This month, if you have Playstation Plus, you can play newly released third person shooter, Drawn to Death, for free. Which, right off the bat, I would recommend you do. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers, mainly because the closest thing to a story in DTD is contained within the names of the trophies. Yes, I know that there are hints littered throughout about family and grief and such, but really, with the aggressiveness of the game, it doesn’t fit the tone and feels wrong. I have played Drawn to Death for about 3 days. So that’s all the experience with the game I have, I have not been paid or anything.
Drawn to Death is unique in a lot of aspects, most notably the fact that the game has an almost entirely hand drawn style. More specifically, it resembles a graffiti filled notebook. With the style instantly transporting the player into the mind of a cocky teenager stuck in a boring class, which, ironically, is how the game opens. We’re then treated to a tutorial, guided by a very sarcastic frog. This is initially very funny, as we get bombarded by sarcastic quips and obscene content. However, when I struggled to find a sentence in the tutorial that wasn’t either swearing or insulting to the player, it became less funny. Not because I am sensitive to being insulted by games, the tutorial to Spiderman 2 taught me at a young age that tutorials are meant to make me feel stupid. The dialogue isn’t funny after a while for the simple reason it becomes clear that the writers couldn’t think of anything better to say. It’s literally just using the f-word as both the setup and the punchline to a generally unfunny joke.
Graphically the game looks interesting, but, can also become overpowering and annoying. The hand-drawn style looks good, it fits the tone well. However, after a while of looking at it, it can become difficult to actually see what is taking place on the screen, this is because literally everything is hand drawn and characters will often become indistinguishable from the scenery. Other than that, the overall look and feel of the game is interesting enough to keep me playing but is very flawed nonetheless.
On a more positive note, the gameplay is fun, complex and has a real learning curve. You have a variety of weapons and characters, each with unique abilities that can change how you play the game. The only downside is once again the game overreaching since at times I struggled to remember all of the controls, some of which 4+ buttons pressed in short sequence just to achieve a simple move that would take one or two buttons in any other game. There are a lot of gameplay modes, although I only really experienced a few as everyone in public multiplayer had a very strong preference for either free for all or team deathmatch.
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of different weapons and characters, but I failed to mention a key detail. MOST OF IT IS HIDDEN BEHIND A PAYWALL! Yes, whilst the game explains early on that with the use of keys, you could unlock any weapon. Which I very much liked the sound of. The idea that one key could unlock literally any weapon in the game right from the start lead me to believe that the weapons were based on skill, not money. That was until I realized how difficult these keys were to acquire in actual gameplay. It seems to me that it would actually be easier to just submit to the paywall and buy keys rather than winning them. I understand the pain of trying to get keys and actually getting nothing from them, like in COD, but this just feels wrong. COD makes it easy to get keys, anything else is luck. DTD just essentially removes the luck element and lets players with cash to spare skyrocket to the tops of leaderboards.
I was optimistic that this would be the game that brought back some respect to PS Plus, because for the past few months, the games that have been given out have almost all been bad. With a few exceptions being LittleBigPlanet 3, DiskJam and This War of Mine. Honestly, I feel like PS+ is not worth it, aside from the online play, there is nothing decent that you get from the service. But this is a review of a bad game, not a lackluster subscription service.
My main issue with this game is the fact that it’s not even a terrible game. Just disappointing in every way possible. Everything that looked cool about the game just isn’t as cool as you had imagined. If I’m honest, if you have PS+, don’t bother with Drawn to Death, download the excellent 10 Second Ninja X, which is also free this month. I got more enjoyment out of 10 seconds of that game than several hours of DTD.
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