When Amazon announced some time ago that it would now also develop video games, the industry was listening. After all, Amazon is not just anyone, but a global player in almost everything that has anything to do with the Internet. With Amazon in the back, developers can not only access enormous financial resources, but also various other company resources.However, the developers have yet to prove whether this is enough to bring high-quality games onto the market. And that's exactly what they want to do this summer. After a long silence about the games from Amazon, the revamped MMO New World has been making a name for itself for weeks and now Crucible is the attack on the genre of team shooters, where above all the market leader Overwatch is thrown from the throne should. We visited the developers of Amazon Game Studios in Seattle several weeks ago to see for ourselves whether there was only money being wasted or something big happening.
Crucible: Classic team shooter
Source: Amazon Game Studios
With Crucible, Amazon doesn't dare to experiment too much and goes the way of classic team shooters. However, this does not mean that this is just a mild infusion or a simple copy of existing games. In some areas, the developers are quite innovative and turn different screws to further improve the gaming experience. For example, the procedure and planning as a team play a stronger role, since the combat area is significantly larger than in other team shooters. In addition, Crucible relies on a successful mix of proper gunplay, interesting hero skills and a talent system whose influence is noticeable but not overly strong.
Crucible: Hunter – the heroes of the game
What are heroes, champions or agents in other games are represented by the hunters in Crucible. For the release on May 20, 2020, ten of them should be in the game, which could hardly be more different. From pure melee to the classic archetype of a soldier to crazy robots or cute aliens, everything is there. But there is not only enough diversity in terms of optics. The Hunter also differ greatly in terms of skills and armament. On the one hand, this provides the appropriate variety, on the other hand, you will find the right Hunter in Crucible for almost every style of play, regardless of whether you want to snip from a distance in peace or prefer to engage in close combat with flamethrowers.
Incidentally, you won't find the division into tanks, supporters and damage distributors known from other shooters in Crucible. There are some hunters who can take a little more than other or smaller healing abilities, but there are no real tanks or healers. According to the developers, the players should not be pinned down to a game style or role by their hunter.
Crucible: Respawn and Bullet Sponge
As usual for a team shooter, individual hits do not directly mean pixel death. The damage to weapons and skills is so low in relation to the Hunter's life that it takes a few decent volleys to shoot the enemy out of their shoes. The time-to-kill seemed very high even for a team shooter. However, this is what the developers intended. Every player should have the opportunity to defend themselves at any time or to flee. On the other hand, being wiped out by the enemy in seconds is at most frustrating. Instead, long and intense firefights should unfold, in which the upper hand can also switch between the teams several times. In practice, this has worked quite well. However, it is also frustrating when you use your minigun to work the back of the head of an inattentive opponent for several seconds and then still manages to escape instead of lying dead at your feet.
Source: Amazon Game Studios
If you fall victim to an opponent, there is also a respawn in Crucible. After a few seconds you will reappear in the combat area and can continue fighting. You can even choose one of several rspawn points, but all of them are always far from the action. However, since Crucible is not always about riveting your opponents, dying can sometimes offer strategic advantages.
Crucible: One card – three game modes
There will only be one card in Crucible for the launch. But you shouldn't make the mistake and compare the map with maps from other team shooters, because it is significantly larger and offers different areas. This is also necessary because Crucible differs from most competitors in the game modes. And all three modes need a much larger area than the small maps in Overwatch. Because Crucible is not designed for fast and uncomplicated action, but wants to offer the players a little more depth. It also includes knowing the different areas of the map and using them tactically. After all, in Crucible you don't only fight against the opposing team, but more on that later.
Crucible: Battle Royale, points and hearts
First, Crucible has a game mode similar to the well-known Battle Royale. A damage-causing wall shrinks the area of the map until you can no longer avoid each other and a fight ensues. However, you do not fight all other players alone, but eight teams of two compete against each other. The team that still stands at the end won. The highlight of this is that players who have already lost their partners can form short-term new teams and thus keep their chances of winning. But be careful: these alliances can be dissolved at any time. So your partner may stab you in the back and suddenly team up with someone else.
In the second game mode, two teams of eight players compete against each other. This less competitive mode is about collecting as many points as possible as quickly as possible. The first player to fill up the bar of points wins the round. You collect points in various different ways. By killing monsters that hang around everywhere, taking certain points or of course killing the opponents. The latter is the most effective method, but not the only one.
In the third game mode, two teams of four meet. Now it's about collecting the heart of the Hivemind. This huge tree-like creature has many life points and defends itself against physical strength. When it's finally dead, all you have to do is open his heart. The necessary channeling can be interrupted by opponents with their abilities. So there is a skirmish around the different positions where the Hivemind appears. The first player to collect three hearts wins the round.
