The Anacrusis illustrates just how ingenious Left 4 Dead really was

The Anacrusis lacks many of the things I usually point to when describing what makes a shooter fun. A recent patch made its plasma rifle less of a pew pew pew gun and more of a thump thump gun, and a bit of bass does go a long way toward making the weapon feel less toy-like, but its behaviors remain stiff and simple, as if it’s a UI element rather than an object. And despite some recent animation improvements, the alien enemies can come across like holograms that don’t truly inhabit the space or feel the impacts of sizzling plasma bolts. I do like that sometimes they’re inexplicably launched vertically on death, but the frequency of spontaneous ragdoll lift-offs was sadly reduced by a recent patch.

The Anacrusis is fun anyway, which speaks to the strength of its Left 4 Dead bones: When four players are desperately trying to mop up floods of sprinting aliens without being swallowed up, the sophistication of the weapons and enemies doesn’t seem as important. The Anacrusis is early in Early Access, though, so I don’t recommend it right now, unless you have PC Game Pass. Empty slots in its Left 4 Dead-style co-op missions can be filled with bots, but it won’t start for me unless I matchmake with at least one other player, which can take time. Private matches aren’t supported yet.

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