“Hail to the king, baby!”

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 & PC

Developer: Gearbox Software

Publisher: 2k Games

Rating: “M” for Mature

Review by Alejandro Gustafar

Platform Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Over a decade ago, there was one hero everyone could rely on, a figure that stood for everything a man can and should be. His name? Duke Nukem. Duke starred in a slew of cult hit titles in the nineties then one day he was gone. For years he promised to return, but after what felt like “forever” he finally resurfaced. Was it worth the wait? I remember the excitement I had when I put Duke into my Xbox. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me. I am a huge Duke Nukem fan and I personally like this game, but I won’t kiss its’ ass. You will get the truth even if I run out of bubble gum.

As the game opens up you are prompted to take a piss by hitting a button. I found this to be very hilarious, but also it was a little needless. After that piss you can jump straight to battle or have some fun. The “have fun” aspect is drawing on a dry erase board, peeing, playing with poop (an achievement believe it or not), and drinking water. The real fun here is the giant boss battle about to take place on the football field. Now on any difficulty this is just plain easy. It’s kind of sad actually but even on easy this games poses a few challenges at times and on its hardest difficulty you will just want to throw your controller and stop playing. An example is towards the end there’s a segment when you’re running up a very long set of stairs while someone is throwing barrels at you, some even explode and you’re dead! On easy its hard, so just imagine what your grief will be on the higher difficulties. Anyways, back to the boss battle. All you do in this is run around him in circles til there’s an ammo drop and then just keep blasting away until you are prompted into a very short button mashing event. After the first tutorial level it turns out that it was a game Duke was playing himself and while he’s playing he is getting, uh, well let’s just say “serviced” by twins that are a mock off the Olsen’s. Now this is the Duke we all know and love.

What’s the reason I love this game? Well first off simply because it is Duke, I wasn’t asking for game of the year here. I just wanted my Duke Nukem to come back and it was everything a fan could ask for. It’s a game that your generic gamer wouldn’t enjoy. (Cough CALL OF DUTY Cough) Another part of the game I enjoy is the whole “interactive” part. Example: You can play pinball, air hockey, basketball and of course get drunk. After awhile though you get bored of and just move on to a not so action packed game. The story of DNF is that of a basic one: Earth gets invaded once again by aliens. Those aliens steal all the babes. Duke sets out to save babes. I like it, you probably hate it. Then again I am writing the reviews here and not you, so that must stand for something. HA!

Dukes one-liner are hilarious, they better be anyway since that’s a big reason any plays a Duke Nukem title. He pokes fun at games ranging from the original Duke series all the way up to Borderlands (go figure Gearbox). Another plus I will say is there are some levels that you get shrunk and have to do these puzzles. They are clever in execution and in the end I look back on how much enjoyment I got out of them. Now there will be times where you drive a vehicle and that is probably one of my favorite parts of the game because you just get to run over everyone and go over insane jumps. It’s very Grand Theft Auto, but Duke style. Plus, I won’t say when, there’s a strip club level which is super funny. It’s like a mini-break from the game.

A lot of people complained about their being no auto-aim. Um, who cares? Learn to shoot. Another big problem I felt, and I’m sure others too, was the game’s set up. What I mean is that all this game was mainly composed of is cut and paste style, for example: [Level 1 part 1] [Level 1 part 2] [Level 2 part 1] [Level 2 Boss] Nothing crazy and it’s same thing over and over again.

There’s nothing more to it. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Duke Nukem Forever is at points just senseless. Especially the final boss, throughout the whole game you’re given ammo crates. Now with that in mind, every boss battle they have it set up with an ammo crate so you basically don’t have to worry about a gun running on empty. Plus there’s always cover. BOOM! The final boss. No weapons. No ammo. No anything. Eventually they send some enemies down also and you need to kill them, take their gun, and go balls deep. WAIT! There’s more. On top of that, it does take FOREVER to kill the boss and if you die once, even if he needs one more shot, you start all the way back at the beggining. Granted it is a great boss battle, but every boss battle should have been done this way just so it wasn’t a curve ball at the end. They made you depend on everything and then it’s just all gone. Now as much as I enjoyed this as a Duke Nukem game, it really does fail on every other aspect.

One of the most important things I will point in this review is why I wasn’t disappointed with DNF. Before the games release Gearbox Software President and DNF Executive Producer Randy Pitchford (sidebar: I love this guy, I had to say it, I just love him!) had stated that they only polished/touched up the game. Minor changes were made and so on. Also, he even said that DNF is the same game that was meant to come out so long ago. They kept it, at its core, the same thing. Knowing all this prepared me for it and it helped a lot knowing this, but it also states one thing to me: The next Duke Nukem game will be a brand new game and should be up to par with everything we see in gaming today.

Now that’s all I have to say about the single player campaign. Now lets move on to the online multiplayer aspect of DNF! To be honest, I really enjoyed the online of Duke Nukem in previous titles and this title. It’s exactly like the originals but looks more like a cross with Quake and Unreal Tournament. It’s basic in itself but offers various game modes, ranging from Capture the Babe all the way to Team Duke Match. Tons of unlock-able gear to customize your Duke the way you want him to look. Also, there are plenty of challenges to do online that will keep you busy forever, I’m not kidding. Some of these challenges will unlock costume accessories, items to put into Dukes Mansion, or just a lot of points to level up.

Granted, the levels are very basic and offer nothing new to online game, but what they do is make it a lot of fun. For instance, there’s a map called “Duke Burger” where you and everyone else is tiny Duke and you fight in the kitchen. Anything goes, seriously, you can put people in a microwave and BOOM! they’re dead. Another thing I will mention about the whole DNF online is that there are no online based achievements, sorry guys, but it would definitely take away from the whole experience anyway.

Now hopefully my review helps with your decision on DNF. If you’re a true fan, you’ll enjoy it all the way through. Other than that, you read what I had to say and made your decision long before you finished this. Overall I give DNF a solid 7, but that’s me. I gave you the truth, so now to chew some more bubble gum!

Overall Score: 7/10

Breakdown:

MUSIC: 7 (This games music and sound effects may not be the best, but the things Duke and other people say make it worthwhile)

STORYLINE: 6 (Same Duke, Same Game, New Era. Nuff said

GAMEPLAY: 6 (Nothing new to FPS, but the online is tons of fun)

GRAPHICS: 5 (This would be a 10 if what like…I don’t know 1999)

OVERALL FUN FACTOR: 7 (IF you like Duke, then you understand)

Final Thoughts:

Overall, DNF is great and everything I ever wanted it to be. I wouldn’t change a thing because this is a title that never got to come out when it was suppose to. It’s never too late for any game even if it’s not what today’s standards want it to be. I give credit to everybody who worked on Duke Nukem Forever, great job! Also, I am expecting another Duke Nukem game and that will decide where he stands.

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