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The Finals is too good an FPS not to fight another day

The Finals boasts a unique gameplay loop and supremely fine-tuned mechanics, but its player count has struggled following its huge launch.

A character from The Finals with glowing purple eyes and skull facepaint.

Despite doing a fantastic job of making every other modern shooter look about as exciting as doing your taxes, The Finals has struggled to maintain anywhere close to its launch momentum. After a surprise release at The Game Awards last year, The Finals crashed onto Steam with an almighty fanfare, reaching a peak of 242,399 concurrent players. Months later, that number has dropped dramatically – at the time of writing, it’s sitting at around 20k concurrents, with a 24-hour peak of 28k.

While those numbers are far from poor, I want The Finals to fly and get the long-term support it deserves. Admittedly, the first couple months of this year have been stuffed with surprise hits, from Palworld and Enshrouded to Last Epoch and Helldivers 2. So many great new PC games means it’s harder than ever to find the time to return to December’s flavor of the month.

The player aiming down the sights of an AK-47 rifle within an arena.

Yes, as a fan of FPS games and good PC games in general, it stings to see The Finals decline like this. Its skill ceiling is fairly high but perfectly pitched, making for nail-bitingly tense gunfights and plenty of opportunity for creative traversal, assault, and defensive decisions. In a game where movement, savvy gadget use, and environmental destruction matter more than being the best at running and gunning, it won’t take long for frustration to set in if you’re just looking to blast a few heads.

The 3v3 team structure demands that you function as a unit. In smaller environments that are built around verticality, there’s a unique cadence to good positioning and movement with your team that may seem jarring if you’re used to the sprawling battlegrounds of Apex Legends or Warzone.

The player runs through a battle arena featuring a billboard of a The Finals contender.

Dwindling player counts often mean those who stick around are the best of the bunch, so it isn’t the easiest time to get into The Finals if you’re not willing to suffer the occasional stomping from hardened vets.

Then there’s The Finals’ aesthetic, which is my one major gripe. Sadly, the game doesn’t boast a strong and original visual identity. It’s pleasing to look at, sure, and the gameshow concept occasionally offers some neat flourishes, but its character designs, skins, and general look are all fairly nondescript.

The player dashes through falling wreckage following an explosion.

That said, there’s one major reason I’m holding out hope – the upcoming arrival of Season 2, which is expected to land in the second week of March. This should send player counts soaring, making The Finals a lot easier to get into. In terms of the new Battle Pass, we need less grinding and more distinctive and desirable rewards. New maps will help to shake up the rotation and up the visual variety, and Embark is also taking steps towards more diversity in modes as well, introducing free-for-all modes that are more solo-queue friendly.

The Finals is a deftly balanced and genuinely fresh FPS that deserves to be played for months and years to come. It’s going to take a lot of time and work for it to reach its full potential and win back the lion’s share of its launch playerbase, but I remain hopeful that Season 2 will be the first step in getting it back to where it needs to be. I can’t see it being a cure-all solution, but I just hope that we dedicated few, plus those who come to it off the back of Season 2, will be enough to keep the game around.