Crucible: monsters, levels and talent system
As previously mentioned, the area around Crucible is more than just a map where you fight the enemy. The area is populated by various monsters who want to keep you on the collar. However, in most cases these are only a small challenge for your weapons. However, if you are struggling with several of them and then suddenly one of the opposing players shows up, you will quickly find yourself in the dirt. In addition, various extractors are distributed throughout the map, which you can take by clicking and which will work for you from now on. You may be rightly wondering why you should deal with this instead of simply blowing the opposing team out of virtual life. Both the extractors and the killing monsters – and killing enemy players – give you essences. In a sense, these are points of experience with which your team will level up together.
Source: Amazon Game Studios
The first five climbs are particularly important. Because with this you unlock one talent per hero, which you defined before the start of the round. This is usually about improving your attacks or just giving these attacks an additional effect. So if you rise quickly with your team, you gain a massive advantage over the other team (s), which can be crucial when you meet. If you have unlocked all talents, the damage you deal and your life points increase with each level. Incidentally, the latter value increases somewhat more slowly. The higher the level, the shorter the exchange of shots, which in turn ensures that the rounds will not last indefinitely. A winner is usually determined after 15 to 20 minutes at the latest.
Crucible: Additional bonuses
There are also regular bonuses all over the map that you can secure for your team. For example, you need to take certain points to increase your damage, get automatic regeneration of life points or get access to both level 5 talents. As a result, there are always smaller skirmishes at various points on the map, even apart from the other bang points. Every now and then you have to decide whether you would rather try to get an important bonus, for example giving up a heart of the Hivemind to get a big advantage for later, or whether you would rather split up your team and tackle both. Here the tactical approach can quickly decide on victory and defeat.
Crucible: Hunter with X-ray vision
All Hunter in Crucible also have the option of switching to observation mode. They move more slowly and are shown things that are otherwise not visible. The positions of nearby extractors are highlighted in outline or dangerous monsters are shown better. The most important thing is that you see the approximate position of nearby enemies. How clear and at what distance you can perceive them depends on the noise that the opponents in question are currently causing. Where you only have to rely on your hearing in tactical shooters, you can also do it here using the observation mode. By the way, as soon as you use your weapon or ability, this special mode ends immediately.
Source: Amazon Game Studios
Crucible: good looks and the great influence of Twitch.tv
The look of a game is of course a matter of taste – this also applies to Crucible. In any case, the developers succeeded in bringing enough variety into the different areas of the map. There are dark corners as well as very colorful and colorful areas. In addition, an unmistakable and consistent style runs through the hunter and the environment, which seems quite suitable. The animations of the characters could be a bit rounder and appear a little choppy and unsightly in one or the other place, which is only noticeable when you take a closer look.
The interface (which you best look at in the video below) is clearly more unpleasant.
Beginners in particular are bombarded with information. What should provide a good overview in itself had the opposite effect in our test games. Everything and everything is shown on the map with different symbols and even the smallest information is shown somewhere. The connection between Amazon and Twitch quickly becomes clear here. Because the latter is part of the Amazon Group and the developers accordingly place great value on Crucible not only being good to play, but also looking good on Twitch and viewers receiving all the important information. It is also intentional that a corner of the interface in the upper left corner is more or less not used at all. The streamers still have to store their camera picture somewhere.
Crucible: Skins, Battle Pass and the money
As a Free2Play game, developers of course have to make money in other ways. As is common in many games of the genre, this will probably mainly happen via various skins. Like in Overwatch, for example, there will be hundreds of different skins for the heroes in Crucible. The simpler versions, which are mostly only color-modified versions of the original skin, are cheaper than the extravagant and completely newly created optics. You can buy these with in-game currency, which can either be earned through gaming or can easily be replenished using a shop and real money. The most expensive hero skins cost the equivalent of eight to ten euros for our hands-on in February 2020, which is a proud price. But at least you get the skin you want right away. Lootboxing will not exist at the current state, but there will be tons of emotes, sprays or voicelines for your hunters.
There will also be the so-called Battle Pass, which you can also unlock using the in-game currency. This provides you with various smaller tasks, thanks to which you can work your way through the different levels of the pass and dust off countless skins and the like on the way. You may not then choose these, but they will be significantly cheaper in this way, since the Battle Pass itself has about the same costs as a legendary hero skin. The developers will also show you beforehand what is included in the current Battle Pass so that you can decide for yourself whether it is worth it for you or not. You also have the option of purchasing the Battle Pass only afterwards, and then you get everything that you have already achieved during the theoretical term. So you can still decide at the end of the term whether you have played a lot and the rewards pay off for you. Incidentally, a connection to Amazon Prime is not currently planned, even if the developers asked us at the event how it would arrive in different forms. So it is quite possible that Prime customers get any goodies or small reliefs at the release or in later phases.
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Crucible: Official trailer – first look at gameplay
Crucible: preview as video
Thanks to an enormous number of life points, the exchange of shots lasts significantly longer than in other shooters. (Source: Amazon Game Studios)