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Duke Nukem Forever Review

publisher: Gathering
developer: 3D Realms
genre: Shooters

ESRB rating: M

release date: Jun 14, 11
» All About Duke Nukem Forever on ActionTrip

Now, I'll bet you thought this day would never come. Well, it has. After what seems like eternity Duke Nukem Forever is at long last here and it's all thanks to the efforts of the folks at Gearbox Software, who we all know for titles like Halo: Combat Evolved (PC/Mac), Borderlands, Duke Nukem: Forever and more. You have to hand it to them. These guys have balls. They marched headfirst into the unknown, bravely assuming responsibility for what's probably the most delayed and possibly the most risky project in the history of gaming. We were eager to see the results of their work (well, fair enough, slightly less eager than we were about ten years ago).

I'm sure that by now you all know that 'simplicity' is the name of game here. The story is about aliens coming back to Earth with vengeance on their minds. Yes, they seek retribution after Duke kicked their asses a while back. This time around, Duke is even pissed off at these alien suckers more than ever before and he has a legitimate reason for that. Returning to Earth and causing havoc is one thing, but kidnapping all of the planet's hottest chicks is taking things too far. Duke's determined to make them pay for that.

That's the storyline in Duke Nukem Forever and that's pretty much what we initially expected it to be. Duke has always been about in-your-face violence and sheer vulgarity, so that's another predictable aspect. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose a lot of things about Duke Nukem Forever are predictable. After all, the long-drawn-out development cycle certainly doesn't mean they tweaked the game to perfection. Quite the opposite, as it turns out. They probably had a very tight schedule and had to launch as quickly as possible. Again, the developers have no doubt been under pressure about this from day one and they should be praised for salvaging the game from certain doom. They've successfully eliminated DNF's eternal vaporware stigma. While I'm sure many will be eternally grateful to Gearbox for bringing the franchise out of the gutter, I think gamers should seriously think whether or not they actually want to spend money on it.

DNF plunges players straight into a classic FPS atmosphere, with a relatively standard choice of powerful weapons, all of which allow Duke to cause mayhem, sending the rotten aliens back to wherever the hell they came from. You'll be able to wield everything from pistols and snipers, to RPGs, shotguns and more. The really cool additions are the Freeze Ray and Shrink Ray, both with their devastating effects. Pipebombs and Proximity Mines were also thrown into the mix so Duke can blow enemies to bits even more so. The Freeze Ray allows you to freeze enemies and then crunch them to bits just for the fun of it, while the Shrink Ray gives you a chance to blast your opponents straight into hours and hours of deep psychotherapy. Only joking, of course. The weapon shrinks foes until they are about the size of a toad, which makes them drastically easier to pulverize. It's a fun little moment that brings a bit of a smile to one's face, especially when you start blowing up swarms of screeching undersized aliens. That's not all. Duke also gets smaller himself in order to make his way through difficult situations. This part of the game transports Duke into an Alice-in-Wonderland type of setting (except in a modern-day world, of course), where he's forced to figure out the quickest and least dangerous way to his goal. This often proves to be quite challenge due to various giant obstacles that get in the way of freedom... or chicks.

Yeah, provocative dames can be found around every corner in this game. In fact, the way most of them behave is a downright insult to women everywhere. Okay, so all you feminists don't get your knickers in a twist just yet. Duke Nuke Forever exaggerates in just about every aspect possible, drawing players into a ridiculously unrealistic world of senseless violence and non-stop action. In other words, just because every female in the game is presented as an immoral tool for pleasure with a brain the size of a peanut, doesn't necessarily the developers disrespect women. For that matter, gamers aren't meant to disrespect women. They are just meant to have fun (well, male gamers obviously). Trouble is, the overly burly, macho-oriented self-obsessed muscle-head hero archetype lost its appeal about 15 years back, so the character's shallow image may not attract players, even once they leave their brain functions on the shelf. Some games are just meant for fun and relaxation. However, DNF tends to take things overboard in almost every way conceivable and again, this is entertaining for about a few minutes and then it gets old and just plain stupid. In short, the developers may have missed the target with the humor and characterization in this game. It's unlikely to appeal to even the youngest members of their audience.

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4.0   Tolerable

If you're drowning in a murky puddle of FPS nostalgia, Duke Nukem Forever might keep you interested for a few hours;

Games have gone beyond what's on offer here, the humor and gameplay belong in another time.


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