Let’s get one thing straight. I love cheese. I’m not talking about the dairy product because who doesn’t love that right? I’m talking about the “cheese factor” you find in some games or movies that make you cringe in embarrassment but deep down give you some sort of a cheap thrill. I also from time to time enjoy some stuff that’s so bad it’s good (Son of Dracula anyone?) but Duke Nukem Forever is so bad, it’s just plain bad. All the sexual innuendos, juvenile humor, self-mockery and outdated parodies just fall flat on their face. Why? Because Duke Nukem Forever is a poorly made game that even after 14 years in the making feels like a rushed product.
Spam with rockets till dead
Now Duke Nukem never claimed to be an intellectual character and we loved him for it. He was the bubble-gum chewing, beer drinking, chick loving, alien butt kicker who never really cared about what anyone thought of his rather in-your-face ways. And when Aliens invaded earth in 1996 (in Duke 3d) and took his “babes”, that was it. He unleashed hell upon them because no one, and I mean no one f***s with Duke’s babes – except you know the little Duke in his pants. Unfortunately the aliens he fought back in the day have returned albeit more than a decade later to take his babes away once again. You did not see that coming right?
No one takes Duke's babes
Like most of you know, DNF is a shooter at heart and if core gameplay was solid, I would have gladly looked past all the other glaring flaws but sadly it isn’t. DNF seems like a game stuck in the nineties, be it in level design, painful loading times or the sheer amount of time you’ll be staring at the loading screen waiting for another chapter to load. For a game that’s trying to embrace its old school roots. Duke falters by limiting players to carry just two weapons. I mean, really, WTF is that all about? Is that their way of appealing to today’s FPS crowd? Since when is Duke going in for realism? And speaking of realism, it seems Duke has become somewhat of a wuss over the years. He starts panting after sprinting for like five seconds and can withstand hardly any damage. Every few minutes my life bar would start flashing red because I had been shot by a pig - wielding a tiny pistol. Umm did I miss something over here? Was I magically transported to Operation Flashpoint where one bullet can end my life?
Eat my fist fool
You’ll come across a ton of weapons in the game but all of them are nothing but shinier variants of the ones found in Duke 3D. 14 years ago, the Shrink Gun was innovative and hilarious to use. Today it doesn’t seem that impressive after players have been spoilt by a plethora of innovative weapons over the years. Boring arsenal aside, the gameplay in DNF is painfully predictable as well. The entire game oscillates between boring driving segments, turret sections, predictable boss fights, and annoying platforming sections.
There’s no such thing as vehicular combat so when Duke’s ride is surrounded by enemies, all you can do is drive by them real fast. And just so you know, the driving in this game is just terrible; controlling your RC car or your monster truck feels like you’re driving a car on ice – with your feet. Things get a lot worse when you have to line up multiple jumps that are as redundant as they are boring. Bosses while impressive in size are also nothing but an exercise in repetition since they can’t be killed with anything other than rockets or turrets. So pretty much every boss in this game boils down to finding a rocket launcher, searching for an ammo crate, camping near it and spamming him/her/it with rockets till it’s over. And you know what’s worse than repetitive boss fights? Repetitive boss fights that just magically regain all their health after you’ve landed the final blow making you repeat the dull battle all over again.
Duke loves his babes
The only emotion I really felt though the entire campaign – even more than disappointment – was boredom. Instead of feeling like a kid on a sugar rush eager to open a 14 year old present, I had to force myself to plough through this campaign. Even then, I could do no more than an hour or two at a time. I think DNF’s biggest problem, besides a lack of polish or a sense of direction is the fact that it’s a 14 year old game that’s trying to appease today’s gamers as well as live up to the expectations of the guys who enjoyed Duke3D, failing miserably at both. It’s also stuck in a time warp with archaic level design, terrible visuals, boring gameplay and outdated jokes. Tonight you dine in hell? Really? Are we in 2006 all over again? And yeah, I get it, you’re the King who's all about the ass kicking while thoroughly depleted on gum but do you seriously have to remind me about it every few seconds? 14 years ago the Duke’s taunts were cool or even funny, today they just seem like the ramblings of a deranged, sad old man who’s living in serious denial.
Mini Duke in da house
Players giddy at Duke’s return may pick up the game and enjoy it (or claim to enjoy it) simply from a nostalgic point of view. Everyone else needs to just stay away from this monstrosity. Fail to the King indeed.
Video review: Duke Nukem Forever
Published Date: Jun 18, 2011 11:26 am | Updated Date: Jun 18, 2011 11:26 am