What to know before you play Crucible, Amazon’s free-to-play shooter

Josh Brown

Originally scheduled to launch in March, Amazon’s new hero shooter Crucible will launch on May 20 It’s not the first game by the fledgling Amazon Games Studio, but it’s arguably the most important and ambitious venture yet outside of its upcoming MMO New World (which is delayed to August 25, 2020).

With positive reception so far, and the free marketing that comes with being part of the Amazon brand, Crucible is starting off on the right foot. Here’s what you should know before your first match.

What is Crucible?

Amazon crucible game

Crucible is a PvP (player versus player) hero shooter with a distinct sci-fi setting. It takes elements from titles such as Overwatch and Paladins, as well as MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) titles like League of Legends, to create a third-person arena action title that’s as much about forging your preferred build during a match as it is slaughtering whoever happens to cross your path.

Three modes currently separate the Crucible player base: Heart of the Hive, Harvester Command, and Alpha. The first two are as much about control as they are survival, while the latter is a small-scale Battle Royale with a neat team-up mechanic. Each mode has unique win conditions and team compositions, but you’re able to take whichever one of the game’s 10 current heroes you want into the fray.

Crucible is free to play on PC through Steam, so there’s no harm in giving it a try if you’re at all curious. There’s no word on a console release just yet, but it’s hard to imagine Amazon attempting to enter the gaming space without such plans in place.

Heroes

The game has 10 heroes to choose from, each with their own specialty. Choosing the right hero for your skillset, and the situation, will likely be key to Crucible’s meta-game.

Ajonah

Crucible Ajonah

This sniper specializes in long-range fire, though she can handle herself well enough at any range thanks to the semi-auto nature of her gun. Her grappling hook and flying mines highlight her long-range capabilities. She can deploy a dome shield in a pinch, so in the right hands, she can fly down for a defensive assist if needed.

Bugg

Crucible Bugg

Bugg the BOTonist is a fine defensive pick for those who like a more tactical approach to combat. His main weapon not only damages foes, but nurtures the seeds he plants to help them bloom into full-fledged laser turrets that zap nearby targets. When in a pickle, Bugg can take off from the ground, drop dust clouds to slow and damage those chasing him, and shield himself, his allies, and his turrets.

Mendoza

Crucible Mendoza

Your typical run n’ gun character, Mendoza is bound to be a popular choice for Fortnite fanatics, or a solid beginner choice for just about any shooter fan out there. He comes equipped with an assault rifle, flash grenades, and a deployable cover system that doubles as a medkit.

Drakahl

Crucible Drakahl

A cross between a DOOM demon and a street shark, Drakahl is a relentless melee attacker. Equipped with little more than a massive ax, he focuses on up-close and personal battles. Given his ability to attack distant targets with a pulse swing, stun and inflict bleeds, dash to close gaps, and pull enemies in close and regenerate HP from his kills, Drakahl will be able to take on multiple foes at once.

Earl

Crucible Earl

A modest, big-bellied engineer, Earl’s rapid-fire quad cannon can deal devastating damage to enemies who attempt to take it head-on. He can even upshift it for extra fire power. His large stature may make him a slow, easy target, but by chugging drinks and using his gun’s rear booster to travel, Earl isn’t the glass cannon he first appears to be. He can even knock players back and deflect their projectiles to buy himself some more time.

Rahi and Brother

Crucible Rahi

Crucible’s pet class, Rahi and his little robot companion work in tandem to pull off strategic moves that will take an experienced player to fully comprehend. Rahi’s short-range laser gun replenishes his shield energy, which he can then manipulate in a few different ways, like feeding it into his fists for a force punch attack or tossing it out like a traveling tornado to protect allies and blind enemies. He can bubble up to buy himself time while Brother scouts targets up ahead and opens up a teleport path for his swift escape (or tactical entrance).

Sazan

Crucible Sazan

Sazan is a cunning assassin who gains bonuses based on which weapon she equips. She can start with a slow assault rifle, toss electro-knives as she closes in, and dash forward to finish off targets with her shotgun. She switches between weapons quicker than most other characters, giving her a distinct style.

Shakirri

Crucible Shakirri

Similar to Sazan, Shakirri’s pistol/sword combo means she shines as a close-range combatant. Her frontal reflect shield helps to close gaps and whittle down enemy HP. Once close enough, Shakirri can effectively jail enemies within her dome shield, ensuring nobody gets in or out as she finishes off her target with her signature energy sword. A good choice for tactical team plays.

Summer

Crucible Summer

With dual short-throw flamethrowers, Summer is a close-range brawler designed to keep the pressure on and punish would-be assassins. Though they can overheat with prolonged use, careful management of her flamethrowers can allow her to pull off some interesting combos ranging from magma spirals and fireballs, to knock backs and gap-closers.

Tosca

Crucible Tosca

This anthropomorphic assailant primarily uses a bursty acid gun to deal damage to foes, but it’s Tosca’s tactical equipment that makes most of the difference here. X-ray specs, a cloaking device for her team, and the ability to teleport through solid objects can make for some tasty, infuriating enemy counters. Sticky explosives are just icing on the cake.

Modes

Alpha Hunters

Alpha is about as close as Crucible gets to Battle Royale. It’s a duos-only mode comprised of 10 players in which the mission is simple: Be the last team standing. There are no respawns here no matter what, but the unique mechanic lets players offer to team up with other singles should their original partner kick the bucket — provided both sides agree before they shoot each other up. But be mindful. Those match-made partnerships will have to come to a head when it comes down to the last three players.

Harvester Command

This 8v8 playlist contains the biggest single teams of any mode available at launch. Similar to Domination or King of the Hill in other shooters, teams fight for control over Harvesters. The more your team controls at any one time, the faster your score will rise. How teams decide to attack and defend areas is key.

Heart of the Hive

Heart of the Hive is the more MOBA-like mode of Crucible. In this 4v4 matchup, teams fight to find and destroy the numerous hives that emerge from the ground. Each hive is protected by flying monsters, so it’s not just a battle against the other team, but one against the hive itself. The first to collect the hearts of three hives wins.