We have another co-op shooter landing on Early Access this week in The Anacrusis, and because this isn’t technically a finished full game, which is very clearly stated, I’m baffled as to why it’s even out as I don’t think it’s ready even for that. It’s a shooter in space with a very obvious 60’s vibe which is noticeable from the design, the music and overall theme of the game. On paper this should be a good mix as it’s not an era that’s visited a lot (even if it feels it’s starting to become fashionable), however the theme is all it has going for it as it’s quickly down hill from there.
The Anacrusis is offering three episodes to start with, though none of which give you any reason to care as all can be done in one session because they are very short. The replayability for me just wasn’t there as there isn’t enough that’s interesting to keep me wanting to come back. Gameplay is flat, mostly uninteresting and buggy, and the weapons all feel and look similar. Whilst the enemies do stand out a bit, once they all come together it just looks like a mess, but the AI is dumb to say the least. We have the run of the mill alien horde enemies that charge at you, a tank that’s a heavy hitter, followed by ones that grab you and pull you to them. All sounds familiar, right?
The bugs in The Anacrusis don’t help the combat flow either. At times enemies will just stand there even if you’re in front of them; they will get stuck in the floor or float for no apparent reason; and I had bullets not register on an enemy too. I’d aim for a headshot and nothing, but then all of a sudden it would just register that the event occurred. There are a few too many crashes to desktop playing on PC too. Numerous other bugs affected progress like a door button that wouldn’t register with the press, ammo refill not working until pressed multiple times, and reviving someone had the progress bar not doing anything leaving me unsure if it was working or not.
All the action is set on a spaceship which is already a good setting, yet it’s lifeless. You can see that there are areas for drinks, shops, etc., but whilst it has great colour, overall it’s some how uninteresting and dull. It just looks like no one was here and it wasn’t lived in, so to speak. The limited cutscenes are pretty cool again because of the 60’s vibe they give off, but the point of this The Anacrusis preview is to pique your interest and ensure you will want to return… and it doesn’t deliver. In other very familiar gameplay elements you can pick up different types of grenades, turrets and health boosters, to help you along your short journey. I’ve never used a gun turret and thought to myself well that’s rubbish so I dropped a turret and I had that feeling. You know, the one where you wonder what was the point? It felt lacklustre and weak. This is supposed to be a space turret in the future!
I certainly can’t recommend The Anacrusis. If you want a co-op shooter of any kind I can say play anything else that’s available to you. You’ll have far more fun and it won’t be a buggy mess. I really think it needs to go back to the drawing board and come back another time. If somehow you do enjoy this, you can look forward to the continued updates and improvements for when it’s fully complete and released. It may improve going forward, but it has a lot of work ahead.
The Anacrusis is out now on PC and Xbox consoles in Early Access form, and is available through Game Pass or for somewhere around £20.