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Is Fallout 76 Free on PlayStation? Yes, Here‘s Everything You Need to Know

The short answer is – yes, Fallout 76 is currently free on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 for PlayStation Plus members!

Starting January 3rd, PS Plus subscribers can download and play the full base version of Fallout 76 at no additional cost. This article will cover everything you need to know about getting Fallout 76 free on PlayStation.

How to Get Fallout 76 Free on PS4 and PS5

Getting Fallout 76 free on your PlayStation console only takes a couple quick steps:

  1. Make sure you have an active PlayStation Plus membership. You can‘t access the monthly free games without an active PS Plus subscription.

  2. Go to the PlayStation Store on your console or the PlayStation app/website.

  3. Find Fallout 76 in the PlayStation Plus section and ‘purchase‘ it for $0. You might need to add it to your library during the monthly offer window.

  4. The game will start downloading and you can begin playing once it‘s finished!

The free access period runs from January 3rd to 30th, 2023. So make sure to claim the game by the end of January before the next lineup arrives.

Once claimed, Fallout 76 is yours to keep and play as long as you maintain an active PS Plus membership. If your membership lapses, you‘ll lose access until resubscribing.

What‘s Included in the Free Version of Fallout 76?

As a PlayStation Plus member, you get the full Fallout 76 core game experience for free including:

  • The main story campaign set in post-nuclear West Virginia
  • Complete open world map with diverse landscapes to explore
  • Character builder with S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and perk card system
  • Base building using the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform (C.A.M.P.)
  • Crafting mechanics for weapons, armor, food, chems, and more
  • Public multiplayer servers with up to 23 other players
  • All major expansions like Wastelanders, Steel Dawn, and The Pitt
  • Special seasonal content and progression systems
  • End-game repeatable content like daily ops and events
  • Text/voice chat for multiplayer communication
  • Photomode for taking stylish screenshots

You get the complete Fallout 76 package with the free PS Plus version. The only things not included are bonus Atomic Shop cosmetics and the optional Fallout 1st membership perks.

But all the core features and content updates are yours to enjoy as a PlayStation Plus subscriber.

What is Fallout 76? A Quick Primer

In case you‘re not familiar with the game, here‘s a quick overview of what Fallout 76 is all about:

  • Genre: Action role-playing game with online multiplayer features
  • Setting: Post-apocalyptic open world set in Appalachia, West Virginia
  • Timeline: Set in 2102, 25 years after the nuclear war that created the Fallout universe
  • Main Features: Open world exploration, crafting, base building, questing, public multiplayer events
  • Playstyles: Solo, co-op PvE, competitive PvP, roleplaying

Unlike previous Fallout games, Fallout 76 does not have human NPCs in the original story. You explore the open world and uncover stories through notes, terminal entries, holotapes, robot NPCs, and environmental detail.

Later expansions like Wastelanders added traditional dialogue-based NPCs to the game. But the original design focused on solitary exploration and environmental storytelling.

The full map is four times larger than Fallout 4 and features diverse biomes like forests, swamps, cities, and deserts. Built with multiplayer in mind, the world is filled with dungeons, public events, and secrets to uncover.

You start by emerging from Vault 76 and can complete story quests or freely explore at your own pace. There are now three major story acts – the original Overseer questline, Wastelanders expansion, and Steel Dawn Brotherhood quests.

While online, you‘ll periodically encounter other players in the open world. But thanks to the huge map size, you can easily play solo without interference. The game accommodates different playstyles.

In summary, Fallout 76 provides a large open world to explore either solo or with others, with crafting systems and base building combined with classic Fallout roleplaying progression.

Is Fallout 76 Worth Playing in 2023?

When Fallout 76 first launched in November 2018, it was plagued by issues. Between game-breaking bugs, lack of content, poorly implemented PvP, and an absence of human NPCs, the launch state had serious problems.

But since then, Bethesda has continually updated and expanded the game. Major content drops like Wastelanders and Steel Dawn helped transform the experience alongside quality of life improvements.

In 2023, Fallout 76 has evolved into a solid game that faithfully captures the exploration, lore, and environmental storytelling the series is known for.

