The Anacrusis – Preview
Follow Genre: Online co-op, First Person Shooter
Developer: Stray Bombay
Publisher: Stray Bombay
Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

The Anacrusis – Preview

Good: Good foundation
Bad: Lack of content
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Left 4 Dead and its sequel were two incredibly popular co-op shooters released by Valve back in the early 2000s. Ever since, multiple games following their paths have been released, with some recent ones such as Back 4 Blood or GTFO garnering a decent amount of attention. The Anacrusis is the latest title taking a shot at the formula, this time set in a retrofuturistic space station; but does it offer anything besides a new setting?

The game’s story takes place aboard a rundown spaceship on the edge of the galaxy. After an alien infestation, the four remaining survivors find themselves fending off hordes of enemies while attempting to make the ship work again. Overall, the game barely contains a story, and what’s there is explained through a mere handful of dialogues between the characters at the start of each level.

Luckily, what the game lacks in the story department, it makes up with its visuals. Following a retrofuturistic aesthetic, the spaceship features impressively large sections with a surprising amount of environmental variation. While most of the areas are simple samey corridors, more impressive areas exist, such as indoor gardens, fire-filled waste disposal units, and more. However, this doesn’t really extend to enemies, which are limited only to a few different designs reutilized throughout the whole game.

The Anacrusis’ sound design is also rather good, featuring fully-voiced dialogues between the characters and decent quality sound effects. The only part lacking in this department is the soundtrack, with music being mostly limited to cutscenes, although this is understandable due to the co-op nature of the game. Besides this, it is worth mentioning that the characters have the tendency to all shout about special enemies spawning, leading to moments with four different voices calling out the same thing. This feels like a bit too much.

As mentioned above, the game is a co-op first-person shooter, where a team of 4 players will have to work together in order to survive. At the moment, The Anacrusis features three playable episodes, of around one hour each. While the objective in each of these varies, the game is still presented as a series of linear levels with a large final showdown.

At the start of each episode, players will appear in a supply room where they’ll be able to choose their primary weapon. While these weapons are supposed to be similar in power, it is not truly the case. It becomes clear quite quickly that some are much more effective than others. Throughout the level, players will also find more of the weapons offered in the supply room, allowing them to swap out for a different one or to simply restock ammo.

Besides the aforementioned weapons, other items can also be found scattered throughout the areas, such as a wide arrangement of grenades, health packs, and special weapons. All of these have limited uses and provide strong effects, with the special weapons always being a highlight thanks to their high power and unique effects. That said, although welcome, these items tend to be incredibly plentiful, making the game rather easy to get through and reducing the overall value of these items.

Coupled with the number of items, the game’s difficulty also takes a hit due to the poor AI of the common enemies. It is surprisingly easy to find areas where enemies won’t react until shot, at which point a decent amount of them will already be dead. Luckily, this issue doesn’t seem to apply to special enemies, which will actually change targets and move around, instead of simply circling the player.

In order to prevent players from being overrun by sheer numbers, The Anacrusis also provides the characters with the ability to push enemies back with a shockwave. Said ability has a few charges which a refill over time, and this ability can also be upgraded with certain perks. In order to obtain these perks, players will have to be on the lookout for matter compilers spread throughout the levels, which will provide a choice of three random perks with positive effects.

In its current state, The Anacrusis is a serviceable but barren game, offering little content and it is also in dire need of balancing. While the difficulty is generally low, certain special enemies are capable of rendering players unable to move until freed by their teammates. However, it is also very possible for all players to be affected by this, thus leaving them to slowly die at the hands of whichever enemies remain. On top of this, bugs aren’t infrequent, with some completely breaking the UI or clipping the player through the level.

Additionally, the game only offers the option to play in premade groups or with other random players, only adding AI-controlled characters after long waits or in the case should someone disconnect. Combined with its general lack of content, there is little reason to replay finished levels or engage with the weekly challenges, other than getting the rewards in the game’s battle pass.

Conclusion

The Anacrusis is a decent attempt at a co-op shooter which needs more time in the oven. In its current state, the game has potential but it doesn’t live up to it. With some more updates, those looking for what it offers will be sure to find something to their liking. However, at the time of writing this preview, it is hard to recommend purchasing the game at its surprisingly high €24,99/$29.99/£23.79 price.

Personal Opinion

“While my companions and I had a decent amount of fun playing Anacrusis, it was arguably more so thanks to being in each other’s company than because of the game. The most repeated comment throughout the sessions we played was “Yeah this is sci-fi Left 4 Dead but worse”. After finishing all three available episodes, this sentiment hadn’t changed in the slightest. It didn’t help that as a group of 3, we were forced to engage with other players instead of simply filling the last slot with a bot. Lacking the possibility of creating a private game meant we were forced to put up with long matchmaking waits and general shenanigans while playing.”

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Anacrusis - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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