mode, and you’ll find a stylish golf game with a lot to offer. As you play, you can unlock new clubs and balls to improve your stats, and turn your character into a real pro. This persistent golfing experience tracks how well you’re doing, and easily allows you to challenge your friends to beat your score at any time. If you’ve got a competitive streak and a penchant for golf, Powerstar Golf is exactly what you’re looking for. For free, you get access to a hole from every course. You can play as much as you like, earn experience points, and unlock new persistent gear. However, you’re going to need to pony up some cash if you want to do much more than dabble with the mechanics. You can buy any of four courses for $6 a pop, or you can invest $20 for the “full game unlock” combo pack. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Xbox One Powerstar Golf” class=”slider-232689 slide-192585″ />
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Looking for something a bit more traditional? This multiplayer third-person shooter from Digital Extremes is worth checking out. Join up with a team of friends, and blast and hack away at the enemies to your heart’s content. Warframe does allow you to sink anywhere from $5 to $150 at a time on in-game currency, but don’t feel like any of that is required. You can play the game without spending a dime, and thoroughly enjoy yourself the entire time. (Download for free on Xbox Live, or find out more on IGN)” alt=”Xbox One Warframe” class=”slider-232689 slide-192587″ />

I’d buy that for a dollar

While console gamers have grown accustomed to dropping $60 (or more) for a game, it’s fantastic to see more variety in the market. Just like a $60 price tag may not fit a small-scale indie game, the free-to-play model isn’t one-size-fits-all either. F2P is here to stay, but not at the expense of other business models — only in conjunction. Poorly executed free-to-play games can easily leave a bad taste in your mouth, but don’t dismiss the entire concept. After all, we’ve seen numerous free-to-play games on the PC garner massive critical acclaim, and the concept is still relatively new on consoles. Give these games a chance, and you might just find a game that you really love.


Post Author: Tech Review