LifeisXbox’s The Anacrusis preview | Left 4 Dead is one of the very first co-op shooters I ever played. In fact, it was one of the first games altogether that I ever played! Both L4D and L4D2 are still amongst my favorite co-op shooters, so you can see why I was excited when Stray Bombay, a new team made up of veterans of Valve, introduced The Anacrusis, a game heavily inspired by the Left 4 Dead series. Trying to bring back and enhance the experience that these games have brought us, The Anacrusis is a 1970’s inspired four-player co-op survival shooter in which you have to fight your way through hordes of aliens on a spaceship. Currently available on the Xbox Game Pass as a preview and on Steam as an Early Access game, I gladly tried out this game so I could share my thoughts!
ℹ️ Previewed on Xbox Series X | Preview code provided by PR/publisher, this preview is the personal opinion from the writer and is based on an unfinished game.
As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of the Left 4 Dead games, so I was extremely excited to try out The Anacrusis. Since this game follows the L4D formula pretty closely, I didn’t think a lot could go wrong with this one. On top of that, I was very much drawn to the art style of The Anacrusis. Usually, we get gloomy and gore environments to set a dim atmosphere in these types of games. If you’ve seen screenshots of The Anacrusis, you’ll know that this game takes an entirely different approach. Instead of going with a dark theme, the developers opted for a sci-fi 1970’s pastel-colored layout for their game. Safe to say I was sold again as I love colorful games.
And it all went downhill from there…
Unfortunately, I can say that my excitement didn’t last long once I started playing the game. The art style, which was one of the attractions of this game for me, turned out to be quite bland in reality. I did enjoy the way things looked, but everything remained superficial, basically. Getting from checkpoint to checkpoint is pretty linear, but there are several small rooms you can explore. Or well, you might as well skip them. They all felt the same and simply lacked any type of personality if I can use that word. They just didn’t feel interesting, except for maybe some weapons or grenades you could find there. But I want a game to be about more than that, I was desperately hoping to encounter some type of story elements, clues, I don’t know. Just anything, please. And if we’re talking about the story, there isn’t really any. Currently, the game offers three episodes and a weekly challenge. When you enter an episode, you get a short cutscene but there is no real story being told. It’s a shame really because it makes this game feel like an empty vessel that had potential but didn’t come through.
Characters and weapons
Besides an overall lacking of story, there was also a total disconnect from the characters. As I mentioned, The Anacrusis is a four-player co-op shooter. But we know literally nothing about these four people. Why are they here? What is their story? How are they connected to each other and the overall story? Honestly, a little more information about these people would go a long way. I felt so disconnected from the characters and ended up not even noticing who I was playing as. Yeah, that’s possible when no one, in particular, stands out, I’m afraid. The lack of personal connection also became stronger when you heard the dialogue between these people. Or should I say the lack of dialogue? Besides some typical yelling (usually shouting the name of an enemy), there wasn’t really any real communication going on. Of course, I can let this slip as this game is definitely designed to be enjoyed with friends, but if you’re playing without voice chat or something, the bland dialogue really stands out. I also didn’t really notice any benefits for either one of them so I suppose they are all equally strong? And while we’re on the subject of things being equal, let’s talk about the weapons. I wasn’t particularly sold on these either. Some really felt like they had little difference, so I ended up not really caring what weapon I used either. The only thing that I really kept my eye on was the taser-like weapon because damn that one came in handy.
I’m afraid I haven’t got a lot of good things to say about the enemies either. I just felt like after not even an hour of gameplay, I had seen all the different enemy types. The standard aliens come in numbers but they are always the same. And then some special enemies are thrown in the mix. The Brute is a big guy that inflicts more damage and is, of course, harder to kill. There is also the Gooper that paralyzes players by spraying green goo all over them and the only way to break free is to be rescued by teammates. The Grabber grabs you with its tentacle-like alien arms and kills you quickly. The Spawner is an annoying little twat that throws orbs at you that will turn into turrets that are, luckily, not that hard to kill. Then there are also the rolling spikes that come in numbers and get to you fast. And then finally my favorite: the Flasher. Even though this one is not that difficult to kill, its ability to cast a blinding light makes it by far the most effective enemy since you have trouble seeing anything on the screen. Overall, the variety in enemies is lacking still so I do hope Stray Bombay will throw some more diversity in the mix.
The verdict for now
I really want The Anacrusis to succeed but there is still a lot that needs to be done. More overall story, more details in the graphics, more zooming in on the characters, more variety in enemies, more weapons, … I think you see where I’m going: this needs to be a more in-depth game rather than an empty shell. I do hope the developers continue to work on this because I definitely have not given up hope yet and I strongly believe The Anacrusis has potential.
LifeisXbox.eu is the largest Belgian Xbox-centered website, your reading time is greatly appreciated! Please consider sharing this preview with your friends on social media, that means a lot for us! If you are Dutch-speaking also consider joining our Dutch exclusive Facebook group Xbox Gamers Belgium. Feel free to use quotes for PR purposes.
Would you like to support us?!
We keep our website completely ads-free as we know how annoying that can be. This means we don’t have any income. Unfortunately, bills do come in for our hosting costs and other LifeisXbox expenses. Here is where YOU come in, your monthly support on Patreon can help us to continue writing our reviews. Please check out our different options for support us monthly, our Patreon link. You can also use Ko-Fi to give us a one-time gift! Our Ko-Fi link.
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