For many, the Duke Nukem series was one of the most memorable shooters to experience. That’s mostly in part with the protagonist who was an iconic bad ass that brought over outrageous sexuality and 80′s style action heroism to the genre. But Duke’s been MIA for over a decade; his latest outing Duke Nukem Forever was locked away in a turbulent development cycle that seemed to have no end. All seemed hopeless until Gearbox Studios took the liberty of helping 3D Realms finish the game. Now Duke Nukem Forever – the game that no one thought would ever be released – has finally been released. But after more than a decade of waiting, is Duke Nukem Forever worth the long wait. The answer is noes!
The name Duke Nukem was once synonymous among shooters of the mid-nineties. The franchise started out as a kiddy side-scroller series, but evolved into a mature, over the top 3D shooter series with every set piece an sci-fi/action movie fan could enjoy; aliens blasting, boobs shaking, and toilet humor galore. The hero Duke Nukem himself was an amalgam of all the mid 80′s action heroes, and would spend his time throughout the series kicking alien ass, saving women, and spouting funny, macho one-lines. Hit after hit, Duke Nukem forged a legacy for shooter fans to look back at. However, this is the 21st century. And when you compare the Duke Nukem games of yesterday to this modern take, you realize the Duke’s legacy could potentially come to an end. So what exactly went wrong? Here are some clues:
Damn Duke…You Ugly!
Duke has seen better days, literally. His latest game Duke Nuke Forever doesn’t look like the visual masterpiece its suppose to be. Though the visuals clearly outrank earlier games in the series, they appear quite dated compared to modern shooters like Call of Duty. The game’s unappealing graphics suffer from frame rate drops, plasticine-like wrapping, dull colors, and more. Is this really what a modern day shooter is suppose to look? Obviously the developers thought so, and released DNF with its poor looking visual intact. Genius!
Different Game, Same Duke!
Fans would probably be happy to know that the protagonist Duke Nukem is still the same beer guzzling, cigar chomping, alien ass whupping, womanizing son of a bitch they have come to love over the years. Therefore, they can expect him to spout more macho jokes like an eighties action hero as he lays waste to alien scum. Unfortunately, the bad news is Duke Nukem Forever isn’t a game that was released during the series’ reigning era. As a result, Duke’s persona will feel completely out of place to both new and old gamers alike. What’s worse is that the game’s music doesn’t help the situation much as the background heavy metal is forgettable overtime. Its sad just to admit that for once, Duke doesn’t sound cool in his own game.
You Move Like An Old Man Duke!
As soon as you play Duke Nukem Forever, you discover that it doesn’t control like a first-person shooter should. The controls are too tight for maneuvering during combat in the game, something fps fans shouldn’t put up with especially in a Duke Nukem game. What’s worse is the game comes with a heavy dose of platforming. This is especially annoying when the game forces you to use the lame controls to reach platforms while during certain combat sequences. Fans didn’t come to play a 3D remake to the 2D Duke Nukem games. They came to play Duke Nukem Forever. But the developers didn’t realize that and decided to throw a big portion of platforming into a game that didn’t need it.
Puzzles In A Duke Nukem Game?
The gameplay of Duke Nukem games have always centered on blasting aliens to kingdom come. It was simple fun and it worked for the series. But when puzzles are added to the mix, it betrays what the series stood for. Not much Duke Nukem games featured puzzles, and those that did featured only simple ones. This is why the series is beloved by those who crave simple shooters. So why on Uranus would the developers try to make a Duke Nukem Forever game that is half shooter, half puzzle game? believe it or not, Duke Nukem is the first in the series to feature difficult puzzle solving. And these puzzles must be solved in order to progress through the game.
What’s worse is that they are physics puzzles reminiscent to those found in Valve’s Half-Life 2, another shooter. For example, there are puzzles that involve reaching platforms by moving objects on or off them to shift their weight. Its bad enough that gamers who want the usual simple shooter out of DNF are forced to out up with puzzles that are frustratingly hard. But its worse that these puzzles aren’t even original.
Duke Needs Bigger Guns!
As we draw the last straw with Duke Nukem Forever, we discover that its most devastating flaw lies in its main mechanic; shooting. Believe it or not, the shooting in this first-person shooter is unsatisfying. This is because enemies in Duke Nukem Forever are so resilient to firepower, it takes too much ammo and time to down them. Even head shots don’t work as well as they are suppose too; you need to shoot an enemy two or three times in the head to kill them. Though certain weapons including the shotgun, missile launcher, shrink ray and freeze guns are likely to do the trick in one shot, the overall arsenal feels unbalanced. What’s worse is that Duke now has to only carry only two guns at a time, similar to current shooters, and not like his past games where he carried an entire arsenal. How on Earth did the developers eff up the shooting in one of the most memorable franchises of all time is beyond me. But one thing that can be ascertain is that Duke Nukem Forever is a lousy shooter as a result.
Duke Nukem Forever is by far the biggest letdown in the century; a game that had us waiting for over ten years for it launch but didn’t mount to anything once it was. Both Gearbox and 3D Realms should take notes of all the mistakes they made with DNF’s development so they can develop better titles for the franchise. Duke Nukem maybe showing his age, but that’s no excuse for the tragedy that is Duke Nukem Forever.