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THE FINALS Review

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When THE FINALS went into Beta a few months back, it seems that most were surprised with the overall quality of the game. Fast, responsive, frenzied and fun, it made for a great time. Developer Embark Studios also got this memo, as, just a few months later, the game was revealed to shadowdrop at The Game Awards. I was in the audience that day and let me tell you, for my purposes at least, that was one of the most hype-worthy announcements.

However, after some more time hands on with the game, in addition to my considerable time with the Beta, is THE FINALS worth the plunge? Or is it like a promising contestant who fizzled out in the final round?

the finals review 1
You should take the plunge with THE FINALS

To give a brief overview, THE FINALS is a first-person shooter developed by Embark Studios, a Nexon-owned team devised of several EA DICE veterans. If that latter name is familiar, it should be. They developed Battlefield and the recent Star Wars Battlefront titles, and the inspiration from the former can be felt. However, far from a Battlefield clone, THE FINALS takes some of that series’ best aspects (wanton destruction, jawdropping graphics and tight gunplay) and brings it into a new gameplay loop.

THE FINALS is, at its core, a 3v3v3 or 3v3v3v3 heist game. This gameplay loop has elements of Capture The Flag, Kill Confirmed, Stockpile and other modes you may love in games like Halo Infinite and Call of Duty, but is done so in a way that feels unique and fresh. Matches can last anywhere from two minutes to ten, but are often nailbiters with considerable excitement. When you couple this with best-in-class environmental destruction, the game becomes very exciting, very quick. You also get three classes to choose from, with choices for loadouts contained (Medium was my choice). The gameplay is well-executed and looks and feels great.

However, the excitement is somewhat fleeting with the current content on-hand in the game. There are three game modes (Quick Cash, Bank It and Tournament) which feel similar with only slight differences in the gameplay loop, and only four maps to enjoy these modes on. Randomized events such as “The Dead Go Boom” and “Orbital Lasers” (Both of which I’d argue explain themselves) help add a freshness to matches, as does the aforementioned destruction. However, in its current state, the game reminds me a lot of the early days of Halo Infinite: more than enough on hand to enjoy, but definitely room to grow and satiate the hunger for more.

the finals review 2
Visually stunning

One of the reasons you’re gonna want to stick around is in the gunplay. In a word, it is positively great. Weapons are fast, responsive and fun to use. You can earn in-game experience to spend for new weapons and items, all of which are also a thrill to use. Combine this with some great tools that enhance the gameplay experience and encourage lateral thinking and traversal, and the game just feels right. To put it another way, and I mean this as the highest praise, it’s like if Prey (the Arkane one) and Battlefield were put in a blender. Special shoutout to the Goo Grenade which, like the Goo Gun in Prey, has considerable versatility.

Moving on to the aesthetics and performance, THE FINALS is one of the first major Unreal Engine 5 games out of the gate and man, does it show. The game looks stunning with great textures, lighting and art-direction. It also bucks the trend of some recent Unreal Engine titles by launching almost silky smooth. I encountered one match with issues. Otherwise, my experience across the beta and final release has been spotless.

One thing a bit less than spotless are the AI Voices. This facet of the game has attracted considerable criticism from people across the gaming community. I’m of two minds on this issue. On the one hand, the voices sound pretty decent to the point that, at first blush, you may not notice, and allows for unique commentary tailored to the on-screen action. On the other hand, once you hear that the voices are AI, it is kind of hard not to notice. Line readings are semi-emotive but sometimes off in pronunciation and to a degree, well, robotic. I don’t think this is a major flaw by any means, but it is certainly an eyebrow raiser.

the finals review 3
Great gunplay

What is not an eyebrow raiser, however, is the game’s monetization. As a Free-To-Play game, it could’ve gone either way, but in its current state, THE FINALS seems quite fair. Cosmetic customization options are a little bit more limited than I would’ve liked out of the gate, but there are no Pay-To-Win elements I encountered. This is yet another feather in the cap of an overall accomplished game.

All in all, I had a great time with THE FINALS. The destruction technology is industry-leading, the gunplay is strong and the graphics are stunning. However, the gameplay loop, while quite fun, is a bit limited in its current state. With time, I suspect THE FINALS will blossom into an upper echelon first person shooter. As of right now, it’s a contender you can’t help but root for.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Insane destruction
  • Great gunplay
  • Strong performance
  • Top-notch graphics
Cons:
  • Gameplay loop runs thin with time
  • AI voices are a bit distracting
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 8 December 2023 | £Free
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Insane destruction</li> <li>Great gunplay</li> <li>Strong performance</li> <li>Top-notch graphics</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Gameplay loop runs thin with time</li> <li>AI voices are a bit distracting</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 8 December 2023 | £Free</li> </ul>THE FINALS Review
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