At least once a year, the stars perfectly align and all the multiplayer shooters have a big update at the same time. This year, the stars decided that time is March. Everywhere I look, an FPS I'm excited about or want to get back to is beckoning me with promises of new gadgets, maps, exclusive betas, or overpowered guns that'll be nerfed in a week.
Some of the biggest hitters, like Call of Duty: Warzone 2 and Apex Legends, missed the whole March memo and had their first big 2023 updates in mid-February. Overwatch 2 season 3 is in full swing too, but without a new hero this time there's not much to get excited about. Fine by me, because I'll be busy enough checking out the newest operators of Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant, plus the closed beta for The Finals, a promising destruction-heavy FPS from ex-DICE devs.
Another theme of March is redemption: both Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite are kicking off new seasons this week—classes are officially back in Battlefield and Halo can finally solve its map pool problem with Forge. Have the massively-criticized shooters of Fall 2021 finally done enough to earn back their goodwill?
Here's the lowdown on every big FPS update this week.
The Finals closed beta (March 7-21)
- Opt-in to the beta on The Finals Steam page
- Three classes: Light, Medium, Heavy
- Two maps, multiple times-of-day
- Two modes: quick play and tournament
Our most anticipated FPS of 2023 is holding a closed beta this month. We played a few hours of The Finals during a press preview session and had a blast experimenting with its entirely destructible maps. It's definitely early, and you should be ready for performance issues, but worth playing if the powers that be let you in.
Halo Infinite Season 3: Echoes Within (March 7)
- Three maps (two Arena, one Big Team Battle)
- One new weapon (M392 Bandit, basically the DMR)
- New mode: Escalation Slayer (it's Gun Game)
- New equipment: Shroud Screen (shoot a dome of no-see-me)
- 100-tier battle pass
- Ray tracing
Besides the addition of Forge mode last year (which technically contains the potential for all maps of the known universe), this may be Halo Infinite's biggest update yet. A grip of new maps, a new gun(!), a mode that sounds a lot like gun game, and a 100-tier battle pass that never expires. I still think Big Team Battle's map pool is too shallow, but one step at a time.
Battlefield 2042 Season 4: Eleventh Hour (February 28)
- Classes are back
- One new 32v32 map: Flashpoint
- New specialist: Blasco
- Four guns: RM68 assault rifle, RPT-31 LMG, AC9 SMG, Super 500 Shotgun sidearm
- New vehicle: CAV-Brawler, a light armor transport with a freaking shotgun
- 100-tier battle pass
Yep, Battlefield 2042 snuck its latest season out right before March, but I'm guessing you're just finding out about it now. Here's the thing: I think Battlefield 2042 is really good now? I had a good time at launch, but I'm impressed with the maps and specialists added since then. The biggest change by far, though, is the (re)introduction of classes. Specialists and the gadgets they have access to are now hard-locked to their class. Classes also have passive bonuses relevant to their role on top of the unique attributes of individual operators.
Rainbow Six Siege: Operation Commanding Force (March 7)
- New operator: Brava (hacks defender gadgets with a special drone)
- Immersive reload
- Anitcheat "Mousetrap" on consoles
With no new map or notable reworks, Siege's year 8 kickoff is pretty small, but Brava's absurdly interesting Kludge drone is enough to get me excited. Her Kludge drones can sneak into bomb sites and hack defender gadgets from a distance, swapping their allegiance. We've already seen some truly impressive plays using it.
Valorant Act 2 Episode 6: Revelation (March 7)
- New agent: Gekko
- Input latency improvements
- Bug fixes
A lighter update compared to other games on the list, but that's just how Valorant rolls. Sometimes you get a map, sometimes an agent, sometimes both. It's been almost six months since an agent release, so Gekko's arrival is a fairly big deal. Their kit is mostly what I expect from Valorant at this point: slight variations on stun grenades, smoke grenades, and grenade grenades. But their Wingman ability is intriguing: Gekko deploys a little alien dude that can carry and even plant the spike.