Graphics:
3.8
Gameplay:
4.7
Sound:
3.9
Control:
4.3
Replay Value:
4.5
Online Gameplay:
4.0
Overall Rating:
4.4
Publisher:
Take-Two Interactive
Developer:
3DRealms, Gearbox Software
Number Of Players:
1-4
Genre:
Genre


They once called it “Did Not Finish.” Now I ardently wish it hadn’t. Just a few days back, I questioned the critic reception , wondering if they were taking the game too seriously; if reviewers had forgotten the primary focus of a game like Duke Nukem Forever . It’s shameless, lewd, crude, and oh so cheesy, and that’s precisely the point. And if DNF was all those things and tons o’ fun, I would’ve been satisfied. Heck, I would’ve been thrilled. But now I’m so annoyed and disappointed I can hardly see straight enough to type this review; the game is ugly, tedious, monotonous, and poorly designed. A few bright spots just aren’t enough.

I’m fairly certain most any game produced in the past three or four years looks better than DNF. Resistance: Fall of Man is technically superior in every possible way, and that was a PS3 launch title. The animations are jerky and even broken in some areas (I’ll explain below), the overall level design is drab and uninteresting, and the environments are clearly from 2005. The only bright spot lies in the enemies and bosses, all of which are actually decent and appropriately intimidating. Those nasty foes often stand out against the stark, technically mediocre backdrops, but the special effects do little to assist. A fair descriptive word? “Blech.”

The sound is no better, even if you accept the fact that Duke is supposed to sound that way. I was perfectly willing to laugh at his cheeseball outdated voice – and I did laugh at his voice when shrunk; it’s hilarious – but the other voice performances are equally painful and I can’t very well give them a free pass. The soundtrack might be good, but I rarely heard it as the balance was always way off. Effects would override voices and music, the soundtrack would often drop out entirely, and the audio effects lacked impact. The latter is a serious issue, too, because we needed that to enhance the atmosphere. Technically overall: poor.

But I repeat- none of that would’ve mattered too much had the gameplay been tight and entertaining. Well, having such lackluster sound would’ve hurt but truthfully, I could’ve dealt with the archaic visual presentation, provided the thrills were there. All I really wanted was a classic run ‘n gun adventure with that Duke-ish attitude we’ve so missed over the years. Plus, so many shooters are so realistic these days; it’s all about cover and strategy. We really haven’t seen a true blue run ‘n gunner since the days of Serious Sam (although Bulletstorm was close). All I wanted was testosterone-fueled bad-assery with endless attitude.

Was that too much to ask? Apparently, it was. The game starts terribly and it’s a good thing I played for a while; otherwise, the score would’ve been even lower. They kick off with several lame gimmicks, which includes pissing in a urinal, getting a blowjob from a pair of sluts dressed as schoolgirls, and punching aliens in the head (before you get any firearms). There’s also a big boss fight in a football stadium, after which you kick a field goal with the beast’s severed head. Now, given the right surroundings and style, this would fit; it’s very Duke-like in nature. But then I started moving around.

At its core, the movement itself isn’t bad at all. It’s relatively smooth, the jumping seems normal, and maneuverability isn’t really an issue. It’s the rest of it: the enemies are stupid and cheap at the same time, even the biggest weapons lack all semblance of power (not in their performance but in how they sound), the poor level design is cut straight from a very, very old game, and the story is just plain stupid. I’d give the storyline a free pass, too, if only there had been anything even remotely amusing about the plot. Make it stupid; go right ahead. But at least make me laugh. At least let me say, “hellz yes, gonna kick all sorts of ass!”

Sadly, it’s just terribly put together. I had to load over 4 gigs worth of data onto my hard drive and the loading times are still absurdly long. What’s worse, I had to sit and watch that loading screen every time I died, which was frequent and frustrating. The pig enemies that rush you can pin you in a corner and never let you leave, and oh yes, sidestepping isn’t possible in cramped areas. They’ll just home in on you no matter what. If they rush straight at you, you can grab them by the horns and snap their neck by pressing the X button quickly, but the amount of damage you suffer in that time means you’ll probably be dead in the next few seconds.

The close and confined areas are the worst and unfortunately, that’s how the game starts. Once I got outside, things got a little better, as I finally got to move around a bit and sample new weapons. There was one good boss fight that involved a massive alien and a rocket launcher, which I liked, and I also enjoyed smashing an alien-infested concrete wall with a wrecking ball. And yes, there is a fair amount of running and gunning that feels very old-school, but as you constantly feel at a disadvantage, it’s often more about survival than kicking butt. Because just about everything seems stronger than Duke, his coolness factor drops like crazy.

