Published on June 15th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Duke Nukem Forever Review
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PC
Release: June 14, 2011
We all know the story that has haunted the long development of such a high caliber icon in the video game world, and finally after twelve years of waiting the Duke has returned. Every hardcore gamer out there has fond memories of the Duke and his witty one liners from Duke Nukem 3D, and know of what playing a Duke Nukem game feels like. I saw the reviews come out shortly before the game launch and I had to chuckle inside. I knew going in that the game wasn’t an epic accomplishment, nor did I go into Duke Nukem Forever with high hopes of this being the next Call of Duty. I went into Duke Nukem Forever with the mind set of wanting to be reminded of what brought me to video games in the first place. Mission accomplished.
Many make comparisons of Duke saying that the game looks very aged and grim. Yes the game did not age very well and cannot hold a candle to many first-person shooters on the market today. But it’s not in the environments and graphic fidelity that make Duke who he is. It’s the slapstick comedy and witty stabs at sexism going on in the world. Hell, the Duke himself even pokes fun at triple A titles on the market today such as Halo and Gears of War. Yes Duke is very crude and is every twelve year old’s fantasy. Objectifying women, quoting movie lines, and is a one dimensional character. Think of the movie The Expendables but in video game form. No the movie wasn’t great, but when it’s on you’ll watch it. Why? To be reminded of the greatness of the past.
Duke is fun at its core. The weapons are cool to use (the shrink ray is especially entertaining), and the action of the game never seems to let up. Boss battles are fun, even though they are typical of an old FPS boss battle (how many times can you punch a boss in the balls and walk away?). Many of the mechanics of the past games all make a return in some shape way or form. Think of them as mindless tools to add to your amusement.
Yes the environments are not pretty, but there are some levels that show high levels of creativity. One such level takes place in a kitchen where Duke shrinks down in size and fights using regular kitchen items like cans as cover. Duke must jump over oven burners, hot boiling water and silverware. The car driving levels are fun in some instances but the steering of the truck itself is very gruesome.
The game is an easy pick-up-and-play first-person shooter. If features some interesting and at the same time miserable game play mechanics. For starters the game controls are pretty solid and will feel similar to other shooters on the market today, however when involved in shootout, the kill rooms will become dull after about twenty minutes of playthrough. There are puzzle mechanics that will bring you back to early 2000 with games such as Half Life. Align the blocks to get over several obstacles ring a bell to anyone? Duke Nukem Forever also features the regenerating health bar as well, so if you’re running low on health, there is no more drinking out of toilets or water fountains, which you can still do if you wish.
(Duke’s standard pistol, and yes I mean his gun)
The story of Duke Nukem is not something to gloat about, but it’s in the remembrance of the main character himself that makes the game worthwhile. Playing through the mediocre storyline to see what the Duke will say or do next that left me entertained. The main point I got from the story is no matter who you are, you better not mess with Earth’s women.
There is a multiplayer component to Duke Nukem Forever as well, but sadly enough it is ever so forgettable. You will have four classic games modes to play through from Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Babe and King of the Hill. The online is pretty straight forward. It is fast, and relies heavy on knowing where you are going and what and where weapons spawn at. You will notice many players jet packing around, and using Prey-style jump platforms to get from one location to another. There are no gimmicks in the multiplayer, it is pretty straight forward. You will earn rewards by your performance online and you can use those points to pimp out your own virtual space known as Duke’s Penthouse. You will be able to look around and admire what rewards you have unlocked and trophy’s you have achieved.
The Final Truth:
Duke Nukem Forever was a long time coming, so saying that the game looks dated seems to be the biggest understatement of the century. Honestly what would you expect from a game that has been in development hell since the PlayStation era? This was a release to bring back an icon of the ’90s in a next gen way and give those fans that have been churning for a new Duke game what they have been waiting for. Many young gamers out there will not enjoy Duke at all, but many old gamers such as myself will understand the game and enjoy the simple gameplay and witty one-liners. Would I have released the game at a $60 price point? No, because this is not what I would expect many gamers to pay for a game that is as dated as Duke is. When looking at Duke Nukem Forever and other games that are priced the same, nine times out of ten I will tell you to lean the other way. Expect this game to hit the bargain bin soon, but when it does do not overlook it.
+ Witty One Liners
+ Reminders of the past
– Online is a mess
– Frame rate issues
– Dull mechanics
– Horrible Graphics