Review by bbears

"More like "Hail to the Princess""

Duke Nukem Forever is perhaps the most hyped and infamous game of all time. If you grew up playing games in the 90s then chances are you have played at least one Duke Nukem title. The breakthrough game Duke Nukem 3D was a huge success on the PC and was a big influence on the FPS genre when essentially one company, id software (Doom/Quake), owned the genre. That game received many ports but the game that introduced me to the Duke was Duke Nukem Time to Kill for the PSX. Back in middle school this was one of my 3 go to games at my friends house. And I do remember eagerly anticipating the sequel that was always right around the corner, so this franchise does hold some nostalgia for me. Twelve years later in development and we finally have a release. This is ridiculous and other franchise would of withered and died under these conditions. And in fact Duke Nukem Forever has been a long running joke and I was just short of shocked when this game got an honest release date. This also means that this game is running on old technology. This is the SAME game that has been in development for twelve years, so I am a bit disappointed by the full price retail they are asking for this game. But you might you still be asking yourself who and what is Duke Nukem and what is all the fuss about. My answer to that is if you don't already know about Duke Nukem then you will not enjoy this game. This game is bad but does try very hard to be entertaining, as well as offensive.

PRESENTATION
The Duke has not aged well and is down right ugly. But considering the game is running on old tech that is to be expected. Your not playing Duke Nukem for a technical showcase this game is more about the spectacle. The textures are really hit and miss. You can tell what the newer parts of the game are as the textures are obviously made with better tools than the rest of the game. The colors and art direction are largely just meh. The animations, especially Duke's jump(nothing but his legs move), also range from serviceable to laughable. Even the guns are not that impressive to look at and have very underwhelming animations. There are lot narrative scenes and these look pretty bad, facial animations are non existent and this definitely adds to the game's dated feel. The music is canned generic rock music that won't impress anyone. The sound effects are largely forgettable as well. The shotgun sounds great but Duke's grunt when he jumps will quickly become very annoying. And weirdly at a couple points while playing the game in surround sound everything became static for a moment. But maybe the worst part of the game are the hideously long loading times. I even installed the disc to my hard drive and they were still very bad.

CONTROLS
DNF controls are the standard FPS setup and for the most part work well enough. The aiming controls do feel loose and takes a little getting used to if you want to play it online especially. Interacting with the environments and hitting objects can be pain as well.

STORY
Duke Nukem has been living the life for the last few years evidently. After defeating the aliens Duke Nukem has pushed his neurotic personality on the world and branded himself everything from burger joints to casinos. But now the aliens have returned and Duke has been told sit it out while we try diplomacy. And then.... they take our women. Now Duke must kill them all! Yes, that really is the story but what did you expect. While the story is horrible the game does try very hard to make everything humorous. And I do feel they missed an opportunity a little bit. The good bits are more locker room humor than making fun of the industry. It does have it's moments like, Leroy Jenkins reference, but most of the time Duke Nukem just tries to be offensive.

GAMEPLAY
Duke Nukem Forever play like an old school shooter with some modern bits thrown into the mix. It is old school in the sense that cover or tactics are never used. Running head first with a rocket launcher can be an effective strategy. You also be forced to several jumping puzzles something almost non existent in the genre today. In fact you will spend almost as much time doing random things as shooting. The problem with that is most of it is boring. The are a couple of driving sections stretch on for quite some time. In these you try to steer your unresponsive monster truck until it runs out gas. And then you get out poke around some buildings grab a gas can walk it back and refill your truck. Not fun. My favorite part of the game was probably the shrunk jumping puzzle. Several times you will be shrunk down to the size of a mouse. In one instance you will have to navigate a kitchen while like this avoiding condiments and the electrified floor. This was original and I enjoyed it, so it's a shame that not more of filler in this game could have tried something different like this. Other types of filler the game throws at you would be the poor man's Half-Life 2 physics puzzles. When this game was made HL2 was a big thing and putting that types of physics engine in this game would have been cool, 6 years ago. This is an area where it's long development shows. The boss battles are all the same and just involve shooting rockets and strafing, very old school. There is also a lot of turret sections. While these work fine they are definitely over used and become boring just after the first instance. Besides the humor this is an overwhelmingly mediocre game.

LONGEVITY
Duke Nukem Forever has 20+ levels and will take you about 6-8 hours to complete. There are 4 difficulties including an unlockable one. The game also has standard mulitplayer. The core combat is unique because of the weapons but no modes take advantage of them in particular. In multiplayer there are progressive stats and unlocks and if you enjoy the core shooting mechanics then there is a lot to keep you busy. The achievements are fairly standard as well. About 800 of which could be attained by a single play through on any difficulty and an hour of multiplayer.

VERDICT
Duke Nukem Forever is a mediocre game in almost every measurable way. And the best part of the game, the humor, is very offensive and a lot of people will say that it is actually the worst part. Basically this game is only worth playing if are already a fan of the franchise. However I definitely not say it's worth a full price. I picked it up for $10 new actually and if you found this game similarly priced I might recommend it then. But otherwise it's best to stay away and use a lot of buyer's caution before picking it up.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 03/05/12

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


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