What can be said of this game, that hasn’t already been thrown out by hundreds of media outlets already? I’m sure very little. That’s not going to stop me however from putting my two cents in. Duke Nukem, probably one of the few games that will go down in both history books and infamy. And to those who caught my pun there, good for you, you’re in the right minds set to play this game and enjoy it.
Before we get into the meat of the review, a little history lesson is needed to setup the bases of my opinions. Duke Nukem, was born in the early 90’s as a side scrolling shoot’em up, akin to an adult version of Apogee’s Commander Keen. Yes, I’m dating myself. I’ll give you a moment to Google that one. Done? Good, let’s keep going. Duke grew up from there, to become a successful first person shooter (FPS) called Duke Nukem 3D in 1996. Back when FPS’s were becoming all the rage. Duke 3D took the FPS genre and made fun of it, made it a parody of the itself. It should have gone instantly into a sequel and in fact it was announced the following year that Duke Nukem Forever was indeed in the works. This is however, where it falls to both history and infamy.
Twelve years later, we finally get Duke Nukem Forever. Was it worth the wait? Possibly, but I’ll answer this in depth in a moment. Is it full of one liners, like it’s predecessor? Oh yeah. Is it filled to the brim with crude humor? Hell yeah. Does it have pop culture references? Check. Does it have stereotypes? Yup. Is it a bad game? Yes. Is it a good game? Yes. Wait, what does that mean, you ask? Well, its so bad it’s a good game. Like I mentioned before, if your in the mind set to get my pun earlier, then you’ll likely enjoy the game. By no means is this game going to test your mental prowess, your FPS chops, or stimulate your visual cortex, but it will entertain you. Duke starts right off with some crude humor, it doesn’t waste any time. By the time you get to the actual meat of the game, things become less about the crude humor, and more about FPS and shooting alien scum. Puzzles don’t take much thought, combat can be pretty linier at times and I have run across a few bugs, and load times. Those are probably the only negative things I have come across, that could possibly warrant a bad review from anyone. However it doesn’t deter from the game play, or the game itself. I think that it has failed in so many critics eyes, is because they were expecting to much from a game, that took 12 years to develop. Did they forget the road this game took, to even get this far?
I’ve gotten off track, so let’s get back to the review. For a game in 2011, Duke doesn’t push anything graphically. Most of it’s been done. The puzzles are basic. The AI, is mediocre. Although the AI does kill bad guys, that’s helpful. I have to say that when I noticed the AI, your army buddies who stop by to help Duke out, they actually get some killing done. They actually HIT things. I can’t say that for most other squad based games. I’m looking at you Call of Duty. The controls are well done, I’ve no problems controlling Duke and his actions in the game world. The life bar is replaced with Ego, which acts more like a shield then anything, and can be boosted throughout the game. And while we’re on the subject of life, whatever you do, don’t die. The games biggest fault has got to be the load times. The levels are linier. There is enough to see and interact with and even hidden area’s within this, to make it seem larger. This is likely the reason for huge load times, the game loads the entire area your in, interactive devices and all, which I’m sure, causes the waiting screen to take FOREVER. Maybe that’s where it got the subtitle?
You are limited to only two guns at a time. Which can be an annoyance. Ammo is scarce at times, and I guess it annoys me because it forces me to switch to a weapon I really don’t want to pick up. For example, I’d much rather stick with Duke’s trademark m1911, then switch to a more ammo plentiful weapon, like the ATC’s the aliens carry.
Was it worth the wait? In all, the game is solid, if you have an open mind, and time to wait for the loading screen. It’s humorous, it’s fun to blow shit up, and it’s a piece of history. Its this last fact I think, that allows me to enjoy it more then reviewers. The more history that’s behind something, the more I look at it for what it is, not what others think it should be. Maybe people lost the fact that this game was 12 years in the making. That it took, I forget how many companies and developers. Gearbox and 2k Games put this game out for the fans of Duke. It was never meant to break new ground, it was never meant to push the limits of our gaming systems. It was meant as fan service. Grab a beer, invite your drinking buddies over and play some Duke.