Disclaimer: This is commentary from someone who has not played the game in question. I will this week for the review, of course, but for now, I'm merely making an observation based on gamer and critic feedback.
So finally, 14 years later, Duke Nukem Forever comes out in North America this week (it launched in the UK last Friday). And as some of you may have noticed, the early reviews are not encouraging. They go as low as a 2 out of 10 and as high as an 8 out of 10, and the average isn't impressive. It's worse than mediocre, in fact. And although we've heard that the DNF demo on the Store is based on old code, the reaction to that is almost as depressing. So what happened? After all this time, it just went and flopped? Say it ain't so!
Sadly it might be so. But I would like to point something out- these days, most big-budget blockbuster games take themselves very seriously. And they should; games aren't for kids, anymore. But there was a time in this industry's history when certain games were designed for the express purpose of amusement. And when I say amusement, I mean cheesy amusement. Amusement that is amusing because it's amusingly cheesy. …okay, I'll stop saying "amusing" now. Undoubtedly, Duke Nukem was always one such title. Nobody took that sh** seriously. It was too stupid to take seriously. That was the idea .
Now, if DNF really is broken; if it plays poorly and looks particularly bad and the cheesiness is too painful…well, then we have a problem. But I really believe many critics, who are in the modern mode of taking most everything very seriously (and again, that's just a sign of respect for the maturity of the industry), don't understand this. In all honesty, DNF may have to be reviewed differently, even though logically, it still has to compete with other modern titles. The bottom line is that we don't really see games like DNF anymore, and what is technically labeled a "flaw" might, given the context, be accurately considered a "charismatic eccentricity."
I'll tell you this- if the game is fun, that will be reflected in my review. If I think they captured Duke the way Duke should be captured (like no other video game character, really), and I believe the flaws are easily overlooked, I won't hesitate to recommend it. On the other hand, if it's just a poor production and Gearbox misses the mark, then I won't pull any punches. After all, we have waited for a loooooong time.
Related Game(s): Duke Nukem Forever