Nostalgic, as video gaming history should be. Will appeal to veterans, and bore the current generation of gamers.

User Rating: 8 | Duke Nukem Forever PS3
The world has been slated to end multiple times (by some religious sources) during the last decade, with the next date being October 21st, 2011. There more recent date of May 21st, 2011 was, as we all know it, a failed prediction. Now why do I mention that? Well guess why it didn't happen. Duke Nukem Forever. Given that I'm holding it in my hands right now, is something I never really expected, even more so to write this review. It's been delayed countless times, underwent years of silence and several engine revisions. The original development team where even shut down, sealing its fate… and still, 14 years after the game's announcement, it's finally here.

Now playing a game with 14 years in development is tough. No matter how it turns out to be, it will never be able to live up to the expectations. It could be game of the year material, and it still wouldn't live up to them. So in order to play the game, just don't have any expectations. I certainly didn't. I've hyped the game up for the past months, just for the fact that it was released, but I didn't have any expectations for it either. Without further ado, it's time to review it.


Story
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The game takes place 12 years after Duke Nukem 3D. Duke himself has seemingly enjoyed quite a lot of fame since them. Having countless trophies, women, hell even a museum, all in Las Vegas. Hell, he's even the most popular person in the world, with everyone looking up to him. Unfortunately, the aliens and steals his women, which is enough to make Duke pissed off, and go on an alien killing spree, to stop them once again.

The story is practically non-existent. Events are laid out, but there's no real character development, no shocking revelation or anything. It's just an excuse for Duke to go out and spew some one-liners and kill some aliens. While it would be nice to see some slight development for Duke and the world around him, it's at least humorous enough to have a lot of entertainment value. Though it will depend on the person playing, Duke is still pretty bad ass.

4.0

Gameplay
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DNF is a first person shooter, unlike some of the 3rd person and 2D adventures he ventured onto in the past, after DN3D. It has most of what you'd expect from a FPS, though a cover system fails to make an appearance. It's an FPS of the "go from point A to point B, killing everyone who gets in your way" kind. It does nothing new. This to me isn't the biggest problem. Games like Call of duty have been going on since 2005 without improving, or adding anything new to its gameplay, and it's doing good so far (that is, until Modern Warfare 3). The biggest problem with DNF is its design. Part of the time, the design is actually okay, but at times it does show a bit of age. A good example is the boss fights. They constantly have you running around, shooting rockets at them, and when you run out of ammo, you simply find an ammo crate and load up, and proceed to run around and shoot him all over again. That's it, no variation whatsoever, it's all you do in the boss fights. That and the loading times are really annoying, often taking around 20-30 seconds to load a level or checkpoint.

At least, the game itself, beyond the boss fights, does attempt to throw in some variation. At times, you have to solve puzzles… as unexpected as that is. They aren't difficult or anything, but they do seem a bit out of place, given that… well its Duke Nukem, he just has to run around kicking people's asses, not solving puzzles. They kind of go against the game's nature. There are also two sections where Duke has to drive around. The handling here is actually good, with the cars responding well to your inputs, and they never feel lose. That being said though, they do have a tendency to go on and on, outstaying their welcome. Finally, at times Duke gets shrunk, and must find a way to become his normal size again. They are alright, though they do succeed at making a shootout at a kitchen in a fast food restaurant, very entertaining. Another thing is Duke's health (or Ego). It's regenerative, but it can also be extended by messing around with the environments. Anything from lifting weights, to eating popcorn can be used to extend Duke's Ego. There are even small mini games in there, like pinball and air hockey, though they are minor additions, and should be viewed as such. They aren't anything special and, at best, only serves as minor distractions, faulty controls be damned.

Duke also has small power ups, in form of steroids and beer, which is a bit funny when you think about it, though it does make you question: why the hell does Duke need steroids? There are also Duke Holograms, which is basically a hologram of Duke, distracting enemies. Finally, there's Duke Vision, so he can see in the dark, which is probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard, given he doesn't really have any special goggles on.

If the game can be summed up in one word, it's nostalgia. Playing the game is like playing any other FPS game, before games like Halo or Call of Duty (the 4th at least) ever came out. Besides the aforementioned design, it lacks some of the things that seem to become a stable for most FPS's these days. Huge set pieces, the puzzles are simple "add or remove weight" kind of puzzles. It's outdated, compared to most FPS's today, and for most it'll probably be a big hindrance. However, while it's outdated, it is nostalgic. Like I mentioned, it's what FPS's used to be. Save aside the fact that you can only hold two weapons and have regenerative health (the only modern features in the game, besides leveling up in multiplayer), it's pretty much how people in the 90's used to play them. That's Duke Nukems strength and weakness. Veteran gamers will get a good sense of nostalgia, while newer gamers will just think it's boring and dull.

