Free-to-play titles are all the rage right now, with a new one launching almost every week claiming to dominate the field. We've played a good portion of them, and while we don't claim to be experts, here's our top 5 free-to-play games for PC gamers.
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If you're all about hardcore and nostalgia, then Nethack should certainly tickle your free-to-play fancy. Featuring perma-death and a treasure trove of adventures, this classic ASCII graphics-laden RPG is truly amazing. Originally released in 1987 (25 years ago for those of you playing at home), the game finally stopped development in 2003. That doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable however, many gamers have spent their childhoods stuck in the game world and still haven't found all the secrets that Nethack holds.
Visit Spelunky World to enjoy
At first glance, Spelunky may seem like your average retro platformer. Players fill the shoes of an explorer adventuring in a vast network of caves, facing off against impossible enemies at every turn, a multitude of power-ups and of course, pitfalls to cross. However you soon learn that while Spelunky offers a considerable challenge, it's one you can work with rather than hate. Randomly generated levels ensure that every time you play, you'll see something new, which keeps the game fresh time after time. There is no save feature, so chances are you'll do a lot of dying before you make it to the end, but god damn that first time you finish the game is so satisfying.
3: Tribes: Ascend
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Competitive online shooters and free-to-play seldom go hand in hand, but in the case of Tribes: Ascend, it blends them expertly. Featuring an impressive selection of classes and weapons, along with a monetisation system that enhances rather than paying to win, Tribes: Ascend manages to bring back its award-winning formula to deliver an excellent shooting experience.
2: The Lord of the Rings Online
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Free-to-play MMO's are usually fun for about ten minutes, but then lose their depth and charm. The Lord of the Rings Online takes those other free-to-play MMOs and kicks them out the door, brining with it interesting quests, beautiful visuals an a true sense of the magical world.
When you hit level 20, the game definitely loses a little steam unless you're willing to pay some cash, but that's smart business more than fooling players. If you're looking for a MMO that is enjoyable for free, but gains considerable depth at later levels for a small fee, this should definitely be on your radar.
1: Team Fortress 2
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Imagine every Pixar character you've ever loved suddenly had a rocket launcher and were blowing each other to smithereens. That's the type of craziness on offer from Valve's hugely successful Team Fortress 2. Constant updates, new content, fun and madness - what more could you ask for the asking price of $0? If you like you can spend money on decorative items such as hats and badges, or even unlock some weapons, but there's a flip side to all of this. Community members can create their own weapons, and sell them for real money via the marketplace. You can trade items with friends (or foes) to increase your collection, but all of this is 100% optional and doesn't detract from the game if you stay away. You can't got wrong with Team Fortress 2, just ask our community member Kenni, he's put in over 100 hours and still plays every day!
By Stephen Heller - Bio