Let's talk about Crucible's launch. Amazon's hero shooter landed on Steam earlier this week, and honestly? It was a bit of a mess. In fairness, a lot of brand new online games face similar issues to what the new third person sci-fi shooter did, with matchmaking and connectivity issues plaguing players as they tried to play their first matches. And though these are fixed now, there are still a couple of pretty obvious features missing from the game that really shouldn't be. I mean, who launches a team-based shooter with no in-game voice chat?
If you haven't heard, Crucible is Amazon Games' first foray into the popular hero shooter genre. Developed by their very own Relentless Studios, the game has you play as one of 10 characters in 4v4, 8v8 and 2v2v2v2v2 modes. Your goals vary from capturing control points to just killing everyone else, and the kind of overarching story is that you're harvesting resources from the planet the game is named for.
When I attended an online Q&A with the Crucible devs last week, one point no one thought to ask about was whether or not Crucible would have some sort of in-game voice chat. I guess everyone, including myself, just assumed it would have one - why on Earth would you release a team-based game without those sorts of communication features, right? But no, Crucible really has no in-game way for you to talk to your team, aside from a simple ping system. Is this an oversight from the devs? Surely it can't be intentional? I'm baffled. Voice chat! Team game! These things are just supposed to go together!
This isn't helped by the game's lack of a minimap to easily see where your teammates are. To access the map you have to click to bring it up - it's not the end of the world, but Crucible's map is quite big and can have a lot going on at any one time. Seeing as the game is borrowing a lot from the MOBA genre, it's a wonder why it hasn't taken a leaf out League Of Legends' book and just plopped a mini-map right there on your screen.
Despite these issues, I really do think Crucible still has potential. And I don't want to excuse any of the obvious problems, parts of the game clearly need work - namely the voice chat thing, which I'm still amazed at. It's early days for the new hero shooter. The game is currently in its preseason, so the devs do have a chance to address the problems before the proper first season kicks off.
Crucible is free-to-play on Steam Matt is currently in the process of whipping up RPS's Crucible review - maybe he'll agree with me, and be able to find some redeeming qualities amongst the launch issues.