You guys remember Crucible? Amazon’s first major effort into game development dropped only a few days ago, making a huge splash and then quickly settling into an average spot on Twitch and Steam. Heavily inspired by Yager’s The Cycle, Crucible and its cast of hunters offer a very unique take on the TPS and battle royale genres. So unique in fact, that it’s so far failed to connect with a large player base on launch like some recent heavy hitters.
Whether players grow to love all of Crucible‘s interesting mechanics and design decisions, there is one thing in the game that’s worth everybody’s time already. That would be the personalities behind the hunters – the playable characters in Crucible – which players can explore without even playing a match. Trust me: hop in the game right now, go to the hunter selection screen and start poking people.
I was bored on-sight with Mendoza, Crucible‘s stock leading man Soldier 76 / Victor / Raynor type, until I absent-mindedly clicked him. The first response I got was “Me, huh?”, which upset me enough to get me to click him again. This opened a door. Mendoza walked me through his marriage and divorce, then some really cryptic comments about a medical exam he got in the past, and then I just had to keep clicking more Crucible hunters.
Other choice cuts include Yes-his-name-is-Earl (he has dad jokes for days), Sazan, the One Woman Army who looks vaguely like Gretchen from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and will tell you everything about her dark and troubled past, and Drakahl who doesn’t wear armor because he doesn’t want to cover up his scars.
There’s also Tosca, a murderous hybrid of Rocket Raccoon and Caustic from Apex Legends (just listen to her making fun of her victims), and Bugg, an adorable gardening robot who will f*ck you up for stepping on the grass.
There’s a lot to discover there, and the pattern is the same: the first two clicks will net you generic lines, tricking you into thinking that the Crucible hunters are one-dimensional tropes. The third click buys you a journey of discovery, fraught with overt personality flaws and endearing sincerity.
Each monologue (or dialogue, in the case of Rahi and Brother) reveals details about rivalries with other Crucible hunters, personal insecurities, and deep relationships with people who are not even in the game, like Earl’s kids or Mendoza’s ex-wife.
Crucible‘s hunter selection screen has more story packed into it than many similar games have in their entirety. And there is more – as you play each hunter, you unlock new voice logs which can be found on their bio screen. Hunters also have different in-game banter with each-other, which players can explore by forming alliances with different hunters.
Only time will tell if Crucible turns into a hit or even sticks around, but the hunters alone were worth the download for me. Their soliloquies were a surprising retreat from the usual blandness of new games designed with mass appeal in mind. Having listened to their stories, I actually enjoyed bringing the hunters into the arena a lot more.