Review Shooter: Duke Nukem Forever

First of all I’m going to say that I have played Duke Nukem 3D (I have it on 360), and havent completed it, but I can definitely see why people think it’s a great game. It’s fun, crass, and just does it’s own thing. I didnt grow up with Duke, and am frankly glad, as DNF is presented to me with no hype whatsoever.

Some people say that railing on a 14 year old game is not fair, and that I should cut it some slack. To those people I say no, I shouldn’t. It doesnt really matter how long the game was in development for, and to be fair, if I were to cut some games slack on their development times it means I should be harsher on games that are much newer than DNF, but also much, much better than DNF, which, is plain stupid. Not to mention that DNF in its current form is probably only a little more than 4 years old (judging by the screenshots provided in-game).

This game is a technical mess, and while it may not be obvious when the game starts, it definitely is obvious in the later levels. The game barely holds a stable frame rate, and for a game that looks worse than some 360 launch titles, there isnt an excuse. Gearbox could have dedicated a chunk of time optimizing the game for the systems it was going to appear on, and lets face it, more delays couldnt hurt this game any more than the current ones already have.

Now gameplay. Now, you most probably have heard these complaints before, but I was definitely expecting at least the return of health packs and multiple weapons. The lack of these means that if you couple the lackluster shooting mechanics with health-regen and a weapon limit, it just feels like a bad Halo clone from 2004. This wouldnt be so bad, but the guns are just not satisfying to shoot. They all sound bad, they all deal inconsistent damage, or they have a gimmick that just doesnt work very well. A good example of this is the Shrink Ray. You shoot an enemy with it, and it shrinks them as you would expect, but to stamp on them, you must walk over them while looking at the floor. This is fairly hard to do if your enemies move even the slightest. The health regen is also fairly inconsistent, as sometimes I will have an empty health bar and still take a fair amount of fire, and other times I will have an empty heath bar and get killed in 1-2 shots like normal. Enemies also have a tendency of being over powered, with Octabrains that are capable of throwing explosives back at you, and throwing other objects at you with some speed. In addition for a First Person Shooter, you spend a lot of time not shooting anything. There are bland driving sections that in some cases are drawn out for too long and lots of platforming sections. It feels like the game was padded out with these sections as they, more often than not, make little sense in the context of the game.

Another thing I had a problem with was the humour, or lack there-of. The game is filled with popcult references, bad puns, tired internet memes, objectification of women, or just mocks other games that not only does DNF controvertially borrow mechanics from, but are also infinitely better than DNF. The writers also seem to think that the players are the type of people that laugh at every swear word, with one person saying “shit” almost every other word. During one section of the game, “The Hive” naked women are being hung from the cieling and attached to walls because they are being, (i assume) raped and impregnated by aliens. The incessant wailing from these women that occurs during this section got incredibly annoying and I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Is this supposed to be funny? Who thought this was a good idea?”, only to approach Duke’s babes blocking the way and promising to work off the weight gained during the alien pregnancy (and then subsequently exploding and having alien babies fly out of them).
The multiplayer is the epitome of tacked on multiplayers, with standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag Babe. The game supports a maximum of 8 players per game, and the only deviation from the old gameplay formulae here  is Capture The Babe, where you must steal the other team’s babe, take her to your base, and spank her whenever she puts her hand in your face. The multiplayer has the standard level progression system seen in pretty much every other game now, but this time with a twist. Instead of unlocking weapons, perks and other miscellany, you unlock items for a virtual mansion which you can customize to a limited degree. This only makes the level progression hard to care about, as the only person that is going to see my “digs” is me.
In conclusion, Duke Nukem Forever is a bad game. It’s age, and troubled past as the epitome of vapourware are no excuse for the mess that this game is. There comes a time where you need to let go, and 3D Realms, Triptch, Pirahna, Gearbox, and Randy Pitchford obviously dont know this. The worst thing about all this? Duke Nukem Forever will sell, and has sold a lot of copies on name alone.

Recommendation: Avoid! Duke Nukem Forever is a technical mess, which tries to be funny and just falls flat. It shamelessly rips mechanics from other games and doesnt execute on any of them them well.

Earl Rufus

The owner of this little chunk of the internet. Enjoys having a good time and being rather snarky!

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