Drawn To Death
Drawn To Death was not only announced at the PlayStation Experience but it was also on the show floor in the pre-alpha build. Here’s my take on how Drawn To Death handled thus far
The teased title for The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency was officially announced at the PlayStation Experience in the way of Drawn To Death. Drawn To Death is a new arena shooter of sorts that is all in the style of some high school student’s notebook doodles. It made a huge splash and was a great way to end the entire keynote for the PlayStation Experience on Saturday (12/6/14). To almost everyone’s amazement Drawn To Death was also available to play on the show floor in a very pre-alpha stage and I was lucky enough to have had my hand at it a few times. Here’s what we have so far.
Before we even were able to play Drawn To Death we had to do a bit of reading homework. This was of course in the way of figuring out move list for the specific character of the four we would be playing as. This also included a bit of background on the personality of the characters and how each had bonuses and drawbacks for each. This included things like how Alan (The Bear suited guys with a chainsaw) could go invisible for a short time but Cyborgula (The half demon half robot winged thing) could always see through that. Pretty much trying to pin-point that any character had something over another at all times to try and keep things balanced at all times.
Drawn To Death is still in pre-alpha here so it should be noted that it is still work in progress but most of these balancing features felt a bit skewed. The one above for example was an always passive ability while others required some tricky button presses to achieve. One for instance allowed for one character to have 3x damage on another if they were able to get a specific move to hit them squarely. I don’t think I heard anyone actually getting to land a hit with such an attack which further pushes me to see that giving some passive bonuses over others while requiring crazy attacks to hit for others just leads to something feeling unfair. Some balancing is going to be needed to make it feel like everyone gets a fair shake.
Moving past all that and hopping into Drawn To Death I was introduced to a new take on the respawn countdown. This is the part of the announcement/gameplay trailers that have the character falling out of the sky and into the arena. The new take on this is that the longer you take to fall is also linked to the starting amount of health that character has once they enter play. You can launch yourself back into the mix of Drawn To Death with only 20% health if you don’t want to wait at all to respawn. Which for characters like Alan who passively regenerate health can be a bonus to get powerful pickups or move into a very advantageous location of the map. That was a tactic I personally used many times while giving Alan a spin. It is a great risk/reward addition to this style of gameplay.
Drawn To Death — PlayStation Experience Trailer
Unfortunately while using the above tactic I stumbled upon one big issue I found with Drawn To Death. The map size, while fun to explore, was just too large for the number of players. At least without any easy way to indicate where the other characters may be on the map. Granted, in the above scenario I would be at full heath by the time I found my first target but when trying to set up a good sniper spot I would always have to run from my location to try and find where everyone was hiding or fighting among themselves. It really just felt like I was spending half of the match time looking for someone more than shooting them with the crazy weapons at my disposal.
This of course leads into something I thought was one of the more amazing aspects of the game. That would be the art style and humor in the mix of all the fast paced action of Drawn To Death. It doesn’t truly break any grounds for being 100% original because I can offer up multiple titles that have used the style but none as direct as making them as morbid/punk doodle themes. Drawn To Death made it all feel like it was something that has never been seen before while also mixing in weapons like the Fuck You 47 and The Fister. The first being an automatic rifle of sorts and the latter being a bow that fires giant exploding fists at people. There were a few risk/reward issues that needed to be addressed but once that gets perfectly balanced the slight frustration in all the weapons will just add to the aesthetic, humor, and fun.
While it still has issues, it was an extremely early build after all, Drawn To Death managed to have its “fun factor” increased with each play through. Even if Drawn To Death was released here in the coming months each time I fell onto the pages I had enough fun to ignore some of the issues I ran into. At this level Drawn To Death feels like it could become another title to add into the mix for multiplayer fun. Especially since the people over at Bartlet Jones are looking to the community more to guide Drawn To Death to what we want and not what they want to cram onto our machines for profit. Hells, part of the team was at the PSX taking note of all the above issues to try and make Drawn To Death a better title.
I am extremely excited to see where Drawn To Death and what it becomes. There is still a long journey based on what the dev team said and what was shown to the public. Given the path they are taking to deliver Drawn To Death to us I am sure we won’t be let down.