Hail to the King baby!
I am going to be honest, I had no intentions of reviewing Duke Nukem Forever.
I usually just try to review all of the games that I have in my review queue from various game companies because each review is time-consuming.
But after the flow of recent negative Duke Nukem Forever reviews on the internet I felt it was time someone actually stepped up to the plate and threw some support behind Duke and the game that’s been in development hell for over twelve years.
Hell, I remember having this game originally on pre-order many years ago when I lived in Baltimore. I was excited to finally see Duke return, no matter what system he would be on. This time around I purchased Duke Nukem Forever on the Xbox 360 and also for my OnLive account. This will be a joint review for both Xbox 360 and OnLive/PC versions.
Now let me make one thing perfectly clear, I was a huge fan of the original Duke Nukem series. I always enjoyed the B-Movie feel of the character. So I knew exactly what to expect when I dove into Duke Nukem Forever. The thing is you either get Duke Nukem or you do not get Duke Nukem. I get Duke Nukem, I always have and I always will. So that is why I am giving you an honest take on this game.
I like Duke Nukem Forever. I like the game a lot! Go ahead and sue me for liking such a game, but damn is it a fun game to play. Duke Nukem Forever is funny, its raunchy, its hilarious, its cheesy and its over-the-top in so many ways. I am an avid fan of B-movies and old-school cheesy horror flicks. Playing Duke Nukem Forever is the equivalence of having a Bruce Campbell movie marathon. You have to have the love for this kind of stuff before you take the proverbial dive, otherwise you will hate it from start to finish.
Duke Nukem Forever marks the long awaited return of an old friend. Duke is still up to his old ways. He still has some kick-ass one liners, he still has babes falling all over him. The Duke Nukem character is a character that you can’t take seriously. If you try to take him serious then you miss the whole point of his character and of what he is about.
Duke Nukem Forever feels a lot like the original Duke Nukem 3D (which launched in 1996 for the PC). If anything, Duke Nukem Forever feels like a totally revamped edition of the original first-person shooter game. I would even go as far as to say that the multi-player modes also feel the same. Things are almost simplistic at times. You will have to think at times and solve small puzzles to advance. These problems could be as easy as tossing a explosive device onto a launch pad and setting the device off in the next room to gain access.
If you are looking for a game that has aim assist then you need to look elsewhere. Duke Nukem Forever is all about old-school gameplay and I believe this is what turned off so many modern day gamers. They just do not get it. They are so used to the Call of Duty and Battlefield games that a game like Duke Nukem Forever comes along and they don’t know what to think.
The game is pretty long, and consists of a ton of different levels. After twelve years I would hope the game would have some longevity. Load times can be a pain, and some levels seem a bit short. Duke still has his same weapons from the past. You can still use the shrink ray and stomp your enemies. Duke also has a 4×4 truck that he will drive on various levels.
You will also find a ton of Easter eggs and in-game jokes throughout Duke Nukem Forever. These range from old characters to items from various video games. And what is a Duke Nukem game without some great Duke-isms? Duke has some great new lines as well as a ton of classics.
The raunchy factor is still here, yet the developers really took it up a notch. This is the first game that I can remember where you can pull a turd out of a toilet bowl, throw it around and gain an achievement. The game is also packed with nudity and cheesy over the top humor. Duke Nukem Forever also has a ton of mini games within the game itself. You can play pool, play pinball, play a game of air hockey or just play some slot machines to boost your ego. The ego bar is basically your life bar. Gain ego during each level and Duke’s life bar expands.
Duke Nukem Forever feels a lot like another favorite of mine, Prey for the Xbox 360. I will be honest here, the graphics in most of the levels look dated, but I am never one to judge a game just on graphics. Some levels look good while some look downright dated and last generation. Textures look pixelated and sometimes they take a few seconds to load. I overlook these details because this game started development twelve years ago so I honestly was expecting to see this.
Technically the PC/OnLive versions of Duke Nukem Forever look better when compared to the Xbox 360 version. I found that the 360 version had lower texture resolutions and jaggy edges while the PC/OnLive version had smoother textures. While many would crucify a game for such things, I really do not have an issue with the dated graphics on some levels. In my opinion graphics do not make or break a game, its all about the gameplay. If anything, the dated graphics gives you a nostalgic feel that not many games possess these days.
The OnLive version also played great on the OnLive Console (which I use on a 42 inch HDTV). The OnLive controller feels much like a Xbox 360 controller and I had no issues with gameplay or game feed. The game looked great (for being Duke Nukem) and I never had a drop in game stream. I must also note that the OnLive version has Achievements.
Multiplayer in Duke Nukem Forever is a pretty fun experience. Sadly the games are user hosted matches so you may find yourself going into some guys match with a disadvantage. The guy with a “0″ Ping may have 20 kills while you have to suffer with your 180 ping connection. The game has your typical Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch as well as Capture the Babe and Hail to the King. You have ten maps to choose from. They even went back and redesigned the first level from Duke Nukem 3D (Hollywood).
The Bottom Line:
The graphics may look dated and people may not like the game the game plays, but at the end of the day I had a blast with Duke Nukem Forever. After all, isn’t that what gaming is all about? Playing a game that you enjoy? I’ve waited 12 years for Duke Nukem to return, and he did in typical fashion.
I think a lot of people out there just do not get who Duke Nukem is. They just do not get the humor and they also do not get the game style that Duke Nukem has always had. Would it have been better if the developers make Duke Nukem like Halo or Call of Duty? Duke Nukem marches to the beat of his own drum. And if you have a problem with that beat then you really don’t need to be playing a Duke Nukem game to begin with.
Duke Nukem Forever is not for everybody. The game is like a roller coaster ride into a hilarious hell of old-school shooters and humor.
Some people will be turned off by the graphics while some people will be turned off by the gameplay. I personally had a blast from beginning to end, and I continue to have fun playing Duke Nukem Forever online.
You either love the game or you hate the game… I am in the camp that loves the game. Duke Nukem Forever is not perfect, but the game is also not as bad as what some out there are saying…