Hell has apparently frozen over because this week I found myself reviewing Duke Nukem Forever, a game that was announced when I was but a mere tyke of 11 years. Almost a dozen cancelled release dates (and a million jokes) later, Duke Nukem Forever has been released by Gearbox and 2K Games. And the reception it got must have made them wish they had never released it. A rating of 54 on Metacritic points to a terrible game, but as I played it, it looked more and more like the bad reviews were because of a false sense of nostalgia. DNF is by no accounts a game changer, but it does enough to warrant a play through.
A rating of 54 on Metacritic points to a terrible game, but as I played it, it looked more & more like the bad reviews were because of a false sense of nostalgia.
What’s it About
You already know what Duke Nukem Forever is about, at least if you’ve played Duke Nukem 3D. Aliens have invaded earth and at first Duke seems least bothered, especially since a Reagan-ist President has asked him to not to do anything. However, once Duke realizes that the aliens are abducting all the women of the planet, he decides to take matters into his hands.
Sir, that's one ugly kid you've got.
The biggest complaint about the (virtually non-existent) story is that it belongs in a Duke Nukem game but the same thing could be a compliment as well. The game has no exposition, no cutscenes, and no memorable characters, except for Duke. And when the main character is as one dimensional as Duke, you know what you can expect of the NPCs.
Spot the double entendre.
The biggest criticism leveled at DNF has been its misogynistic and crude humor and the criticisms are quite valid. However, if you play Duke Nukem 3D, you will realize that the humor was almost equally crude and misogynistic then. It seems therefore a little unfair that while Duke Nukem 3D’s jokes were praised as irreverent, fun (in a cheesy way) and full of attitude, the same tonality is reviled in DNF. I personally didn’t find Duke Nukem 3D very funny and I can say the same of DNF (although some of its self-referential jokes and some others taking digs at serious, serious games like Half-Life and Halo did elicit some chuckles). So basically, if you find Duke Nukem 3D funny, there’s no reason you won’t find Duke Nukem Forever equally hilarious.