Review by KFHEWUI
"Duke Nukem Forever is a love it or hate game"
Picking up twelve years after the events of Duke Nukem 3D, the alien space ships are towering over several cities worldwide, and after Duke spends some time with his girlfriends, Duke heads off to set off the nighttime talk show that is to appear on. When he arrives, it turns out that aliens have appeared in the city, and all the crew left to record it. Duke heads to his Duke cave, and gets a message from the President to not get involved with the aliens. Knowing Duke, once the aliens start attacking his place, well it is time for him to kick @$$ and chew bubblegum.
Starting a new game loads up with Duke taking a piss, and he jokes about pissing around that is clearly a jab at the length of development that Duke Nukem Forever had. Once done, the player gets to controller Duke, and DNF controls are solid with a good layout scheme that is like other console FPS. The player can use the restroom area to get used to the controls, and the game has a lot of interactivity with the environment. Duke can turn on sinks/showers, flush toilets, and most importantly pick up/steal turd from the toilet (actual achievement/trophy).
Jon St. John returns to voice Duke Nukem, and he still has it after all these years. The rest of the voice acting in the game is good. Overall the music is not bad in Duke Nukem Forever, the theme song still sounds great, and the rest of the soundtrack surprisingly does not have too many hard rock tracks.
After getting used to the controls, the player can move on, and the graphics in Duke Nukem Forever are decent but they get the job done which is more important. One problem with the graphics is the pop up textures, and it seemed like the more I played the game, the longer the pop up time for textures became. At first I had no problem with it, but once the time for the pop up textures started increasing, it became annoying. One other problem I had with the graphics it the underwater sequence late in the game, and there are catfish in the water (achievement/trophy related). The catfish blend into the scenery making them very tough to spot.
Progressing forward some more, Duke will have to fight the Cycloid, and it becomes apparent that, this is a repeat of the final battle from Duke Nukem 3D. Taking damage from the Cycloid will lower Duke's ego meter, and if Duke avoids taking more damage, his ego meter will refill. The health system is a hybrid of regenerating health and older health system, and Duke's ego meter can be increased by doing numerous activities like weight lifting, playing pool and pinball, beating bosses, etc.
Another new addition to Duke Nukem Forever that I really disliked was that Duke can now only carry two weapons at a time, and Duke Nukem is a game where this does not work at all. Unlike most FPS, in Duke Nukem each weapon works better on certain types of enemy like the RPG is useless against octobrains, and limiting Duke to just two weapons can make certain parts of the game much harder than they should be because the player might have the wrong weapon for the next fight however there is no way to know this without playing through the game. Speaking of weapons all the weapons from Duke Nukem 3D return, and there are a few new weapons plus Duke can now pick up items and throw them at enemies also he can melee enemies with his weapon.
After beating Cycloid it turns out that Duke was just playing a video game while enjoying some time with his new girlfriends, and after they finish, Duke heads off to the studio set for the talk show. The first chapter (22 in all) is slow with no fighting at all, and once Duke reaches the set, he receives words that the aliens have shown up. Duke heads to his Duke cave where he is told to not get involved at all, but aliens start attacking his cave. Despite the warning, Duke cannot stay away from fighting the alien scum, and he will come to a door that is locked and needs a key card. He jokes about not needing keycards, and he forces the door open which is handled by QTE sequence. This is another new addition which I did not care too much about, and I do not like QTE's at all and feel that they are cheap. Most notable QTE sequences involve the pigcop where they will grab Duke, and the player has to mash "X" repeatedly however no matter how fast the player hits "X" they will take damage. This can be a huge problem on the higher difficulty because if Duke is not at full health then it is instant death, and even on the lower difficulties, if the player does not have a lot of health left they can still die from it.
Duke must hurry through his cave, and along the way several more new game mechanics are introduced. Now Duke has an ability called Duke visor which allows him to see in dark areas by press "UP" on the D-pad. Also Duke can drink beer and take steroids and drinking beer will increase Duke's defense for a short while. Taking steroids will increase Duke's strength for a short period of time.
Besides killing enemies, there are a few puzzles to complete along the way, and most of them are not too complicated like using a R.C. truck to obtain an energy cell. This puzzle is a replica of a puzzle from another 3D Realms game called Shadow Warrior, and this puzzle is still not fun at all. Another puzzle forces Duke to knock tool carts into a vent to destroy it.
Also later in the game, Duke gets to drive a monster truck to the Hoover Dam, and this helps break up the monotony of killing the enemies. Several times during the driving sequences, Duke will have to go on foot to either open up a passage or to collect gas to refill the monster truck. This leads up to a fight against the Battlelord, and this is a problem I have with Duke Nukem Forever, there are not a lot of bosses however they do rehash a few boss fights several times like Battlelord, Cycloid, and Octoking, and the only fights that are not repeated are the Alien Queen, Energy Leech, and Mothership.
A few parts in the game put Duke Nukem in control of a turret gun, and these parts are not bad except for one sequence where Duke has very little time to destroy a large amount of ships while taking very little damage which is a major headache on the higher difficulties causing numerous deaths. This treats the player to load times which are about twenty to thirty seconds long which is not too bad on the lower settings however on the highest difficulty, it gets old quickly.
Duke Nuke Forever reuses the enemies from Duke Nukem 3D, and they have seen an upgrade. Pig cops have ditched their cop suit for ripped blue jeans, and they also look more feral and ferocious. Also the enemies have gained some new abilities, and pig cops will go berserk if they are close to dying which will increase their strength. Octabrains can now catch pipe bombs and RPG's and throw them back at Duke.
Duke Nukem Forever is about an eight to ten hour game, and there is a large amount of replay value in the game including multiplayer, achievements/trophies, and DLC content. All of the achievements/trophies are offline, and they are not too difficult to obtain with the exception of scoring a million points in pinball (easy with a cheap trick) and beating the game on insane difficult. Beating the game will unlock several trailers that were released over years including the original trailer. Also included are cheat codes, concept art, and a time line of Duke Nukem Forever.
I have been following Duke Nukem Forever for a long time, and I was looking forward to it. Bought on day one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the game from start to finish from using Battlelord's jewels as a punching bag to being killed by a three breasted alien queen to propelling a headless alien's corpse (alien has a jetpack) through the sky and crashing into a restaurant, Duke Nukem Forever did not disappoint me one bit. Granted Duke Nukem Forever is not for everyone, some might not enjoy the immature humor and mature content. Duke Nukem Forever does not reinvent the wheel however I found it completely satisfying from start to end. Now that the game has hit low prices it is definitely worth checking out heck the Balls of Steel edition can be bought brand new for only $20.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 07/12/12, Updated 07/17/12
Game Release: Duke Nukem Forever (US, 06/14/11)
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