Personally, I think I fall in the veteran gamer department. It felt very nostalgic, comparing it to the FPS's I used to play and admire on the PC's back in the 90's (dating all the way up to Half Life 2). It just felt good to be playing something that doesn't focus on bringing the next epic set piece, but just focus on having you kill a bunch of aliens. The design is outdated sure, but the core shooting is still fun enough to carry you through the game. Though a reason for that entertainment is also due to Duke's one-liners and personality, though like the nostalgia factor, this depends on the person playing. If there is one thing that has to be said about the jokes however, they do make it clear, that the game was supposed to be out two years ago (aside the fact that they keep saying it's been 12 years since DN3D, when it's actually 14). Some of the jokes just aren't as relevant as they were back then (Christian Bale angry joke anyone?).

If there's one thing the game does do that most games don't do these days, it's the length. It should take around 10-12 hours to complete. When all is said and done however, there isn't a whole lot to do in its single player campaign, unless you're hunting for trophies or the numerous eco extensions. At least you unlock old trailers and videos when the game is finished.

7.5

Multiplayer
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Unsurprisingly, the game includes multiplayer. You get your standard death match, team death match and capture the hill and flag variant, though a fun twist has been made with capture the flag. Instead of flags, it's babes. They do tend to be annoying however, and will try to block your view. At least you can spank them to make them behave. This portion does have your standard leveling up structure, though instead of getting new weapons and perks, you instead unlock items for Dukes apartment. It doesn't sound like much, but it can become addicting unlocking all of the available items for the apartment.

That and the multiplayer are surprisingly good. While it still has the nostalgic feeling and despite its lack of kill cam and lag being a small issue at times, it's really entertaining and fast paced. Capture the flag… sorry, Capture the babe, can become a bit intense when both sides can score, without having to retrieve their babe. Also, someone on the team seriously deserves a medal for really short respawn times. Get killed, and you only wait 2 seconds before you can get back in. It really helps making the portion fast paced. If it receives enough support with new game modes, levels and what not, then it could become something even better.

9.0

Graphics
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Like some of the games joke, the graphics are another sign that the game was supposed to be released a bit earlier. It doesn't look terrible, but it just has that murky look to it. The shadows move along in frames, itself is odd to look at. Brown and grey mainly dominate the color scheme. The textures takes a while to load up at points. The characters can look awkward. The frame rate can get chubby. It's all there. At least, it doesn't have any major graphical glitches like some other games.

4.0

Sound
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The sound however, is entertaining. The main theme, while not catchy, suits the game perfectly, though similar tunes during the game itself, is sorely missing, with mostly orchestral music that can feel a bit out of place. The voice acting is decent overall, though Duke Nukems lines steals the show. Some might think that the character, like the gameplay, is outdated in this day and age, but I personally laughed a lot at him. They one-liners aren't clever or anything, their just fun to listen too. There is one sound bug that temporarily makes the sound disappear however.

8.0

A few words

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Judging Duke Nukem: Forever is tough. While it will always disappoint, regardless of how it would have turned out to be, it's a game that simply only appeals to those who've been playing video games since the 80's and 90's. It has that old-school feeling that will make any gamer from that point full of nostalgia, and leave the current players out in the cold. Taken as a whole, it's nostalgic, but entertaining.

And that's quite possibly the game's biggest crime. Sure it could never live up to expectations, but for a game that took 14 years to come out, and it's just entertaining. It could at least set something special up, even if it were a minor thing, but it doesn't, and that's the biggest crime it ever commits. The various gameplay videos, from the different versions of the game (during development) only serve the game even worse. It looked pretty good in 2003, and even in 2006, so why it took so long to get it out of the door is baffling. Maybe it's because the developers either were focusing too much on certain elements, or simply thought they constantly need to add something. The game doesn't, at any point show that it took 14 years to make, and judging from how it look earlier, it should have been released way earlier.

Overall
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As it stands though, DNF is an entertaining shooter that has a lot of nostalgia for the veteran gamers, backed up by a good multiplayer portion that is chaotic and very fun. If you've been playing games since the 80's and 90's, you won't necessarily love it, but you will enjoy it. As for those who grew up with Halo and Call of Duty however, they will simply get bored of the game, and tired of the numerous one-liners. It doesn't appeal to everyone. Yet, it is a game everyone should play. Its long development ensures its place in the history of video game, so at least rent it, because we will probably never see a game like this, ever again. It'll serve up as a reminder to most developers on what happens, if you mess around too much in the development phrase.