Hero shooters are all the rage these days, so games in the middle or bottom of the field struggle to compete with the lead dogs. Crucible is one of those games, where its mediocrity is only worth dismissing. Crucible is like a bland, forgettable meal – harmless, but quickly passed for something with a little more flavor and spice. The heroes of Crucible fail to entertain on a personality and character level, but they often have memorable and interesting moves that respond to perfection and learning. With the exception of the adorable robot Bugg, most of the cast is lacking in appeal. With color-by-number characters like Military Man, Berserker Lizard, and Fish Sniper, the heroes feel like they’ve been ripped from the pages of a rejected comic book. On the load side, learning the nuances of a character is a lot of fun. For example, activist Sazan has a skill set that is easy to understand on the surface, but has plenty of room for growth and skill. Finding out how to distance myself to juggle the cooldowns of my assault rifle, shotgun, and throwing knife was a fun exercise. Mastering a set of moves, both partial and perfect, is satisfying and applicable to many heroes. The map, with its event appearances that help drive the action, is a suitable environment with plenty of spaces to play. While there’s only one map, it’s constantly changing with different appearances to mix things up, and you can learn the locations of various landmarks to hide behind shelter or jump off a ledge. Event appearances differ from game to game, but many are simple enemies of NPCs. Other events like Power Pods improve your entire team, but most of the time you might not see another Soul when you complete these tasks in a largely un-activity arena. Team clashes are the best part of the game, with skirmishes taking out players and small-scale engagements taking center stage. True 4v4s are interesting, but there’s a glaring lack of team play elements. Combat is weightless apart from a few big attacks, with little kickbacks or punches on most weapons and abilities. Everyone is just doing the same thing they normally would in a 1v1 scenario and hoping that things will change. Crucible doesn’t have any in-game voice communication, which requires you to connect with people you already know through other services. For example, letting your teammates know that you are sacrificing a goal to glean an advantage elsewhere is an important memo to relay, as they may go to fight otherwise and end up placing the other team even further. A ping system tries to mitigate this, but it is not practical. Depending on the game, you might not even see the other team much, as you both farm dinosaurs and take out the laggards 3-on-1 or swap control over points of interest. One of the biggest issues is the PvE component, which requires you to essentially spend time diving on dinos and spitting creatures between encounters with other teams. Battles against these NPCs are fun for a few games, but then they become absolute boredom and a chore. The PvE component does everything in its power to keep you from fighting other players, instead forcing you to slaughter uninteresting drops of XP instead of playing the game. Of the three game modes, the only one worth mentioning is Heart of the Hives. If you are going to play, this is the mode to check out. Two teams of four are fighting for PvE objectives, so you have some interesting decisions to make, like when to engage with the somewhat dangerous PvE entity or whether to cede a capture of the flag to the other team so you can grab some levels and bonuses for easier win. Like many other aspects of the game, this mode provides fun for a few games and then fades from memory altogether. Eventually, you realize you might be doing something else or playing something more fun than being slowly dragged across the map on a chain of dinosaurs for what might be a slightly satisfying team fight. Crucible isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a good game either. In the context of today’s hero game environment, this makes him a lost soul, struggling to find a fort. sense of identity. Over time, Crucible may be able to find reasons to stay on the menu, but for now, the recipe is watered down and dull.