Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Duke Nukem Forever

"There can be only one f*ck."

This is the line that is stuck in my head after finishing Duke Nukem Forever. If you look at it, it sums up most of the game: slightly out-dated and simple. The linguistically challenged script has been abused by other reviewers and I tend to agree. The story is not the greatest thing in the world by a long shot, but it feels as though it's either been a case of laziness or a rushed job putting it all together. Most of the one-liners are pure Duke and I can't really attack the character of Duke Nukem saying that he's not the best character around. If I did, that'd be missing the point. However, the game is far from perfect.

Not only some of the dialogue, which includes references to games such as Half-Life and Portal, but even the levels got tedious. By about three quarters of the way through the game I was wondering how long it had to go. It just seemed to be level after level with no end and I didn't feel any connection with the Duke or the cause he was fighting for (which is to save all the women on the planet from being abducted and...yeah...). Every level just seemed to be cut into two acts or something similar, like it was trying to emulate platformers. It didn't really have that even flow moving it along.

Another thing which killed the atmosphere the game was trying to create was the loading screens. Now I thought Sonic the Hedgehog on the 360 and PS3 had really bad loading screens where one would appear, three lines of dialogue would be spoken in a cut-scene and then yet another loading screen. And that was before you got to the level at all, that was in the hub world. Duke Nukem Forever felt worse than that. Every time you had to wait for a level to load, you had to be prepared to wait a good 20-30 seconds before anything happened. The only reason I could live with this was the little hints the game gave as well as useless bits of humourous information like how they wanted to decrease your Ego (your shield) every time you picked up a turd.

However, the game also had some good moments. The massive amount of interactions Duke could make with the environment was a nice little touch which made it a little different to your average FPS. Things like cooking popcorn in a microwave and looking in the mirror to 'admire' yourself to slapping 'wall boobs' gave the game a much needed filler. The game can be beaten in about 8-10 hours first time through if you tried to look for all of these interactions, most of which gave you a permanent Ego boost, which comes in handy later on in the game when the only guns that seem to be fired on you are shotguns and RPGs.

The game states that they'd rather see you slap these instead of real ones. LOLWUT?

Oh, another note: keep a shotgun. The shotgun is arguably the best gun in the game. Even when you first receive it, it's in a glass cabinet as back up for a world invasion. The shotgun is easily the greatest weapon in the game. I had to mention that twice because it is so true. Some might disagree and say that the Devastator is the best gun since it fires two rockets at once with more ammo. Contrary to popular belief, the gun is useless unless used in a boss fight because of two reasons;

1. It's rocket count is 69 and there are no reloads, so you must find an ammo crate and camp near it. You might think that it's a definite improvement than the shotgun's 28 shells but trust me, you will burn straight through the Devastator.
2. The only weapons that can damage bosses are rocket weapons or pipe bombs. Therefore, the only logical place you need a Devastator or an RPG is in a boss fight. Pipe bombs are glorious and must be kept and used throughout the entire game.

I also forgot to point out that the RPG, unless used in a boss fight, is also useless. It has 5 rockets and can only hold 5 rockets until you use them all and find an ammo crate or a weapon drop from an enemy. My weapon suggestions would be to either keep the shotgun or the pistol (there's an achievement/trophy if you hang onto the golden pistol for the whole game. It's actually really easy because it can get headshots with it's laser-sight) and pick up a weapon as you go along. Rockets for boss fights and whatever feels comfortable during the normal levels. Don't even bother with the Shrink Ray or Freeze Ray unless you're achievement whoring; they only work at close range and it's easier with one shotgun shell to the chest.

Duke Nukem Forever isn't meant to be the greatest game ever made. It's rather obvious. It just wants to be remembered. It has boobs and guns and swearing and shitty humour, yes. But at least the game is alive, right? It was vaporware for a good 12 years, so although you might not want to purchase it, it's worth playing to see what you think. I never actually played Duke Nukem 3D but from what I've gathered, it's a solid enough sequel and could have been worse.

Hell, if it's worth my $28 from EB Games, it should be alright.


Platform Used: Xbox 360

Score: 6/10

Recommendation: Try

Has some nice moments with a couple of nice gimmicks, but could have been better with some more work. Not like it needed any more time though. There are definitely better titles out there but you can do worse.

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