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Duke Nukem Forever review

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  • Duke Nukem Forever review

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ID:	597052Boy, have we waited a long time for this installment of Duke Nukem. Almost too long. My memories of Duke Nukem 3D remain fond, but after 14 years I have to admit that even those are becoming vague. It's certainly late, but might have been just in time to save the Duke. Of course, the grand question is; does Duke Nukem Forever have what it takes to do so? The first couple of reviews out of the blocks say "no", but I don't think it's quite that simple.


    There's no denying that Duke Nukem Forever is riddled with content that is no longer offensive or shocking - just plain silly. The plot is driven by a hero stereotype that is shamelessly dated. And the gameplay feels like it really has been dragged kicking and screaming straight out of the late nineties. But you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it, for those very reasons.

    "The game doesn't take itself at all seriously, and neither should you."
    Technically, Duke Nukem Forever falls down, and falls down hard. The engine is the game's greatest detriment, with unarguably poor visuals when considering current standards. While some interiors look passable and sometimes even good, such as the dimly lit industrial hallways you'll traverse, the environments are sparse and lacking detail. The character animations are laughable (but that's probably the point), and the post-processing effects muddy the visuals, in an attempt to hide the resoundingly low-fi look of the game.

    And somehow, despite the unimpressive graphics quality, even on a rig running a GTX 590 I was experiencing slow-downs. While the audio is generally fine, there are no particularly impressive nor damning characteristics, and I'm sad to say that overall there's simply a severe lack of polish with the entire AV experience.

    Oddly, after the initial and momentous disappointment with the engine, I found myself about 60 minutes into the game not giving a damn about graphics - it didn't matter anymore, because I was having fun. And the further into the game I got, the more fun I was having. Not the same sort of fun I've had playing games like Arkham Asylum, Heavy Rain or Modern Warfare, but good old fashioned gaming fun, in spades.

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ID:	596764It took me a while to settle in, after so many recent experiences that trumped Hollywood's efforts. They've often been cinematic masterpieces, emotionally charged and sometimes even intellectually challenging. I soon realised however that expecting Duke Nukem to carry any of those traits was the first mistake I had made. It wouldn't be a real Duke game if it aspired to be any of those things; Duke Nukem Forever isn't trying to be art or redefine conventions. It really is a game without aspirations of being anything more, and quite frankly I found that refreshing, amongst dozens of recent titles trying far too hard and falling flat.

    The entire game is carried with the premise that it's a joke, highlighted by jabs it takes at itself throughout the campaign, and the very fact it has been over a decade in the making. The game doesn't take itself at all seriously, and neither should you. Oh, and there's many a hat-tip to players of Duke Nukem 3D with in-jokes and nostalgic reminders of the 90's classic. You'll be familiar with your foe and your arsenal, and even some surroundings. They're all ridiculous, and blasting my way through the six hour campaign was a hoot.

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ID:	596766Duke's dialogue is often bad, but often in a 'so bad it's good' kind of way. I laughed few times, but there were plenty of smirks with Duke's remarks about other gaming icons and celebrities. Dialogue from other characters is what you would consider poor in any AAA title such Modern Warfare, but again, I stress that this isn't a Modern Warfare. When the dialogue doesn't sound believable or professional, you're quickly reminded that the game is one big slap-stick gag; you are after all carrying a shrink ray, shooting flying octopus, while on a mission to save the women of the world from an invading alien force. The writers trod a careful line with the use of dialogue, and I felt there was just enough done to add to the experience, without overdoing it and annoying me.

    The gameplay itself is certainly simple, filled with bad AI, scripted sequences and some epic set pieces, yet the game is superbly paced with timely shifts from stage to stage, and setting to setting. The action is predictable, but exciting, and takes place in varying scenarios, and a diverse range of environments. Not at any point was a bored, and always looking forward to see what would be served up next. Only once did I have that feeling that I was a victim of filler, that things were being strung out unnecessarily, but at the conclusion of that sequence Duke jokes about it, and you're again reminded that all of the absurdity you've experienced is on purpose.

    I had such very low expectations coming into my Duke Nukem Forever experience. To my surprise, I loved it to bits, not wanting to stop playing, so much so that I finished it in a single session - bar a nap before the final boss fight. Most importantly, I have to reiterate; I had fun with this game, so much fun I'm almost embarrassed to say so.

    Duke Nukem Forever is a dive-bomb back into that puerile head-space of a 12 year old that every male possesses, where not all of my experiences have to be smart, profound or complex to be enjoyable. If you too can let go, I'm sure you too will have a great time. I can't wait for the next in the series - with any luck we won't have to wait another 14 years for it.
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    • rec
      #9
      rec commented
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      Another review that scores DNF well: Duke Nukem Forever Review | GameFront

    • Guest's Avatar
      #10
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      almost nothing this reviewers says has been correct, ever. please fire this moron.

    • Milenko
      #11
      Milenko commented
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      Yeah you're totally fired from this community forum that doesn't have employees, rec!
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