Played on PlayStation 5 and Xbox series S
The multiplayer shooter The Finals has not yet been released, but is already heard by hundreds of thousands of gamers. This is a project of the little-known Embark Studios team, consisting of people from the DICE studio, and one of its founders is former Executive Vice President of Electronic Arts Patrick Söderlund. Therefore, the first thing you want to do is look for similarities between The Finals and Battlefield, but the new game is far from being a copy. It combines the best elements of many shooters and such an explosive mixture makes the project very bright, fresh, unusual and, I believe, possibly a hit.
There is never too much money
There are two modes in total, one of which is considered the main mode. It’s called Cashout – several teams of three people look for boxes with money on the map, activate them and then have to bring the loot to special stations. Then the defense of the station begins, which lasts about two minutes – you are not allowed to let opponents in until the corresponding scale is filled, otherwise your opponents will intercept the money and the amount brought by your team will be credited to them.
Defending for two minutes seems like a very long process and a lot can really happen in that time. There are usually two boxes with money and two stations on the map, so that not everyone fights in the same place, but at the same time all players can see which box is taken and where the money transfer process has already begun. So if your team is sitting in the corners waiting for opponents, not just one team, but two might be running your way at the same time. And it’s not at all a fact that the enemies carefully run up the stairs and climb into the houses through the roofs – they can blow up anything just to smoke you out.
One of the main features of The Finals is the complete destructibility of everything. The structures aren’t so weak that the map is reduced to rubble by the end of the game, but walls and ceilings can be quickly destroyed if desired – if not completely, then enough to scare hidden enemies. The zip lines that got you to the train station quickly can disappear in an instant. The stairs will fall apart, making it no longer possible to reach the floor above with a normal jump. The feeling of safety in an empty space is fleeting – at any moment the floor can disappear with the lucky shot of a grenade launcher.
Battles for boxes and stations often descend into chaos as multiple teams attempt to take possession of them. Explosions can be heard everywhere, snipers on the roofs catch players leaning out carelessly, someone throws grenades that create obstacles out of construction foam. Sometimes this all starts even before the box is brought to the train station – all players on the map see the person carrying the money and they try their best to catch up and stop him. Therefore, you have to zigzag to the goal: jump into the windows (each of which is broken), run through different floors, do not get involved in obviously losing firefights, and also use gadgets.
Small and large
There are no usual classes, but rather a classification based on the size of the characters. Light heroes are a type of scout who run fast and have a grappling hook, but their health reserves are very low. Mediums are masters in medium-range combat, they support their comrades: they can quickly revive them, set up trampolines, heal, but they are also able to shoot. Well, big (heavy) ones are clumsy but strong heroes who know how to build barricades and also break through walls while running.
Each “class” has its own equipment. If large characters can carry sledgehammers for close combat, water the environment with a flamethrower, and also carry heavy machine guns, then scouts have a completely different arsenal: submachine guns, compact sawed-off shotguns, as well as a knife and a sword. The most classic set went to average fighters: a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a tactical rifle, a shotgun and a grenade launcher. However, if you want to fight in close combat, you can give such a hero a police shield – and he will be allowed to defend himself and fight.
If the “scouts” are not very durable, the rest of the characters can withstand quite a lot of hits. In this respect, the game is reminiscent of Apex Legends – it is difficult to defeat multiple opponents alone, and one-on-one shootouts do not always end in victory since your opponents can have a lot of health, but teamwork makes everything much easier. Those who like to do everything alone have nothing to do here – it is recommended to cover your comrades, protect them from enemies when they are carrying boxes of money, sit in different corners near the station, and so on. When someone dies, they will be resurrected in about twenty seconds – this period seems to be an eternity. In order to win, it is necessary to “raise” each other.
This is particularly important in tournament mode, which was already amazingly implemented in the “beta” stage. Eight teams are divided into four groups and compete against each other in games. The two best teams in each group then reach the semi-finals and compete against each other together. Then the two best teams are selected again and advance to the final. The rules don’t change, everyone still has to collect boxes and carry them to the stations, but only in tournament mode does the difficulty increase with each game. In the qualifying round, someone switches off or a weak team is caught up – skilled and cohesive teams pass easily. But in the final, when the six best players meet, the tension grows from minute to minute.
The same goes for the Bank It mode, which was just added for variety and isn’t considered the main mode, but in some ways I found it even more entertaining than the standard mode. Twelve players are divided into four squads and do not carry boxes to the stations, but rather print them out on site. Coins fall out of them, and players are tasked with running to the stations and dropping off money there, and you don’t have to defend anything, you can immediately run to the next box. Of course, if you die, you lose all coins and your opponents can pick them up. In this mode, The Finals is reminiscent of classic battle royales, in which you collect a lot of valuable items and try to zigzag to escape the pursuit so as not to die of embarrassment.
Enjoyment of everything
Whichever mode you choose, The Finals is hard to put down. It’s made by people who understand what shooter gamers love and hate. There is no damage caused by falls. The supply of ammunition is endless. Gadgets recover quickly – the same grappling hook can be used more often than you might think. You can’t and don’t need to search for loot around the map or collect other people’s things. But the most pleasing thing is the absence of any upgrades – the characters do not become stronger, the weapons do not have body kits or modifications (only paints, keychains and other decorations). This will make balancing weapons much easier in the future, although there are no obvious problems at the moment.
There is still some kind of progression system – for participating in games you receive money, which you spend on new weapons and gadgets. For example, after five games you will manage to acquire up to three types of weapons, of which there are only twenty in the game. Weapons are cheaper than gadgets – if you want to buy booby traps, portable zip lines, explosives, sensors and similar things, you’ll have to pay a little more. However, this only applies to the beta version – it may slow down the process of receiving new items upon release.
Other interesting items include special abilities that allow you to choose a specialization for your character. The scout doesn’t have to use a grappling hook – you can swap it for a device that makes the character invisible. If you pick up a knife that kills when hit from behind with a blow, you get something like a spy from Team Fortress 2. “Average” fighters who do not like to heal their allies (and in vain), can remove the healing device and instead take a protective tower or sensor that shows the position of players in a small radius. Well, “heavy” characters will eventually gain access to a large protective dome, like Gibraltar from Apex Legends.
All of these skills and gadgets allow you to be more creative in your defense and offense than in other shooters where you just shoot at targets and occasionally throw grenades at them. Sometimes it seems as if the writers of “The Finals” took inspiration from Rainbox Six Siege: all these walls made of construction foam, mines that release toxic gases, night vision goggles, tracking arrows – it’s like playing a tactical shooter at all moment can become an orgy of explosions and special effects. This is what makes the game so appealing: each game is different from the previous one because the teams approach completing tasks completely differently. Some throw grenades and destroy buildings, others run from floor to floor relying only on shooting, others don’t touch the money at all and only attack at the last moment to intercept the transmission.
The finale is surprising with how well it’s going at this point. The optimization on PlayStation and Xbox is excellent, the maps are large and varied, and the gameplay cannot be praised – if you thought shooters wouldn’t surprise you with anything, the team at Embark Studios has great news for you. In the first days of testing, the servers could hardly withstand the load and even now you can’t connect to them the first time, but otherwise this is an almost finished game. I think that once the beta ends, players will really miss the finals while they wait for the release – I definitely will.