Every once in a while a game comes along that I have a really hard time reviewing. Usually, it’s when I’m reviewing a game that I was really excited about but didn’t initially live up to my expectations. Anshar Online is such a game. The problem, I’ve come to realize, isn’t the game, it’s me. I loved Anshar Wars 2 way too much to come at Anshar Online with any objectivity. I wanted more of the same, but bigger and better. Some of the changes were so jarring right out of the gate that I was thrown off balance immediately and that was colouring my view of Anshar Online. Once I had spent enough time with it to allow Anshar Online to exist in my brain separate from Anshar Wars 2 what I’ve found is an experience that hits most of the same notes that I loved in Anshar Wars 2, but also goes deeper and provides what should ultimately prove to be a better and more replayable experience.
E McNeill is a fairly prolific developer in the still nascent realm of virtual reality. Being the developer of one of the earliest hits on the Gear VR, the cyberpunk hacking game “Darknet”, he has since published two more strategy games; Tactera and Skylight and ported them to all of the biggest headsets including Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive as well as non-VR versions for Windows.
I have a bad habit of passing over games because they aren’t all that appealing on their store page. Laser Arena Online for the Gear VR had all the markings of a shoddy VR game. It was an online FPS, it was made by “hardcore gamers”, it used only the touchpad for controls and it didn’t look amazing in the pictures. In the reviews section, people were commenting that it should have controller support and the developers were responding by saying that the controller was inaccurate so they left it out for now but they were working on it. Plenty of other shooting games used the controller so I saw this more as an excuse than a good reason.
Gamers are often pretty obsessive. They will spend hours, days, even weeks in front of the TV trying to complete the latest game. Others will wait in line long into the night to be the first to buy the newest release. Many will search the internet looking for tips and cheats on the top game, or post videos on YouTube of the finest hours in gaming. However, there remains some residual guilt: gaming is not healthy and perhaps I should spend less time doing it, and use more of my efforts on healthier pursuits. Hang on there! New evidence suggests that you may as well keep going!
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in the not too distant past the future I had been waiting for since my youth arrived. Pretty much the only thing missing from it was flying cars. Holograms, virtual reality, cars with TV’s in them, watching whatever TV I wanted when I wanted, video calling, wristwatch computers and Penny’s computer book from Inspector Gadget are all real things now. It’s true that we (probably) can’t control doors in ancient tombs with our computer books, but otherwise, the phones we carry do a lot of the things Penny’s computer book did. When I was a kid I thought that all of these were going to arrive at the same time. And that time was the year 2000.