Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 3D Realms, Gearbox Software
Release Date: 6/14/2011
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Well, here we are. Duke and I staring at each other face to face after 12 years of development hell. How did he stand up? For starters, the game isn’t nearly as bad as everyone is saying. It’s just not as good as everyone hoped. The game won’t knock you off your feet or make you think differently about FPS games, but it does feel like classic Duke and that’s what counts in the end. The story is the same as always: Pigcops and the evil Cycloid Emperor are stealing our chicks to make alien babies. Pretty cheesy? That’s the entire point so don’t come into this game thinking it’s just badass. The entire game is coated in thick gooey cheese and if you don’t like it go away right now.
The action is just like classic Duke in the sense that you run around shooting anything that moves with the biggest gun you can find. It’s a recall of the heydays of FPS games from the early 90s and it feels good to play one that’s actually good. The game even starts out with a slap in the face by having Duke pee in a urinal and you control the flow. This is Duke for you and if this stuff offends stop playing there because it gets worse as the game goes on. My favorite part about Forever is the interactive objects which add to your Ego which is your health bar. Finding certain things in the game will boost this and there are dozens of them some funny, sexy, or just weird like picking up a turd out of a toilet.
Duke is also infamous for his cheesy one-liners and they are spewed left and right through the whole game. Things like “Hail to the King baby!”, “How many pork chops can I make out of you?”, “Come get some!” are just a few. Duke’s personality is something you will either love or hate, but it’s classic and that makes me love it. The game is also infused with a lot of sex such as one whole level that is just a strip club you walk around in called Duke Nukem’s Titty City. You have to do a treasure hunt for a stripper for a lap dance that consists of finding popcorn, a vibrator, and a condom. Just walk into the bathroom and Duke can enjoy the glory hole in the stall. Yes, it’s very gratuitous and goes over the top, but that’s what’s great about this game. Not only this but it sticks it to a lot of pop culture of today such as an EDF soldier asking Duke if he needs power armor (it’s Master Chief’s armor in the ship) and Duke saying “Power armor is for pussies!”
Of course, it all comes down to playing the game and the action is varied with driving sections, and even Duke getting shrunk down which is very fun to do especially when listening to his high-pitched voice. A lot of classic Duke weapons are here such as the Devastator (with 69 bullets as a pun), Ripper, and RPG. The guns even look the same which brings back memories. Quick-time events were added during boss fights (which are really fun) and in other parts of the game so it has a bit of cinematic juice in it.
The worst part about the game? The looks. Sure it uses Unreal Engine 3 but the level design and overall feel are really dated. Mountains don’t have that nice distant real look to them. Instead, you can drive right up their side like you’re playing Motocross Madness 2 or something. The textures aren’t low res but not very detailed like everything just got converted from 2005. The game actually looks that old, but not enough to distract you too much. The physics are wonky like you’re playing a Nintendo 64 game, but you can’t really blame the game itself.
Overall Duke Nukem Forever is a fun game to play. It may not have been worth 12 years for this it still feels good to play as the King again. If you can surpass the dated visuals and overall design of the game you are going to experience something that will probably never happen again.