Here are just some of the meaningful changes and additions made over its life:

  • Hundreds of bug fixes to improve technical performance
  • Wastelanders expansion added human NPCs with fully voiced quests
  • Entertaining seasonal progression/reward systems
  • Private custom worlds to play alone or with friends
  • Brotherhood of Steel questline via Steel Dawn update
  • The Pitt expedition bringing back Fallout 3 location
  • Legendary crafting system to improve gear
  • Perk loadout slots to customize builds
  • Daily Ops and Public Events for repeatable group content
  • Quality of life changes like UI overhauls, new gear, etc.
  • One Wasteland enemy scaling system for consistent challenge
  • Dynamic spawns and level zones to reduce monotony

While not perfect, Fallout 76 in 2023 provides a fun experience for Fallout fans. The world has incredible environmental detail that rewards exploration. Quests and holotape stories offer interesting narratives to uncover at your own pace.

Satisfying crafting, loot drops, and character builds give you things to chase. Monthly seasons provide new reasons to come back. And the public Events bring players together for memorable boss fights.

For fans of open world action RPGs, it absolutely delivers a fantastic wasteland to roam filled with things to do. The free trial on PlayStation is the perfect chance to experience how far Fallout 76 has come.

How Does Fallout 76 Compare to Fallout 4?

As the previous main entry in the series, it‘s useful to compare Fallout 76 to Fallout 4 to see how they differ:

  • Setting – Fallout 76 is set earlier in 2102, while Fallout 4 takes place over 200 years later in the ruins of Boston.

  • Map Size – Fallout 76‘s map is roughly 4x bigger than Fallout 4 based on sheer land mass and explorable areas.

  • NPCs – Originally no human NPCs were present in Fallout 76 on release. Fallout 4 has a full cast of NPCs.

  • Tone – Fallout 76 has a lonely, melancholic tone. Fallout 4 is more colorful and humorous.

  • Quest Structure – More focused on environmental storytelling and exploration rather than defined quest paths.

  • Multiplayer – Fallout 76 is online-only with public multiplayer servers. Fallout 4 is single player only.

  • Survival Elements – Hunger, thirst, diseases, and gear degradation play a bigger role in Fallout 76.

  • Settlements – The C.A.M.P. system offers more flexibility and portability for base building compared to Fallout 4 settlements.

  • PvP – Fallout 76 has full open world PvP, while Fallout 4 limits competition to arena matches in Nuka World.

  • Perk System – Perk cards offer much more flexibility compared to Fallout 4‘s permanent perk chart. Cards can be swapped at anytime.

So in summary, Fallout 76 differentiates itself through timeline, map size, multiplayer focus, survival mechanics, and perk flexibility while retaining the core Fallout aesthetic and lore depth.

If you crave classic human NPCs and main story quests, Fallout 4 may be more appealing. But Fallout 76 offers a fresh multiplayer survival twist on the franchise.

Fallout 76 Player & Critic Reception Over Time

When Fallout 76 first launched in November 2018, critics and fans did not hold back their disappointment. Early reviews skewered the game for its mountain of technical problems, design issues, and lack of compelling content.

According to Metacritic, which aggregates reviews from critics, Fallout 76 scored only 52/100 based on 105 reviews:

MetascoreUser Score

Gaming outlets like IGN and GameSpot gave it ratings equivalent to 4 or 5 out of 10 upon launch. Bugs, game stability, poorly implemented PvP mechanics, and lack of story content were common complaints.

However, player sentiment has improved over time as Bethesda expanded the game. The Wastelanders update added proper NPCs with dialogue trees, which helped create more traditional questing and narrative.

Other major updates like Steel Dawn, One Wasteland, Legendary Crafting, Seasons, and Custom Worlds have added meaningful new content and features.

The consensus is that Fallout 76 has gradually transformed into a stable online Fallout experience with a solid foundation – even if the launch state was inexcusable.

While not perfect, Fallout 76 reviews and user scores paint a much more positive picture in 2023 compared to the disastrous launch.

Is Fallout 76 Better Solo or With Friends?

A common question new players have is whether Fallout 76 is better played solo or with friends in co-op multiplayer. The answer depends on your preferences:

Solo: You can easily play through all the content and quests entirely solo. The huge map gives you plenty of room to explore freely and complete objectives without interference. If you dislike multiplayer, Fallout 76 works fine as a solo game.

With Friends: Co-op makes activities like daily ops, public events, base building and exploration more fun. The world was designed around multiplayer interactions. Playing with a group or just one friend enhances the social elements.