Lastly, the glitches, hitches and miscues are borderline comical. If one of those enemies that rush you misses, he’ll often – not occasionally, often – freeze in place against a wall or even in mid-air. The jetpack-enhanced enemies will sometimes get stuck, too; it’s as if they hit an invisible barrier and just started glitching in place. Collision detection is extraordinarily iffy and Duke’s abilities are barely even abilities. He can take steroids to increase his melee power, which is almost entirely useless beyond the first few hours, and he can drink a beer, which somehow makes him tougher. Woozy, but tougher. That proved useful at times, though.

There’s also Duke vision, which is basically a blue version of night vision. Other than that, there isn’t much to talk about. There are some driving sections, which aren’t horrendous but they drag on far too long and the controls are just too loose. The entire game just feels like a chore, and one that isn’t inundated with lots of offensive goodness (offensive stuff can be “good” in certain situations). I desperately wanted to love the game because I love the character, and I fought to enjoy myself. I’m glad I played longer than I had intended because things did get better. But eventually, I lost the fight. The less said about the multiplayer the better. Tragically, after over 13 years, the end result is a mess.

Duke Nukem Forever will likely go down in history as one of the biggest disappointments ever. For the record, had Gearbox simply given us a solid old-fashioned shooter with all those retarded one-liners and strippers and gore that made the series great , I would’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. I would’ve defended it like crazy. But there’s just nothing to defend here; those who think there is are suffering from an over-abundance of nostalgic influence. Nobody wanted to love DNF more than me but I just couldn’t get any enjoyment out of it. The sad part is, Duke really deserves a great game. Maybe someday it’ll happen.

The Good: Attitude isn’t too far off. Some diversity, although gimmick-related. Decent enemy design and a few cool bosses.

The Bad: Terrible technical presentation, loaded with glitches and errors. Soundtrack and effects are seriously lacking. Control is loose. Duke is just way too weak. Poor level design. Weapons have no punch.

The Ugly: “Damnit. Duke didn’t deserve this.”

Subscribe
Notify of
111 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

Fail to the king, baby.

DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
11 years ago

No offense Sonic but I am so tired of seeing this stupid phrase.

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

LoL hey that's the first time I read "Fail to the king, baby"
Yeah, I don't get out much… Or I guess for the net thats stay in much?
=p

And easy there Daze that's a Master Ninja you're talking to 😉

DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
11 years ago

Oh I have no hatred or problems with Sonic just the phrase. Everywhere I look it and see Duke stuff that phrase is there. Plus I like Ninjas.

sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

@Daze
Well I shouldn't have to say it at all. After about 12 years of being called vaperware, seeing the result is insulting to say the least. No one expected this to be a GOTY, but certainly not a piece of crap either.


Last edited by sonic1899 on 6/16/2011 12:06:32 AM

DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
11 years ago

That is true sonic. They should have at least hit a 7 after that long in production.

DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
11 years ago

I was so hoping that this would get a better review from you but I guess it really is a bad game. I'll still play someday but only when it's cheap. Keep up the great work Ben.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I would like to add that I really wanted to cry when I played it.

Claire C
Claire C
11 years ago

lmao =D

darxed
darxed
11 years ago

To me it went like this.

"Oooh it's really ugly, but no matter I'm not here for the graphics"
"'How was the game Duke? was it good? Well, after twelve years in development, it better f*cking be' he he, that was good'
"'Mary and Kate Holsome', classic Duke!"

And then it all went downhill… and those are like the first five minutes of the game, not counting installation and loading time… So yeah, I wanted to cry too… Duke Nukem 3D and Final Fantasy VII were the first games I bought and replayed then like crazy, so I totally agree with you Ben, I wrestled me trying to love this game, then almost killed me trying to like it, but I just couldn't do it..

sigh…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

*sigh* I had a sense that this was inevitable when the game was risen so quickly from the ashes.

Duke Nukem : DO NOT Finish.

TheIllusiveMan
TheIllusiveMan
11 years ago

This more than disappoints me. You seemed like a major Duke fan and after reading this and being a Duke fan myself, I wonder if I should even try this game myself.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

He kicks a field goal with its eyeball.

I admit it is a disappointment, but I'm enjoying the 90s play style. Still, it's pretty hard to mess up a Duke game and somehow Gearbox has done it. Ultimately what holds it back is the attempts to mix old and new, it should just be old.

Nevermind that though, it's still plenty fun and I'm enjoying particular parts a lot. Duke himself is still awesome and I hope this game somehow warrants a true next gen production and delivers what DNF couldn't.

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
11 years ago

Agreed !! I am loving it despise its flaws. And to be honest I wish they made more games like this. Crude, funny, violent and totally random.

