ReviewsPreview: The Anacrusis

Preview: The Anacrusis

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It would be pleasant if just for once a developer painted a happy and safe picture of our future. Yes, it may be a bit boring, but surely our future selves deserve better! No one wants to be massacred, maimed, and extorted by every alien life-form, do they? The Anacrusis, however, has other ideas as it is another title that shows mankind to be doomed from the off.

Developed and published by Stray Bombay, this is a first-person cooperative shooter. It is a game that is in Early Access and therefore, is still a work in progress. If you subscribe to Game Pass, it is available to download for free.

The Anacrusis: An interesting concept.

As you load into The Anacrusis, you absorb the funky and almost Austin Powers-esque vibes. The combination of cool yet witty approaches made me hopeful that this would be different from the array of other titles in the genre. Sadly, I was wrong. Its core concept and loose story are both interesting and exciting. However, its execution leaves a lot to be desired!

The story revolves around a team of four unlikely heroes. This group must explore a vast abandoned spaceship while completing quests and slaying aliens. You must work together to better the tiny creatures, or to slaughter the monstrous beasts. Each foe you face requires a different strategy, and this adds a layer of tactical thinking.

If you have a good team, this is where the game excels. Mowing down waves of enemies as a unit was thoroughly enjoyable. However, any chink in the chain and the action goes from fun to tedious in seconds.

What happened to your brains?

A vast arsenal of weapons.

Though the execution of the gameplay felt bland and uninspiring, the developers have treated us to plenty of toys to play with. There is a huge arsenal of weapons to unlock, as well as an array of grenades, perks, and other game-changing items. This, alongside the randomly spawning aliens, ensured that no battle was the same.

Depending on your teammates, the perks you unlock, and the loadout you select, it will alter your tactical approach. Or, this was how the developers hoped it would unfold. In reality, every mission was a messy nightmare that involved four people running around in every direction. This compounded the aforementioned tedium and made every chapter a chore.

Alongside this, the cool-looking weapons feel flat and are lacking in excitement. Other than the larger aliens, everything is killed with ease. This reduces the difficulty and makes it extremely boring, very quickly.

What a mess!

The Anacrusis is colourful but disinteresting.

When a title is in Early Access, I expect it to look good but still need finishing. Disappointingly, The Anacrusis is bland and insipid to observe. Very little of the world or its characters will be of interest to you. Furthermore, visual glitches cause the aliens to hump the floor or wobble like a jelly. Yes, it was amusing, but it was a million miles from what I expected.

Much of the action lacks energy, and this is because of the lifeless and mundane audio. The “witty” one-liners are dated and tiresome and the gunfire is flat. Unfortunately, the tepid sound effects undermined an already struggling title.

Shield grenade.

Sensitivity is key.

I’m not sure what the developers were thinking, but the controls are uber-sensitive. To put it into context, they’re more jittery than me after 3 coffees, and this was absurd! Fortunately, the madness ends there as everything else is well-thought-out. Luckily, a simple UI makes selecting equipment a simple task. This is essential during the occasional hectic moments. Fortunately, you can adjust the controls to your liking, but this is just another example of a poorly executed idea.

Theoretically, The Anacrusis should be jam-packed with replay value and longevity. It utilises weekly challenges, customisation options, an array of missions, and more. Sadly, though, its ill-conceived and sparse environments are an instant turn off! Yes, with friends it can be fun, but this pleasure quickly dissipates.

The Anacrusis is a miserable experience.

The phrase, a damp squib, is probably the fairest conclusion to this mediocre title. Unfortunately, much of my time was spent waiting for the fun to begin. Annoyingly, it never did! The Anacrusis lays out its ideas proudly and boldly, yet they are dated, tired, and badly implemented. The developers may turn it around, but this will require an awful lot of effort. I don’t recommend it, but you can try it here! Aliens are dangerous, but I think you are more likely to die of boredom if you play this.

Summary.

The Anacrusis attempts to incorporate a new theme into this much-loved genre. Unfortunately, however, it fails miserably! Its stage design is lacklustre, enemies underwhelming, and the vast array of weapons lack identity. The core concept needs a shake-up if it’s to reach its potential, so maybe this is one for the future, perhaps. At the moment, though, it’s a gigantic thumbs down!

(Previewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC.)

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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