Review by MegaVirus

"All Bets Are Off."

Well, it's finally happened. Duke Nukem Forever has gotten a release this year. Pigs are learning how to fly, Satan is skating to work, and I'm fairly sure that my sister just gave birth to a monkey. After a fifteen year wait, the most hotly anticipated Vaporware title of all time has been released. To explain to those of you that don't know who Duke Nukem is, he started off in fairly humble beginnings as a protagonist of an Apogee side-scroller titled, you guessed it, Duke Nukem. While that game was fun and showed that no man is too manly to wear a pink tanktop, it wasn't until the second game, the aptly titled Duke Nukem II, took him and flung him into space, having the now-red-shirted hero fighting off a horde of alien baddies called the Rigelatins.

When Duke Nukem 3D came around, however, that was where **** got real, with Duke becoming a smartass psychopath with more guns than Ted Nugent who shot up alien pigs and generously tipped pole dancers who would then show their goods, pixelated though they may have been. With the massive success that was Duke Nukem 3D, the company responsible, now known as 3D Realms, announced a sequel, entitled Duke Nukem Forever. Unfortunately, they would soon realize the irony of their choice of title as the game got pushed back time and time again, with the developers actually stating the release date as "when it's done". Eventually, 3D Realms went under, Gearbox picked up the pieces and mended them together, releasing it in June 2011.

It was not worth the wait or the 35 bucks I paid for it.

Even at the discounted price, I feel like I was ripped off terribly. It doesn't deserve a place in ANYONE'S game collection, let alone a game store. It may start out as fun, but around the time I down a beer and a bottle of steroids in quick succession with no negative repercussions, I realized that it was not exactly a game for the intelligent. This game, to be blunt, HURT me. It physically caused me pain to play. Or that could have been the bullet I shot into my foot to take my mind off how incredibly unpleasant it is.

This is gonna hurt, so let's get this review started already...

The Storyline

The best place to begin is always the story... Duke Nukem, after the events of Duke Nukem 3D, founded a Casino and is a major celebrity... and like all celebrities, he's been sitting on his ass playing video games and getting... erm... SPECIAL treatment from his girlfriends for the past twelve years. On his way to an interview (likely regarding his book which he's been promoting for years, "Why I'm So Great"), the aliens from the previous game once again invade the planet, attacking Duke's casino and taking the planet's women. Despite orders from the president himself not to get involved, Duke straps on the guns and goes out on a personal quest to offend as many gamers as he can-- I mean, to kick the crap out of the race of alien invaders and get our babes back.

I have spoiled nothing major here, but the plot to Duke Nukem Forever is almost exactly the same as Duke Nukem 3D, plus a casino and a heaping helping of unpleasant jokes. I couldn't help wanting to shut off the game and go back to playing 3D, seeing as that way, I would be less offended by the plotline. And I'm not easily offended, either! I played Bayonetta and liked it, for crying out loud! You have to TRY to be as thoroughly insulting as Duke Nukem is, almost as if they had nothing but disdain for their fans. I'm sorry that I don't have much to say except "it's offensive", but that's all it GAVE me to work with!

Storyline Score: 1/10

The Design

UGH. This game looks TERRIBLE. Now, anyone who knows me can tell you I'm no graphic snob, as I will play a game that looks less graphically powerful than another. But this game is just HORRIBLE in appearance. For one, the game appears to be made for lower resolution TVs, as I can see a jagged edge on EVERYTHING in the game. The character models are horrendous, the textures don't seem to have been all completed, and at that, the guns look just plain stupid this time around. I'm fairly sure the shrink ray and freeze ray looked better in Duke Nukem 3D. When your designs on a current-gen console game are worse than that of a 2D sprite, you need to seek help.

Not to mention that the enemies look outright wrong if you've played Duke Nukem 3D. Every single enemy is lifted directly from that game, but with a 3D update. They don't look very impressive at that. At least with Duke Nukem 3D, I could tell which enemy type I was facing. With Forever, I can't tell if I'm fighting a teleporting variant of the same enemy or not! On top of this, the Pigcops look NOTHING like a cop. If they're pigcops, they should be WEARING THE PIGCOP UNIFORM FROM 3D, not a measly pair of pants. I know I'm going back to 3D a lot, but dammit, that was their best work with the series! Not to mention that the Octabrains just kind of get on my nerves as well, and the designs for the bosses... This is just making me angrier, let's move on.

Design Score: 1/10

The Gameplay

Now, for what it's worth, the gameplay is very intriguing and innovative. Unfortunately, it's only intriguing and innovativbe if you're still living in 1998, and if you are, allow me to borrow your time machine so I can travel back and slap the guys at 3D Realms before this game gets the greenlight. This game was supposed to revolutionize gaming, but the finished product borrows everything from everyone else. It borrows regenerating health-- EGO, sorry, from every other FPS under the sun, as well as the two-gun system from Call of Duty and Halo and... okay, ALSO from every shooter under the sun. It gives you a way to increase your overall health-- EGO, there I go again. But increasing max health is nothing new in a game. To be honest, the only real innovation is calling Duke's health "Ego", which as you've noted is throwing me off. But to be honest, that does fit with the character of Duke, so I'll let it slide. In addition, now you can't use Duke's Mighty Boot as a melee attack anymore, which for me was part of the charm of DN3D. I just liked kicking things to death. Now It just has you hit the guy with your gun. Oh sure, you get to use your bare hands at the beginning or any time you down a bottle of steroids (because that's a GREAT message! Down pills and you'll be unstoppable! Quick, down a beer with them to make yourself more resistant to damage too!), but that's not the same thing. It just feels like Gearbox tacked that on as a carryover from Borderlands' Berserker class.

