(Pocket-lint) - Amazon's first big game is here. Crucible is part of Amazon Game Studios' gaming portfolio that's set to include New World, a 17th-century MMO New World later this year.
This is a potentially interesting free-to-play game that's designed to have mass appeal.
At its core, Crucible is a third-person team-based hero shooter. At first glance, it's a curious mix of styles and designs that's reminiscent of games like Overwatch, Apex Legends, Fornite and more. Colourful visuals, fast-paced gameplay and competitive player-vs-player gunplay abound.
With three game modes and 10 heroes to choose from, as well as plenty of challenges to keep you engaged, it seems like Crucible might be a lot of fun.
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What is Crucible?
Crucible is a hero shooter at its heart and one that takes place on a colourful alien world where your team is battling it out to complete objectives, beat the enemy and achieve victory.
To play the game, you first need to select from one of 10 different characters - all with different skill sets, abilities and specialisations.
Choose your character based on your preferred playstyle and then dive into one of three different game modes. It's worth noting that as well as facing off against other players you also have to survive the dangers the planet throws at you. Including fierce creatures and angry plantlife.
If nothing else Crucible should have a smoother launch than other games in this genre as it's backed by Amazon's serverless technologies, meaning it will automatically scale according to gamer demand. In other words, no server problems and a smooth experience from the moment it launches.
What are the game modes?
Crucible offers three different game modes. They're all team-based, but they're quite different. There's Heart of the Hive, Alpha Hunters and Harvester Command. These modes are each quite different and vary in the number of players too, which is worth bearing in mind if you're thinking of playing with friends.
Alpha Hunters game mode
The Alpha Hunters game mode is similar to the Battle Royale games we know and love. You drop into this game mode in pairs. Eight teams of two are pitched against each other fighting for victory. Like the other game modes, there are objectives to complete as you go that enable you to level up your character but the main goal here is to survive.
If your partner dies then you're left on your own to battle it out with the enemy.
Crucible may stand out from other games here as you have the option to team up with another play who has also lost their friend and carry on fighting together. Though that temporary friendship will soon come to an end if you make it to the end of the game - as someone has to win.
Heart of the Hives game mode
Heart of the Hives is a game mode that pitches two teams of four against each other, not just shooting it out, but also trying to complete the objective.
The objective here is to destroy monster hives scattered around the map. These hives are protected by flying monsters that you and your team will need to deal with, while also holding off the enemy team. Destroy the hive and you'll be rewarded with a hive heart. Collect three of those hearts and your team wins.
Sounds easy right?
Harvest Command game mode
Harvest Command pitches two teams of eight against each other in an objective-based fight. Your team's mission is to take control of harvesters. These harvesters extract precious "essence" from the planet's surface. Your goal is to hold onto the majority of the harvesters in order to get the most essence points. The first team to reach 100 points wins.
As with any objective-based game, the harvesters can change hands at any time. So you need to both capture and defend the harvesters in order to win. The more harvesters you control, the faster your team's points will rise and the quicker you'll win. But the enemy will be aiming to capture your harvesters and spoil your fun. So be sure to keep on your toes.
What is essence?
You'll see essence referenced a fair bit in relation to this game. It's a magical substance that's an important part of the game lore. It's essentially a precious material that's native to Crucible (the planet you're fighting on). It's not only part of the objective for games like Harvest Command but it's also the way you level up.
Collect essence from enemies you kill, angry creatures in the world and by completing objectives too. The essence you collect can then be used to upgrade your character and enhance your gameplay on the path to victory.
Crucible's heroes (aka Hunters)
Crucible has 10 different characters you can play with. These so-called heroes all come with their own specialities and skillsets. Which you play will depend on your playstyle. As you'd expect, the characters are carefully balanced to ensure that no single character dominates the battle but there are bound to be some that appeal more than others.
Earl is Crucible's tank. A huge beast of a character who wields a massive cannon that can reign down a fast-firing barrage of bullets on the enemy. He's slow-moving and his massive frame makes him a bit of a lumbering target for the enemy. But Earl makes up for it with a large amount of health and a rocket booster on his gun that helps transport him around the map.
Ajonah is a deadly raider who's a marksman with a dangerous harpoon gun that deals damage from a distance. Ajonah also has a grappling hook to get across the map in a flash, as well as flying mines that can not only damage your enemies but knock them off guard.
She also has a jamming shroud that's designed to help her team out when needed.
Bugg is a weird one. A gardening robot who was originally designed and modified in order to collect essence from Crucible's surface. This little bot might look cute, but he's fairly deadly. He also comes equipped with a floating body that's supported by thrusters that give him the height advantage over enemies.
Bugg fires seeds instead of bullets and has a fertiliser sprayer too. He can grow deadly plants around the map that are traps to attack the enemy and deal out damage to any unfortunate person that comes in range. This bot also offers shield boosts to himself, his plants and his teammates as well.
Mendoza is the classic run-and-gun soldier - ideal for anyone who likes to get into the thick of the action. He comes equipped with a fast-firing assault rifle, his own deployable shield (complete with medkit) and flash grenades too.
He might not be as exciting or dynamic as some of the other Crucible heroes, but he's likely going to be a strong favourite among players.
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She comes equipped with twin flame throwers that can shoot curtains of flame, fireballs, magma spirals and even use them as little jet engines to propel her about. Obviously these bad boys do come with a cooldown though.
Shakirri is a close-quarters duelist who sports a pistol and an energy sword that allows her to get close and deal out the death. This combo might not sound like much, but a small deflection shield allows her to stay safe while dashing into the thick of the fight before engaging the enemy.
She also has a nifty little energy shield that enemies can't get through and therefore can be used as a trap or protective dome.
Tosca is another tiny hero that packs some serious punch. This little character is pitched as an evil supergenius who wields all manner of equipment to make her deadly.
This includes a gun that fires acid, explosive sticky grenades and an electro-gas cloud that conceals her and her team from enemy view. Tosca also has x-ray goggles that let her see enemies through walls and the ability to teleport through those walls too. Don't judge a book by its cover.
Drakahl is a bloodthirsty melee fighter. Another hero that likes to get in close. He sports a huge axe that's not only good for melee but also fires a sonic pulse from a distance.
Drakahl has an ability like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat that lets him pull enemies in close and deal damage. He also regenerates health from his kills, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Sazan has several weapons at her disposal including an inertia gun (assault rifle), electro knife and shotgun. She gets bonuses depending on what weapon she's using and can quickly change between them in a flash. That's apparently faster than most other characters, making her a deadly killing machine.
Rahi & Brother
Rahi & Brother are two hunters who play together. A human and robot combo that work together closely in battle. Rahi has a laser beam weapon that, when used, helps to charge up his own personal shield. That power can then be used as a shield to deflect damage or to charge up his other weapon - a force punch.
His other special ability makes him invulnerable for a short period while he recharges. A super jump and teleport power also makes it easy for him to get around the map. Meanwhile, brother, his little companion robot, can scout ahead to look for enemies to assist his friend. An interesting pair.
How to play Crucible
To start with Crucible is available to download and play for free on Steam. It's going to be PC only to start with. There's no official word on whether it'll come to console at this point, though we'd be very surprised if it didn't come to PS5 and Xbox Series X when they launch.