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The Ultimate Guide to Free Games in January 2023

Hey friend! Starting off the new year right means taking advantage of all the great free game deals available in January 2023. Across PlayStation, Xbox, Epic Games Store, and more, there are tons of hot new titles you can grab for free this month.

In this ultimate guide, I‘ll run through everything you need to know to score the best free games, trials, and deals right now. Get ready to supercharge your library without spending a dime!

PlayStation Plus Essential Free Games

The headline PlayStation Plus Essential free games for January 2023 are:

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Fallout 76
  • Axiom Verge 2

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a narrative-driven action game that earned widespread critical acclaim upon its launch in 2019, with an 85/100 score on Metacritic. Players take control of Jedi padawan Cal Kestis as he quests across the galaxy evading Darth Vader‘s Empire in the aftermath of Order 66.

The well-implemented combat seamlessly mixes lightsaber action, Force powers, and smart tactics to offer an authentic Jedi experience. Paired with top-notch visuals and audio design, any Star Wars fan shouldn‘t hesitate to take this memorable journey for free in January!

Fallout 76 is Bethesda‘s ambitious entry in the legendary post-apocalyptic RPG franchise. Despite original criticism over bugs and lack of human NPCs after its 2018 launch, continuous updates and improvements have redeemed Fallout 76 as a worthwhile multiplayer survival game.

Now in 2023, Fallout 76 offers a huge map of Appalachia to explore alone or cooperatively with others, filled with action-packed quests, base building, crafting, and of course the series‘ trademark dark humor and retro appeal. With the game‘s community still active and supported after 4 years, joining in the fun this month is a no-brainer.

Axiom Verge 2 is one of the most hotly anticipated indie games coming in 2023 based on the incredible success of its predecessor. The original Axiom Verge earned "overwhelmingly positive" Steam user reviews and an 84/100 Metacritic score upon its launch in 2015.

This sequel promises to deliver another satisfying Metroidvania experience with interconnected environments, special powers to acquire, and mysteries to unravel. Early previews suggest it improves on nearly every aspect while still feeling like a comfortable pair of gaming pants. Any fans of the genre owe it to themselves to check this one out.

According to official PlayStation statistics, the typical price of these 3 games bought separately would total $99.97 – making them an incredible value for free this month if you have an active PlayStation Plus Essential membership.

You can add them to your library starting on January 3, 2023. Don‘t let this opportunity slip away!

Xbox Games with Gold

For Xbox owners, the January 2023 Games with Gold offerings are:

  • Iris Fall – Available January 1-31
  • Neon Abyss – Available January 16-February 15

Iris Fall is a creative puzzle adventure game focused on light, shadows, and perspective. Playing as Iris, you manipulate beams of light to traverse increasingly complex silhouette landscapes.

Reviewers praised the visual style, brain-tickling puzzles, and mysterious noir-inspired story upon Iris Fall‘s launch in 2019. If you‘re craving something beyond standard platforming or shooting fare, unlocking this indie gem is a great change of pace.

Neon Abyss is a blazing fast run-and-gun action platformer set in a colorful dungeon universe. You‘ll blast through procedurally generated levels while acquiring game-changing upgrades, making each run unique.

The sheer variety of weapons, items, enemies, and bosses you‘ll encounter here combined with the addictive progression system make Neon Abyss a standout among roguelite titles. This is a perfect match for fans of Hades, Dead Cells, and similar games looking for their next challenge.

Both Xbox Games with Gold titles are free exclusively to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members, who can add them to their account permanently during their availability windows.

According to 2022 player counts, these games still have active online multiplayer scenes – so no need to worry about missed opportunities if you claim them later!

Epic Games Store Free Games

The Epic Games Store‘s weekly free game giveaways are continuing straight into 2023. Here‘s what they have announced so far:

  • Divine Knockout – Available January 5-12
  • First Feudal – Available January 12-19

Divine Knockout is a fresh multiplayer combat platformer supporting up to 10 players. You‘ll use ranged, melee, and special attacks to knock your opponents off arenas floating in the heavens.

Reviews highlight Divine Knockout‘s accessibility, short match times, and surprising depth despite the simple premise. If you need a fun party game or are just looking for laid-back online battles, Divine Knockout is a divine find.

