Gameplay: Crucible (PC)
Amazon's first serious foray into the gaming world is about as shallow as you would expect, revealing a development team that is desperate to be 'one of the kids' but ends up looking unimaginably out of touch with current gaming trends.
Underneath the overly polished and nauseatingly twee exterior, Crucible is a mélange of disconnected systems and confusing ideas.
Crucible borrows popular tropes from just about any e-sports game and tries to shoehorn it into its weird battle royale-cum-arena shooter dynamic. With so many jarring shifts in pace, combined with juggling disparate PvE and PvP play styles, Crucible ends up feeling like a very fatigued and lumbering experience.
There's only one map in Crucible, which is to be the staging ground for each of its three main modes, with each mode featuring a pointless garnish of uninteresting PvE amidst the marginally more interesting PvP. Alpha Hunters sees eight teams of two fight it out to be the last duo standing, after which you must duke it out with your team mate to determine the sole victor. Harvester command is an 8v8 bout to harvest 100 resource points before the enemy manages it. Finally, Heart of Hives - ostensibly the main attraction - a 4v4 where teams must destroy insect structures and collect the resulting resources.
Unfortunately, for a game that focusses so adamantly on PvE, the actual environmental enemies are hilariously easy to beat. The most common enemy of them all, stompers, are giant lumbering monstrosities that look like they pack a serious punch. Not quite. In fact, a single player would probably be able to take on a theoretical infinite number of these, considering how slow they move and their tendency to walk dumbly into continuous streams of hot lead.
For a game that takes so much inspiration from a large variety of team-based shooters, you would imagine that there would be more of a focus on team synergy, but alas Amazon have dropped the ball in this department as well. Communication through in-game chat and pings is a depressingly stagnant and empty affair, while each characters abilities are largely based on self-preservation, with no real way to combine your powers with those of your teammates.
Crucible will almost certainly be improved through continuous updates from Amazon, but at the moment it is impossible to recommend a game so dull and with so many disparate and unconvincing ideas.