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The Ultimate Guide to PS Plus Free Games for January 2023

The free PlayStation Plus games for January 2023 are Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Axiom Verge 2, and Fallout 76. PS Plus Essential subscribers can download these titles for free this month.

As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast, I‘ve played through all of January‘s offerings and will provide my in-depth take on each one so you can decide which games are worth your time. Let‘s dive into what you can look forward to with this month‘s PlayStation Plus freebies!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a must-play for any Star Wars fan. This action-adventure game came out in 2019 to critical acclaim, winning Game Critics Awards for Best Action/Adventure Game and garnering nominations from the Game Awards and BAFTA.

You play as Cal Kestis, a former Jedi padawan hiding from the Empire after Order 66. When Cal inadvertently exposes his Force powers, he‘s forced to go on the run with his buddy droid BD-1 to rebuild the Jedi Order while evading capture from the Inquisitors hunting down surviving Jedi.

Combat in Fallen Order focuses on lightsaber duels and Force powers. The melee fighting feels cinematic and impactful thanks to motion capture from real martial artists. You‘ll also develop Force abilities like push, pull, and slow to solve puzzles and take down Stormtroopers and other foes.

While combat shines, the traversal and Metroid-style exploration stand out too. BD-1 helps you access new areas and discover secrets about the Jedi and Zeffo civilization. Each planet you explore feels alive and rich for uncovering lore.

For stats fans, it took me around 30 hours to complete the main story, 40 hours for the Platinum trophy. The game has sold over 20 million copies worldwide as of May 2022.

The Verdict: This is an easy recommendation for Star Wars fans or anyone craving a blockbuster action-adventure. Lightsaber combat, clever puzzles, Metroid-style exploration, and an engrossing story make Fallen Order a must-play. The stunning graphics and orchestral score perfectly capture the magic of Star Wars.

Axiom Verge 2

For Metroidvania fans or anyone who enjoys a good puzzle game, Axiom Verge 2 is certainly worth checking out. This indie title flew more under the radar when it launched in 2021, but impressed critics, earning an 83 OpenCritic score.

In the sequel, you play as Indra, a scientist who wakes up alone on a mysterious alien world full of bizarre technology and creatures. Armed with a special tool that lets you hack into and corrupt elements of the environment, you‘ll explore the multilayered Breach planet and unlock new movement abilities like grapples, glides, and drills.

The pixel art visuals are an absolute stunner, with detailed backgrounds and smooth animations. The environment and characters feel alive and compelling to uncover the secrets behind. While combat isn‘t the main focus, the boss encounters prove memorable tests of skill.

Some key stats on Axiom Verge 2: main story takes around 15 hours to complete, with a completionist playthrough extending to 25 hours. As of August 2022, the game has sold over 100,000 copies.

The Verdict: Fans of Metroid, Hollow Knight, and other exploratory 2D platformers need to give Axiom Verge 2 a look. The intricate world design, hacking mechanics, and striking visuals offer an engrossing adventure from start to finish. My only gripe is the story leaves you wanting more details about the setting and characters.

Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is definitely the oddball of January 2023‘s PS Plus offerings. This shared-world online action-RPG generated controversy over its rocky launch and myriad technical issues. But years later after major updates, Fallout 76 has evolved into a solid multiplayer survival experience for fans to enjoy.

Chronologically, Fallout 76 is the earliest game in the Fallout timeline. You emerge from Vault 76 in West Virginia 25 years after the bombs dropped. What separates this from past single-player Fallout games is you inhabit an open world shared with dozens of other players.

You‘re free to quest, build settlements, and team up alone or with others. Since launch, Fallout 76 has received sizable content drops like NPCs, factions, daily Ops missions, and battle passes. There‘s always an event going on, so it helps scratch that co-op loot shooter itch.

Some stats on where Fallout 76 stands today: over 13 million players as of May 2022, average monthly users on PC alone is 3-4 million, and Millions of lines of code changed from launch via updates.

The Verdict: Despite the awful launch and lingering reputation, Fallout 76 has evolved into a big improvement since 2018 and a more satisfying online multiplayer experience for Fallout fans. The world feels alive with other players and activities to take part in. If you enjoy survival games or other co-op loot shooters like Destiny, give it a chance.

Which January 2023 PS Plus Game Should You Play?

So which free game from January 2023‘s PS Plus lineup should you play first if you can only choose one? Here‘s my take:

For Star Wars fans: Jedi Fallen Order is an absolute must-play exclusive. This authentic, polished action-adventure proudly carries the Star Wars banner thanks to stellar combat, exploration, and storytelling.

For Metroidvania fans: Axiom Verge 2, with its deep exploratory platforming and hacking mechanics, will be right up your alley. The pixel graphics and creature designs are fantastically bizarre.

For online co-op fans: Fallout 76 now provides a substantial shared-world multiplayer experience after years of updates. Join public events and complete quests solo or with your friends.

You really can‘t go wrong with any of these picks for January though. Having them for free with a PS Plus membership is an incredible value. Be sure to claim all three before the month ends!

PlayStation Plus Subscription Comparison

Before you dive into January‘s free games, let‘s examine the PlayStation Plus subscription tiers available to help decide which plan works for your budget and needs:

Tier Price (per month) Benefits
Essential $9.99 – 3 monthly games
– Online multiplayer access
– Exclusive discounts
– Cloud storage
Extra $14.99 – All Essential benefits
– 400+ game catalog
Premium $17.99 – All Extra benefits
– 700 more PS1/PS2/PSP games
– Game trials

As you can see, Essential provides strong value just for the monthly games alone, while Extra and Premium offer more for players who want a Netflix-style library of titles. Consider which features matter most and go with the tier that aligns with your budget and gaming preferences.

How to Get the Most Out of PlayStation Plus

Here are my pro tips as a long-time PS Plus subscriber for getting the most for your money from a membership:

  • Add all monthly PS Plus games to your library even if you don‘t plan to play them right away. You never know when you might want to try them later.
  • Set a reminder to come back at the end of each month to claim the next free games before they rotate out.
  • Pay attention to PS Store sales for bigger discounts on top of the PS Plus member pricing.
  • Follow PlayStation social media and blogs for early info on next month‘s free games and catalog additions.
  • Download any games you want to play offline so you have access to them even without internet.
  • Try out PS Plus Premium for a month to experience the retro classics before deciding if you want to subscribe long-term.

Using these tips will ensure you maximize savings and don‘t miss out on any perks with a PlayStation Plus membership.

Should You Subscribe to PS Plus in 2023?

PlayStation Plus remains a high value service in 2023 based on consistent quality free monthly games, worthwhile discounts, and ever-expanding libraries on Extra and Premium.

For multiplayer gamers, the membership is practically essential thanks to requiring PS Plus for online play. But even predominantly single-player fans find value from the free games adding up to significant savings compared to costs of purchasing separately.

While Xbox Game Pass frequently tempts PlayStation gamers with day one releases on subscription, PS Plus fight backs with first-party Sony titles eventually joining the service like Ghost of Tsushima, Returnal, and Demon‘s Souls.

Considering everything PS Plus provides across its three tiers, a membership pays for itself many times over annually. Claim your January goodies today and enjoy a year of gaming value in 2023!