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The Finals season 2 preview: a promising upgrade to 2023's best FPS

We were able to play The Finals season 2 a few days early, and it looks like a banger.

The Finals season 2 little robot
Image credit: Embark Studios
March 13 embargo. 4PM GMT

The Finals took the FPS world by storm when it launched late last year - hitting nearly a quarter million concurrent players on PC-alone. Why? Well, it helped that the game slipped out at a time when the usual big-hitters like Call of Duty and Battlefield fumbled the bag somewhat. Making a great first impression, it was clear that unlike various other live service games before it, The Finals was going to stick around for a while.

Fast forward to today, and it's still going strong. Anyone who looks at 20k concurrent PC players at the dead end of a season and feels concerned is drunk - those are damn good numbers. But even these daily-grinders and cosmetic farmers are looking to the future. Luckily for them, the future is bright. Season 2 of The Finals feels like a remedy for some of the game's rougher parts, exciting new pieces to fill in its gaps, and L33t H@X0r hacker aesthetic that does more than just slap a wacky coat of paint on the game.

I'll start with one of my personal highlights - Power Shift is damn fun! It's a new 5v5 mode that has you and four other randoms play a tug-of-war style battle over this floating platform, which moves across the map and straight through buildings as one team hunkers down and tries to defend it. Power Shift is quick, obviously casual in intent, and engaging as a hilarious distraction from the standard game modes. It's a lot like Overwatch 2's Push, but with a far better FPS around it.

It feels to me like an olive branch from the team at Embark Studios to the people begging for Team Deathmatches, as if they were saying "no we won't give you a team deathmatch, but here's another thing that'll let you stoners grind weapon XP to your heart's content". In all honesty, I believe this is a great game for those who don't want to rely much on team play and want to waste an evening on FPS autopilot.

Stepping away from Power Shift, there's a new arena: Horizon! I was a big fan of the base maps of The Finals - you've either got this collage of different modern buildings weaved together or this super solid Vegas map that feels a touch more traditional. Horizon is its own monster. Composed of multiple multi-story buildings with huge streets between them, it encourages both clashes out in the open and tense interior battles. When verticality and destructible environments mix, The Finals shines. This map has both in spades.

The Finals season 2 Horizon map
This is as fun to navigate as it looks. | Image credit: Embark Studios

When it comes to the hacker aesthetic? Putting The Finals aside, I personally hate it as a trope when it comes up across the board. But, the game uses it in a way that actually meshes well with the gameplay. So, you get these irregular platforms on Horizon that further separates it from the rest of the maps, and the new gadgets and specialization totally embrace it to great effect. I can appreciate that, as well as how colourful this season is as a result. However, I'm not too excited about the themed cosmetics this time around. But hey, to each their own. You can wear a T.V on your head - if that gets you hype, go wild.

Speaking of gadgets and specializations - they're sick. Just like, top marks across the board. The gateway grenades on light builds are fantastic gap closers and panic GTFO buttons, the data re-shaper is fantastic for those trying to get past 15 gas mines without having a stroke, and the heavy's anti-gravity cube is gorgeous. Just pure fun. All fill a hole in the weight class' kit, all match the seasonal theme. Great job.

Medium also gets a new dematerializer specialization which allows them to create temporary holes in walls, which is some added destruction they absolutely needed. I knew when we used an anti-gravity grenade to lift a cash bank up towards one of these newfound holes that this season had sauce to it. Add on top of that a new gun for each of the weight classes, and it feels pretty comprehensive!

The Finals Season 2 costume premium
Some of you may like this! I'll be sticking with my regular Finals drip. | Image credit: Embark Studios

This is alongside a caravan of other much-desired additions, like private matches for the esports gang, a better ranked matchmaking system that should make everyone happy (as long as it isn't broken of course), and a career circuit that provides long term goals for players across the season, and season 2 feels to me like a general improvement. If this preview sounds glowing, it's because it is! Part of this job means that I have to bounce from game to game as the year goes on, but even a short stint with The Finals makes me want to hop back on and give it a go.

Here's a little tip for the readers who got all the way through this. On Power Shift, pick a heavy build with the sledgehammer and go all in on defensive gadgets. Once you jump on that platform, have a blast.

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