15 long years Duke fans waited for the end-of-the-rainbow release of the King’s next outing. Originally designed for the Nintendo 64 and Playstation, Duke Nukem Forever was going to be a groundbreaking masterpiece, an epitomising episode of epic FPS action that would shake the genre to its roots – and after a decade and a half, it’s only right for people to expect and even demand a game that blows minds and breaks records.
But as the Duke at long last awakens, the only record broken here is the biggest disappointment in gaming history.
There’s no easier way to say it; Duke Nukem Forever is awful.
A horrible, broken mess of a game that tries to be everything, but fails to even be a plain and simple shooter. Somewhere down the line, 3D Realms, Piranha Games, Triptych Games and Gearbox (all having worked on the game throughout its ridiculous development cycle) completely lost the plot.
To its credit, at least Duke does not hide from the fact he kept his fans waiting, the very opening scene showing the hyper-masculine American hero breaking the fourth wall and playing the game himself, and having been asked if it was good replies ‘Well, after 12 f***ing years, it should be’. It should be indeed, but what players are really faced with here is a five hour, heavily linear dated shooter, with visuals that could just about pass for an Xbox 360 release title, and painfully tacked-on multiplayer.
But all that doesn’t matter, right? People don’t come to Duke Nukem games for originality, they come for guns, testosterone and cheesy one-liners. Sadly, while that was a winning formula in 1996, it doesn’t have that magic any more. Everything Duke does has been done a hundred times before, in 15 years of rapid expansion in the FPS genre, his one-liners not even amusing in irony any more, nor the exaggerated weaponry or women. The game also can’t decide whether it is trying to be old school or modern – making meta-humoristic smirks at modern shooters, yet still conforming to recent standards such as regenerating health.
Duke Nukem Forever is a game long past its prime. Had it been released in the nineties, it would have been easier to overlook its misgivings, but for now it’s simply too little, too late. This is a game that should not have been released at all, and left only to the imagination of the fans. 15 years to create a rushed product, who knew?
Published by: 2K Games
Developed by: 3D Realms, Piranha Games, Triptych Games, Gearbox Software
Number of Players: 1, Up to 8 (in multiplayer)
Available On: Xbox 360, PC, PS3
Final Score: 2/10