Top 10 Game Franchises Who Offer Free to Play

June 27, 2024 (4 weeks ago)


Free doesn’t always mean Free, and it certainly doesn’t always mean Good.

Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Game Franchises Tainted by Free to Play. For this list, we’re looking at well-established and beloved video games franchises which started out as retail games then dipped their toes into Free-to-Play and left us with a tainted experience.

Final Fantasy

No 10: Final Fantasy: All The Bravest – “Final Fantasy” series Despite being amongst the most storied RPG franchises in gaming history, this series’s success did not carry over to the title ‘All the Bravest’. On the surface, it sounds awesome since it lets us fight a collection of some of the most iconic enemies in the series using all of the bravest characters from throughout the franchise’s lengthy history.

Unfortunately, 35 of these sweet characters are locked behind a paywall, and cost a Buck each. And… get this, you can’t even choose which one you get when you choose to buy. Wamp Wamp!

Real Racing

No. 9: Real Racing, “Real Racing” series The first two iterations of this racing franchise were highly lauded for being some of the finest driving games for the iPhone. Sadly, the third title went to Freemium Route, and the results were not pretty.

To start, there were pricey real-world cars which could cost as much as a 160 real-world dollars. Even worse tough, you had to pay for repairs to your car after the races were over, or just wait a super long time for it to repair itself. This was such an unpopular feature that EA patched the game to cut these times in half, but the damage was done, sorry to speak.

Dungeon Hunter 3

No 8: “Dungeon Hunter 3” and onwards – “Dungeon Hunter” series Next up is yet another IOS franchise where the third game went astray. The first two titles in the action RPG series were some of the best Diablo crowns you could find on mobile.

But not so much for the third game onward, which jettisoned a decent amount of the narrative along with its initial purchase price. Additionally, the arena levels can be really frustrating and you’ll need to buy keys to unlock the treasure you earn after each one once you get through the initial 10. That’s lame!

Killer Instinct

No 7: Killer Instinct – “Killer Instinct” series We waited 17 years for the return of this legendary arcade fighting franchise, but the Xbox One’s 2013 Free-to-Play version did not live up to the hype.

This was partially due to the limited character selection since at launch, Jago was the only character you could play for free and additional characters cost 5 bucks each, leading to way too many people using him online.

Even though the free character now rotates on its schedule, you best to stick with the original games to get your fix of the series’s famous combos.

Tales of Phantasia: “Tales

No 6: Tales of Phantasia – “Tales” series The 90s versions of this JRPG for the PS1 and Game Boy Advance is a classic of the genre, but the same cannot be said about its IOS port. While it nicely adopted the combat to touchscreen, it stumbled by making many of the bosses practically unbeatable.

Unbeatable, that is, unless you purchase the healing miracle orbs for 2 bucks each, which revive your party when they fall in battle. Even if you did get sucked into buying them, they became worthless once Namco made the app unusable in July 2014.

Roller Coaster Tycoon

No 5: Roller Coaster Tycoon 4 mobile, “Roller Coaster Tycoon” series Here’s another franchise with a later installment that ruined your childhood memories. Many grew up with the simulation of the series’s first three entries, which let them create awesome, if sometimes flat-out deadly rides.

The fourth game for mobile looked like its predecessors, but the gameplay was wrecked by requiring the purchase of tickets to speed up the building process, on top of the initial 2,99$ cost. It later became free to play, but it didn’t feel anymore worthwhile.

Soul Calibur: Lost Swords

No 4: Soul Calibur: Lost Swords – “Soul Calibur” series This weapon-based fighting game series is right up there with the greats of the genre, but its Free-to-Play version for the PS3 ‘Lost Swords’ really isn’t one of them. Loosely based off ‘Soul Caliber V’, it strips the title of its multi-player fun for an entirely single-player experience.

Although a single-player game isn’t horrible, this is a fighting game. Where is the fun to be had if you can’t embarrass your friends with a little button mashing? Then there are the load times, Snor!

Metal Slug Defense

No 3: Metal Slug Defense – “Metal Slug” series Why would anyone turn an awesome run and gun series into a bland lame defense game? We don’t know, but developer SNK Playmore seem to think that it was a good idea for the defense, their free-to-play mobile entry in the franchise. Sadly, they went wrong.

As it gets the aesthetic appeal of the originals including the iconic Mission Start voice over, but without the fun. Even worse, you’ll need to upgrade your troops to get very far and that would require microtransactions.

Lastly, someone should have told the developers that strategy isn’t important aspect of this genre because you really don’t need any here, just money !

Plants vs. Zombies 2

No 2: Plants vs. Zombies 2 – “Plants vs. Zombies” series When the first entry in this mobile franchise came out, it was a refreshing contribution to the tower-defense genre, thanks to its hilarious humor, addictive gameplay and morbid but adorable animations.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 brought all those elements back, but it also added some vicious difficulty spikes which made it tough to unlock new worlds without buying your way there. Don’t feel like paying? Well, prepare to grind yourself silly. You’ll also be shelling out for premium plants. Plants… You got for free in the original.

Before we get to our No 1 pick, let’s take a look at some honorable or in this case dishonorable mentions.

Dungeon Keeper Mobile

No. 1: Dungeon Keeper Mobile, “Dungeon Keeper” series Greedily topping our list is this 2013 mobile version of the RTS franchise. Fans were waiting a really long time for a sequel to the Dungeon Keeper franchise, and unfortunately, they had to wait a lot longer because, as they finished the tutorial, they were greeted with an arena with a 4-hour timer for excavation, unless, of course, you paid to speed it up.

And that’s just the first paywall, of which there are many! You’re gotten to a fair amount of trouble for this one! Not only were they accused of manipulating reviews on the Google Play Store, but they were also found guilty of false advertising in the UK for advertising their veiled ‘cash crab’ as Free!

At least electronic art has a great reputation with gamers already, right? Do you agree with our list? What game franchise do you think was better in its non-Fremium form?

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