Review by chrono625
"Duke is back after a 14 year hiatus, has he aged well?"
I think I may have reviewed a game or two while being a member of this site for a near 10 years. I didn't plan on writing one any time soon until DNF neared it's head to retail and an onslaught of reviews were released recently. Major publication reviews have not been pretty (with some even going as far as calling it the worst game ever, looking at you 1up) which is pretty unjustified for the most part in my opinion.
Let me first start off by saying this game is far from a masterpiece. It is not tops in its genre and it will not win any GOTY awards. But the game is solid and a good Duke Nukem experience.
Story - 6/10
There is somewhat of a story going into the campaign but all you really need to know is that it is a sequel to DN3D and takes place 14 years after it. Duke is retired in his Las Vegas condo enjoying some time with his twin girlfriends when all hell breaks loose and the aliens return to take Duke out. Well we know Duke won't take this sitting down and immediately starts his alien ass kicking adventure.
Gameplay - 7/10
The game play has a very retro feel to it which is different compared to today's modern shooters (CoD, Halo, BF and etc) It is straight run and gun with little to no strategy. This isn't a bad thing as it is pretty much a jump in and shoot the hell out of everything game. Where the game play lacks is the 2 gun limit and EGO meter which is pretty much a shield. Once you take enough damage the ego meter will turn red and that means get to cover. This is a far cry from DN3D with med kits and being able to hold any gun you come across. This also doesn't mean you have poke your head out and pot shot enemies, he can take enough damage before the meter depletes.
The game breaks up the run and gun with some driving sections and some platforming sections where you are Mini Duke. While not the best I've played it's still a decent addition to the SP campaign.
There is also a ton of Duke to go around with a ton of meme's, sayings and classic Duke attitude. Certain things like looking at yourself in the mirror or lifting weights will raise your ego meter which will allow you to take more damage. Jon St. John does a fantastic job reprising his role as the crass hero.
Graphics/Sound - 6/10
The graphics really show their age in the game. While they are not awful, they are unacceptable for today's standards. Poor draw distance and plastic like textures on characters make the game look dated. There are frame rate drops and the load times are long. No AA makes jagged edges noticeable on the player/object models. The enemies are updates versions of their DN3D counterparts with a couple of new additions. But don't worry, there will be enough PIG's to blast away during the campaign.
The soundtrack is very dull and almost non existent - weapons sound as old as their 14 year old predecessors. The best part is of course Duke's voice over work which is as good as ever.
Replay Value - 5/10
The main campaign is relatively short. Not much exploring to do and a few secrets spread around. The games saving grace is that there are plenty of action sections whether you're mowing down waves of aliens or turret sequences trying to shoot down alien ships. I have not touched the MP aspect but it is straightforward death match game play.
You probably won't play through it again unless you just love Duke's audio that much that you have to revisit certain scenes.
Overall I'd give the game a 6.6/6.7 and round it up to 7/10.
Given Gear Box's time with the game and resources they had to use I feel if given proper treatment a really amazing game could be made in the future. But, for now this game is what we're going to get. It isn't a fantastic shooter by any means but it is FAR from being an awful and unplayable mess. It feels true to its Duke Nukem core and that area will not let down hard core Duke fans.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 06/16/11
Game Release: Duke Nukem Forever (US, 06/14/11)
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