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Duke Nukem Forever Review, Got balls of steel?

Lock and load, come get some!!!! Aliens have stolen all the hot chicks, particularly Duke’s twin playthings….Oh and they drank his beer, now its time to kick some ass.

Sadly this game with all its major hype released to some poor reviews, I think it got only one or two favorable reviews, but the rest were..well dismal. This caused 2K Games’ PR firm, The Redner Group, to lash out at the gaming press on their twitter account that caused 2K to drop the firm due to the comments made, which threatened to withhold future review titles to the press. Yikes!

But on to the goods, the game! So as I mentioned, this game was released to some very abysmal review scores, and has been the butt of many jokes and subject to some major ridicule. The game picks up 12 years after the events of Duke Nukem 3D, which have made him world famous and the object of much desire! The game starts out in a kind of tutorial mode where you get oriented with the game controls and a few weapons….Now I’m going to drop a bit of a spoiler here, well it’s not really a spoiler, more of a heads up, you are in a locker room and you start the game by urinating (yes I’m serious) after exploring the room there are bathroom stalls, open one of these and you can grab a chocolate log out of the toilet for a trophy…yes you grab poop and get a trophy. For some people this will set the tone for the rest of the game.

Duke Nukem Forever is your typical Duke style game, over the top action, crude one liners….and of course gratuitous nudity, and LOTS of it. There is a lot here that reminds me of how awesome Duke Nukem 3D was all those years ago, namely the fast paced action packed single player campaign, then there are some of the tried and true weapons like dukes pistol, shotgun, and missile launcher. Now don’t expect any form of reality in this game, the guns have next to no recoil, and are crazy powerful, effective tools for killing women stealing beer drinking a**hole aliens. There was one thing I found interesting, there was a decent amount of puzzles, yeah puzzles, not really duke’s style if you ask me. But it did give the game a refreshing breath of change, so it wasn’t all bad.

I found the level design to be really crisp and vibrant, although the level progression is pretty much linear, there really is no room for exploration like we have in other shooters of the day. That’s not saying that there is no room to deviate from your objectives, you can look at things and go into other rooms but in today’s standards its pretty lacking in the extra goodies department. Controls in the game are so-so, not the greatest, but not the worst. I’ve read that people find the controls too jumpy, especially in the aiming department, for me I found aiming and shooting to be just fine, for me the movement seemed a bit off. Duke seems to glide rather than walk or run, and the jumping seems a little over responsive. There is some parts of the game where the bad and good controls mix, to form an entertaining mess of awesomeness is the driving. Your first driving experience is early on in the game when you drive a remote control buggy, woo fun times, then there is typical Duke fashion, the monster truck driving, whoa boy, talk about epic lol. At times its hard to control, but once you get it down, wow, lots of fun, and some HUGE jumps!

Weapons and items in the game are pretty typical, with a few exceptions, some of the more over top weapons are the Ripper (or chaingun) and the devastator. The Ripper is a big gun that fires a million and one bullets and is great for groups of enemies. The Devastator, my favorite weapon in all of the game, this weapon is a twin launcher that fires small rockets at a dizzying rate of fire, they call it the devastator for a reason! Then you have your typical handguns, sniper rifles and shotguns, along with a mix explosives ranging from laser trip mines to pipe bombs. There are few items in the game, most noteably is the beer, drinking this increases Duke’s damage dealt but gives you the ‘drunk’ effect by blurring the screen, then you have the steroids. These increase your melee atack damage quite a bit, but lower your “Ego”, Ego is your health….fitting lol

There is a multiplayer mode in the game but the few times I tried it I couldn’t get into a game for some reason. But there are 8 modes and an experience system, that I think is only good for purchasing things for your MP avatar. I’ve read mixed reviews about the multiplayer, but for me Duke is not a multiplayer game, its a long and awesome singleplayer experience.

Amidst all the negative press, the poor reception and the constant complaints about how crude the game is, there is one glaring, outstanding thing that has been done right, and that’s Jon St. John is yet again the voice for Duke, who adds an immeasurable amount of personality to the king. He’s done the voice since Duke Nukem 3D and has been the one thing that people across the board have agreed that was done right.

Overall for me this was a no brainer purchase, I have played duke since the days of DOS, for you young kids, DOS is an operating system us old farts used in the stone age. I’ve played nearly every version of Duke Nukem and I knew what to expect going into this game, for me I enjoyed this game. I think it got some bad press because the “Duke style” had been long forgotten. Forgotten was Dukes rude and crude behavior, long forgotten was the play style of Duke and what he stands for, in the past almost 9 years since our last serious duke game, and the almost 15 years since the best Duke game ever a lot has been forgotten about the worlds most famous hero. With the bleeding heart liberals of today trying to tear down the gaming industry and to try and take away the rights of developers to freely develop their art, things have changed. I think this was not only a good game but also a step forward in recognising video games as an art form and to be protected by the freedom laws we all enjoy.

So in closing Duke Nukem Forever isn’t as good as it should be since it has been in development for 14 years. But, if you are rude and crude die hard Duke fan like myself, I say go pick this up, its definitely a game worthy of your game collection. If you are a gaming fan, who doesn’t mind some nudity and dirty language paired with over the top gameplay, wait till this game gets a price adjustment to $39.99. If you are easily offended….stay away….FAARR away, oh and also don’t let the kids see this 😉 *Whispers* Let them play it, but keep it from the wife, I won’t tell *Whispers*

[review pros=”Jon St. John as the voice of Duke
Over the top, edge of your seat action
Fantastic graphics
True to Duke gameplay” cons=”Controls can be ‘sluggish’
Some people find the humor offensive
Not the game it could have been, for all the development time it had” score=55]

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Duke Nukem Forever provided by 2k Games.