Review by DanGod
"Nostalgia won't last Forever."
I write this review with a mixed feeling of satisfaction and disappointment. Duke Nukem Forever certainly could have been better and as I will explain later as a game it kinda falls down but it also delivered what it promised, a game which is full of movie based references and tongue in cheek action. As most gamers know, Duke Nukem's fame comes almost exclusively from it's synonymous protagonist, a hyper-macho, politically incorrect action hero spoof who slaughters aliens and ogles women seemingly as a profession all whilst spouting one liners at a near constant basis and the games essentially build themselves around this premise. So how does the long awaited "Forever" actually stack up.
This is where nostalgia shouldn't be but unfortunately is. The gameplay of Duke Nukem Forever is very much like the shooters of last decade, which isn't always a good thing. The closest modern shooters I can compare it to are Unreal Tournament 3 and Borderlands which is unsuprising as they do share much of the same software. Like the others DNF involves shooting, jumping and driving in that order.
The shooting is pretty standard and the range of weapons is decent but not impressive like some of the older Duke games (eg. Time to Kill). The jumping is in my opinion far to frequent and at times it felt like I was playing a kids platformer rather than an 18 rated FPS however the stages aren't frustrating like the jumping sections of older FPS games which drove many to the brink of sanity with their dodgy layouts and poor controls so it didn't hinder the gameplay as much as it could have. The driving stages, though fun, are too long and start to wear after a bit and even though they're broken up a little with FPS action it is still too much to be a true positive. There are also some underwater bits which make for a change too but they're pretty much FPS bits with an added danger of drowning. The bits which do truly shine though are the bosses, which are not frequent enough for my liking. They provide a genuinely thrilling encounter and usually end with a humerous, over the top and most of all crude execution by Duke.
Aliens screw with Earth and more importantly Duke, Duke kicks their butts and encounters some stock characters along the way, simple as. One thing I will mention however is that the story sometimes flicks between tongue in cheek and grusomely serious which may in itself be a refernce to the way the "Evil Dead" series of films were made or just a coincidence however if you aren't a fan of those films the plot may seem incoherent and you'd probably score this section lower so just be aware of that.
Graphics and Sound: 7.5/10:-
Sound is pretty reasonable, explosions soind like explosions, breaking turbines sound like breaking turbines etc and the voice acting is purposefully corny so no complaints there. The graphics are also pretty average and I do have some complaints, in particular about the re-used textures which make some levels pretty boring but overall the game is the right mix of colourful yet dark. It is just about colourful and garish enough to give the game its desired, over the top, feel without it looking like the result of substance abuse.
A seperate catergory from gameplay and what essentially is DNF's saving grace in my eyes. This game is packed with references to 80's and 90's action films, other video games and even random bits of pop culture which all had me literally laughing out loud when I recognized them. Nearly every part of the game, from Duke's lines, the events that happen, enemies and weapons can all be traced back to somewhere else and it does give a real feeling of nostalgia and fun which is hard to top. That said though, the experience won't be the same for everyone and those who haven't seen nearly every cult action film ever made probably won't get some of the references if not most of them so again I accept other people might give this section a lower score, though the level of crude but fun humour should still be enough to keep it fairly high.
Replayability: 4/10:- Duke Nukem is an average length FPS game but for aforementioned reasons (see gameplay) it feels a lot longer and not in a good way. As such I am in no rush to replay and although the multiplayer might give you a few laughs it will get old pretty quickly. Therefore I don't consider this worth the £40 I spent to acquire it.
So to conclude, Duke Nukem Forever has failed to live up to its hype. It isn't a bad game and certainly provides some fun but it isn't worth buying whilst its still top dollar, leave it a few months or rent it instead.
Total: 34/50 or 6.8/10 rounding to 7/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 06/15/11
Game Release: Duke Nukem Forever (EU, 06/10/11)
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