While PlayStation Plus is usually a requirement to play online multiplayer, there are notable exceptions to this rule. Most free-to-play games allow people to enjoy online multiplayer matches without needing to be active PlayStation Plus subscribers. If you're wondering which games fall into this category, we've created a list of some of the best online games you can play without PS Plus. Should you want to see the full list of free-to-play games offered on PS4 and PS5, Sony has an entire section of its store dedicated to just that.
Though it has a PS5 version in the works, Genshin Impact can be played on Sony's latest console through backward compatibility. This fantasy RPG thrusts players into the world of Teyvat, where elemental gods are worshipped across the land. After being separated from your twin by an unknown god, you travel the kingdom in search of answers. Plenty of fantastical enemies and mysteries await you on your adventure.
Genshin Impact is open-world, allowing you to explore seven distinct regions within the game, each based on an elemental god. Players can control four characters in a party, giving its combat more depth and dimension. The more challenges you complete, the higher your Adventure Rank goes, unlocking new quests and gear that can be obtained. If you want to try your luck at getting a rare character or materials, there is a gacha system that the developer uses to monetize it.
Rocket League, a multiplayer mix of car racing and soccer, launched six years ago into PS Plus and is still going strong today, no doubt in part due to its move to a free-to-play title. One part soccer and one part vehicular combat, Rocket League is fast-paced and a ton of fun to play with friends. What's better is that it supports cross-play between consoles and PC, meaning you can play with friends no matter which system they're on. And should you want to transfer over to PlayStation, it also supports cross-platform progression.
There are over a dozen arenas to play in, each with its own unique look, from Neo Tokyo to Salty Shores and the AquaDome. Boost pads are littered throughout every arena that give players a quick speed boost and could potentially turn the tide of the game. This is all about quick reflexes and quick thinking, and your car needs to keep up.
Call of Duty: Warzone
You'll be hard-pressed to find another battle royale with such pitch-perfect gunplay. Infinity Ward prides itself in such matters, developing many of the series' Modern Warfare entries. Unlike other battle royales, Warzone supports 150-player matches, with some limited-time modes bringing that number all the way up to 200 players. As your map continues to shrink, you'll be challenged to be the last person standing. In an interesting twist, players who die are given the ability to respawn if they can take out another opponent in one-to-one combat.
If you're looking for something different from the usual cartoony battle royales like Apex Legends and Fortnite, give Call of Duty: Warzone a shot. You don't even need a PS Plus subscription to play it on PS4 or PS5, a nice perk of the system with most free-to-play games.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone is a free-to-play experience in Call of Duty that features two modes: Battle Royale and Plunder. The Battle Royale mode features up to 150 players vying for that coveted first-place spot, while Plunder sees players race to be the first to earn $1 million of in-game cash. No matter which you decide to play, Warzone does not require PS Plus.
Dauntless is a bit like Monster Hunter. After a cataclysmic event destroys much of the Shattered Isles, players take on the role of Slayers to find and kill Behemoths, monstrous creatures that have popped up in the aftermath. With your comically large weapons, you'll take on these towering elemental beasts to level up and unlock new gear. Choosing the right gear for the right Behemoth is a must because some are weak or resistant to certain elements.
Though you can play it with friends, you can also go on a solo adventure if you're not interested in teaming up. Dauntless also supports cross-play between PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch. If you like the feel of Monster Hunter combined with the look of Fortnite, you can't go wrong with Dauntless.
Set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends is a battle royale set on giving Fortnite a run for its money. Where Fortnite sees you competing alone against 99 other players, Apex Legends emphasizes teamwork. Groups of 2-3 players work together to take out every other group, and the final team alive at the end of the round wins. What sets Apex Legends apart from other battle royales are the hero characters with unique abilities and gameplay mechanics, making for much more interesting match-ups.
Apex Legends has tens of millions of players and you can get in on the action today. Since its release, it's had several seasons of content, and developer Respawn is continuing to support it for the foreseeable future. For anybody who isn't usually interested in battle royale games, give Apex Legends a shot. You might be surprised.
