The best free Steam games 2024

Vantage with her bat in the newest Apex Legends update
(Image credit: EA)

Filling your cart with the best free Steam games is the perfect way to get the most out of your PC gaming setup. Maybe you've been treated to a brand new PC or just wanted to fill out your library; whatever the reason, there's no point in spending a bucket load of cash when these free games are available to play right now. 

Steam is full of fantastic free games, but this brilliant fact can be a double-edged sword, as the sheer volume of titles can be confusing at the best of times, and it can be hard to decipher what is worth your time. Many of the entries on this list are also some of the best multiplayer PC games and co-op games available, so there will definitely be something for you here. 

While there's no upfront cost, it is important to note that some of these 'free' games may have in-game purchases in order to finance the project, so if you truly want a game that comes at no extra cost, it's important to keep an eye out for microtransactions. Here are the best free Steam games to play in 2024, including battle royale games, historical strategy RPGs, and more.

Best free Steam games 2024

A The Finals contestant on a pink background as gold confetti falls

(Image credit: Embark Studios)
Why we love it

The Finals is a thrilling fight for dominance in a landscape which is yours to change and manipulate. No one fight is the same in this game show as you and your teammates  come up with new ways to claw victory from the jaws of defeat. 

If you're looking for a new Battle Royale-esque game to fill the time, then you should check out The Finals. This free-to-play combat-centered game show pits various teams of three against each other as they compete for the top spot. 

There are plenty of different operators to choose from, as well as an environment that can be changed at your whim. This means that no one fight is the same, and your team can masterfully create a unique playstyle to overcome the odds and eke out a win. Send wrecking balls hurtling toward your enemies, light buildings on fire, or simply turn the entire map to rubble; everything is allowed in this PvP first-person shooter.  

There are various objectives in The Finals that you can work towards, such as opening vaults and transporting goods to a cash-out location, many of which take inspiration from Capture the Flag. 

A brightly lit courtyard with a small shop stall at its center

(Image credit: Valve)
The next chapter begins
Why we love it

This shooter really doesn't care about your feelings; you'll get savagely beaten in CS2 if you don't know how to navigate it. But strangely, this is kind of fun. It pushes you to get better, and as long as you don't take the losses to heart, you'll likely do well, eventually. 

After 20 years of expertly crafted first-person shooters, Valve has released a sequel to the renowned Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. CS2 has proven itself to be an interesting update to the well-known FPS title, earning it a spot on our best free Steam games list. 

Mechanically speaking, it's been polished and updated brilliantly. Thanks to Valve's new engine, Source 2, the maps look better than ever, and many new physics-based features have been added. The smoke from bombs now can be pierced by bullets. 

CS: GO skins have also been ported over, and thanks to the updated graphics, they look better than ever, meaning all the old players can enjoy their well-earned skins in a brand new light. 

Unfortunately, for new players, this competitive shooter can still be difficult to grasp. Luckily there are some new assist features that go a long way to helping newcomers get to grips with the difficult FPS game. 

A mining fleet fires lasers at an asteroid belt

(Image credit: CCP Games)

8. EVE Online

Emergent storytelling at its finest
Why we love it

The emergent storytelling and player-driven experiences in EVE Online are unique and highly engaging.

EVE Online is a sci-fi MMO with a brilliant community that is one-of-a-kind on our best free Steam games list. Here, you can experience space exploration like never before in fantastic PvP and PvE battles, mining, industry, and a thriving player economy. 

There are tons of ways to enjoy EVE Online. You may want to join a corporation, work as an industrialist, infiltrate corporations as a spy, explore new swathes of the universe selling maps to the highest bidder, or simply become a pirate and blast anyone who gets too close to smithereens. 

While the learning curve for this MMO can be quite steep, it is free to play and easy to download, so there's no downside to simply giving it a go. For a unique gaming experience, EVE Online is certainly worth a try. 

Jet aircraft flying through the sky over an ocean

(Image credit: Gajin Distribution KFT)

7. War Thunder

By air, sea, or land
Why we love it

If you're a fan of military vehicles, aviation, and naval craft, then this MMO is just up your street. It's also easy to pick up, so as long as you're willing to put in some work, War Thunder will reward you.

War Thunder is one of the most comprehensive cross-platform MMOs on the market, and the fact that it's free with a shallow learning curve means that there's almost no reason not to give this game a go. 

You can collaborate in immersive battles by ground, air, or sea, and with over 2,000 vehicles to choose from, there are tons of options, so you can find the one that suits you best. However, if PvP isn't your style, then there's still some excellent PvE content to enjoy. 

You can take part in brilliantly executed historical battles and solo missions. There is even some superb custom content that is shared on War Thunder Live, with the prospect of earning real money through the Revenue Share Partner System. 

Crusader Kings 2 gameplay showing soldiers placed on a map

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

6. Crusader Kings II

Why we love it

This is an excellent strategy game if you're a historical buff. Getting to experience the turmoil of Europe during the Dark Ages is fun, engaging, and delightfully difficult. 

We’ve all fantasized about what it would be like to roam Europe in the Middle Ages. Well, with Crusader Kings II, you can do exactly that, playing a Christian lord looking to expand and preserve his dynasty while the whole continent is in turmoil. And, it’s not just invaders you have to worry about. Your vassals and courtiers are also busy plotting against you too. 

