The Anacrusis – Xbox Game Preview Review

The Anacrusis is a team based first person survival shooter that puts players into a team of four travelling through an enormous stranded starship while battling through waves of alien hordes. This cooperative adventure has the hallmarks of Valve’s Left 4 Dead, and this is due to developer Stray Bombay’s Chet Faliszek, who previously worked on the Left 4 Dead games. While the Anacrusis is only in Game Preview, it does offer the first three of five chapters, a survival mode and launched on Xbox and PC Game Pass on day one.

As noted, the Anacrusis’ gameplay is heavily based on Left 4 Dead and sadly it doesn’t live up to the experiences of Valve’s hit and the more recent titles in the genre. Players move from saferoom to saferoom and at the end of each chapter takedown wave after wave of humans infected with an alien parasite. The Anacrusis shows everything it has to offer very quickly and is just rinse and repeat that tires quickly.


While the gunplay functions fine, the limited base weapons, pistol, SMG, shotgun and assault rifle all lack a real punch and feel like nerf toys. Weapons do not use tradition ammo but are charged at random charging stations littered throughout. Players can only carry one base weapon with a pistol, and if the player is lucky, they can find a heavy weapon such as an arc gun or deployable turret that are randomly scattered throughout the levels. Grenades can also be found, and these mix it up from the traditional ideas including some interesting ones such as the shield grenade, creating a safe bubble shield for the players to utilise.



The Anacrusis differs from may shooters in that it lacks  a conventional melee but offers each player a sort of explosive force style push called Pulse. With the tap of the LB, the player emits a swift 360-degree forcefield that rapidly pushes enemies away, giving the player space to take down close enemies. This can be used up to 3 times in rapid succession and has a quick cool down speed letting the player use it frequently. Using this is vital to success, as aliens are fast and will swarm players very quickly and like any cooperative survival shooter, wandering off alone is not advised.


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The enemies are a mixed bag. While the traditional fast-moving enemies flood the screen, special enemies also enter via the A.I. director. These special enemies include the conventional hard-hitting Brute and player grabbing aliens, it also has a couple of stand outs. The Flasher is like no other enemies I have encountered in a game, as it enters a room it gives off a super bright cornea-burning light, making them and anyone around them barely visible. The Grooper also spits out a mucus like substance that encases and freezes players whom must be freed by other players. It is positive signs for the game that Stray Bombay have some great ideas with these enemies and previously mentioned grenade types.


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The Anacrusis allows players to upgrade by adding perks to assist their playthrough , This is done by finding upgrade station scattered throughout the world, which provide upgrades and bonuses to  damage output, the player’s Pulse, ammunition and more. Unfortunately, these upgrades never really had an affect  on my gameplay or playing style at all.


The 60s sci-fi aesthetic is very welcomed, giving off the relaxed vibe that this stranded starship once had. Everything from the interior of the ship, player models and weapons portray what the future would look like if designed in the 60s. It is unfortunate that the ship does not look like it was ever lived in. It is that barren of past life pre alien invasion it is distracting, offering little in atmosphere. The sound design is one of the strongest aspects to the Anacrusis and this reviewer enjoyed the smooth guitar tunes.


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