Duke Nukem Forever Review

Iconic Box Art

In Duke Nukem Forever, there is regeneration in shelters, you can only carry two guns at a time, and there are long and boring “platforming” sections. That’s almost everything you need to know when deciding whether to buy (or not buy) the game. If you’re still somewhat satisfied with it, then:

DNF starts off lively – they give us a powerful rocket launcher, then make a funny joke about the infamous 14 years, and then, then, then some nonsense begins. Instead of a hurricane shooter™, the first couple of dozen minutes (it’s unclear how many actually pass, I don’t want to start over, but it feels like a very long time) I was flipping through a collection of jokes that accumulated during the game’s development. Mostly, of course, they were vulgar.

With the Guinness Book of Records’ recorded production time of DNF, they could have easily started making the game from scratch five or ten times, but the feeling that the gameplay of the new “Duke” actually came to us from some forgotten past never leaves for a second. In a bad way. While the unique but vivid features of old-school shooters, like a crazy arsenal of weapons weighing a hundred or so kilograms in the protagonist’s backpack or health restoration with rare medkits, were almost completely cut out, many trash elements from old games and that “wow, I can actually take popcorn in my hands and cook it in the microwave” vibe were somehow carefully preserved. It’s hard to say how the Gearbox surgeons confused the patient’s appendix with his heart.

DNF remains true to its style of endless chaos until the very end, and it must be admitted that sometimes guessing various references to mass, including gaming, culture (strippers are not what they seem) and watching Duke’s “ego” grow from looking at porn magazines (the “ego” is the maximum health indicator; just in case) is really fun. These episodes were supposed to give the player a break from the insane carnage happening on the screen, but they fail to play this role because there is no partner, that very action, from which you would occasionally need to rest.

Shootouts in DNF are interesting and dynamic, but: they are very easy – one, they happen very rarely for a shooter – two, and you can’t immediately use at least half of the game’s arsenal in them – three. All of this is very frustrating because the process of exterminating enemies is quite decently done. If you’re lucky enough to reach a relatively large-scale battle in a location with an endless supply of ammo, and with your favorite weapon in hand, then you will definitely get your share of simple pleasure.

Action-Packed Gameplay

The problem with the principle of “not giving more than two guns in one hand” arises in this text so often because, unlike many other FPS games, it is impossible to accept and get used to in “Duke”. The Quake-like assortment of weapons in the game cannot be squeezed into such a format, it is a crime against the gamer. I want both the railgun and the rocket launcher, and the shaft, and the minigun, I want to have them with me all the time. I’m not playing Call of Duty or even Team Fortress, give me back my ten guns. However, all of this doesn’t matter since half of the game is spent jumping on platforms, cliffs, and riding on an inflatable rubber bigfoot.

By removing the heart instead of the appendix, instead of a new heart, Gearbox attached DNF as a second appendix. All these regenerations, coverings, dual-wielding guns have become annoying with their lack of alternatives, the potential breath of clean, ozone-filled railgun air turned out to be poisoned with the same venom that it would have been nice to escape from for at least a few hours. From Duke Nukem, I wanted to get exactly Duke Nukem, even though the project literally came from the past, but it didn’t work out.

Explosive In-Game Moment

I remember, at one time on PCs and consoles (Dreamcast for sure), a clone of the first Quake was released called Kiss Psycho Circus. The feelings from playing DNF in this shooter are very similar: mediocre graphics combined with a horribly chosen color palette can be accepted in both, and the moments of “why did the developers do this to me” are barely outweighed by the enjoyment of annihilating everything in your path and progressing through level after level. However, no one ever expected anything outstanding from KPC, whereas DNF was positioned as an ambitious project for at least 14 years of development. Gamers were promised the best, and they believed it (as confirmed by sales charts). In the end, the audience received something incomprehensible, a product that can only somewhat please and entertain players “out of desperation”.

The release of Duke Nukem Forever is like a joke for those who can appreciate performance, with the condition that everyone wants to be part of it. Gearbox caught us, there’s no arguing about it. The continuation of Duke’s story came out when players no longer expected any innovations from it, but on the contrary, wanted to taste the classic orthodox gameplay and its best incarnation. By flirting with gamers nostalgic for (in some cases, someone else’s) past, Gearbox tried to please even those who don’t seek goodness from modern FPS games. They failed at both the first and the second. Unfortunately, the developers also couldn’t simply make a good game without reservations.

Duke Nukem Forever
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Multiplayer
2K Games
3D Realms, Gearbox Software, Piranha Games, Triptych Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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