Drawn to Death is a third-person shooter combined with a brawler arena multiplayer released for PS4 on April 4th, 2017. It was developed by David Jaffe’s studio The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency (@OfficialBartlet) and it was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. For more info check out the game’s site. Screenshots taken by myself.
Right out of the gate, Drawn to Death is an assault on your senses. Alternative rock blasts in your ears as a mess of lines and scratched out pages fill your screen. It’s loud, vulgar, angry and sometimes a little bit fun- once you get past being called a “dick” for the 100th time. With a broad range of characters, guns, modes and maps it might be worth wading through the crudeness to play. That said, there’s a lot to push past to enjoy Drawn to Death and I pushed past it so you might not have to.
This is the latest game from David Jaffe, famed designer of the God of War and Twisted Metal series. The testosterone-fueled teenage boy fantasies have carried over from those series into this game. The influences from God of War are everywhere, Jaffe even made the first DLC a God of War skin pack. The blood spattering combat is just as in your face as it was in Drawn to Death as it was in Athens on the PlayStation 2. But with that gore also comes the south park humour and “look at me I’m offensive that’s funny” attitude that is often unnecessarily in your face. And while there were a couple great bits, like the tutorial tricking you into thinking you needed to shout to reload, the rest of this game’s Beavis and Buthead, low hanging jokes feel like they should’ve stayed in grade 10 instead of being shoved into this game.
I can say I’ve never encountered a game with quite this art style. The premise is you’re playing in the angry pen drawings of some high schooler’s notebook. There’s zombie punk rockers, hardcore marines and a half-shark, half-well endowed woman among the main characters of this online third-person shooter. The art style is very grotesque and it might be too much for some people to get into. There’s a lot of white space with lined paper patterns over it and crudely drawn pen pictures everywhere. But there’s a lot of detail in this world that, as someone who used to draw all over his own high school notebooks, I can appreciate. Little pictures and stories crowd the margins of the pages and provide a little insight into the rampant imagination of this prepubescent boy.
There’s better 3rd Person Shooters…
The game plays like a super stiff Sunset Overdrive, without all the fluid moves and combos that made that game’s combat feel so awesome. And just like Sunset Overdrive there are loads of outlandish weapons just waiting to be unlocked and laugh at once you use them for the first time. But unlike Sunset Overdrive, I would use these weapons to see what they looked like and then switch them out for the default assault rifle since that was the most efficient weapon for competitive play.
There are a nice mix competitive modes to play- that is when you actually get into a match. There’s a lot of issues with finding complete lobbies and the game is only two weeks old. I’ve played several matches of 1v1 in what’s supposed to be a 2v2 mode and even a couple where it was 2v1 which aren’t fun for either side. This happened often enough to become more than annoying and impacted my overall experience with the game in a very negative way. I played three matches in a row where my friend and I were on a team and we were matched with one person, which became a 10 minute borefest as the game adjusts for this by simply giving the solo team loads of health. This requires the other team of two to just whittle down their health while they run around and get health packs.
There’s a breadth of maps on which to awkwardly move around and explore. From an alien invaded city to the depths of hell, it truly runs the gambit of clichéd set pieces. There’s a lot of hidden areas in these maps to find, but because of the nature of being a competitive shooter you’re almost discouraged from finding them because you need to stay where the action is to win. And that’s where I really think there’s a missed opportunity. There’s a weird and over the top world here begging to be explored that’s chained back and limited by 5 – 10 minute matches that compel you to stay in the main area and fight.
One of the highlights for me wasn’t even in the game, but in the trophy list. The descriptions of each trophy are the usual, but the title of each trophy is a sentence in a story about the main character, their life and specifically their crush on a girl in their class named Amy. It’s nothing extraordinary but it’s a cute use of a part of PlayStation games that most other titles overlook or don’t do anything fun with.
So while I wouldn’t recommend Drawn to Death for anybody who doesn’t love third-person online shooters, if you have PlayStation Plus and it’s still April check it out. There are some very unique aspects of this game that can be worth wading through the rest of it, and if you have a crude sense of humour and love alternative rock then this game is right up your alley.