SayWord
SayWord
11 years ago

I am also going to admit that I love this game. Its just so bad that its good haha. Meh, I just find the game fun and that's all I ask for.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
11 years ago

I'm enjoying the game immensely as well. It's not perfect by a long shot but it keeps me entertained unlike all the other shooters that come out nowadays.

SayWord
SayWord
11 years ago

"Take your tentacles back to Japan" hah loved that line ^^

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

haha, yeah Duke himself kinda saves the game for me. The thing is its so old its almost new, when was the last time you saw an FPS that needed you to interact with the environment by bouncing bombs around to open up new areas or even a game where they let you die if you do something stupid? NO minimap telling you what to do next? That's okay by me.

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
11 years ago

I'm enjoying it too. I'm just getting through the Duke Dome.

There are plenty of flaws but the one liners and crude acts save it. Little things like the bit with the crane (and the shipping crate moving before that) were enjoyable; moreso than running through yet another jungle as in recent FPSs

Claire C
Claire C
11 years ago

I watched in horror today as my friend played it right in front of me. He tired several times to hand me the controller but I refused. Half hour of watching him struggle was enough. On the plus side, now every game I play will look 10 times better. =^.^=

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

Interesting!

I'm still holding back for my review.

The game has such a history and things to touch upon, it's tough to fully review. Then you got the details i.e. pop culture references (btw there are more easter eggs and references in here than any other game ever made! Also nice detail touches aswell like the clocks in the game actually being real clocks telling the real time), gameplay variety such as shrunk and Titty City etc, etc and many weren't touched upon.
So i guess it was just that bad for you.

So yeah, my response will be my review, i guess…but, i do echo much said here…but some in a different context.

Linked to the Gearbox forums too.

Oh, btw, can you do user reviews via PS3 Browser? Don't want to type it all and have it do a Java era or something!

P.S. This is 3D Realms's game, Gearbox only got it shippable…they did nothing design wise other than polish what they could. In other words, blame 3D Realms if you don't enjoy it…or George Broussard if we're singling people out lol.


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 6/15/2011 10:21:34 PM

Pandacastro
Pandacastro
11 years ago

I could write comments, change my pic, go to the forums, and summit news tip in the ps3 browser. I think you could write reviews too.

SayWord
SayWord
11 years ago

Loved the halo master chief reference lol.

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

As usual, the users seem more positive to Duke and some may be confused.

The ABC channel have done a video review with two separate scores. I think it's good for anyone still on the fence, they review it very fairly and don't repeat the trend to save face.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra-Kr5nmGB0&feature=player_embedded

Oh and Bulletstorm was in now way better than this. Bulletstorm tried to be funny, but came off as funny as the Hangover, and it tried to be old school with zero charm…plus it was majorly repetitive. Just had to throw that out there.

Lairfan
Lairfan
11 years ago

Yeah, Bulletstorm only had zero charm for you because you had no nostalgia for it. If DNF were in Bulletstorm's position, you'd be saying the same thing about it.

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
11 years ago

Oh well I am enjoying this game a lot. Might be because I am still on normal settings but I never had trouble with corners and piggies. Really liked the Halo dissing comment of Duke haha. The game really feels like I am playing Duke 3D with upped visuals and a new stupid story. All in all I find it pretty enjoyable. And yeah well about the part where you say he gets killed easily… More like you get killed easily XD Duke is bad ass in the story and it will remain so. It is up to you to live up to Duke and not die whatever the odds are! 😛 lol

Anyway I couldn't even bring myself to give this game a score. It is as if that game was on a different chart from the likes of uncharted. I find it just fun but no GOTY lol


Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 6/15/2011 10:31:06 PM

Claire C
Claire C
11 years ago

The best Duke Nukem game this year was Bulletstorm.

Hee hee =^.^=

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

LOL!

I think the best Duke Nukem game of the year was Duke Nukem 3D…

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

ouch, but you get a thumbs up for that.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

The game is so frustrating.

The long load times are absolutely inexcusable since you've got a 4 GB install. I hate how you have to use the L1 & R1 buttons to aim and shoot; I want to use L2 & R2. I hate the Halo style weapons & health (two weapons at a time and the ego bar) in a game like this. There are times where you have no clue what you have to do and must turn to YouTube or DailyMotion for the answer. It's so archaic. And yes, the graphics are laughable.

I think Gearbox had their hands tied. George Broussard wanted "his" game and wasn't interested in something that looks and plays like something from this decade.

However, I'm continuing to slog through this game hoping for one redeeming nugget.

A lot of people have bought this regardless of the reviews. I'm glad I only rented it for a week. I'd be pissed to have paid $57 (the lowest price for the game yesterday) on Duke.

A lot of people have been mentioning Bulletstorm in their reviews, calling it the true successor to Duke Nukem. I'm starting to think about buying the game this summer now.


