Money. Despite what many of us would like to believe, it’s a finite thing. Sometimes those purse strings have to be pulled with the ferocity of a tug-of-war, and for those times in your life it helps to know that there are games out there that don’t cost a penny.No matter what flavour of saver you are, there are free games in every genre: FPS, narrative choice-based games, hack n’ slash, and MMOs to name a few. The PlayStation Store has plentiful freebies on offer, so we’ve sifted through the offerings to bring you the best free PS4 games out there.
Let it Die
A hectic, borderline-sadistic hack-and-slash, you should only play Let it Die if you have a penchant for getting your ass handed to you. Or thrown over the other side of the room as one of its many insane bosses rips you in half in ways you didn’t know existed. No, I’m not going to compare it to that game about darkness and souls. Grinding your way through its many levels, you’ll have to beat boss after boss to make it all the way to the top of a tower that’s mysteriously risen up through the earth. On your way you’ll meet characters that look like someone pitched them based on random word combinations. The most memorable by far is the skateboarding Uncle Death. Who wears spiral sunglasses and biker boots. He’s… interesting. There is a slim monetisation aspect to Let it Die, but you get a ton of ‘death metals’, its currency of choice (*metal horns gesture*), thrown at you after completing special events so you don’t have to drain your wallet to play. Plus each time you die your player will appear in someone else’s game as an additional enemy. So we promise all those deaths mean something. Promise.
Life Is Strange, Episode 1
Bewitching players for two years now, finally you can see what all the fuss is about for free. Everything changes when lead character Max discovers she can rewind time, saving the life of her rebellious best friend Chloe in the process. Life in their home of Arcadia Bay gets dark when the pair start using Max’s power to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Amber, one of their school friends. Rachel’s absence causes ripples in the town, and they find themselves drawn deeper into the uncomfortable goings-on that have remained in the shadows until now. Altering the past creates its own problems, though. The game as a whole has multiple endings, so there’s a huge replayability factor. Episode 1 is a good sampler of the entire saga though, so there’s really no reason not to give a try.
Ready for some outlandish mental images? Here we go: a tiny imp riding a warbeast with a mouth big enough to swallow a walrus whole. An angelic white-and-gold angel android. An engineer with one extra robotic arm clinging to her back. I assure you each one of these characters exists. And you can find them in Paragon, a multiplayer battle arena game bursting with havoc. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, everything looks beautiful, which you’ll want to focus on when you’re trying not to get shot to bits. Building your deck (no cards here: it’s a fancy name for perk cards) will help to delay the inevitable, as you can select different perks or items to suit your playstyle. But wait, there’s more! Different items will pop up during the game depending on the cards you chose, so you can easily vary each session by dropping some different perks into your loadout. These cards are earned through gameplay too, so you won’t have to face people who have bought their way to the top of the game. It’s all very fair, and is a good stop-gap while you eye that Overwatch purchase hungrily.
PlayStation’s attempt at Minecraft feels a little more like Dragon Quest Builders, with hours of building fun in store. In between bouts of piecing together your house/castle/lair of choice in Trove there are vastly different landscapes to be explored. Yes, there’s the usual forest, desert, and arctic sections. Scattered into the mix is also a bright pink, saccharine-sweet candy realm, and a futuristic tron-like world with high-tech enemies. Slashing your way through levels of each dungeon is surprisingly tough at points, yet it gradually gets easier. Each boss drops a variety of weapons and masks, which you can equip to give yourself some skill boosts. Perhaps you think you can guess what kind of characters you’ll be playing. No offence, but you’re probably incorrect. Choose between Chloromancers who control the plants that spring from the ground to deadly effect, or a Candy Barbarian who gives the phrase ‘sugar rush’ a whole new meaning.
