Welcome to another Gameflip blog!
We have something pretty new and special to introduce to the community this week — a series called “Gameflip First Looks”. In these special previews, we will take a look at one or more free-to-play games to see how they're shaping up.
This week, we played The Finals — the recently released team-based FPS that was developed and published by Embark Studios AB. Is all of the frantic shooting and destruction of these death games worth your time, or are you better off changing the channel?
Let's find out in this preview of the Steam version of The Finals.
About the Devs
A Swedish studio doing big things. (Image Source: Medium.com/embarkstudios)
Embark Studios AB doesn't have much of a history to look back on at the moment.
The studio was founded in 2018, and The Finals is their first fully-released project. They're also working on the fantastic-looking sci-fi extraction shooter ARC Raiders, but that has been in development for some time. We have requested access to the alpha for that, however, so keep your eyes peeled on the Gameflip blog if you're curious about ARC Raiders.
What is interesting about Embark Studios is its parent company - Nexon. The same South Korean game publisher behind recognizable games like MapleStory, DNF Duel, and Dave the Diver. Aside from its forays into traditional video game development, Nexon is primarily known for its mobile and free-to-play online games that have generated tens of billions of dollars in revenue for the company.
Do the addictive nature and profitable game items of Nexon's most popular games carry over to The Finals?
Well, yes. Yes they do.
Lights, Camera, Destruction!
Protect the guy with the money! (Image Source: The Finals gameplay)
When you first boot up The Finals, you're introduced to a world where digitized contestants fight to the death for loads of cash in televised death games. Think of media like The Running Man or The Hunger Games, where violence is turned into a profitable sport like any football or basketball game.
It's well-trodden territory, but The Finals somehow finds a way to feel unique and engaging. Much of that feeling likely has to do with the continuous commentary of the proceedings, handled intelligently by the show's two announcers. That along with the conflicting nature of the bright and colorful “made-for-TV” presentation with the sinister undertones of a society that has devolved into taking this kind of event as entertainment is really compelling.
But hey, once the bullets start flying, that dystopian nightmare kind of fades into the background.
What it's then replaced with is an exhilarating competition and battle of wits and skill between multiple teams. Here is a quick breakdown of the currently available game modes in The Finals:
Quick Cash — All teams race to extract one vault at a time at a set cashout point. The first team to cash out $20,000 wins (each vault is worth $10,000).
Bank It — 12-player mode where the goal is to extract as much money as possible with a 15-minute timer. This mode consists of 4 teams of 3, and every eliminated player's money stash goes towards your own total.
There are also ranked and unranked tournaments that feature 16-team and 8-team battles respectively, and consist of four games each in a tournament format.
Most of Gameflip's time in The Finals was spent in Quick Cash mode, which was a rollicking good time. Each of the four maps in the game right now is lavishly detailed and wonderfully, delightfully destructible. The level of destruction on display at any given time during a match hearkens back to the days of Red Faction: Guerilla, though perhaps more realistic.
Things go BOOM! (Image Source: The Finals gameplay)
It's possible to level entire buildings if you so desire, and we found that blowing a hole in the floor and dropping down onto an objective is the most effective use of this system. Whether you're using environmental explosives or your own arsenal to do it, destroying things in The Finals is truly addicting.
Killing 'Em with Style
When you aren't strategically demolishing locations and fighting for your life in The Finals, you'll probably be spending time going through the game's cosmetic store.
Just like Fortnite and other games in the genre, The Finals' in-game store operates on an occasional refresh, offering new items every so often while the previous offerings get locked away.
There are the typical cosmetic items you would expect from a free-to-play shooter: themed gun and character skins, weapon charms, and the obligatory battle pass.
In order to kit out your The Finals experience with any of these items, you'll need the in-game currency - Multibucks.
Buying bigger packs of Multibucks nets you increasingly sweet bonuses. (Image Source: The Finals gameplay)
The exchange rate between USD and Multibucks seems to be $1.00 per 100 Multibucks, but that doesn't tell the whole story. You earn Multibucks at a predictably slow rate from competing in matches and completing contracts, but buying packs of Multibucks can be especially lucrative depending on how much you're willing to spend.
A $9.99 purchase gets you an extra 15% (1,150 MB), and a $99.99 purchase gets you a whopping 30% extra (13,000 MB). It's an interesting system and certainly more generous than Fortnite V-Bucks purchases, but it's still a far cry from the savings we offer on the Gameflip marketplace.
If there's enough demand, we might even support cosmetics and currency for The Finals on the Gameflip marketplace, so let us know if that's something you want to see by reaching out to us on X, Reddit, Instagram, or Facebook.
Is The Finals Worth Your Time?
Now is the time to get in on the ground floor! Before, you know, it gets blown up. (Image Source: The Finals gameplay)
After putting it through its paces, we can confirm that The Finals is definitely worth a look. It's still early days for the game (it's only been out for just over a month at the time of this writing), but it's a solid, well-crafted experience that promises to grow in exciting ways as time goes on.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can play The Finals on Steam, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5 today. You can also check out some gameplay we recorded over on our social media accounts. Just don't laugh, the game is hard!