Shooters seem to be a dime a dozen nowadays, so it can be hard to set that game apart from the others in the genre. We’ll see the usual military shooter or maybe something set in space… Sometimes it’s a combination of the two. This brings us to Drawn to Death, a 4-player arena style shooter/brawler coming from the man behind the Twisted Metal and God of War franchises, David Jaffe. Drawn to Death sets itself apart by taking a few chances. Does Drawn to Death make the grade or does it need to be sent to the principal’s office? Pencils down class, it’s time for the review.
Drawn to Death starts up as a cutscene from the perspective of a high schooler in class and from there the player goes into the game. The entirety of the game takes place in the drawing notebook. Each character, environment, and weapon is a sketch from the high schooler. Players choose the layout they want for their character and from there they drop into the game from above. Each character has their advantages and disadvantages over other characters, as well as their own special moves.
Progressing in the game gives you experience points to earn Blood Keys and kills earn lock boxes. Blood Keys can be traded in to earn more weapons. Weapons are unique, to say the least. They can range from the guns you would normally see with some modifications to odd ones. These unique weapons include Dodgeball Dan, a half body that throws dodgeballs or the Shaxe, a gun that shoots bullets and axes. Then there’s the all-powerful weapon in the game, The Hand.
The Hand comes down and the player can unload on their enemies with the most powerful attacks in the game. The Hand can only be used once per player, per game, so it can be a game-changer if used at the right time. Each of the weapons the player can choose between the rate of fire or reload speed for the power of the weapon. The problem lies with a good portion of these weapons being too powerful or too weak. Lockboxes will earn players extra skins, taunts, or stickers. As mentioned, these can be unlocked as you play through the game or you can purchase every weapon or buy a set amount of lock boxes with their own money.
The entirety of the game takes place online across a few different modes. This includes 2 vs 2 team deathmatch, free for all deathmatch, and Organ Donor. If you’re into shooters, just about everything should seem like familiar territory. Organ Donor is similar to capture the flag with a twist; kill the enemies, collect hearts, then deposit them in designated areas on the map. An announcer will mercilessly make fun of you if you aren’t doing well, and will be obnoxious when you are doing well. This may turn some people away because of the crude humor coming from the announcer.
The art style is of the game is one of the better parts of the game and one of the worst at the same time. The style of each character and weapon looks great with some great designs and some fun backstories. Everything is a representation of a sketchbook drawing on notebook paper with school supplies. Each character and a few of the weapons look great and are very different from what you would normally see in a shooter.
The problem lies in the background. A lot of the environments are mostly on a white background with a little color thrown in. It’s understandable because it’s reminiscent of sketches drawn in a school notebook. However, only a few have any real color in it. With only a handful of maps, this could wear you out quicker if your eyes can’t handle staring at a white screen.
Playing through Drawn to Deathmatches seems a bit short because games only hold up to four players at a time, so the score to win a game is relatively low, which will lead to quick matches. One of the problems I have is that you can’t choose which type of match comes up. Some players will have more fun with a four on four free for all, while others may appreciate working in teams, but mixing it up kind of takes away from that. This also becomes a problem if/when someone leaves a game to make it a two on one game.
Drawn To Death does have its problems, but there is a foundation for a something better. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the game can feel a bit short at times which can leave you wanting more. The real fun of the game takes place once you earn/buy the better weapons in the game. Expanding the number of players from four would benefit the game in the long run, as would allowing the player the type of match they want to play. If you’re a gamer that enjoys shooters, the unique guns and characters add some variety that you wouldn’t see in other shooters… After all, where else are you going to see a punk rocker, a shark ninja, and a cyborg vampire having it out against each other?
Final Verdict: Drawn To Death gets six Ninja Sharks out of ten
This review was based on the retail copy of the PlayStation 4 version of Drawn To Death developed by The Bartlett Jones Supernatural Detective Agency and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Unique Characters and Weapons
- Art Style
- Whitewashed Backgrounds
- Unbalanced Weapons
- Short Matches