Crucible First Impressions

Crucible is a new third-person shooter which mixes PVE and PVP, a whole host of characters and a mixture of battle royale style knock out gameplay with objectives. It’s a mixed bag, but there’s certainly signs of potential under the layers of genres in this first showing from Amazon Game Studios. The following are my first impressions of Crucible.

Crucible launched this week and it’s trying to get a piece of the shooter pie. In essence, this is a third-person shooter, where you control a character and work with teammates to either wipe out your opponents or complete objectives. The world is rich and vibrant, full of what appears to be dinosaur crossed with plant-type creatures which gave me big Avatar vibes. There’s a wide range of characters to choose from and it’s definitely best served up in co-op mode.

When you log in for the first time you’re taken through a tutorial showing you the ropes of running, jumping, using your primary and secondary abilities, collecting essence and picking up medkits. The controls are familiar as are the cast of heroes. Once you’ve got through the tutorial you can jump into either of the games modes – Heart of The Hives and Alpha Hunters.

Heart of the Hives is an objective focused game where teams of 4 attempt to take down 3 huge plant-like monsters and steal their hearts. You’ll select a location to drop onto the rather large map and then locate the Hive first of all. Along the way you’ll have to take down a variety of enemies – some look like snakes or dragons, some hungry looking plants and larger Stegasaurus type enemies. They’re not too tricky to take down, but they’re going to be throwing projectiles at you the whole time so keep an eye on your health and top it up when you need to.

Once you’ve located the Hive, then it’s time to rain down damage on it to reveal the heart inside. Once you have exposed the heart, then it’s like capping a point in other shooter games – stand there long enough to capture the heart. The twist is you’ll have PVE and PVP enemies trying to stop you, with the other team of four trying to get at the heart at the same time. Fight off the team, collect the heart and you have a point. It’s the first team to three points win.

The other mode, Alpha Hunters, is more like a traditional battle royale, where teams of two pair up to take on 7 other teams of two in a winner take all. Again there’s a twist, if your partner dies you can form a temporary alliance until the latter stages of the fight (I think it’s when 3 are left then it’s every man or woman for themselves). You’ll have to keep an eye out for PVE enemies, but this match mode is much more frantic and feels higher in stakes than the previous mode.

Across both modes, there’s a series of characters to choose from including Mendoza, the generic all-rounder with an auto rifle and grenade, Summer with her flame throwers and Earl with a mini-gun called Misty. There is some stand out character designs here including the Tosca, the cat-like scientist with poison-bullets and a mist attack. Drakahl with his big Axe and Sazan with the choice of gun, sword and throwing knife. The cast of characters seems interesting, but much like casts of characters in other games, it’s going to take time to get to know their move sets and see which pair together well with each other. On my initial hours with the game personally I liked Mendoza and Tosca. I’d recommend giving them all a go and seeing which works for you.

Each character has a set of moves and they’re not all the same, some are faster, some as slower. Some have ranged attacks and some have close-range weapons like Swords and Axes. You have your primary attack with a weapon and then a secondary ability. Mendoza, for example, has a Rifle for his main, a grenade for his secondary and he can also run. Not all characters are as mobile however, Tosca has a blink move which has a cooldown on it so you can’t constantly blink around the map. The mobility of the characters did seem a little slow for my liking, but that maybe because I’m used to faster games. I would imagine it depends on which genre you’re coming from whether you determine the game to be slow or not. As you progress through the game you level up your character which unlocks new abilities and will allow you to change the play-style of your character.

That brings me onto the genre of the game, as it’s a bit of a mish-mash here. There are elements of Battle Royale, although it’s not quite up to Fortnite, Apex or Call of Duty levels of excitement in my initial time with the game. There are elements of MOBA-style play here, it feels similar to Monster Hunter and you could compare it to Destiny, leaving out the obvious comparisons with a name like Crucible. Destiny is probably the loosest comparison of them all, but it almost feels like roaming around Nessus or the EDZ and taking on Public events.

I do feel like there’s something here. I don’t know exactly what that is yet, but I have had fun in my short time with the game. I prefer the Heart of the Hives mode when compared to Alpha Hunters. The Heart of the Hive modes seemed more in-depth and slightly longer in general. It gave me the time to explore the environment, gather up materials while keeping an eye on the other team who’s trying to get the hearts. I didn’t feel I had the mobility or speed to outmanoeuvre other teams when in the Alpha Hunters mode, however, that may just be down to my initial skill level with this game.

It will be interesting to see the take up of this game as it’s entering into a busy market when it comes to the free to play shooters. As it’s straddling the boundaries of a few genres it’s going to have done a lot to capture an audience from those other games and keep them. My initial thoughts are that it’s a perfectly fine game, however, I don’t know if it’s got enough to keep me coming back time after time. It felt good to play, but I don’t know if it had that x-factor that you need to capture an audience. Valorant managed to generate some buzz recently with it’s closed beta and the drops that were given away through the Twitch integration and then managed to keep people with it’s competitive gameplay.

Crucible has some tough competition out there with Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Destiny, Apex Legends, Valorant, CS: GO, League of Legends and more which are already either established with huge audiences or have generated a good amount of buzz. I would say if you’re into any of those games mentioned then it’s worth giving a go and give it a few hours of your time and see how it feels. There is something here for sure, but whether it’s enough for it to thrive and stick around is another question.

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