Posted by Chris Scott Barr on Jun 23, 2011

Review – Duke Nukem Forever (PC)

Post Rating

Product Information

MSRP: $59.99
Developer: 3D Realms, Triptych, Gearbox, Piranha Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 ESRB Rating: M
Genre: FPS

This is one game that I honestly never thought that I would be reviewing. Heck, when it was first announced, I had no idea that I would be reviewing games at all. Some parts of me are sad to see the game actually on store shelves, mostly because it ruins so many good jokes. It is kind of nice to get closure on the saga that is Duke Nukem Forever.

Many people will buy the game, simply because they want to know what a game that took well over a decade to produce looks like. Others will grab it because they love the Duke, and want to see the next installment of his saga has in store. If you are in the former category, prepare to be vastly disappointed.

Let me preface this review by pointing out that if you’re judging this game by how long it has been in production, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m not even referring to the quality of this game, in particular. No game that you’ve spent 14 years waiting for will ever live up to your expectations. Think back to what games were like back then, and look at what is out today. Plus, with different game engines being used, the entire project has likely been scrapped and started from scratch a few times. So this version of the game has not likely been worked on the entire time.

With all of that out of the way, I’m going to try and dive into this review by looking at it as any other game that has hit the store shelves.

Graphics

For a game that was released in 2011, it doesn’t really look like it. With the graphics maxed out on my PC, it still reminded me of something that was released three or four years ago. On the bright side, it does seem to be pretty easy on the hardware, as a result.

The character animations in the game were some of the most disappointing I’ve seen in a while, mostly when it’s a character directly speaking to you. About half the time, they’re talking to a wall. You’d think that they would be able to detect where I’m standing, and have the character face me. This is something that should be relatively minor, but it really took something away when I have the president screaming at something off to my left, instead of at my face.

Gameplay

When it comes to FPS games, many seem to focus around the type of gameplay that we saw in Gears a while back. Run to cover, pop out, shoot, rinse, repeat. Duke isn’t like that. Rather, it feels like a throwback to older games like Doom and Quake where you just run around and shoot anything that moves. After playing so many of the current-gen games, it was kind of refreshing.

Yes, there are some puzzles, but nothing too complicated. More than anything, it was just something to break up the gun-’em-down gameplay that encompasses much of your time. If anything, they could have made this a little more difficult, or just removed them altogether, and I’d have enjoyed it a bit more.

There are also little mini-games that you can play, scattered throughout the title. Things like pool, whack-a-mole (with aliens) and pinball are nice touches. Playing each of these will boost your “ego meter”, which serves as your life meter. There are also plenty of other ways to boost your ego, such as checking out your own reflection, and looking at a dirty magazine.

Humor

If you’re not already familiar with Duke Nukem, then you should know that calling him an egotistical sexist pig is the king of all understatements. If you are offended by crude humor or sexist remarks, this game is most definitely not for you. In fact, should you ever come into contact with this game, shut your eyes and plug your ears, because about half of what you see and hear is going to be offensive.

With that said, I find this game hilarious. Is it because I, myself and sexist? I like to think not. Rather, Duke is so over-the-top with everything, that it’s laughable. It is amusing to see how he can continue to be so vulgar and full of himself throughout the course of the game. And it’s only the fact that he was specifically designed to offend that it is forgivable.

Now not all of the humor in this game is centered around everyone “hailing the the king” or slapping a bunch of alien titties. One thing that keeps you laughing is the sheer amount of pop-culture references found throughout the game. We’ve all seen the Halo power armor bit, but little tidbits like this are scattered throughout the game. Potshots are taken at various games, and even celebrities. As much as I’d love to, I won’t give away any of the jokes here.

Finally, the loading screens themselves are quite amusing. Rather than giving you helpful tips, a number of them like to state the obvious. One of my favorites kindly reminds you that if you get stuck, you can always look up FAQ’s online.

Conclusion

So is Duke Nukem Forever a masterpiece that lives up to the expectations that come with 14 years of waiting? No. As I said earlier, no game would be able to achieve that. Now is it a pile of garbage that’s not worth your hard-earned cash? No, it isn’t that either.

This game has mediocre graphics and mediocre gameplay by today’s standards. However, when you combine all of the elements of the game together, I still had a good time playing the game. Maybe it isn’t quite worth the $60 price tag, but that all depends on the person buying. If you’re a huge fan of the series, then you’ll likely not be disappointed. Now if you just like blowing up aliens and have a crude sense of humor, you too, may be pleased with the game. If you’re on the fence, I’d say that waiting for a price drop wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The Good

  • The game is a classic straightforward shooter that lets you focus on killing things.
  • The crude humor goes a long way in making you laugh on a regular basis.

The Bad

  • Graphics and gameplay seem rather outdated.
  • Many people will be turned off by the crude humor and sheer vulgarity of the game

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Written by Chris Scott Barr

Chris Scott Barr

Born and raised in Indiana, Chris grew up on a healthy diet of video games and Magic: The Gathering. He worked a number of jobs in the IT field before deciding to pursue his passion by founding GamerFront in 2007. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Post a Comment
  • Someone’s on the payroll

    This review is too generous. There’s more puzzles that it lets on to. It’s not the bad humor, or the graphics (at least there’s bump maps, right?)…it’s the gameplay. The gameplay is bad. It’s not even up to serious sam standards.

  • Chris Scott Barr

    You’re right, the gameplay wasn’t the greatest. But in the end, I still had a good time playing the game, and for me, that’s what matters. If I can reflect on a game and honestly say that I had fun, then it’s at least a decent game in my book. And really, 3.5 stars isn’t something to write home about, let alone be “on the payroll” for.

    I’d like to say for the record that we don’t take compensation for reviews, nor do we inflate our scores for any reason. The scores reflect only the opinion of the writer, and we stand by our scores.