Not to mention the game is just plain unforgiving, even on easy mode. I died countless times even in the first few stages, mostly due to cheating computer AI and not knowing where the hell cover is. Not to mention a lot of the guns are friggin' worthless. They give you a good variety of weapons to use, yes, and you'll look at them all for a good while before returning to the shotgun and ripper because everything else sucks. But for what it's worth, the Gameplay is one of the better aspects of the game. Even then, it's not much better off. and it isn't gonna save the rest of this.

Gameplay Score: 4/10

The Sound

There... really isn't much to say about Music. all of it except for the theme song is extremely bland and forgettable, but I can safely say that's a step up from what I can say for the rest of the game. However, I can talk a little about the voice work. It's bad. Just bad. There are numerous voiced characters in the game, but only one or two of them are of any importance. In particular, General Graves, Captain Dylan and the President are the only really notable voices in this game... aside from the big one. Jon St. John returns as the voice of Duke. And for any fan of Duke Nukem 3D (hm, I should make a drinking game out of how many times I mention that game in this review...), this is very welcome, as he CAN bring a genuine sense of humor to the character of Duke. That deep badass voice is perfect for the character, as Duke is supposed to sound like the kind of person you wouldn't want to mess with, yet talk with a distinct sense of humor. I simply wish it was enough to raise the sound score more than two points... Sorry, Jon, you just weren't enough. That and you share dialogue with the Holsom Twins. They drag the score down ON THEIR OWN.

Sound Score: 3/10

The Characters

Well, this is the only one that matters, so let's just talk about Duke himself... I dislike his actions in this game. In Duke Nukem 3D, he was at least fairly likable in his sleaze. He just happened to walk into a strip club as part of a level, and it was an amusing diversion to tip one of the strippers. In this case however... they include a strip club as a completely unrelated level to ANYTHING else in the game. Just to show how much Duke looooooves the naked big breasted women. Seriously, that's all the level serves as. A reminder that Duke is a misogynistic jerk. But again, for what it's worth, as unlikable as Duke is in this game, at least he does have his good moments, showing he's more than just a psychopath with guns. A LOT of guns. Unfortunately, there are a couple of points where his choice of words is just unforgivably cold and callous. Let's leave it at that.

Aside from Duke, the characters suck. Let's move on.

Character Score: 2/10

The Humor

Ugh. Never has a game infused with jokes been so painful.

For the record, it was funny seeing a piece of graffiti reading "THEY LIVE WE SLEEP" or Jenny's phone number scribbled on a bathroom wall. But that's just it. All the jokes are merely references to pop culture. That is as deep as the humor goes. Not to mention a good number of the jokes have been done to high hell... They include references to Halo, Dead Space, Leroy Jenkins, Christian Bale... they even put a reference to the underpants gnome strategy in it. They even included a joke prodding at Portal! Do we really need MORE mention of the jokes from Portal?! Why don't you just outright tell us the pastry is of questionable existence?! And I thought Duke being intimate with the gaming equivalent of the mutant babies from Full House was bad enough. Seriously, we knew Mary Kate and Ashley when they were troll children. We don't need or want to see them naked.

Can we just move on? The review's almost over...

Humor Score: 1/10

The Replayability

Replayability? in THIS game? I think you give Duke Nukem Forever way too much credit, friend. Not only is it pointless to play through a second time, but the game is so unpleasant the first time through that even if it had replay value, YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO PLAY IT AGAIN.

Replayability Score: 1/10

The Judgment

I bought Duke Nukem Forever wanting to like it. I really wanted to enjoy it, because I loved Duke Nukem's previous outings in the 3D world. I enjoyed Duke Nukem 3D. I enjoyed Time to Kill. I enjoyed Zero Hour. I enjoyed Land Of the Babes. But no matter what I did to keep myself playing this... I just couldn't find enjoyment in it after a certain point. The game wasn't worth the 15 year development time, and I kind of wish this game had remained unfinished for eternity, partly so we could keep making jokes about when it'll come out and what the title should have been, and partly so that we couldn't have our expectations dashed this hard. It really, really hurts that this game didn't turn out as good as everyone had hoped it would. But after Duke Nukem 3D, it may have been a bit much to expect anything ground-breaking. As it stands, this game rightfully has a nuke sign on it, because it's harmful to anyone that gets close. Don't even bother.

The Recap

The Storyline: 1/10
The Design: 1/10
The Gameplay: 4/10
The Sound: 3/10
The Characters: 2/10
The Humor: 1/10
The Replayability (HA!): 1/10

Final Score: 2/10

This concludes the NICE words I have to say about Duke Nukem Forever. To hear the not-nice words, grab the nearest blender, set it to puree and stick your hand into it. Write down the words you say.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 07/20/11

Game Release: Duke Nukem Forever (US, 06/14/11)


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