Duke Nukem Forever Review
Developers: 3D Realms, Triptych Games
Publishers: 2k Games, Gearbox Software
North American Release Date: June 14th, 2011
European Release Date: June 10th 2011
Trophies: 1 | 2 | 10 | 38
After 12 long years, the next instalment of the Duke Nukem series hit the shelves. Duke Nukem Forever follows the steroid junkie Duke as he tries to save Las Vegas' women and Hoover Dam from the aliens he once fought 12 years ago. Fight through an alien hive, and have fun in a strip club. That really made me wonder how far Duke Nukem Forever would go before it was too much.
Duke Nukem Forever is a first person shooter. It lacks the essentials of what most modern fps games have (i.e. aiming down sights and no health bars) but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to play. I often found the controls rather clunky and Duke would move more than I wanted when I used the analog stick. There are things that I would like modern fps' to take from Duke Nukem Forever (however small) like the fact that you can interact with things in the environment. From turning on a sink to tipping a stripper, it was great to have a rather different experience while playing a shooter.
The shooting physics aren't done well. Often times I would be shooting at an alien that never got hit. Yet the aliens do more damage to Duke than vice versa if you are playing on anything above easy difficulty. This is very bad especially against larger groups and while other games do this, it is fairly noticeable in this game. On easy, you feel like an over-powered terminator and on the slightly higher difficulties the difficulty actually seemed to spike up a lot. Normally, that situation will end in a broken controller and a popped blood vessel if you are one that tends to get very upset when games screw you over.
Mowing down large groups of Pig Cops with a mounted gun is actually a lot of fun.
Duke Nukem Forever seems to try and be like a modern first person shooter, but a lot different, with more things to do. A good example is the strip club level. A level that had no purpose in the game whatsoever, but it had a lot to interact with in it.
Another example is when you get to drive a truck. The mechanics of said trucks are absolutely horrible anyway. Yet not many shooters have done that (some have, but not many). I did get rather angry though when Duke's monster truck (which you drive later in the game) ran out of gas every three minutes. Then you had to go on a quest for gas just to progress until you have to do it again.
Duke Nukem Forever feels like it is trapped in the '90s. Mainly because Duke has the ego of a raging 12 year old that just got kissed for the first time. Yet when you start out, Duke's ego (which is his health bar) is humiliatingly small and you can increase it with different objects in the environment (like admiring yourself in a mirror or eating popcorn). Also, everything that Duke Nukem says sounds like it is coming out of an old Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. It feels too retro, because we don't have big action movies where the main character is saying witty things after everything he does anymore. Also, the womanizing that Duke does. The degrading of women to a point where they are assumed as just "things". Those were the feelings men had a very long time ago (as well as some people do now, but more frequent before).
Now, if you look closely in Duke Nukem Forever, you will find a slightly elusive plot that was hidden in there. Upon finishing the game, I still didn't know why half of what was in the game mattered or affected the plot in anyway. The story to Duke Nukem Forever is this; Duke is living his life until he hears word of an alien invasion. He is told not to do anything by the President until they can figure out a plan in which to stop the aliens. After seeing that the aliens were taking his women, he realizes that the attack is personal. He then decides to go on an adventure, slaughtering the Aliens that are abducting his "babes" and ultimately try to rid Hoover Dam of them of extraterrestrials.
One good thing I can say about Duke Nukem Forever is that the boss battles were pretty well done. Big bosses are almost a rare thing now in first-person-shooters, and those are always fun. Feeling trapped by a larger being while not even knowing if you can escape, that's what the game should have done. Make Duke feel more like a real person and not some terminator-wannabe. It would have shown some effort on the developer's part. You can't possibly have a connection with someone like Duke, which dances on the line with whether this game should've even been made or not. I don't think the current generation of gamers were ready for a game like this. They waited too long, and it didn't end well.
Now while the bosses were all good and fun, they were all the same generic big boss. This is also true for the regular aliens you fight throughout the course of the game. You should get used to seeing Pig Cop guts splattered on the wall and flying octopus creatures appearing out of no where. The point I am getting at here is that it's all very repetitive, the scenery is vibrant for the first 30 minutes of the game but then it goes back to modern games and has the generic brown levels that are anything but eye-candy. Dull colors need to be removed from a Duke Nukem game, which is supposed to be a jazzed up first-person shooter that has fun. Not some dull game that gets boring after a while.
