YMMV / Duke Nukem Forever

  • Awesome Music:
  • Breather Level: After The Hive you go to the strip club, and have a scavenger hunt to get a lap dance. It turns out it was All Just a Dream.
    • And in The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC, The Burning Bush chapter, which plays pretty much in the same way in that you're given a couple of scavenger hunt tasks to carry out.
  • Broken Base: Over the Two-Gun system. Some say it's a nice change, showing 3D Realms wasn't seeking to just re-hash Duke 3D in prettier graphics, and are willing to try different things with Duke. They also cite how it's only a gun limiter, not affecting pipe bombs, trip mines, steroids, and the like. Others say it's just 3D Realms/Gearbox changing Duke to what's popular, and that the game's weapon system really doesn't seem to be designed with the concept in mind, since it makes it impossible to keep the rarer guns in reserve and the most common weapons are no fun to use. Then there's a third party saying they did it because of consoles and their limited controls (the officially given reason), and that console FPS players would get confused and/or frustrated by having more than 2 guns at a time. This particular base breaker was alleviated somewhat in a patch which allows Duke to carry four guns at a time.
  • Crazy Awesome: It's Duke Nukem. What did you expect? Incredibly Lame Fun...?
  • Contested Sequel: The final product is very divisive, And let's leave it at that.
  • Critical Backlash / Critic-Proof: Duke Nukem Forever has gotten scathing reviews from many critics, yet it still managed to sell enough to be profitable. Some critics have even said they're somewhat insulted with how well DNF has sold, in spite of the thrashing they gave it.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The fact that the aliens are rapists, and Duke's aloof attitude toward that fact, was intended to be this. Many people didn't see it that way.
  • Dancing Bear: The very fact that the game was finally released after its legendarily long development cycle and could actually be played was in itself enough to move quite a few copies out the door.
  • Demonic Spiders: Octabrains and berserk pig cops, capable of killing you in two hits. They always seem to be in tight areas with no cover. The Octabrains are also incredibly agile, capable of hurling things at you (including ammo from certain weapons you fired and your own pipe-bombs), and has an attack that can take out a large chunk of your ego bar, in addition to usually attacking in swarms, pulling double duty as Goddamned Bats.
  • Fan Hater: From critics as well as average gamers; for example, one such reviewer labeled DNF's fans as "gullible twelve year olds."
  • Genre-Killer: Duke Nukem Forever came out in 2011, where it bombed spectacularly. A look at mainstream AAA games from 2012 onward suggests a period in which Ms. Fanservice characters and Fanservice in general rapidly became a Discredited Trope, at least amongst Western-developed games in the AAA bracket. Ironically, other than a short strip club level and the Holsom twins (who only interact with you for a couple of minutes), Duke Nukem Forever actually had relatively little of either, though Duke's hedonistic reputation preceeded him quite a bit.
  • Goddamned Bats: Octabrains. They tend to attack in swarms of two or more, they fly, they're incredibly agile, and if they're not throwing things littered around the game environment at you, a blast of their energy ball can knock helluva lot off your Ego bar. And did we mention that they can grab large ammo projectiles you fired (say, RPGs, devastator rockets or your pipe-bomb) and hurl them back at you? And fighting them underwater just makes things more difficult.
    • Somewhat mitigated by the fact that you can detonate pipe bombs while the Octabrains are holding the projectile to hurl back at you, guaranteeing that they'll be caught in the blast radius. This is actually one of the best ways to beat them.
  • Heartwarming Moments: A meta example happened according to this article. After it was revealed that some dude kept his preorder receipt for years, Gearbox gave him a signed version of the Balls of Steel edition, as well as a crapton more swag.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Randy Pitchford left 3DRealms to form Gearbox Software, which went on to finish the game.
    • Gearbox, the company now in charge of Duke Nukem Forever, is also the one which ported Halo to the PC. In game, Duke finds Spartan armor and calls anyone who wears it a "pussy".
  • Hype Aversion/Hype Backlash: Given Duke Nukem Forever's reputation and the sheer length of its development history, in addition to the additional hype generated when it was close to release, this reaction was inevitable. Other than the reviews posted all over the internet, we'll just leave it at that.
