Free-to-play team shooter Crucible’s character design and PvE elements reward being a good teammate, not just good at aiming.
Update: Crucible launches on Steam today, giving you an opportunity to play Amazon Game Studios’ first title. To get primed to drop, check out our rundown of all the details we have about Crucible and everything you need to know about Crucible before you play.
You’d be forgiven if the name “Crucible” doesn’t ring any bells. The team-based shooter was among the three PC games Amazon Game Studios revealed at TwitchCon four years ago–and there’s been barely a rumbling about it since. Even then, the game’s description was a pretty vague mix of multiplayer shooter ideas and battle royale features.
Though nobody’s heard much about Crucible for the last four years, Amazon’s Seattle-based development studio Relentless has been hard at work on the shooter in all that time. And whatever Crucible started out as, it has changed significantly. Though it retains some battle royale elements, most of it is more an objective-focused hero shooter. Crucible combines a number of multiplayer shooter ideas to try to push toward something a little different, with an emphasis on teamwork and character combinations without the need for building teams based on specific roles. Earlier this spring, GameSpot got a chance to spend some time playing Crucible at Relentless Studios, where we tried out each of its three-game modes and most of the 10 characters that will be available at launch.
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The closest description of what Crucible feels like is a third-person version of Overwatch meeting Evolve, the now-defunct four-on-one monster hunting game from publisher 2K. Crucible’s modes are about capturing objectives, making smart use of resources found on the map, and managing environmental threats, as much as about fighting the other teams who show up. Even the mode that’s most similar to battle royale games offers some welcome twists on the formula. Since all the heroes have their own weapons and abilities, you’re always armed and ready to go when you drop into a match.
The big focus of Relentless’s approach in Crucible is in how it approaches player characters and building teams. Each character encourages a specific kind of play and sports their own set of special abilities on cooldown timers, similar to what’s seen in characters in games like Overwatch and Apex Legends. The primary difference from those games is in what characters bring to their teams, and how those teams are built.