Duke Nukem Forever Review

By on June 10, 2011

Hail to the king, baby!

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Twelve years in the making and we finally have Duke Nukem Forever. Well, that’s not really a fair statement – the story’s a lot more complex than that and involves changes in game engines as well as developers. However, for fans of Duke Nukem 3D, it’s been a twelve year wait to play the sequel and we’re delighted that Duke Nukem Forever is finally here.

The game starts with you playing out the final level of Duke Nukem 3D, killing the gargantuan boss and scoring a field goal with his eyeball. It’s enacted as Duke playing out his achievements of the past on a video game, while two plaid skirted girls umm, attend to him. A couple of things are pretty clear from the very start. First, this is a game for Duke Nukem fans made by Duke Nukem fans. And second, this game is filled with clichéd yet catchy phrases, sexual references, nudity and alien scum. So, that’s pretty much everything that made the first game such a classic, now brought to you with a more modern game engine. The story progresses from the era of Duke Nukem 3D. You’re now 12 years in the future where Duke is a living legend. As he sets off for a TV interview, he learns that the aliens are now back and they’re out to get even, doing the one thing that’s bound to get Duke mad. They’ve taken all the babes. The b**tards!

In order to save the girls and the world in general, Duke takes it on himself to find and kill the alien menace. To help him in his task, Duke has at his disposal an array of weapons including shotguns, pistols, rail guns, RPGs and the like. Most of them are standard fare but then you’ve got some really cool weapons like shrink ray guns and the Holoduke (which creates a hologram version of yourself that distracts enemies, so that you can attack them while the Holoduke has their attention). In all, it’s a nice mix of new and familiar old weapons. In addition to these though, you have explosives in the form of detonators and laser trip mines. Plus, you can also consume beer and steroids within the game to give you a strength boost, allowing you to kill enemies easily with your bare hands.

In terms of gameplay though, the game is just above average by FPS standards. As far as FPS games go, perhaps we’ve been spoilt with a plethora of great titles and while Duke Nukem is not bad by any means, if you take the element of nostalgia away from it, it wouldn’t stand up against the top tier of FPS competition. There’s just something about the gameplay itself that doesn’t feel sensational. Most of the bosses in the game are unmemorable and killing enemies isn’t as satisfying an experience as we would have liked it to be. This is not to say that the gameplay isn’t good – you just won’t leave the game thinking, that just blew my friggin’ mind! The “woah” moments in this game are few and far between. Having said that, the game does manage to pack in a lot of variety in terms of gameplay – you’ll be in kicking alien ass in one level, driving around in a miniature car in another level and solving puzzles in the next.

For fans though, what really makes this game is all the references to the old game, the toilet humor (at some points, quite literally – you can throw feces at your enemies) and kicking alien ass and then finally getting your reward of strippers and generally naked women. Considering the latter, we’re not quite sure this game will get the green light from the local censor board for release from UAE, but we’ll have an update from you as soon as we know.

The game makes great use of the Unreal engine and the graphics are certainly above par. They’re not the best we’ve seen in an FPS game by any means but we weren’t expecting a groundbreaking graphical masterpiece with Duke Nukem Forever. Level designs are varied and detailed in most parts. The sound in the game helps bring it to life – from the heavy guitar riffs to Duke’s cheesy banter, this is exactly what Duke Nukem fans want. We could have used some more dialogue though, particularly in the more gritty and dark Hive levels.

In terms of multiplayer, the gameplay is fast-paced and a lot of fun. You’ll find some great variations of classical multiplayer battles like capture the babe instead of capture the flag. You can also customize matches to a great level which makes it a lot more fun. For instance, you can create matches where you only use the rail gun (the equivalent to a sniper rifle in the game) or only allow melee combat so you have to fight with your hands. As you advance in multiplayer mode, you get to unlock a lot of character customizations as well.

Overall, Gearbox have come up with a game that fans of Duke Nukem will be pleased with. While it’s no contender for the FPS crown, it’s a solid FPS game with a lot of character. If you’ve waited twelve years in anticipation for a great Duke Nukem title, then this was well worth the wait.

The Scorecard
Varied and often intense. Kill aliens and save the babes.
Great but not ground breaking.
Hail to the king, baby! Expect loads of familiar Evil Dead-inspired dialogue.
A decently sized single player campaign and lots more hours to go on multiplayer mode. The game certainly packs a lot of value.
Kick alien ass, slap t*ts, fly around in a jetpack, race around in a supercharged buggy. Loads of fun.
While it’s no contender for the FPS crown, it’s a solid FPS game with a lot of character. If you’ve waited twelve years in anticipation for a great Duke Nukem title, then this was well worth the wait.


Hitesh is a tech/games journalist and Business Development Manager for the Tbreak Network.

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