Free-to-play games have been growing in popularity on the PC for over a decade now, but it wasn’t until the last two or three years that the console makers started to take this business model seriously. Developers big and small are entering the fray here, and as such, we wanted to see exactly how these games stand up on the PS4.
Since the early days of the PS4, we’ve been keeping an eye on each and every F2P release. While some of the games on the PlayStation Store aren’t even worth mentioning, there’s a variety of rock-solid titles. And thanks to the low barrier to entry, you can try anything that strikes your fancy. Now let’s jump in, and find something to play.
It’s becoming a rarity to see true platform-exclusive titles these days. Usually, games come to the PC alongside a console release, but not Trans-Galactic Tournament. Developed by Kiz Studios, this accessible little MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) offers a handful of different modes and a rotating roster of free champions.
You can unlock different champions outright with either “chips” (cash currency) or “coins” (earned currency), but boosts and bundles are only purchasable with chips. If you want to buy-in, you can drop anywhere from $4.99 to $69.99 at a time. Just remember that it’s still listed as a beta on the PlayStation store, so think twice before investing real money.
Sports games are incredibly popular, but they’re surprisingly underrepresented in the free-to-play market. Thankfully, the PS4 finally has a F2P sports game, and it’s actually pretty solid at its core. The latest version of PES 2016 is well reviewed, and this slimmed down version still offers a lot of what makes the full version work. If you just love playing virtual soccer, this release allows you to do that without paying a dime.
You can simply play friendly matches against opponents locally and online if that’s your jam, but the big draw is the more involved myClub mode. By implementing a strategy element, myClub adds a lot of depth to what is otherwise a relatively straightforward experience.
Sadly, there’s been some significant criticism of the micro-transaction model Konami has in place. And since you can spend up to $99.99 at a shot for the “myClub Coins” in-game currency in hope of making a better team, there’s definitely some pay-to-win accusations being hurled. But even if you never seriously interact with myClub, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with regular ol’ soccer.
Available on both PC and Xbox One for quite some time, Smite has finally made its way to the PlayStation 4. This colorful action-strategy game pits different deities against each other in an arena — making this the epitome of a behind-the-back MOBA designed to appeal to a crowd that isn’t sold on more traditional entries in the genre.
A selection of free deities are always available to play, but you’ll need to spend either “gems” or “favor” to unlock characters permanently. You can dump an absurd amount of money into the system for skins, voice packs, and boosters, but none of that is necessary for a good time. And if you’re willing to make a one-time purchase of $29.99, you can unlock all current and future gods. If you end up spending dozens of hours playing Smite, that’s a very reasonable asking price.
Many shooters in recent years are fast-paced games riding off the coattails of Call of Duty’s modern and futuristic themes, or sci-fi-tinged cover shooters in the model of Gears of War. However, the strategic historical shooter is seeing something of a renaissance in the free-to-play market. This 15-versus-15 tank warfare game from Wargaming.net delivers an experience that rewards tactical thinking and teamwork over pure reflexes. And with a wide selection of mid-1900s tanks on offer, enthusiasts of the real-world war machines have a lot to love.
The gold in-game currency is being sold on the PlayStation Store in packs ranging from $4.99 to $99.99, and you can spend real money on consumable items like repair kits. Different tanks can be purchased with the earned currency (Silver), but you’ll need to spend gold if you want boosts and premium tanks. None of the purchases are strictly necessary, but you’re going to need to work pretty hard to be on equal footing with paying members.
Epic Games, the company that brought us the likes of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, is trying its hand at making a MOBA of its own. It features the third-person camera and controller-friendly combat of a game like Smite while serving up a more realistic aesthetic and a business model closer to Dota 2.
Keep in mind, Paragon is still in early access. Some invitations have been distributed, but if you haven’t received one, you’re going to need to buy the $19.99 founder’s pack to play right now. The game will go into open beta this summer, and at that point everyone will be able to jump in with no upfront cost. All of the heroes are free, but you can always spend real money on in-game currency, card packs, boosters, and Master Challenges.