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Test of the Crucible game on PC

Test: Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

PC

It is largely the team of Guild Wars 2 which is harnessed to Crucible, and one believes indeed to perceive a semblance of Tyria in the graphic leg of the artworks and in the gameplay filled with AOE where the positioning is so important. But all resemblance stops there, Crucible is not an MMO, it is the first hesitant step taken by the giant Amazon in the world of video game development (excluding mobile), a step which takes the form of a competition between two teams of hunters in a jungle as hostile as it is colorful.

Video-test: All you need to know about Crucible in 3 minutes

Crucible is a strange creature, a hybrid, lost somewhere between MOBA, Hero Shooter and TPS. Two teams of four hunters trudge through a hostile jungle filled with space dinosaurs. At the top of the local food chain is the “hive”. She is gigantic and endowed with an unfair character. The first team to collect three beehive hearts wins the game, and tearing off the face of an opposing hunter to slow it down is a perfectly legal tactic.

The game begins when you are catapulted into the jungle. This is where all your games will take place (the game only has one card). It is also pleasant to look at, Crucible certainly does not sport the finest textures, but the artistic direction of this multicolored jungle is pleasant. From the ocher canyons of the west to the luminescent swamps of the south, we know which part of the map we are at a glance, a guarantee of quality work on the world.

Don’t go looking for the first hive right away (it won’t appear for several minutes), find a way to strengthen your hunters instead. This is where Crucible displays its Moba side: you have to farm experience to level up and hope to gain strength faster than the opposing team. To gain experience: kill dinosaurs and capture points. Eliminating enemy fighters also works if you can find them.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

Everyone knows where and when the hive will appear, this is usually where the two teams meet for a fateful confrontation. If you are the first on the spot, there is a strong temptation to immediately attack the creature, but it will not give up and it is better not to be taken in reverse at the worst moment. And then maybe a member of your team is still chasing this herd of dinosaur to the northwest, and another has gone to get this bonus damage appeared in the south. Coordination is the key to Crucible. Knowing how to separate to cover as much ground as possible and then regroup right at the right time so as not to miss the most important objectives, that is the art of this game.

This emphasis on coordination is the great strength of Crucible when played as a team, and it is unfortunately its greatest weakness when the hunters do not know each other Start a game with friends and you will find yourself quickly plan your routes, distribute your tasks and sprint through the vegetation to respond to the distress call of an ally surprised by enemy fire. Your team counts on you at all times, firstly because the fights almost always go in favor of the team in numerical superiority, but also because all the members of the squad share the same experience bar, you put so everyone late if you don’t eliminate your quota of dinos. This demanding gameplay in terms of cooperation has a beneficial consequence: the victory in Crucible is particularly satisfying because it is necessarily the fruit of a collective effort.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

Without minimap and without clearly visible ping, orienting oneself can be complicated

The same experience without knowing your squad is much less fun. There is no text chat or voice chat in Crucible. Instead, the game attempts to mimic Apex Legends’ ping system, but does so only very poorly, the pings are neither visible nor audible enough, and your desperate calls for help will often go unnoticed. On this point, the Amazon teams are far from having the know-how of the Respawn developers. On Apex Legends for example, pinging many times allows you to communicate the emergency or the danger, but if we try to ping more than three times in a row on Crucible the function is removed from us due to spam … . What do you get when you play such a collective game without any real means of communication? Frustration. It would therefore be very difficult to advise Crucible to players surveying the servers alone.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

Crucible also has a second mode, a battle royale in the most classic sense of the term: an area closes and the last squad alive wins. But there is an original addition: the mode is played in duo, and if your partner meets the mower before you, it is possible to find a player who has also lost his teammate to offer him an alliance. The system works very well: a press of a button to send the request, a press on its part to accept and you are forming a brand new squad. Where the system goes from “original” to “frankly interesting” is that this fragile alliance can be replaced by another at any time. You and your new friend come across an isolated player? Your teammate may help you get rid of him, but maybe he’ll stab you in the back as well, and then you’re the only one against two. A certain paranoia thus hangs over the reconstituted duets, an original and welcome contribution which makes the parts of BR even a little more intense.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