While this may look fun and awesome, and it is, get ready to repeat this battle 2-3 more times.
In Duke Nukem Forever Multiplayer, you earn experience points for killing others, etc. which is common in games. These points are used to level up and unlock bonuses to use. The weapons are the same from the singleplayer campaign, with the addition of one thing. The jetpack. You can use the jetpack to gain a huge advantage over your foes and take them out from higher vantage points. You can pick up guns around the map like the rocket-launcher, handgun, shotgun, Ripper (which is a cannon machine gun), and more. What I have found though is if you don't have a rocket-launcher, you aren't going to go far. It's a very overpowered weapon and should be toned down or even removed completely. Along with the weapons, there are beers around the map to drink which increase the amount of damage you can take.
Like most, if not all first-person shooters, this game has multiple modes of online multiplayer play. These being Dukematch, Team Dukematch, Capture The Babe, and Hail to the King. Let's break all of these down, shall we? Dukematch is essentially a free-for-all match. No holds barred, all out war with Duke fighting other Dukes. The person with the most kills wins, and you pick up weapons wherever they are in the map. Team Dukematch is the same as Dukematch, but with teams. A Team Deathmatch if you will. Capture The Babe is different. Essentially capture the flag, with the flags substituted with women. Upon grabbing one, you throw them over your shoulder and run to your base. Frequently the women will scream and "freak-out", so you will need to slap them to get them to shut up. Hail To The King is what Domination is in the Call Of Duty franchise. Stand in one area and capture it to earn points.
There are also a few maps in the multiplayer, but you should know them all if you have completed the campaign, as they are all copied from it. I won't go into much detail, but one map in particular I think is a neat feature. That is the Duke Burger. You are in a kitchen, with other Dukes and you have all been shrunk down. So you all jump on appliances and shoot eachother on shelves and other things scattered through the room. All in all I believe multiplayer is the high point of the game, but that really is not saying much at all.
Since Duke Nukem Forever started development in the '90s, the engine had to be tweaked and improved with the times. The graphics were not too bad to be honest. They weren't as good as games like Uncharted 3 or Batman Arkham City, but it didn't terribly bother me that they weren't great. The character modelling on the other hand was terrible. The first time you speak to the President, his mouth is moving like a duck and his head is about four times too small for his body. You can definitely tell that the developers spent more time on the girls than anything else.
The voice acting is badly done, as most people don't have any punctuation when they talk (especially Duke, but most who have played a Duke Nukem game would know that). Duke sometimes sounds like a robot, or someone that is just pressing buttons on a sound board as he doesn't ever have a conversation with anyone, he says one or two things and leaves, which is like a whole game of (not so)witty action game catch phrases. It gets stale quick and doesn't add much creativity to the game.
The scenery has no colors other than brown and grey from the mid-point on, which is disappointing because the areas were vibrant and full of life up to that point. Levels like the strip-club were a great area where it felt like a fun, first-person shooter. What a Duke Nukem game used to and should be today.
Dull brown colors throughout the later levels of the game, it gets to be boring after not too long.
The trophies in Duke Nukem Forever are nothing to fret about. Within the first half hour of playing, I was able to earn around fifteen trophies. There are difficulty trophies that are a pain, as well as getting 1,000,000 points in pinball, and winning against an opponents in air hockey 7-0. Those you will have to try hard for, and really earn them. There are quite a few collectables that have trophies attached, which are my least favourite types of trophies.
Duke Nukem Forever is a good game to rent if you are bored for a week and feeling like seeing naked women often and shooting aliens. Notice how I didn't say buy. I don't think you should buy this game unless you are a fan of the series or you can find it for a very cheap price. All in all, I don't like this game too much, and I suggest you only buy it if it's less than $5.
It feels like any other generic shooter, yet does it worse. Clunky movement made me dislike it a lot.
With almost no visible plot, you can't help but laugh at the game, and not with it. It tries too hard to make itself be liked but in the end it's just a waste of space.
Better overall than the rest of the game, but that isn't saying much. There are overpowered weapons and it's just not as addictive as other games have been in the past.
The character models are all generic except for Duke Nukem's muscly body. The textures aren't terrible, but there was a semi-rare texture pop-in that could get annoying.
Overall: 4/10 Tragic