  • Internet Backdraft: The cover art seen on the main page is rather unpopular with the fan base. Just head on to the Gearbox forums and look in this topic. Try and say the cover represents the game accurately, how Duke looks cool, or that his left arm looks perfectly fine to you.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Always Bet on Duke", a tagline printed on one of the early promotional posters for the game; upon the announcement of the game actually getting released, people started saying they can finally cash in their bets.
    • Interestingly, now that the game's been released, the Vaporware poster boy has become Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Certain reviewers have put the blame for the finished product's various flaws wholly on Gearbox; some even seem to be under the impression that they restarted the game from scratch after they took over the project. In actual fact, the finished product is about 80-90% the product of 3DRealms, as George Broussard himself has frequently bemoaned. Whether Gearbox should have done a complete reboot of the project is a legitimate question, but most of the content was the product of 3DRealms. However, Gearbox did remove Duke's Distaff Counterpart who would basically put Duke in his place.
    • Gearbox also came under fire for threats to blacklist reviewers who rated the game poorly. It was actually The Redner Group, a public relations agency with Gearbox as a client, who was responsible for that statement. Gearbox promptly fired them.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Duke has exactly one grunt sound effect for when he jumps.
  • Older Than They Think: Most critics tend to forget that the "ego is health" mechanic first appeared in the PlayStation game Land of the Babes and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, where doing things like shooting members of the women's resistance would lower your health (in the former), and that rescuing women and killing enemies would raise it (in the latter).
    • Critics also forget that the alien-impregnated chicks in the Hive level are nothing new. Duke Nukem 3D featured many women captured by the aliens, stripped naked and imprisoned in pods or otherwise bound, begging Duke to kill them. Sometimes they were also surrounded by clutches of alien eggs (from which Protozoid Slimers would hatch and attack Duke if he did nothing).
  • Porting Disaster: When the game was first released on the Xbox 360, the textures didn't load properly, the blood decals flickered constantly, the frame rate was very uneven, and the loading times were atrocious. However, after the release of The Doctor Who Cloned Me, it seems like most, if not all, of these issues have been rectified.
  • Pungeon Master: Debatable on whether Duke is one. Some of the one-liners are offhand puns of the situation.
    Duke Nukem: (After mauling a pigcop with a forklift in Forkstop Part 2:) Fork You!
  • Rated M for Money: There's a reason why its ESRB description is the trope's image: Just look at its ESRB description.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Limited Loadout, especially in the default setting (only setting if you're playing on console) of 2 weapons. With 4 weapons enabled in the PC version, it becomes more tolerable, unless you're holding onto the golden pistol for the achievement. Since the shotgun, ripper, railgun, and various explosive weapons are all useful for specific things, you have to juggle weapons a lot, and won't get as much freedom to try out the more specialist weapons.
    • Vehicle controls, with the section in the RC truck being by far the worst of it. It's especially strange given the Mighty Foot handles a lot better.
    • Two of the minigames are notable for being extremely clunky. The pinball machine is somewhat difficult to get the ego boost for, but it's generally considered insanity to go for the related acheivement. Meanwhile just beating a round of pool is an exercise in frustration, real-world understanding of pool or not.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: In a meta way. George Broussard wanted the game to be a collection of every new and awesome mechanic he could find, but with all the delays the game was released after those mechanics stopped being novel.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: During the course of the game, Duke can play video poker, pool, air hockey, pinball, throw basketballs into a basket and throw a freesbee.
  • So Okay, It's Average: After the dust has settled, the general consensus about the game is that it's not necessarily bad, but there isn't anything new or interesting aside from having the title character back in action. Some have taken note that the game most likely would have been more well-received had it been released in a previous console generation, or better yet, on time.
  • That One Boss: The Octaking.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Duke Nukem 3D was considered one of the best FPS games ever made - and given that this game had an absurdly long development cycle, people were bound to be more critical toward the sequel to that game. While there was one game in the main series released in between 3D and Forevernote , this trope is still played straight, as Forever was announced before Manhattan Project, despite the latter coming out almost a decade earlier.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Most critics state that the game is a huge offender in this respect, due to the long development time and Duke Nukem 3D being rather emblematic of The '90s. Then again, this may not be as unintentional as some think.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The Doctor who Cloned Me is considered by some to be better than the base game.

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