Do Not Resuscitate

In a time where virtually
everyone has had their fill of internet trolls and inflammatory comments, Drawn
To Death stands out as the sterling answer to a question no one has ever asked:
How can we make online gaming even more obnoxious and offensive than it already

If you know Drawn To Death as
“that notebook game,” then congratulations: You’ve identified the one thing
that truly makes the four-player online arena shooter stand out. While the
student-doodle aesthetic is certainly novel, it takes its toll on the gameplay.
At best, the on-screen action is muddled by sparsely detailed visuals and ugly
HUD. At worst, it’s a literal eyesore that leaves you with a headache. Nevertheless,
Drawn To Death doubles down on the angsty teen concept with buckets of immature gags and
insults, and from there it’s a race to see what makes you stop playing first.

I don’t want to spend too
much time harping on Drawn To Death’s odious presentation, because it’s exactly
the type of attention the game so desperately craves. Everything from the
insult-spewing tutorial toad to the obscenity-shouting announcer is designed to
titillate and offend. There’s a reason for that: Beneath the constant stream of
aural and visual vulgarities, Drawn To Death is a woefully underwhelming arena
shooter. Sophomoric jokes – like a gaping, in-game rectum that houses a health
power-up – hope to distract you from Drawn To Death’s myriad inadequacies.
These include a small character roster, by-the-numbers game modes, and a four-player
match size limit – which the game still has trouble filling despite Sony giving
it away free to everyone with a PlayStation Plus account and low expectations.

Drawn To Death’s multiplayer
modes consist of 1v1 brawls, 2v2 team deathmatch, 3- or 4-player free-for-alls,
and a mode where you pick up drops from slain enemies and deposit them for
points. In other words, it offers nothing you haven’t played in a hundred other
shooters. Which mode you get depends on how many players the matchmaking can
wrangle up in the minutes-long wait time before the round begins. Even days after launch, full four-player
matches are rare. Regardless of the player count, the small map sizes keep the
action moving, but the core mechanics aren’t fluid or responsive enough to make
it satisfying.

Drawn To Death’s characters
are a little more memorable, thanks to their unique abilities. Ninjaw (a buxom
anime ninja with a shark head) can use her oversized anchor to hookshot her way
around maps, while Cyborgula (a cyborg gargoyle) can hover over the battlefield
with a tap of the button. However, the button inputs and techniques for each
character’s abilities aren’t intuitive or uniform, so you have to rely on rote
memorization to learn everyone’s move sets. The same is true for each
character’s pros and cons, which make them strong/weak against other specific individuals.
Devoted players may find some depth and strategy in these nuances, but with
such underwhelming modes and gameplay, there’s no reason to become devoted in
the first place. After a few matches, most players will be ready to move on to
a bigger, better game.

If not, Drawn To Death has some innovative new
ways for punishing your decision to stick with it. Beyond the insult-slinging announcer
and characters, players are plied with a wide variety of unlockable taunts to spam
other players with. These animated images pop up on player avatars and kill
screens, and emulate the dankest of internet memes. For example, I unlocked a
tombstone with the witty slogan “R.I.P. Your Ass.” To drive the joke home, the
tombstone itself is also shaped like a butt. I can’t think of a better metaphorical representation of what Drawn to Death is, or why you can skip it.


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