The Finals Review - An Explosive Game Show
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The Finals Review - An Explosive Game Show

I wasn't sold on The Finals after playing my first match. A single game obviously isn't enough time to come to any worthwhile conclusions, but still, after playing through its brief tutorial--which does a poor job of explaining the game's concepts--I initially felt lost and underwhelmed. Fortunately, this feeling didn't last, and after a few more games, The Finals had its hooks dug in deep. As a fan of the Battlefield series, this wasn't much of a surprise; The Finals is a team-based first-person-shooter with an emphasis on destruction and mayhem, developed by Embark Studios, which counts a number of Battlefield alumni among its ranks. The two games aren't at all similar in a broader sense, but Battlefield's DNA is present throughout, from its snappy shooting to its chaotic destruction.

One key difference between The Finals and most other competitive shooters is that it pits multiple teams of three players against each other, either in 3v3v3 or 3v3v3v3 matches. This multi-team setup leads to a consistent stream of dynamic firefights as each squad vies for control of The Finals' all-important cash. You end up fighting the defending team as they desperately try to hold on, while also scrapping with your fellow attackers, contributing to the game's palpable sense of outright bedlam. It's a vibrant and colorful shooter, too, augmenting its over-the-top action with a game-show-infused style, featuring a rambunctious crowd and excitable play-by-play announcers. Think 1987's The Running Man but with frantic gun battles. The controversial implementation of AI voicework is the only sore topic relating to the game's aesthetic. It's not particularly noticeable, but each line is fairly one-note so the AI doesn't have to extend itself, and either way, its use still feels gross.

There are currently two main modes to facilitate all of this chaos. Quick Cash sees three teams battling for possession of a vault filled with money, which must then be taken to a designated Cashout Station to be deposited. It's kind of like a mixture between Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, typically resulting in all three squads converging on one location for an all-out slaughter. Whoever inserts the vault into the Cashout Station starts a timer that'll bank all of the cash when it runs out, but any of the other teams can steal the deposit without resetting the countdown's progress. This quickly establishes a thrilling sense of forward momentum, primarily because it eliminates the possibility of a stalemate and ensures that the action maintains its rapid pace. There are few moments as satisfying as managing to steal the Cashout Point at the last possible second and banking all of the winnings for your team. The only thing that comes close is successfully fighting back the hordes and defending the point for a prolonged period of time as the world comes crashing down around you.

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