With the adorable Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout now free-to-play on all platforms, we thought it was high time we gave kudos to a few of the best FTP titles out there.
While publishers' different approaches to monetising these experiences often leave much to be desired, there's something satisfying about getting into a game without paying upfront, and the best don't make feel like you need to pay at all to enjoy it.
What game keeps you coming back for more? Let us know in the comments.
Pokémon Go | James Parry
While the barriers to the game being free grow every year, Pokémon Go is still the free-to-play game I dip into now and then fairly consistently, with updates and seasonal events highlighting new friends.
Recently we had the debut of Tyrunt, to cannily coincide with the dino-fever as a result of Jurassic Park: Dominion at the cinema, and there are constant special events and community days, which spotlight a favourite pokémon and even give you a chance to catch a “shiny” colour-changed version.
It also connects you with trainers across the world. Sure the friend code system is a little awkward, but once you’re connected you can exchange gifts, pokémon or even pit your team against there’s in a battle.
While it might not have the immediate action and chaos of free-to-play stablemate Pokémon Unite, it certainly has a lot of pokémon featured – over 700 of the nearly 900 that currently exist in fact – and a huge number of team options as a result.
Even now you can team up with others across the world to compete in remote raids, or even join them in person, and the satisfaction of catching a legendary remains to this day.
Of course, Sea of Thieves' upcoming updates may see it come back into my rotation once again, and Rocket League is also a near-constant feature in my recently played. Perhaps I need to broaden my FTP horizons?
Warframe | Chris Brand
There are a good handful of free-to-play games which aren't too aggressive when it comes to monetisation and Warframe, for me, sits at the top. You can buy almost anything with Platinum, the game's premium currency, but everything you could need to become the deadliest of space ninjas is available in game, though some of it may require a significant time investment. If you don't like spending money and want to skip the grind, there's also the option of trading, as most items can be traded between players, including Platinum.
At first, it may seem like a generic first-person shooter but once you've progressed enough and have a few Warframes and a decent collection of gear, it becomes so much more. Each 'frame has its own set of abilities and, as such, is best suited to certain missions. Stealthy types will fare better on Spy missions, for example, but it's not mandatory to bring a specific loadout to a mission, it merely adds a slight strategy element.
One of Warframe's greatest strengths is the wealth of content. There are hundreds of pieces of gear to be bought and crafted and new stuff is released regularly. Some of the bigger updates will even add new mission types, enemies and quests.
All of this can be overwhelming for newer players, especially as a lot of the mechanics aren't explained very well and in game information isn't always easy to find. Not to mention the endless stream of balancing patches and reworks that are common in multiplayer titles.
If you haven't touched Warframe since the early days, you may be surprised at how much it's changed. It's not the same game it was upon release. And if you've yet to try it out, now is as good a time as any.
With no E3 show this year, given the knock-on impact of the pandemic, Geoff Keighley, of The Game Awards fame, has coordinated the major platforms (except Nintendo, because they do whatever they fancy) for Summer Games Fest, to show off their latest gaming wares.
By now you’ll have heard about The Last of Us Part 1 remake, had the first reveal of Starfield gameplay at the Xbox Bethesda Showcase over the weekend, and even found out about new content for Resident Evil Village, but were there any unexpected surprises?
The team has come up with a few, and we also have special guest, and Twitch and Twitter queen, Ellie Hayden pitching in as well. What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments.
High on Life | Chris Brand
There were a number of titles that took me by surprise, none more so than High on Life, a first-person shooter from relative newcomers Squanch Games. Justin Roiland (CEO of Squanch Games and co-creator of Rick and Morty) has splashed his unmistakable style, and voice, all over, with a blend of off-the-wall humour and visuals that are as beautiful as they are disturbing.
In a world that's (hopefully) very unlike our own, human beings are sold as the latest drug craze and it's up to you to take down the alien cartel responsible for this trafficking. If the idea of people-packed "Hyperbongs" isn't weird enough, you'll be taking on the alien menace with an arsenal of living, and talking, weapons.
It's the kind of thing that could wear thin very quickly if it's not done right – I'm sure we all have phrases burned into our brains from mindless NPCs constantly repeating the same few lines over and over again – but I'm hoping there's enough variety in the dialogue, with a host of different personalities to wield and a runtime that doesn't overstay its welcome.
I love immersing myself in a substantial RPG, and Starfield is certainly looking the part, but sometimes I just like good old-fashioned fun. High on Life reminds me of Oddworld in that respect, the general tone is similar as it walks that fine line between serious and silly.
