Reviews: Duke Nukem Forever
Starts out strong, but...
I freaking loved the first few hours of this game. The humor was amazingly funny (in a juvenile way, I'll admit), the gameplay was a breath of fresh air after the endless "realistic" shooters on the market, the NP Cs practically worshiping the ground you walked on was nice, and all in all it seemed like the wait had been well worth it, even if it wasn't the most innovative game on the market. Then I got to the Hive. Dark, dank, slimy nastiness everywhere, without the early-game humor to leaven it, the two girls Duke had been chasing for the entire game dying in what seemed like an amazingly mean-spirited way, topped off by what I will admit was a fun, challenging boss fight. The fun, while returning after I got out of the Hive, began steadily draining from there. Moving away from Vegas took most of the enjoyment out of the (not Crysis-caliber, but I can deal with that) visuals, and the Hoover Dam sequence was more of a slog than anything else, capped off with a boss fight that stopped my progress - and interest - dead in its tracks. Don't let my disillusionment with the late game fool you: I still love the hell out of the early part. If they had kept that tone and pace up through the entire game, I'd have been perfectly satisfied. (Hm, there's an idea for a fanfic...) There were some flashes of fun in the later sections of the game (Duke Nukem's Titty City, the running Hoover Dam Battlelord boss fight, and the battle against the mook that ambushes you while you're shrunk in particular), but they got fewer and farther between the longer the game went. Overall, the early game is awesome, but just be ready for what you're getting into for the later part. Addendum: I haven't tried The Doctor Who Cloned Me yet, so I can't comment on that.
Duke Nukem Forever only came out to give closure to the whole Development Hell fiasco...
And it actually turned out pretty good for what it's worth. No, not perfect, but you know what? I don't care if it's not perfect. I don't care if you think I'm dumb for liking it. All I care about is that I played Duke Nukem Forever, and had fun. The NPC animations vary from "Lifeless" to "Horrendous". The graphical technology is dated. The two-weapon swap does not fit Duke Nukem, even though I didn't mind it. Duke Nukem himself doesn't talk as much as an obnoxious badass should in all honesty. He lets everyone else have a word in, and says one non-sarcastic line that doesn't affect the conversation at all. On the other hand... Most of the NP Cs die noticeably (And suspiciously) horrible deaths anyway, so Triptych is seems to be capable of Self Deprecation. The recent update has improved texture quality tremendously (On PC). Triptych heard us complain about the weapon limit, so what do they do? They give us 4 weapons like a boss and now the game is amazingly fun. When Duke does talk, it's usually pretty funny or at least worth a smirk. Also, the sheer variety in the levels is astounding. Let me put it this way. One of the early levels has you fighting through the war torn ruins of Las Vegas. 5 or 6 levels later you're shrunk down to action figure size and are navigating your way through a Duke Burger restaurant. The boss fights actually feel like bosses. Big-ass enemies that you can blow to shit, but can tear you down in a second if you don't know what you're doing. Also, to the whole "Blah blah blah you have to take cover, blah" bollocks. Firstly, I just dare you to try and play most of DN 3 D's levels on "Come Get Some" without taking the least bit of cover. Secondly, the regenerating EGO/Health bar actually made it easier to stay out in the open, because your health comes back no matter what. There is more that I could say about the game, there really is. But the word limit and tight cap on spoilers here makes it hard for me to describe what I love about the game so much. But really, this is not a game that you should blow off because of critics. 3DR gave 14 years of their lives away to make this game. The least you could do is try it out for yourself. On PC, though, because the console ports...yeah (May change when the consoles get their updates).
A Great Game Destroyed by Impossible Expectations
I'll start my review by saying that I loved this game (unlike some of the other people on This Very Wiki and other gaming sites). The game itself doesn't deserve the hate that it's getting. Sure, it's not perfect, but that doesn't mean it's bad. However, it's due to the fact that it's not perfect that it's getting all these reviews. Most people seem to be thinking that the developers were working on the game for 14 straight years. They ended up thinking that 3D Realms/Gearbox MUST'VE been adding a ton of incredible things to make this absolutely perfect. But that's not the case. It was NOT being worked on for 14 straight years. The developement took so long because Executive Meddling kept getting the game scrapped over and over again. Duke Nukem Forever has gone through several graphic engines, numerous rewrites, and was canceled and Un Canceled several times. This means that the final build of the game has only been worked on for a few years. If you pretended this game had a development schedule of only a few years, it's certainly a very good game. The trademark humor and political incorrectness is there (Hell, even more so than Duke Nukem 3D). Sure, many will find it offensive, but that's like saying South Park is offensive. The game is also very interactive. There are working pinball machines, working pool tables, working air hockey tables, working white boards etc. These little interactive bits help make the game much more immersive and fun. The game's campaign is also long. I probably took about 18 hours to beat it the first time through, although that's because I took a long time just exploring and interacting with the various things in the world. Even if you just blow through it, the game is still longer than your typical Call Of Duty game. The only true problem the game has is the graphics. Due to the fact that the graphics engine was developed in 2008, the game isn't exactly the best looking game of 2011.Duke Nukem Forever is NOT a perfect game. It's not the single greatest contribution to mankind nor will it cure at least one type of cancer. It's meant to be a fun game and a breath of fresh air in this glut of uber serious shooters. If you can overlook the fact that this game isn't perfect, and just enjoy the game for what it is, then this certainly is one of the more enjoyable shooters ever made. Hail to the King, Baby!