Last edited by n/a on 6/15/2011 10:31:40 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Bulletstorm was good fun.

Claire C
Claire C
11 years ago

Yah! Bulletstorm was super fun. Definitely more deserving of Duke fans than this.

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
11 years ago

O_O *There are times when you have no clue what you have to do and turn to youtube* That means you never played the old Dukes before. And that is one of the things I liked about that game. I find it actually fun that the game is not giving you the answer away and isn't all that simple. If you want a fast paced run and gun with nothing else just go back to CoD XD

Lairfan
Lairfan
11 years ago

@Neo_Aeon666:

That one of the many things I hated about last gens games. The incredibly random and hard-to-find ways to progress were pointless, and still are in DNF. They always made games less fun for me, and they just make this game worse than it already is.

CaptRon
CaptRon
11 years ago

I don't think we were playing the same game.. I mean yeah it had it's problems but give them a little credit. It was still Duke. The bright side is, now they can start on a new one and make it really bad ass.

Kevin555
Kevin555
11 years ago

Man, some of you Duke fans are forgiving. You get given a cold, half cooked meal after 13 years that recieves average scores pretty much everywhere & you will still eat it up even if it tastes stale. If this was my beloved Silent Hill or Devil May Cry (which are heading down that way) i'd be pretty damn frustrated. I certainly wouldn't be giving them credit for below par, make-do-with results. But eh, glad you liked it. 🙂

But personally, if i was a die-hard fan i wouldn't be giving them credit for this outcome after 13 years of waiting.

*Cues the thumbs down from bubblegum chewing Duke fans* 😉

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
11 years ago

You people should forget about the development time. No more over 10yrs BS. If you want to use that as an excuse for their game to be good I could also use it to say that the game never had a stable development all those years and it just kept going back to nothing and restarting. Plus they were a very small team and the project was abandoned so many times it ain't even funny. So I could actually use this poor story to back the game up.

I am not a Die hard fan but I am enjoying this. Just play it without expecting a masterpiece but a funny over the top Duke adventure.

Lairfan
Lairfan
11 years ago

@Neo_Aeon666:

You know, I tried playing it like that, and it still didn't work. I don't care how many times development was stopped and restarted, if Gearbox wanted to finally release this 13 year old turd, they should have made sure it was brought up to date technologically at the least, instead of trying to rush it out and make it more half-assed than it already was/is.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

Wait a minute hold the phone. Gearbox, right? They made this game? The same dev that made the highly addictive and wonderful Borderlands! The same dev that made Half-Life Opposing Force! There is something wrong here. My guess is that they made 10% of DNF. George Brussard and 3D Realms should take 90%, if not more of the blame for this crying-in-fetal-position debacle!

I was so looking forward to this and to see a 4.4 from Ben who I highly respect as a reviewer just hurts. I hope this is not the end of Duke Nukem. There has to be a new adventure that demands more singular attention than DNF was given. Yes, I know it took forever to make originally but I feel the game itself was not given the proper development attention it so sorely needed towards the end. Especially when they are trying to merge an old product and new product together.

Duke you have been wronged and I hope you land on your feet! I would love to see Id Software, Naught Dog, Guerrilla Games or Insomniac do another Hail to the King baby some day!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

They finished and polished the game, I think a lot of the work was already complete when they got their hands on it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Seriously? You guys are getting that upset about getting stuck? You did have to use your brain a little back in the day you know? This game is clearly about environmental interaction. Toss a couple barrels at the end of the shipping container to tip it over and keep moving.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I didn't really have a problem with that.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I didn't mean you, guess I should have worded that better.

SayWord
SayWord
11 years ago

I thought the "puzzle" elements were pretty easy too. : p

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

You'd be surprised the cod fans I've talked to getting stuck and complaining about "exploration" elements

___________
___________
11 years ago

its not that the puzzles are hard, there piss easy, its that this a duke nukem game puzzles have NO place here!
i thought the prase was its time to kick a$$ and chew bubblegum and im all out of gum.
not its time to solve puzzles and chew bubblegum and im all out of gum.
thats what destroyed DNF for me the most.
the bugs, poor graphics and such i can handle, but the puzzles are as entertaining as watching the grass grow!
DNF is like watching 5 minutes of your favorite show there the shooting parts, then 5 minutes of your most hated show there the platforming parts, then another 5 minutes of your most hated show there the puzzle parts.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
11 years ago

The few little puzzles that are there are pretty easy but I'll gladly take these puzzles in exchange for the key card hunting that the originals had.

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
11 years ago

"its time to solve puzzles and chew bubblegum and im all out of gum."

LOL Hooray for ____________!

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
11 years ago

I thought that the few scenery interaction required to make progress (barrels, crane, duke statue etc) worked really well for me.