Take a brief glance at Steam or Epic Games Store and you'll see countless free-to-play games available, but most of them are multiplayer-centric affairs that want to sell you microtransactions and DLCs.
Despite so many free-to-play games out there, it's kind of disappointing that so few of them are single-player games playable offline. But they're out there! You just have to look harder—or let us do the searching for you.
Here are some of the greatest free single-player PC games that are as close to "completely free" as modern gaming will allow. A few might have microtransactions or DLCs, but most have no strings attached.
10. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
While most people immediately think of the multiplayer aspects when it comes to real-time strategy PC games, there's so much you're missing out on if you never consider their single-player content.
Although it's been well over 10 years since the single-player campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was first released, it remains as fun and compelling as ever. A great way to get your feet wet, for sure.
StarCraft II's expansions—Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void—aren't free, but if you really enjoy Wings of Liberty, you probably won't mind paying for them. They're considered sequels, though, and Wings of Liberty is completely satisfying on its own.
9. Asphalt 9: Legends
I'll be upfront with you: of all the games on this list, Asphalt 9: Legends is definitely the most annoying in terms of microtransactions. However, it's so good that you may not even mind.
After all, it's pretty hard to find free racing games that are as high-quality as this one, that offer as much single-player content as this one, that are as engrossingly addicting as this one.
Sure, you might scoff at the fact that Asphalt 9: Legends was originally a mobile game ported to PC, but the controls work great and the gameplay is smooth. If you like racing games, you'll be hooked.
8. Quake II RTX
If you're looking to give your graphics card a serious workout but you don't have the budget for a new AAA game with the latest and greatest features, Quake II RTX will work in a pinch.
Admittedly, there isn't a whole lot of content here. Quake II RTX is essentially the three original levels that came in the shareware version of Quake when it first released way back in 1997.
As it turns out, developer iD Software knew what they were doing! Despite short content, the game is as compelling now as it was then.
It's lesser-known than some of the other titles on this list, but that doesn't mean you should skip Gravitas.
This is a short, first-person puzzle adventure game that has you playing with gravity to make your way through the game's increasingly dangerous museum setting.
The gameplay isn't exactly the same as world-renowned puzzle adventure games like Portal, but if you loved Portal, you'll like this one!
6. Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt
Another game that isn't as well-known as it should be, Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt was created during a game jam, which is when a developer spends 48–72 hours straight creating a game from scratch.
The results of that game jam were promising, so the game was eventually extended into a full game.
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt is a bullet hell of sorts, except it has a different message: in this one, you're healing instead of hurting.
But don't think that means this game is a cakewalk. Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt doesn't go easy on you, and there are even multiple difficulty options to increase the challenge.
5. Beneath a Steel Sky
Another classic, Beneath a Steel Sky is a point-and-click adventure game that was originally released in 1994.
Unlike the other relatively light-hearted LucasArts adventure games from around the same time, this one is a darker cyberpunk tale—one that's absolutely still worth playing.
Beneath a Steel Sky has been available as a free download on GOG for years, serving as an appetizer for its sequel, Beyond a Steel Sky.
Deltarune is the follow-up to the smash-hit indie RPG darling Undertale (look closely at the spellings of both names).
Unlike the original, Deltarune is free—or, at least, that's the case for the foreseeable future. According to the game's website, Chapters One and Two are free (perhaps implying that Chapter Three won't be).
Even so, there's plenty of gameplay here. Ideally, you'll have played Undertale first, but nobody's stopping you if you haven't.
3. Aperture Desk Job
Technically, Aperture Desk Job was originally released as a tech demo of sorts for Valve's Steam Deck controller functions.
For that reason, Aperture Desk Job doesn't support mouse and keyboard controls at all. Keep that in mind before you give it a download.
That aside, Aperture Desk Job is a short but lovely experience that's worth the minutes you'll spend with it, especially if you have a Steam Deck.
2. Doki Doki Literature Club!
It may look like a cute visual novel, and you may have steered clear of it because you don't think this kind of game is up your alley, but consider the warning on the game's Steam page:
"This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed."
Look, I don't want to spoil anything about this great game, so suffice it to say that appearances are very deceptive in this case. Doki Doki Literature Club! is more of a psychological horror game than anything.
And it's completely free, so there's no harm in giving it a try. You might just find this game becoming one of your favorites.
1. Crusader Kings II
With Crusader Kings III now on the market, publisher Paradox decided it was a great time to make the base version of Crusader Kings II free.
Granted, there's still a boatload of paid DLC for the game if you want to experience everything it has to offer. That said, the base version of Crusader Kings II offers countless hours of replayability on its own.
If you've ever wanted to create your own Game of Thrones-style political drama in a video game, this will get you very close.