If you follow my blog, then you probably know how much I anticipated the release of Duke Nukem Forever this year. In January, I declared that 2011 would be the "Year of Duke" and Duke Nukem Forever would finally be released. Well, my prediction was right. The game announced a release date (which got delayed and then a FINAL release date was announced) and it finally hit stores last Tuesday. After 13 long years of production and constant jokes that the game would never come out, Gearbox made history from one of the longest running gaming jokes ever.
And now the game is out and the reviews are in. The game was harshly criticized by just about everyone -- 95% of reviews of Duke Nukem Forever were negative reviews of the game. Destructoid gave it a 2/10, Gamespot gave it a 3.0, Joysitq gave it 2/5 stars. Need I say more?
I have read so many different reviews on the game. Many writers brought up great points in defense of the game and also in harsh criticism. I'd like to look at several different points that were brought up, as well as bring in my own opinions. I know that I may have my own personal bias, but I will try to keep that at a bare minimum.
There are a lot of reasons why Duke Nukem 3D was such a classic. Duke has literally been a cultural icon in gaming since the late 90's. As a kid, Duke Nukem 3D was one of my first FPS games. At the time, I didn't really understand any of the jokes in the game, but now that I'm older I can appreciate some of them a lot more. Obviously because I'm a straight woman so I don't find any pleasure in Duke's womanizing fascination. But there is nothing more satisfying than shooting up some aliens and listening to Duke's humor alongside it. That is what made me love the game so much.
Duke Nukem is not a game that is meant to have an in-depth plot line with well-developed characters. It is a mindless shooter that is made for pure entertainment and fun. In today's generation of FPS, everyone is looking for something "unique" in a FPS game. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing "unique" about first-person shooters anymore besides graphics. It has all been done already. I saw many reviews on Duke Nukem Forever saying that the game lacked originality. Wait a minute, we are still talking about Duke Nukem Forever, right? This isn't Section 8: Prejudice. This is freaking Duke Nukem. And hold on again...the same Call of Duty games release every year, yet they still get 9.0 ratings. Are you telling me that's original? If game websites are going to rate games based on "originality", they should at least be consistent with it. That's totally not fair to Duke Nukem Forever.
I think those who play Duke Nukem were expecting something new and thrilling -- something like Section 8: Prejudice (I keep using this game because I really can't think of any other games at the moment, haha), for example. But they didn't get that. That's why everyone is giving such harsh criticism of the game.
Here is another thing that was frequently criticized about Duke Nukem Forever: Crappy, long load times. Oh, sorry -- here's your solution: play it on PC, which the original Duke Nukem was released for and was intended to be on. The load times aren't nearly as bad if you have a good PC. But, of course, console gamers will always complain about things that were meant to be for PC.
There were great weapons added to the game -- the shrink ray and freeze gun. Also, the shooting scenes were split up by driving scenes and turret scenes. What more can you ask for in a pure fun FPS? Duke is able to interact with his environment to increase his ego, which also brought about a lot of fun and laughs. Watching Duke make popcorn or drawing random, stupid things on a white board were funny, while others were stupid. Gearbox certainly brought new things to the table for Duke Nukem, and I really enjoyed some of it.
In Joystiq's review of Duke, the author writes:
"Want to play the true successor to Duke Nukem 3D? It's called Bulletstorm."
I am going to have to strongly disagree on that one. While Bulletstorm was a great game that incorporated great humor, it is nothing like Duke Nukem. DNF is supposed to be all about my classic Duke, it shouldn't have to conform to these newer shooter games.
There was one thing about Duke Nukem Forever that really made me unhappy, however. Many of you probably heard about the scene where Duke enters the hive of the alien queen. Women are being kidnapped and taken to the hive, and when Duke enters the hive he see's the women being held in "pods" against their will, screaming and crying, and giving birth to alien babies which ultimately kills them. Now, I know Duke Nukem is all about being inappropriate, which I generally don't mind. But this scene which involved women getting impregnated with alien babies and then giving birth to them? It might have worked in some alien movies or games, but not the way this game portrays it. Not at all. The game turns from funny humor to disturbing and disgusting imagery. And then Duke jokes about the situation, even taking a hit at an extremely sensitive topic: abortion. Sorry, but that is not what Duke Nukem is about. The only thing I could think about while playing that scene was, "what the hell was Gearbox smoking when they decided to put this into Duke Nukem?".
I literally had to stop playing the game at that point I was so disgusted. Then a few days later, I decided to return to playing the campaign. It all just felt wrong.
In my opinion, the womanizing was a little bit too much in this game. But maybe I'm only saying that because I'm a girl and that stuff is more geared toward pervy men. But the aliens, weapons, and interactivity was great.
The multiplayer is just like a typical online multiplayer with different game modes. Of course that can always be fun. In all honesty, what peeves me more than anything else is these "acclaimed" websites who review games. They are extremely biased, and it is quite unfair. I feel that many of these sites were too harsh on their criticism of Duke Nukem Forever. I did find one great article that defends Duke Nukem Forever on Kotaku, and I would highly suggest you all read it.
I realize that I'm just one voice in thousands of other voices. But to those who are reading this: I'd love to hear your thoughts on the game. You do not need to leave a comment or anything, because none of you do anyway :P I just hope you all give Duke a second chance. He's still a classic icon, not some outdated, cheesy, overrated figure. I do not think I'll replay through Duke Nukem Forever's campaign a second time, but I have found a lot of fun in the multiplayer, so I'll still put my $50 to good use (yeah, us PC players still get that $10 bonus sometimes).
Overall, I was not completely disappointed by Duke Nukem Forever and I don't think it deserved as much harsh criticism that it received.Yes, I had expected more from a game that was announced over 13 years ago, but there will always be a place in my heart for Duke Nukem. And that is all there is to it.