Duke Nukem Forever (2011), video game review.

Thirteen years after its original 1998 release date Duke Nukem Forever has finally been thrown out to the world.
Last month Gearbox Software, the last of Duke’s many developers, released Forever to bad reviews and sales. Having spent so many years in utero it’s not really that surprising, but some had still hoped that Duke could pull through. I myself had only heard the Duke Nukem Forever story within the last couple of years, and only learned of Duke Nukem period, a year earlier.
And so, with absolutely no nostalgia clouding my vision I finally sat down, rented the game, and played it through…

The Good and The Bad.

I have mixed feelings for Duke. On one hand there are a lot of cool, creative, and fun ideas packed in to the title, but then on the other hand we have well above par graphics (my golfer friend gets annoyed because below par is good), the terrible humor, way too long of load times, and the sometime annoying gameplay.
I’m having trouble figuring out where to start, so I guess I’ll start with what I like…

By far my favorite part of playing Duke Nukem Forever were the levels in which Duke has been shrunk down to the size of a rat. It was really fun driving around in some kids RC racer, and then later platforming throughout a casino and a fastfood restaurant, Duke Burger. It wasn’t the most original idea, or the most thrilling platforming that I’ve ever seen but it was still fun and it made me look at the levels a different way. And besides, who doesn’t want to use a toasting burger bun as jumping surface?

There were also some really cool non-shooting challenges that were sprinkled throughout the game. My favorite was when you have to use an RC racer, this time when your full-sized, to push a battery under a door. Granted the controls were terrible, but the idea was a really good one. Another was when we have to destroy the side of a building, along with some aliens, with a wrecking ball.
Along with these and more, there was also an absurd amount of random junk that you can interact with in the environment. Such as pee in toilets, hold and throw poop, admire yourself in the mirror, play pinball, and many, many more. Now a lot of these are just stupid things that you can do if your bored, but scattered throughout most levels were a few objects that if interacted with increase your max health. Which brings me to another thing…

Your health, or “Ego.” Instead of the traditional life indicators Duke uses an Ego meter, now in gameplay terms it’s the same as a health bar, but the idea behind it is close on genius. And it makes totally sense that taking the time to admire himself would have a chance of boosting Duke’s health. And also, if you can deal an enemy enough damage to near kill him you can then execute him which gains you back all your life.

But now for the bad things…

The load times in Forever horrible. At one point I clocked one and it was fifty-one seconds. Every time you die you’re gonna have to wait through one of these, and also when you complete a level (what a reward!). And some times the levels are insanely short. I played one and it seemed like all I did was kill a room full of people, then shrink down and solve a puzzle, and bam! levels over, have fun looking at a load screen for a minute!

The graphics are just ugly. Everything has jagged edges, textures are average at very best, and what they call lip syncing is just people opening and closing their mouths. I honestly think that the best looking thing in this game is the little symbol that pops up when ever the game is saving. Their not the worst thing ever, but they should be ashamed of themselves.

There are a few times when the game is kind of funny–all of the times involve Duke making jokes about other games–but more often than not the jokes are offensive, bad, or not actually jokes, but merely just observations. e.g; “That’s one dead space marine.” Is that supposed to be funny? Yes Duke, that is a dead space marine, but just by saying so doesn’t make it funny.
Many of the jokes, as I mentioned above, are offensive. Most of these I know that they are offensive, but didn’t really faze me. It is relatively hard to offend me. But I did acknowledge that the were sexist, and at least one, homophobic. There was one thing, I shy from calling it a joke at all, that was just wrong. It was the whole of one level–the one were you go into an alien hive. I don’t want to go into details, but I will say that the whole time I felt weird and awkward (even though I was alone) just playing it.

Duke Nukem Forever is a 1st person shooter at its core. All the shooting works, but you’d be hard pressed to find two fights that weren’t pretty much the same fight. Most of the fights involved me strafing around my enemies whilst opening fire on them, or they had me running around cover waiting for my Ego to restore. There were a couple of weapons that were pretty cool but their all only in a few levels.

The game isn’t worth a fourteen year wait, but it does have its moments. If you’re looking for something stupid but mostly playable to rent for the weekend this is not a bad option. But if you’ve been waiting all these years for the greatest shooter ever made you may want to hold your horses.

Visuals: Not good. Bad to slightly below average texturing. And I often encountered graphics that took a moment to load.

Sound: Duke sounds like a douche and his sense of humor doesn’t help any. The music isn’t all that bad though.

Gameplay: The core shooter is playable, but some of the non-shooting gameplay is sloppily controlled.

Worth Your Money: On the game disc you’ll find a campaign lasting 8-10 hours long, some modifiers for said campaign, an online multiplayer, and a handful of extras including a development timeline and all of its previews through the ages. The really isn’t any reason to play through this more than once (if at all), but if you do want to I’d suggest renting it.

Console: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, and PC.

Developer: Gearbox Software, Triptych Studios, and 3D Realms.

Parental Rating: M/17+ I’m pretty sure that was rated for every single thing that an M game can be rated for.

Overall Score: 7/10


Posted on July 27, 2011, in 2011, PC, PS3, Review, Xbox 360 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I heard something about this recently on a global news program.

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