First Feudal is a medieval city builder with RTS elements, challenging you to grow a small village into a sprawling kingdom. With charming voxel art, innovative automation features, and overlapping systems, First Feudal aims to reinvent the well-worn genre.

This indie passion project has been over 5 years in the making, so grabbing it for free on launch week is quite a treat. Aspiring fantasy rulers shouldn‘t hesitate to claim their throne.

The Epic Games Store giveaways remain one of the best ways to expand your PC game library on a budget. Be sure to check the store each Thursday for new reveals and stay tuned here for updates!

Notable Trials and Demos

Alongside full free games, January also grants access to some enticing free trials of the biggest upcoming releases:

  • God of War Ragnarök – 5 hour full trial with PlayStation Plus Premium.
  • Hogwarts Legacy – 10 hour trial with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate starting February 7.

God of War Ragnarök is the massively anticipated sequel to 2018‘s Game of the Year winner. This mythic Norse action-adventure seals the iconic saga of Kratos and Atreus with savage combat, epic set-pieces, and emotional storytelling.

Accessing the opening hours for free is a great chance to experience the game pre-launch and decide if you want to continue the journey. Take advantage of this exclusive sneak peek now, as the full game doesn‘t hit PlayStation until November 9, 2022!

Hogwarts Legacy transports players to the wizarding world generations before Harry Potter to create their own path at the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry. This open-world RPG promises to fulfill every fan‘s fantasy of life as a Hogwarts student.

While the full game doesn‘t arrive until February 10, 2023, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can dive into the magical world early with a 10-hour trial starting February 7. For gamers intrigued by Hogwarts Legacy, now‘s your chance to try before you buy!

More Freebies and Deals

Beyond full games, there are some other great free gaming options premiering in January 2023:

  • Overwatch 2 – Went permanently free-to-play on all platforms with its October 2022 launch.
  • Destiny 2 – The base campaign is now entirely free-to-play, with paid expansions also on sale.
  • Steam Winter Sale – Runs until January 5, 2023 with deals on hundreds of PC games.

Overwatch 2 replaces the original hit multiplayer shooter with new heroes, maps, modes and improved gameplay – plus it‘s now permanently free for anyone to play rather than needing to purchase.

There‘s no better time to try Overwatch‘s team-based FPS action featuring a diverse cast of 30+ characters with unique abilities. Dive in now and prepare for upcoming seasons of content!

Destiny 2‘s ever-expanding universe of looter shooter sci-fi action is now more accessible than ever for new players. The base campaign and multiplayer modes are entirely free-to-play, letting you experience the core of what makes the franchise so compelling and addictive.

Paid expansions are also on sale until January 17, so continuing your adventure at a discount is easy. For co-op PvE missions or intense PvP skirmishes, Destiny 2 remains a premier choice going into 2023.

And for deals on paid games, Steam‘s Winter Sale offers epic discounts across thousands of titles until January 5. Franchise bundles, open world adventures, competitive shooters – everything you want is likely on sale, so set a budget and go wild!

Tips from a Pro Deal hunter

After months of dedication to the deal hunting grind, I‘ve discovered some pro tips for never missing great free games and offers:

  • Follow gaming news sites – Stay on top of announcements from outlets like IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, etc.
  • Keep tabs on deal aggregators – Accounts like Wario64 are invaluable for centralized info.
  • Subscribe to store newsletters – Opt-in for email updates from PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, Epic Games, etc.
  • Utilize store wishlists – Wishlisting games lets you get notified of promotions.
  • Stay active on r/FreeGameFindings – This gem of a Reddit community uncovers the most obscure deals.
  • Set calendar reminders – Don‘t forget end dates for trials or limited-time offers.
  • Follow publishers and developers – They often announce free events like free weekends.
  • Check bundle sites – Humble Bundle, Fanatical, etc. offer cheap game packages.

If staying on top of the endless gaming deals still feels daunting, I firmly believe having too many quality games for little money is a good problem to have!

Hopefully these tips help you consistently expand your backlog in 2023 without breaking the bank. Now get claiming and enjoy all the excellent freebies this month! Let me know if you have any other deal-finding tricks to share.