As gamers, we all know that delays can happen. A frustrating occurrence yes, but we’ve learned to accept it. A few months wait is worth it, if it means that we get an awesome experience. So you can imagine the expectation that goes into game that was delayed for twelve years, as is the case with Duke Nukem Forever. Even I, who has never played a Duke Nukem game before, was very interested in what a game that took 12 years to make would be like. So does Duke Nukem live up to the hype?
The story of the game takes place 12 years after the previous game (Duke Nukem 3D). Duke is now a worldwide celebrity, and pretty much a hero the world over. The aliens that Duke defeated back in the last game (who have been dormant for those 12 years) have just now started to assault earth again, and its up to Duke Nukem to stop it.
I will admit, I did not play through the entire game, and only did complete the first ten stages. However, that was all that was needed for me to get turned away from this game. Duke Nukem Forever seems to have a problem being an action shooter game. It starts off nice, starting with that boss fight in the football stadium made famous from the demos. After that fight, the action completely disappears as you wander around doing random stuff (ranging from pissing to drawing) till you get to another fight. This process continues all throughout the game, and gives it a very disjointed feel as you get taken out of the action whenever you start to get into it. What’s more, these fights get very repetitive very quickly as you fight the same waves of enemies over and over. Granted, the bosses were interesting, but fighting them never really felt fun.
Speaking of disjointed, I have to mention the load screens. Every time you start a level or restart a level after dying, you have to wait through a loading screen. These loading screens last for at least 40 seconds. These loading screens add a lot of frustration to this already boring game. Especially on those tough sections or bosses where you can die repeatedly.
The presentation of this game is what surprises me the most. The game looks, plays, and sounds very like a bad 90’s game. The graphics are lousy, the levels are boring, and with a poor frame rate to boot. The music is very generic, and loops terribly. With the sole exception of Duke’s one-liners, there’s really not point to keeping the sound on. Worse yet, Duke Nukem plays like a game with an identity crisis. First you’re shooting a boss, then you’re solving puzzles, then you’re platforming across roulette tables, then you’re racing, and back again.
So Does Duke Nukem live up to the hype? No, and I’m not even judging it by that. To take away points for this game not living up to twelve years of expectation is as fair as it is impossible. What I can take points away for is how unpolished this game is despite having that time to work in. The game should have a better flow, more variety with enemies, better music, better graphics, and no forty-second loading screens.
This game is not worth your time or money. Long time Duke fans may love it despite everything I mentioned, and see it as a fun return to their youth. And I’ll admit, it has its humorous moments. However, for those who are new to this series, it’s just a sad and cynical attempt at a buck.
FINAL GRADE: F