In general, Fallout 76 accommodates both solo and group play equally well. But having 1-3 friends along for the ride makes the survival journey more entertaining through shared discoveries, teamwork in public events, and showing off bases.

Playing solo captures the traditional lone wanderer experience of past Fallout games. But the online co-op brings additional flavor you won‘t find playing alone. Try both approaches to see what style you have the most fun with!

Is Fallout 76 Cross Platform?

No, Fallout 76 does not support full cross-platform play between PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. You can only play with others on the same platform and servers.

The one exception is that Fallout 76 progression does carry over between PC and Xbox thanks to Microsoft account integration.

But PS4 and PS5 players cannot matchmake or interact with those on Xbox consoles or PC. Your platform ecosystem is completely separate.

Hopefully crossplay arrives eventually to unite the player base. But for now, each platform remains split apart.

Should You Spend Money in the Fallout 76 Atomic Shop?

The Atomic Shop in Fallout 76 offers a range of cosmetic items like outfits, camp decorations, emotes, and weapon/armor skins that you can purchase using Atoms.

You earn free Atoms slowly through gameplay, but can pay real money to acquire more. Is it worthwhile spending money in the Atomic Shop?

No: If you are fine with the default cosmetic options, don‘t feel pressured to buy Atoms. The shop is optional. Atoms take a long time to earn through gameplay though.

Yes: If you love cosmetics or prefer convenience, buying Atoms lets you unlock cosmetics faster. But only spend within your means. Sets can cost $10-$20+ in Atoms.

Occasionally: Doing an occasional Atom pack purchase to snag the items you really love is a fair balance. Just don‘t get caught overspending.

Many cool outfits and items are locked behind the Atomic Shop paywall. But everything is cosmetic only. If you want to stand out from the crowd, buying Atoms can be worth it. Just set a reasonable budget.

Should You Get the Fallout 1st Subscription?

Fallout 1st is a $12.99 monthly/$99 annual subscription that unlocks some nice bonuses:

  • Private Worlds – Custom private servers to play alone or invite friends.
  • Scrapbox – Unlimited scrap storage for crafting components.
  • Survival Tent – Portable stash, crafting benches, and bed you can place anywhere.
  • Free Atoms – Bonus Challenge Atoms each month to spend.
  • Special Sales – Exclusive member sales in the Atomic Shop.
  • Ranger Armor Outfit – Cosmetic outfit only available to members.

If you really enjoy Fallout 76, play often, and want to support ongoing development, the 1st membership can be worth it.

But it‘s not essential, especially when just starting out. Non-members have full access to all major game content and updates.

Get the lay of the land before deciding. Subscription perks like the Scrapbox just improve convenience and quality of life.

Will Fallout 76 Ever Go Free-to-Play?

There are no official announcements about Fallout 76 switching to a full free-to-play model. It currently still requires purchase to own the base game.

However, Todd Howard did state after initial backlash at launch that going free-to-play was discussed internally early on.

Free weekends and PlayStation Plus giveaways make the game freely accessible temporarily. But it has remained a paid title through 2022.

The seasonal content model with scoreboards and Atomic Shop means a free-to-play transition could happen eventually. But nothing is guaranteed yet.

Regardless of business model, expect continued support and new content for Fallout 76 years into the future based on Bethesda‘s comments.

Final Thoughts on Fallout 76 in 2023

While the disastrous launch state of Fallout 76 can‘t be forgotten, the game has remarkably turned itself around through ongoing support and expansions.

The excellent environmental storytelling creates an engaging world brimming with things to discover. Satisfying itemization and crafting provide clear goals to chase. Public events and daily ops bring players together against challenging enemies.

And the varied Appalachia map with its distinct biomes offers plenty of eye candy to feast your eyes on during treks from one objective to the next.

Is Fallout 76 perfect? No. It still has some jankiness and other remnants of its troubled development. But what exists today provides a quality multiplayer Fallout experience.

So if you enjoy open world exploration and RPG progression paired with survival crafting mechanics, Fallout 76 absolutely delivers. The PlayStation Plus free trial removes any barrier to entry.

Now is the time to wander post-nuclear West Virginia and uncover the secrets buried beneath at your own pace. Just make sure to claim the game from PS Plus before January ends.

The journey of redemption for Fallout 76 continues. And with the base game currently free on PS4 and PS5, you have no reason not to join the survivors in Appalachia.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.