Cyberninjas. Does that word alone not sell you on Warframe instantly? With your main aims being assassination, looting, and trying out as many frames as possible, at first the amount to do is intimidating. You see, ‘frames’ are loadouts (in the form of different sets of armour) that determine your abilities, and therefore your playstyle. To amass different frames to try you’ll first need blueprints, which will be splurged out of bosses you defeat. Use these to buy the frame you’ve got your eye on. One will be able to teleport, another will be able to summon a frost nova or a sonic boom. Encouraging you to play the game however you want and try out new approaches, it helps that each frame has an eye-catching design for you to yearn after. It’s outperformed usual free-to-play expectations by making it entirely possible to get to a high level of expertise without paying a single penny, though expect to grind quite a bit in the process. With over 26 million users, there’s a very active community to play too.
Tales from the Borderlands, Episode 1: Zer0 Sum
Step back into the chaotic world of Borderlands. You know you want to. Watch where you’re putting your feet, though, as Tales from the Borderlands is set after the events of so there’s quite a bit of fallout to deal with. In this story adventure you’re playing Rhys, one of Hyperion’s corporate ‘suits’ who has his eyes on being the next Handsome Jack. Fiona, a con artist looking to pull off her biggest scam joins the cast too as the two become reluctantly joined at the hip (not literally; no Dr Zed surgeon horror stories here) to reclaim money they each think is theirs. Along the way they’ll meet gangsters, bandit lords, and Vault Hunters. This is a Borderlands game, after all. With 4 and a half stars and over 15,000 ratings, it’s safe to say people like quite a bit. Why don’t you join them?
Similar to Warframe, Hawken gives players the option to hold onto their hard-earned cash and instead grind their way to the top. Stomping around in a giant mech is exciting enough, but the main attraction of the game is the fact that ammunition is unlimited. Of course, there is a catch. Your guns will overheat, turning you into the equivalent of a squishy damage sponge, so you’ll have to retreat to recover your energy and get those guns firing again. Don’t expect to be lumped with a specific mech loadout either, as you can customise the weapons, equipment, and select different mech upgrades to suit how you want to play. Lumpy movement is to be expected from giant robots. To be as nimble as a ballerina the giant buckets of metal can side dash and boost their way across the arena, and turn around speedily at the cost of a draining fuel tank. If you want to see how a massive mech could be that elegant, give Hawken a go.
Sometimes you don’t want to put that much effort into gaming. For those times when you just need to switch off and pour hours into something simple but strangely pleasing, Clicker Heroes is the game for you. All you have to do is tap the square button to slash at a monster, then collect the coins from killing it, which you then spend on upgrading your hero or hiring a new one so you can fight bigger monsters… it’s hypnotising in its simplicity. Sitting in front of the TV doing that all day long isn’t for everyone as the human body generally needs to feed and expel fluids to keep going, so you’ll be glad to know that the game plays itself while you’re away. The heroes you’re hiring will keep killing monsters and reaping gold, so all you have to do is come back and spend the glittering metal. Easy.
Lone wolves, step away. Those who yearn to be part of something bigger, to have brothers-in-arms shooting by your side, step up to the plate. The raucously hectic FPS Planetside 2 has you join one of three factions and battle for domination of the planet Auraxis by using foot soldiers, monstrously huge vehicles and air support. The premise will be familiar to anyone who’s played an online FPS match. Each outpost you conquer and retain gives your team extra resources and limits the spawning options open to your enemies. You can only capture outposts that are near ones you’ve already claimed, so there’s no voyaging deep into enemy territory where you’ll become over-familiar with bullets in various body parts. There’s just the right amount of direction to keep from becoming overwhelming, so it’s ready and waiting any time you want a bit of free sci-fi FPS action.
Minecraft: Story Mode, Episode 1: The Order of the Stone
The second Telltale game on the list, this story is a lot more family-friendly. A good game for lazy Sundays, Minecraft: Story Mode has you playing as the eager Jesse who is fascinated by the Order of the Stone. This legendary group of heroes is made up of the Redstone Engineer, Architect, Warrior, and… Griefer (I’m not making that up, promise). Mysterious circumstances surround their disbanding after defeating the powerful Ender Dragon. And they remain split up. You don’t go and reunite them or anything. Kidding! It doesn’t take much to twig that you’ll probably be meeting this cast of characters eventually, and until then there’s enough QTEs and Minecraft quips to keep you playing.