The sheer impact of Call of Duty games on the multiplayer landscape seems near impossible to quantify, but it is evident just how integral it has become to players the world over. Like Fortnite, games like MW3 are ideal social games, easy to dip in and out, but there’s a different pace to adhere to. This pace doesn’t translate to The Finals, and I need teammates to stop treating it as such.
You can boil it down to a ‘skill issue’ or whatever you like, but The Finals isn’t made for Call of Duty players to dodge, duck, and weave like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Sure, The Finals classes allow manipulation of the game’s excellent movement, with the Light build specifically enabling players to pull off some truly satisfying yet disgusting kill feeds. Yet, the one thing that brings every squad down in one of the best FPS games of 2023, is how people blatantly ignore the parameters of the game’s modes.
The Finals has no looser modes like Team Deathmatch or Free For All. No cavalier gameplay modes to simply grind away at all the MW3 camos or improve upon the best MW3 loadouts. Instead, you’ve got strongly objective-focused modes like Cash Out and Bank It. It leans directly into Embark Studios’ employee experience, as the studio deploys the talent of former Battlefield developers to innovate on its formula. Cash Out requires players to work together, extracting money efficiently while defending your deposit for other players.
You won’t find much room for error in The Finals. One wrong move and you’ll be spectating your team as they desperately try to hold on until your resurrection. At least that is how it should be. Unfortunately, most matches are filled with players who treat it like a Rust 24/7 playlist, just trying to rack up as many kills as possible, completely ignoring the objective at hand. As The Finals uses a trio-based format in 3v3v3 matches, every match is a gamble as to whether you’ll find someone who understands what needs to be done – or if they’re just going to try quick scope enemies to no avail.
I’m not saying there isn’t a place at all for flashy play, but at least try and contribute to the match. The Finals just feels like a game where you shouldn’t really care about anything menial like your K/D ratio. You can access some basic statistics in the main menu, but nothing as detailed as the MW3 barracks. And that’s a good thing. Call of Duty games have this way of becoming genuinely bleak to play because you’re not enjoying it per se, but more so trying to make sure some numbers on a screen reflect positively. Everyone wants to win and flaunt those victories, I get it, but at what cost?
With such a high skill ceiling to hit in The Finals, there’s an amazing element of challenge, adaptation, and learning. It is always actively engaging, with decisions regarding how to reshape the environment always factoring into each bullet, grenade, or gadget use. Embark Studios manages to blend the supreme teamwork ethic of Battlefield with hero-shooter mechanics here. It all comes across as a seemingly limitless creative pool, where I’m encouraged to experiment and apply the best strategy possible. Not using ridiculous and often cringe movement exploits in an attempt to become the next ‘Aydan’.
You can save that nonsense for Warzone.