Aliens: Dark Descent | Liam Andrews
I do like to get excited by the prospect of a new Aliens game, even if they haven’t always delivered on the hype. I played a bit of the most recent one, Fireteam Elite, and did enjoy it, for the most part, but even with it on Game Pass finding a match was difficult and it soon dropped off my radar.
Although there wasn’t much in the way of gameplay, I liked the look of Aliens: Dark Descent. I wouldn’t say I’m into RTS games, but the idea of trying to navigate a whole squad of Colonial Marines through levels littered with xenomorphs sounds quite fun.
There’s little revealed in the trailer, so we don’t whether it’ll be a case of moving a small team of four or five marines through a linear level, or if it’ll be more like a traditional RTS setup where you’ll be establishing bases, harvesting resources, and building larger armies and attacking/defending multiple objectives at once.
Either way, I think an Aliens RTS has potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. At the very least, it was a nice surprise to see a new take on the franchise and the CG trailer was impressive.
Persona 3, 4 and 5 | Ellie Hayden
We’ve seen some pretty big and exciting reveals this week – and I’m sure the boys have already mentioned that juicy Starfield gameplay – but the unexpected highlight for me has to be the re-release of a selection of old games.
I’m very excited to see Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal will be coming to Game Pass. It’s been wonderful to see JRPGs really moving into the mainstream over the last few years and this feels like a substantial step forward in terms of bringing the best of that genre into the spotlight.
The Persona series includes some of the most well-designed, well-produced and innovative RPGs I’ve ever played. In fact, the storytelling and character design in all three games is sublime; the soundtracks and voice acting are top-quality; and the combat is deep, strategic, and customisable – I really can’t gush enough about them.
It’ll be fantastic to see a whole host of new people play these games for the first time, and Game Pass should encourage more Western gamers who might have missed them to give the series a try.
Seeing more enthusiastic gamers getting into a franchise I love, one of my favourites of all time in fact, is really exciting. I can’t wait to see how many gamers almost ruin their degree playing P3P, just like I did.
Now we've had the joy of Star Wars celebration, and with Obi-Wan Kenobi in full swing on Disney+, the hype for a galaxy far, far away is at fever pitch once again. We also had some fresh news with a reveal trailer for Star Wars Jedi Survivor, the follow-up to 2019's Fallen Order.
What are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments.
Ubisoft’s Star Wars open-world title | Chris Brand
Like James, I'm excited about the sequel to Fallen Order, which is surely one of the better Star Wars games to date (if not the best) but Ubisoft Massive's as-yet-unnamed open world title may just take the top spot for me. Though I didn't exactly gel with The Division or its follow-up, the world itself was exceptional, with recognisable landmarks and a lot to explore off the beaten track.
Yes, it was desolate, but it fit with the theme. The barren streets told as much of a story as any of the myriad collectibles that you could find scattered around and it added to the atmosphere. There was also a staggering amount of Easter eggs and references hidden throughout, which is an enticing prospect in a Star Wars game, given the decades of lore to draw from.
I'm hoping for a busier world this time around. Something similar to Knights of the Old Republic (which, coincidentally, is being remastered) with a series of open areas, would suit me just fine. We've visited many different planets in various media, and we all have our favourites, so it would be a shame to be stuck in one place.
Though I long ago grew tired of Ubisoft's habit of littering the world with side quests and smaller activities, I would welcome it in this instance. Especially in a fresh IP that will most likely feature new faces and a story that could take place at any point in the universe's prolonged timeline.
Respawn’s Star Wars First-person Shooter | Liam Andrews
I managed to miss the drop of the Star Wars Jedi Survivor trailer, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first game so I am very much looking forward to this. I was especially pleased that Cal's lightsaber is back to being a classic single blade, though I expect we’ll be able to personalise it like in Fallen Order.
As for which Star Wars game I’m most looking forward to, I think that would have to be Respawn’s as yet untitled Star Wars FPS, as you just know it’s going to be a quality experience - this is the studio responsible for two of the best FPS titles in recent years (the Titanfall games), after all.
There’s little information knocking about, but I’m hoping it’ll be something akin to Titanfall 2, with decent multiplayer and a solid, engrossing single player campaign. Battlefront II’s multiplayer was excellent, but the solo offering never really grabbed me, so it would be great to get a decent single player Star Wars FPS experience.
As much as I enjoyed being a Jedi in Fallen Order, it’d be cool to play as a regular trooper or perhaps as a bounty hunter in big blaster-focused battles. There’s plenty of blaster-wielding characters that would be a perfect fit for a FPS title, such as Han Solo, or even Cassian Andor, the latter of which just happens to have his show coming out soon.