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Crucible first impressions: Amazon’s hero shooter is fun, could be better

Crucible, Amazon’s first attempt at a AAA title is now live on Steam. It classifies itself as free-to-play hero shooter. Having played games like Gigantic, Overwatch and Paladins, I took a great interest in this game. Here are my first impressions of Crucible after playing the game for a day.

The good

Crucible does a lot of things right. The playable characters are very diverse and have their own unique personalities. At the time of writing this, I have played a couple of games with each of Crucible‘s hunters. The characters that stood out to me and I’ve sunk the most time into have been Bugg and Ajonah. Their movement abilities feel a bit better than some of the other characters, and offer reliable vertical movement, which many characters lack.

While characters enter the match with static abilities, they can be augmented through a talent tree before the game starts. These augments allow you to change abilities to better fit your playstyle. Augments picked on the tree are activated throughout the game by collecting essence, which can be gained from harvesters, and from smacking down the local wildlife.

Crucible first impressions
Tosca, Summer, Earl, Captain Mendoza, and Bugg

The two main game modes currently available are Alpha Hunters and Heart of the Hives. In my experience Heart of the Hives has longer queue times, but these matches generally last longer as well. In them, teams of 4 players compete over Hives which spawn after a set time. Killing a Hive and collecting its heart brings your team closer to victory, as we the first team to 3 hearts wins. I really enjoyed this gamemode, aside from the wait times.

Alpha Hunter is what people are calling the battle royale mode. It pits 8 teams of 2 against each other in a fight to the death, and I mean death. This mode has no down-but-not-out system: if you die, you die.

The unique mechanic here is that if your teammate dies, you can forge a temporary alliance with another solo player. This alliance ends when the match is down to the final 3 players. I’m not the biggest fan of battle royales, but Alpha Hunters doesn’t necessarily feel like battle royale. Its fairly fast-paced and the mix characters and ability-focused combat make it  feel unique.

The bad

While Crucible does a lot of things right, it is not without its flaws. But most of these flaws are not game-breaking, nor do they hinder gameplay in major ways. First, the game is not there yet in terms of polish and server stability. Both game modes suffer from the occasional disconnection while trying to start a match, which ends the long queue time by unceremoniously kicking you out to the launch screen.

crucible

One of the biggest downfalls of Crucible is its lack of an in-game chat. While it does have a ping system, it cannot accurately convey information that you may need to tell your teammates. Even the small change of adding the ability to ping the map would go a long ways in team communication.

Other things I couldn’t get behind came down to quality of life. Drakahl has an auto-attack bug, causing the animation to get out of sync. Additionally, you have to stop auto-attacking to cast abilities on melee characters. Small things like this make the combat feel clunkier than it needs to.

The verdict

My first impressions of Crucible, you ask? It has potential, but it needs work and polish. As Amazon’s first game being released, I didn’t expect it to be perfect from launch. Balancing characters to put them more in line with each other and making abilities look visually smoother could do a lot of good for the game. It would also be nice to see a mini-map added.

I know that this game will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the most part I am enjoying it. I am excited to see what the devs do with Crucible, and hope they can refine it and grow it into something special.

Crucible is free to play on Steam.

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Derrick Tomlinson

Avid gamer from the Pacific Northwest. Fan of looter-shooters, the FPS genre, Marvel and Star Wars.
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