Honestly alert, so read with caution! From the most well-known package delivery company, Amazon comes their first “attempt” at making a game that, by the looks of it, has potential, but suffers from some major design flaws. But can Crucible be any good? Can it be their breakthrough in the gaming market after owning Twitch? Well, get ready to find out.
What we liked!
- Character personality: You can see that the Amazon design team has put some dedication and love into each character that is added to the game. They are all unique in a good way (if you ignore the balance of some of them) without overdoing the “unique” aspect as some game developers try these days with the whole hype around “diversity”.
- Sound choice: Amazon has made some interesting and nice choices when it comes to sound effects and thematic tunes. They complement each mob perfectly in a way that is rather satisfying to listen to.
- Skills: Each character has a unique skillset of which most feel rather accomplishing to play with. And if used together, you can actually outplay people really hard.
- Pre-game upgrade path: The game allows you to pre-define a route in which you upgrade certain basic abilities. The idea behind this is rather amazing, but sadly enough, they don’t feel impactful in the current balancing state of the game.
What we disliked
- Game state of being “finished”: This game has a ton of bugs and issues at this very moment. But focussing on the bugs first, since we will talk about balance at a later point. The first issue I came across: when opening the game, it took 3 attempts to boot it, since it crashed twice. After that, on a 21:9 monitor, it defaulted to this aspect ratio, but to 100*50 resolution, making it unable to be used. I had to open a second instance on my other pc, to just follow in the menu or buttons to see where I could resolve this. After this was done, the game felt good. Further down in the gameplay, I experienced more crashes and random menus that stopped working, or not showing, so not really smooth experience.
- Game balance: The game does put itself out there as having no classes, but sadly enough there are hidden classes: mobility or no mobility. There are quite a few characters without any mobility spells at all, who just feel weak, kite-able, clunky, slow, and just get overrun by the mobility the other characters have. So it’s either pick these or lose the game.
- Lack of chat: This game has no chat options, no voice chat, no text chat, while the whole goal of the game is to move as a team and make tactical decisions. Yes, you can ping people around, but this is not enough since the only ping you can make is: “over here”.
- The map: The game plays slow, which by itself, is rather fine given the nature of things, but the map is just too big. You are running around in certain areas without a real objective. And if you happen to lose a fight, you have to get back to your team.
- Death penalties: If you die in the game, you first get a 20 second respawn timer, followed by a 7 second warp time. Then 3 seconds to load before you can move, followed by 1 minute of walking to the location your team is at that very moment.
- Combat: The combat system feels horrible. It takes an insane amount of time to kill other players in the game. If you compare it to overwatch, where people tend to complain that the TTK (time to kill) is too high with all the healing and shields, then you are in for a big surprise. With the absolute absence of shields as protection for allies and healing from medkits, it takes up to 1 whole minute for a whole team to kill a single person, especially if the person being chased has mobility spells (some characters have blinks on a 2-second cooldown).
- Gunplay / PVE play: Guns don’t feel rewarding, and seem to be just there as a prop to the “shooter” idea. If you lose half your health battling a level 1 mob, but it takes the enemy team 1 minute to slay you on level 1, then something is wrong here. Eighter the mob is overpowered, or the players are underpowered. You might think you need to kite the others? But it all depends on the choice you made at the start since half of the roster does not have the mobility to kite them.
- The general flow of the game: The game feels too snowbally because if you capture multiple essence harvesters, you just get ahead by the minute. This then results in the team that is behind to fall even further behind, since their TTK will be even worse. That combined with the horrible respawn mechanic, makes you be absent from the fight way longer then you would actually want.
- Map system: The map is too big to start with. And it could have been useful if we could place markers more precisely on objects, instead of it falling off if you place a marker on something that is already tagged. Also, the addition of a mini-map would help a lot of players with navigating themselves around this colossal landscape. On top of that, if you reach the end of the map, don’t get too close to the borders. Without a warning, you get eliminated instantly (no damage over time) and get put into the 1-2 minute respawn system.
Should you play this game? Well, as the info above might suggest, I wouldn’t even give it a shot for the second time. It just feels as if Amazon had identity issues with this game, and just rushed it and made it be everything it isn’t supposed to be. Normally I would tell people to still give it a shot if they could ignore the few bad points, but here I had issues finding good points to even start with. It could be a great game if all the above points would be fixed, but I think by that time, the image around this game will be too ruined to even be fixed, and we end up with a second Anthem (if anyone even still remembers that game) or Paragon.