Talking about combat is talking about hunters, there are 10 of them at the moment. here Amazon Game has not taken any risks and all gameplay archetypes are checked. A big bully who inflicts all of his damage on contact? Check. A sniper capable of making himself invisible? Check. An engineer laying turrets? Checkity check. None of them are wildly original, but there is something for everyone. Each has their own weapon and 4 combat skills. We aim both to shoot with his weapon and to throw his skills in the right direction. Since the characters are resistant, you have to work with several to kill an opponent quickly, so it is important to coordinate with your allies to target the same targets. The Crucible fight is very much like a teamfight on Overwatch, except that it is in the third person and that nobody is pushing the payload behind the scenes.

Amazon preferred to make hunters easy to access rather than insanely technical. Any character can be surrounded in one or two parts, allowing newcomers to have fun immediately.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

The personalization of bonuses is unfortunately rather incidental

Leveling up doesn’t just increase the stats. Each character gets a bonus per level during their first 5 levels. Generally, a bonus strengthens the effects of one of your skills, but sometimes it even adds a new effect to it. Ajonah, for example, has a grapple, when she passes level 4, this grapple makes her invisible as a bonus. Some of these bonuses will always be the same (Ajonah will never get anything but invisibility on his grappling hook when he passes level 4) but others can be chosen from a small selection. Thus for its level 5, it can choose between “neurotoxic venom” which increases the slowdown inflicted by its mines or “capital strike” which increases the damage of its headshots. The mechanics are good but it does very little in the end, few bonuses have a radical effect on the gameplay: the player who chose to have more damage on Ajonah headshots and the one who chose to have more slowdown on his mines do not both end up play Ajonah in exactly the same way.

We already talked about the absence of cats and badly implanted pings, but communication is far from the only gap in the game. Why is there no history to keep track of my victories and games where opponents have been lucky? Where is the minimap that would allow you not to have to open the map every 8 seconds to find your way? Sometimes it’s detail like when a victory in Battle Royale is only rewarded with a sad black screen saying “number 1”. But sometimes these are basic elements: melee attacks are not equipped with sound effects, and without the life bar of enemies falling it would be like blowing in the wind.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

From a technical point of view it is complicated too. Matchmaking is difficult (game searches fail too often on the error screen), it is not uncommon to experience freezes during the game, and to make matters worse the game heats up even the most computers robust.

Crucible: promising but premature first step for Amazon

Crucible is F2P in the truest sense of the word. The game is free and all of its characters are unlocked from the first second. The items to unlock are cosmetic only, some are purchased while others are only obtained by reaching a certain level with a character. A skin costs around 10th, a price all in all on average what the competition does. We will of course be encouraged to acquire the essential combat pass of its kind, which is obtained for the equivalent of 8 euros. This one offers some interesting skins and enough in-game currency to buy the next season’s combat pass.

The notes

+Good points

  • Accessible and fun
  • Interesting to many
  • A pleasant card to look at
  • 10 very different hunters

Negative points

  • Not always very fine textures
  • Laborious communication in solo queue
  • No melee impact noise
  • A matchmaking that crashes every other time
  • Some freezes
  • Poorly optimized

We would like to be able to put more at Crucible. An effective game that easily provides hours of fun to a group of friends looking to spend a relaxing afternoon. But the title comes out in a state you’d expect to find a beta game. Some sound effects are missing, the matchmaking crashes as many times as it works and above all the communication system is far from complete enough for Crucible to be pleasant in solo queue. The game needs a few more months to be able to carve out a place in the world of F2P and Amazon is probably aware of this since its title was released last Thursday with little or no advertising.

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May 25, 2020 at 5:37:23 PM

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