Duke Nukem Forever Review

For those gamers you may well have heard about a little game called Duke Nukem Forever which has taken 15 year to release. Now, it’s finally out! No jokes. It’s really out and our friend Jamie, who has been covering content for the team as we are all busy, now has a review of this epic game!

Was it worth 15 years of waiting? let’s see what Jamie had to say.

Please note: The following review is for a game rated 18!

Nothing is worth waiting 15 years for. I think the only way to judge this game fairly is to forget the overly-extended development time. Because any game, no matter how good, even if it’s Deus Ex, would struggle to get a three star review if we considered in the development time. So let’s just judge Duke on his own merits, hm?

I miss the interactivity of the late 90s/early 2000s. I remember playing games, going up to showers, pressing “E”, and the shower turned on. Nothing more than that, but it was nice. Nowadays in modern shooters you’ll be lucky if the developer even put in a shower room for you to explore.
In fact, there’s a lot of things I miss about that era. A focus on run-and-gun, the heroes being ironically badass instead of just attempting to appeal to an underage market, and most of all I miss platforming sections in FPS games. Thankfully, Duke Nukem comes in and kicks me in the teeth with a boot of awesome.

Duke Nukem Forever features the popular (but late) protagonist as he’s living life up as Earth’s saviour. He’s sleeping with a twin sister pop duo, every girl is throwing themselves at him, people are fainting just because he walks past – I think it’s fair to say he’s living the perfect life. However, aliens suddenly appear overhead. Not attacking, just sitting in our airspace. The President warns Duke that he won’t tolerate any rash action, and Duke should leave the aliens alone. But of course, the aliens have other plans. Other attempting to kill Duke in his home, the King finds himself battling against waves of aliens whilst the president blames him for an all-out war.
And really, that’s the entire plot. You kill aliens until the end, and then the aliens are all dead and you win. And that’s fine, that’s exactly what I come to expect from Duke. Of course, the main draw for any Duke fan will be the dialogue. Hearing him spout obscenities and crude humour mixed in with some jabs at popular titles takes us right back to the days when we first plugged in Duke 3-D. The humour isn’t clever, but sometimes you don’t want clever humour. Sometimes you want the ability to pick up turns and throw them at people while Duke grimaces “Ugh, what am I doing?”.

Gameplay wise the game mixes the old with the new. Some next-gen features like Regenerating Health (Lovingly called “Ego” here) and the ability to only hold two weapons help hold the game back from reaching a true nostalgic glory, but the run-and-gun gameplay and the pacing is very reminiscent of games like D3D and Half-Life. Yes, although the game would have you think you’d spend the majority of the game shooting things, it’s all broken up by some rather neat platforming sections. The best of these are the moments when Duke get’s shrunk down to a few inches small, and you find yourself navigating kitchens and casinos, using objects like frying pants and napkins to get yourself around the world. Likewise, when the gunplay heats up in this section, expect to take cover behind mayonnaise only to find the jar shot open with mayo flying everywhere.
The gunplay on a whole is handled rather well. Enemies will take a few hits to down, and returning Duke standard weapons like the Ripper and Devastator make a HD reappearance. All the guns feel and shoot like they did way back when, helping the game overcome it’s few bad parts with a plaster of nostalgia.

Graphically, the game holds up rather nicely. The game does look a bit dated by todays standards, but the design of the world helps overcome any minuses in the graphics. The game ran a smooth frame rate on my fairly decent PC, though I did experience a instances where textures to failed to load immediately, and a part towards the end brought the frame rate crashing down. I have heard that the console versions of the game suffers from very long load times, however on the PC version the load times were almost instantaneous.

The game also boasts a full multiplayer. Still going with the theme of Old + New, Duke’s multiplayer is very much like the old’n style ways of killing your friends. Running around shooting people like in Quake or Unreal Tournament, with no “heaviness” or grim tone like in current day shooters. However, there is also a level up system, where you can level up and receive awards for your luxury penthouse. These awards have no impact on the game, but the penthouse is a fully explorable environment which you can fill with goodies by defeating challenges in the multiplayer (Defeat 20 people in one game, stuff like that). And yes, there is a “Mini Duke” multiplayer map, where everyone speaks in high pitched voices.

To wrap up, I really enjoyed Duke Nukem Forever. It has plenty of callbacks to older styled games, whilst keeping a level of new style mechanics so newer players can fit in. The game is fairly long, packing a good 10 – 12 hours of gameplay for the singleplayer campaign (About 3 times more than your average COD campaign) and has a good old fashioned multiplayer section to boot. I think new players may feel a bit alienated here, as the legend of Duke far surpasses actuality. If you’ve never played Duke 3-D, you might have your expectations too high. But if you did, expect a true sequel in every sense of the word.

Hail to the King, baby.

~ Jamie ~

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3 responses to “Duke Nukem Forever Review

  1. Pingback: Duke Nukem Forever Review « McErson's House of Fun·

    • Yes I did! I’ve refrained from downloading though. So tempting, but I want to wait it out. I want the full game in it’s entirety, and I want to play it start to finish in one sitting!

      Okay, that’s probably impossible due to my love of doing every sidequest in games, but still. Deus Ex IS my favourite of all time, bar-none. Human Revolution looks to be a damn worth follow-up

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