You’ll also introduce laws, make friends with other nobles and defend your religion against the heretics. Whatever decision you make, just remember that this is a game of strategy. So even the smallest ones can affect whether or not your dynasty will survive the Dark Ages.

If you fancy playing with friends, this game has a competitive multiplayer mode. So you can play with up to 32 other players, making it one of the best free Steam games if you want to spend some quality time with loved ones.

Apex Legends characters crowd around the game's logo

(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

5. Apex Legends

Master and ever-growing roster of heroes
Why we love it

Apex Legends is an excellent hero-shooter that is constantly looked after and updated with quality-of-life improvements. If you're in the mood for a fast-paced game with some rich lore, then this one is for you.

Players don't struggle for choice when it comes to hero-shooters nowadays. But even with the countless other games available in the genre, Apex Legends effortlessly makes its way onto our best free Steam games list. 

You can experience strategic squad play, with innovative mechanics and abilities, as well as deep and interesting lore behind each character which brilliantly fleshes them out. The Apex Legends universe is rich with storytelling too, and is constantly added to with the arrival of each new season. 

This is a great game if you want to hang out with friends or simply relax, sit back, and click heads. 

Ships battle it out in space

4. Warframe

Become an unstoppable warrior
Why we love it

Warframe has massive open worlds, with a sprawling interplanetary system and violent in-game fights that are brilliantly engaging. 

Another example of a great free Steam game is Warframe – an online melee brawler/shooter that’s evolved into one of the most enjoyable games on PC.

Putting you in control of a sword-wielding space ninja (yes, it’s as cool as it sounds), the game feels like a cross between For Honor and Destiny 2, with modes offering PvE and PvP matches to keep you engaged. There’s even a story mode, and it’s actually pretty fun, offering players a great way to get up to speed with the game's ongoing lore.

Developer Digital Extremes is still dedicated to updating Warframe, rolling out regular updates and events that offer new upgrades and expansions. There's literally hundreds of hours to enjoy here, and thanks to an active community, there's plenty of help in learning how to get good at the game.

Two characters face to face shooting eachother

(Image credit: Northwood Studios)

3. SCP: Secret Laboratory

Chaotic fun
Why we love it

This multiplayer survival horror game is great fun when playing with friends. Over the years, it has been updated and polished to perfection, so now it's not only great fun to play but looks good, too. 

SCP: Secret Laboratory is a creative and engaging multiplayer survival horror game. This entry on our best free Steam games list has a thriving community which continues to champion the game.

Despite having set roles and missions to complete, no one game is the same thanks to all the possibilities and creative solutions players can come up with to survive the facility. 

If you're in the mood for some chaotic antics either with friends or by yourself then SCP: Secret Laboratory is a very good choice indeed. It also has access to the beautifully crafted world of SCP, so there's tons of superb content for it to take inspiration from moving forwards.

Zavala looking out from the Tower

(Image credit: Bungie)

2. Destiny 2

Defend the Last City
Why we love it

Destiny 2 is still going strong, with a new expansion landing very soon indeed. The base game is now free to play on Steam, offering up hundreds of hours of some of the best shooting and looting in the business.

While Destiny 2 has changed quite a bit since launch, adding in new expansions regularly, the base game is still a great experience for fans of looting and shooting. Free on Steam, Destiny 2 offers up hundreds of hours of content for new players, spanning raids, PvE and PvP. Of course, this is Bungie we're talking about, so it's no surprise that Destiny 2 features some of the best FPS gameplay you can play right now.

At the beginning of Destiny 2, you'll be able to choose between a Warlock, Hunter or Titan, with each class offering wildly different play styles. As you play through main missions and side-quests, you'll slowly increase your character's power, which will allow you take on progressively more challenging tasks. Starting the game now means you have the benefit of being able to pick and choose which add-on packs you want to try out, from the sprawling new locales of Forsaken, to the challenging boss fights of The Witch Queen.

Dota 2 characters in a hazy golden area

(Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Dota 2

A worldwide battle
Why we love it

There's always something new to enjoy with this MOBA. With millions of players worldwide, over 100 heroes, and regular updates to quality of life, in-game features, and heroes, DOTA 2 has taken a life of its own.

DOTA 2 is one of the most played titles on Steam, meaning that its place on this best free Steam games list is more than well earned. Millions of players log in to this online co-op game every day and still manage to discover new things. 

Despite being hosted on one battlefield, no two matches are alike. This is largely thanks to the diverse group of heroes with varied abilities and powerful items. DOTA 2 has a great reputation for letting players express their own playstyle which is a great benefit to all. 

It's also presents a fantastically level playing field for all as everyone has the same access to heroes. Players can also collect cosmetics for heroes and fun add-ons but that's really just the the icing on the cake. Everything you need to enjoy this title is given to you before you even enter a match, so it's well worth giving DOTA 2 a go.

How we made our best free Steam games list

Unsurprisingly, here at TRG we spend a lot of time playing games so finding new ones that cost nothing is always a plus. We're also lucky enough to have a team comprised of writers who all have varied tastes and preferences, meaning that all of us can recommend games to one another. 

We're also used to critiquing games in a fair and honest light. We pride ourselves in taking everything into account when evaluating games and the titles on this list are no different. 

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Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.

With contributions from