Respawn Entertainment dropped Apex Legends out of the blue and it's quickly become a worthy competitor to Fortnite, proving you don't need to spend millions of dollars on marketing to launch a hit. Master each character class or stick with your trusty main in this squad-based battle royale.
Fortnite should need little introduction at this point. It's easily one of the most popular games in the world and has dominated much of gaming's news cycles for years since it launched. New seasons of content are continually put out by developer Epic, which is absolutely rolling in money thanks to the game's microtransactions.
Its status as a cultural phenomenon has made Hollywood take note. Fortnite frequently features cross-overs with blockbuster franchises like The Avengers and Star Wars — remember when Palpatine's broadcast in The Rise of Skywalker was first heard in Fortnite? Not only that, but director Christopher Nolan has aired a movie in the game and rapper Travis Scott performed a concert. You're missing out on a lot if you don't play Fortnite.
Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite may be one of the most popular games ever — certainly one of the most popular this year — and best of all, it doesn't require a PS Plus membership to play. You can jump into its newest chapter and get in on the craze for yourself. Snipe, build, fish, and trap your way to victory.
Final Fantasy 14
Final Fantasy 14 is a bit of an odd one. It's technically not free-to-play, and you need a monthly subscription to keep playing after a certain level. But it's still an online multiplayer game that doesn't require PS Plus to play, and that's a nice bonus for anybody who doesn't want to spend even more money on it. The popular MMO set in the Final Fantasy universe wasn't universally loved when it first launched, but it's come a long way and is much, much better now, with a new expansion set to release soon that brings players to the moon.
You can expect a lot of Final Fantasy's usual eccentricities in this epic tale. It's understandable if you don't want to spend a lot of money considering most of the games on this list are free-to-play, but we'd be remiss not to include it. Final Fantasy 14 is an excellent game that you should check out if you're a fan of the series.
Final Fantasy 14
Here's an exception to the free-to-play rule. Final Fantasy 14 is a subscription-based MMORPG set in the Final Fantasy world that you can play online with your friends without needing PS Plus. This is because the game is run on Square Enix servers. Hop into a world of magic, technology, and epic storytelling.
Dungeons & Dragons fans should feel right at home in Neverwinter. Save the Forgotten Realms, which is besieged by armies of the dead, and help its citizens take back the city and uncover why the dead are rising while using much of the 4th edition ruleset. Neverwinter also allows players to create their own user-generated content like quests and environments.
Not to be confused with Neverwinter Nights from BioWare and Obsidian, also based on D&D's Forgotten Realms, Neverwinter is a completely standalone title. If you're usually a TTRPG fan and want to ditch the old pen and paper, this is the perfect way to live out those dreams on PlayStation.
Smite is quite the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) in the esports scene, with players taking control of gods and other mythological beings battling for dominance. There's a lot of thought involved when it comes to choosing which character will help your team best, and you'll need to be at the top of your game to reign supreme. Smite features around half a dozen game modes, Conquest being favored by many. Work to take out the opposing teams to win the game.
MOBAs can be hit or miss with people, so you'll probably know if this is something you want to give a shot based on its trailers and gameplay demos. However, new gods are constantly being added, and with an ever-growing player base, you'll always be able to find a match.
Unlike the many battle royales and MMOs on this list, Brawlhalla is a 2D fighting game — like Super Smash Bros. but without the iconic characters. Brawlhalla features local and online multiplayer in a variety of game modes, whether they be 1v1 or a free-for-all with multiple players. Millions of people have already jumped in on the fun, and you can be the next.
Currently, there are over 50 characters available to play with their own unique stats and abilities, but only a handful are available for free each week on a rotating basis. If you want to test out all of them, you'll need to purchase the All Legends Pack separately, which guarantees you access to all current and future characters.
