I know, I know, Duke Nukem Forever has been out for a week now. But I like to finish a game before I can give it a review. I've really trying to finish this, but it's become a bit of a chore. I, like a lot of people, have followed the production of duke Nukem with baited breath, throughout its 15 year long development schedule. Yes, 15 years. Duke Nukem Forever is infamous as the game that never was. It went through various overhauls and changes, but never got close to being released. Until Take-Two Interactive got pissed off and sued the developers for taking so damn long and gave the game to Gearbox, who managed to get it out pretty damn quickly. Many fans probably ejaculated when they heard this game was finally coming out, just before their heads exploded. But would it be any good? For some reason being in production for so long gave people the impression that it would be the best game ever, and its predecessor, Duke Nukem 3D is often hailed as a massively awesome game that can only get better with a sequel. I wasn't quite convinced though. How could this game live up to so much hype?
The answer is that it doesn't. I wasn't going into Duke Nukem Forever expecting too much, and for a while I was very much enjoying myself. It was great seeing the toilet humour, the updated enemies, including the all famous pig cops, just really playing a game that really followed in the vein of a classic first person shooter. Sure, it has some of the hallmarks of the Call Of Duty age, like regenerating health and only being able to carry two weapons, but hearing Duke's voice really brought me back to my early gaming days.
I played Duke Nukem 3D quite a bit as a teenager. Mostly the first few levels before I got bored. Sure, it was an enjoyable game, and seeing pixelated ladies swinging their tentacle nipples was enough to excite me at the tender age of 10. But it wasn't the best game of all time. I often got bored because I got a bit stuck, wandering through levels with no real clue of where to go. |I could probably figure it all out now my gaming brain has matured for over a decade, but while I probably didn't enjoy it too much while playing it, the long ass production of the sequel has made me look back and think "Ahh, those were the days". Well, it's good to see that this game follows in the tradition of Duke Nukem 3D. During some levels I'll be walking along quite happily, when I'll get to a place where it's not obvious where you have to go. This is a good thing in most games, it varies up that action with some puzzling skill, but I really am not enjoying Duke Nukem Forever enough to want to stand around for ten minutes and think about what to do. At this point I really just want to run around, blow things up and be done with it.
Duke Nukem 3D was a good game, because I was 10. Blowing things up into gore and having your main character swear and talk about boning chicks? Awesome. Where you're 10. And while it was fun to get dragged back into the potty humour, it's not so out of place in video games these days, and it's done in a much more mature fashion. But the Duke Nukem humour, which I loved back then, is now a bit tiring after a little while. There are some fun cultural references and jibes at other shooters throughout the game, which is all well and good, but not if the game that is trying to make jokes is in itself so flawed.
The graphics are not great. I am far from a gamer who cares too much about graphics, though I do love it when a game's visuals can blow me away. But Duke Nukem looks like it should have been released about three years ago. Everything's quite pixelated, and objects take quite a while to actually form properly in the scenery a lot of the time. The settings can often get boring quite quickly, especially when it's a case of just running through different rooms and shooting some people. I know a lot of shooters are like this, but maybe I'm just tiring of first person shooters. But Gears Of War and Modern Warfare (not other Call Of Dutys) always seem to have enough variety and strategy to keep me hooked. Duke Nukem Forever, however, not so.
The game can be really unfair too. Boss fights can be quite cool, as they trot out giant aliens for you to shoot down, but they only let you hurt the bosses with explosives and turrets. It's all good though, because they give you unlimited ammo crates for the RPG lying around in the same room, so everything's quite easy right? Well, there's one section where you're firing your RPG at an alien queen, when at the last moment she spits out a flying alien thing. When I went to dispatch it quickly with my RPG it decided to say "Uh, no thanks, actually I can just deflect these rockets back at you and kill you instantly. Oh, you didn't know I did that? Doesn't matter, you're dead". Pretty cheap move, flying alien shit. Plus every time you die it takes a minute or two to reload the checkpoint, which is as boring as hell.
But, despite all its flaws, Duke Nukem is not a bad game. It's fun reliving all the classic elements, and it's a nice little time waster where you can just kill some alien scum. But don't believe the hype. This game was never going to be amazing after 15 years of on-off production. Because by the time it was finished, the game market had shifted so much that this just isn't the type of game that people want anymore. I congratulate Gearbox for actually releasing it, but there are just too many flaws present to make me truly enjoy it. But I shall press on and finish it. Because I've been waiting this long, I'm not giving up.
My rating: 3/5