A Sad Punchline to Gaming's Longest Running Joke.
I'll be blunt, Duke Nukem Forever is a piece of shit. It's loathsome, ugly, unfunny, misogynist and just all around awful. After more then 15 years of Development Hell, to say that it's disappointing is a hell of an understatement. For a game that sell's itself as an over the top, ball's to the wall action shooter, DNF is actually quite dull. Shooting often takes a backseat to awkward first person platforming and half assed physics puzzles that Half Life 2 did better eight years ago. The game is also very in love with interactive objects and is always happy to kill the pacing so you can turn on water coolers and play a crappy pinball machine, the game expects you to be wowed by how OMG NEXT GEN it is, but it just makes the game feel even more outdated. When you can actually start killing things, the game disappoints in that area too. Duke is only allowed to carry two weapons at a time and most of them aren't that fun to use. You have FPS staples like the pistol and shotgun, mixed in with some more gimmicky weapons like a shrink ray or freeze gun. None of them feel satisfying to use and the aiming is clumsy, often making it difficult to get a decent hit on a enemy. The enemies are total bulletsponges and can take a ridiculous amount of damage before going down. Duke himself can only take a few hits before getting killed, so much of the combat is spent running in hiding, waiting for your "Ego" metar to refill and hoping that Duke doesn't get caught in a corner. And you'll want to live, as after each death, you'll be greeted by a minute long loading screen, sapping your will to continue. As for graphics, DNF is very ugly. Most character models look lifeless and dead eyed, making many of the "sexy" moments even creepier. Pop up's appear frequently and overuse of shimmer effects make's everything look greasy. As for the animation, I'll just let this video show you how fluid it is. I'm out of room, but I could go on. I could talk about the truly godawful attempts at "humor", from Seltzer And Friedberg level pop culture references, to truly vile Dude Not Funny stuff (the now infamous Hive level comes to mind). The glitchy and unimaginative multiplayer. The underwater level that is just torture. So just please don't waste your money on this garbage.
Like a Checklist of Every FPS Fad From The Last Decade.
Duke Nukem forever plays like a bad list of chiches and fads from the last decade. Like the devs, each time a new game came out, picked up on some new gameplay gimmick and hurried up to add it to the game. It's a boring mess with poor pacing that barely resembles its precursors. From Half Life 2-esque "walk around and talk with someone" parts with no shooting at all, to driving segments, platformer levels, regenerating health, limited weapon loadouts, etc... Pick a FPS mechanic that has appeared in a game in the last decade, odds are you will find it in DNF. And here lies the problem: DNF does not feel like a single game or a unified vision, but a collection of levels, gimmick and designs lifted from other popular games (Half Life and Halo in particular) and re-branded as Duke Nukem before being haphazardly assembled into one confused game with no identity. The game is a disjointed mess with poor pacing. From levels where you do no shooting, to long, repetitive (and frankly, bad) driving segments that might as well have been designed years ago. It's a game that shows the eternity it took to develop it. Alot of the gameplay feels dated in their execution. The shooting, for example, has little depth. Enemies don't react to bullet impacts, only falling over limply when they finally die like a ragdoll. Even some of the trademark elements that make Duke who he is feel forced. In Duke Nukem 3 D, Duke would only deliver his trademark one liners at specific point in the levels, or if one did a serious overkill. Here, Duke never shuts the **** up. What was before an irregular occurrence that added some color and tone to the game here becomes an annoyance. The sheer volume of dialogue just diminishes the impact of any good line might have because they are lost in the noise of the endless action hero dialogue. In Duke 3D, Duke's lines worked and carried his particular attitude because they were spaced out. Here, it's like hanging out with a perverted uncle who is also drunk and ogles the neighbor. It's not a terrible game. It has some enjoyable moment, but would this game be called anything else than Duke Nukem Forever, it would be imminently forgettable and no one would talk about it. It is not worth the full price however, because it is a dated mess whose long, confused development history with no endgame visions shines with the game's disjointed feel.
Development Hell Took Its Toll...
First let me say that I wanted to find a great game. I wanted to enjoy Duke Nukem Forever. However the game has several flaws, likely as a result from being in Development Hell for so long. First one is that the graphics are clearly out of date, something you would expect to find on a FPS from a few years ago. Second is that the difficulty varies from level to level. One early mission is tougher than several after it, then the difficulty spikes again. Third is the loading times, as in getting a loading screen after every thirty minutes of gameplay and each time you die. Some boss fights had more time spent loading than fighting. Fourth is the seemingly thrown in gameplay changes, switching to unnecessary platforming or badly handling vehicle levels. The only real advantage this game has over other games in the market is the Refuge In Audacity elements. The swearing, tits, toilet humor, Testosterone Poisoning, et cetera. If that's what you want, then Duke Nukem is for you. If you want a high quality game, look elsewhere. This is one for the fanboys who patiently waited 14 years for the Duke's return.