Everyone wants to be the next Super Smash Bros. As impossible as that may be, there are a few games out there that come close to capturing that experience, and one of them is Brawlhalla. Hop online and test your skills in ranked matches to see who can knock the other off of the fighting stage.
DC Universe Online
There are a few amazing single-player games based on superheroes, from Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham to Insomniac's Spider-Man, but it's rare you get a decent multiplayer game with a superhero focus (Marvel's Avengers was.... not good). DC Universe Online may not be able to compete with the single-player offerings on the market, but it's a fantastic way to jump into the DC Universe and play around with all of your favorite heroes and villains.
Over the years, DC Universe Online has released dozens of pieces of episodic content to coincide with other DC media releases, like the Arrowverse and Birds of Prey. It continues to be supported with seasonal events as well, so you'll have plenty of content to enjoy should you decide to hop in.
DC Universe Online
We're still not sure what's going on with DC's live-action film division, but its video games are going strong. In DC Universe Online, you can play as some of the most iconic heroes and villains in history like Superman, Lex Luthor, and more in the massive online multiplayer game from 2013.
The world of Warframe is vast and dangerous as you awaken from centuries of cryosleep to a decimated civilization home to warring factions. As part of an ancient race of warriors, you'll suit up in a mechanized Warframe and take on the Grineer, genetically modified clones of the fallen Orokin Empire. Though some missions feature specific level designs, other areas are procedurally-generated.
Warframe runs at up to 4K resolution and 60 FPS on PS5, and it supports adaptive triggers on the DualSense when fighting with melee weapons. Though you don't need PS Plus to play it online, anyone with a membership can get a free PS Plus Warframe booster pack that includes credit and affinity boosters along with in-game platinum.
If sci-fi is more your speed than fantasy, check out Warframe. Take up the role of an ancient warrior caught amid a devastating war between hostile factions. Fight your way through waves of enemies, pilot ships through space, and dive into the depths of the powerful storytelling from Digital Extremes.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm
Not content with sitting on the success of Smite, developer Hi-Rez released the hero shooter Paladins, which bears many similarities to Blizzard's Overwatch. Despite this, it's very much its own game. Taking place in the fantasy world of Realm, Paladins centers around the Magistrate and the Resistance. The latter of which wants magic to be free for everyone while the former wants to control magic for themselves.
Paladins features several game modes including the classic Team Deathmatch. And not to worry, if you're thinking "this looks amazing but I'd really love a battle royale version of it," then I have good news for you. Realm Royale is the title you're looking for, another free-to-play game on PS4 and PS5.
Star Trek Online
All you Trekkies out there have something to play with Star Trek Online. It takes place after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, with players tasked with fending off the Borg as war threatens the United Federation of Planets. The universe is yours to explore with new worlds and aliens to encounter along your journey. As with most MMO service games, Star Trek Online has seen several expansions over its lifetime that have added new locations and storylines.
Star Trek video games don't get the same type of support that Star Wars games, and as such, there are far fewer of them on consoles. Star Trek Online is well worth your time if you're a fan of the series. Hopefully, if it continues to gain popularity we could see more big-budget Star Trek games in the future.
You can still play online
Some games you want to play might require a PS Plus membership, but if you don't want to pay up, there is still a way to play online. Call of Duty: Warzone takes the classic COD formula and combines it with the ever-popular battle royale genre. Dauntless — what you'd get if you mixed Fortnite with Monster Hunter — is a free-to-play contender that gives the other games on this list a run for their money. You'll also have a ton of shooter fun with Apex Legends. For Respawn's first crack at a battle royale game, the studio did a surprisingly good job, especially considering that Apex Legends has unique character classes that can drastically affect how you play.
All of these can be played on PS4 and PS5 through backward compatibility, though it's understandable if you haven't gotten your hands on the latter console. PS5 restocks are hard to come by, but retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy tend to be the most reliable. In our PS5 review, we said that Sony "raised the bar once again," creating a marvelous console for all to enjoy... when they're able to buy it.
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