Saturday, 16 July 2011

Duke Nukem Forever - review

Fists may not be enough in this battle...
Duke Nukem Forever is a game that has been in development for over 12 years. After reading some pretty harsh reviews on release day, I decided to see for myself.

Admittedly my key motivation for buying was a sense of nostalgia which stemmed from fond memories of playing Duke Nukem 3D on my N64 as a boy. I was also curious to see what the developers had achieved after a whopping 12 years.

Jon St.John is still the voice of the Duke and the first line you hear when inserting the disc is "I'm back baby!", delivered in true Duke style. Cue a catchy power chord riff with heavy distortion and it's straight into the game.

Your first action in-game sees you leaning over a urinal to respond to a call of nature as Duke whistles a tune. This more or less sets the overall tone for the game - crude, juvenile but kinda funny nonetheless.

Duke then zips up and heads off to fight the 'Cycloid' in the stadium just like the end of the 'Duke Nukem 3D' all those years ago. This serves as the games tutorial and once over the game kicks off proper.

After defeating the aliens in the past, the Duke is now the world's biggest celebrity. Men want to be him and Women want to be with him. However, all is not well in Duke-land, the aliens are invading again and this time they have made it personal by abducting the Earth's women.

Naturally, Duke is pissed, and he sets off on a quest for revenge. Unfortunately revenge is hard to come by with an aiming system that is clunky and tricky to master. Loading times are long between levels and this can make dying (which happens often) a bit of a chore. The frame rate can slow down considerably at times and you will notice the occasional bug here and there.

The game does have many redeeming qualities though. The choice of weapons is good with a few old favourites like the shrink-ray and pump action shotgun. Plus if you get tired of shooting enemies you can simply pick up an object like a barrel or breeze-block and pummel them with it.
One of many turret sequences
There are also some very fun sections were Duke is shrunken and has to navigate huge areas whilst avoiding giant aliens. I was also impressed by the level of interaction with objects in the environment with many items granting you a permanent boost to health. Health is now a regenerating bar called the 'Ego-Meter', which works much like the shield in Halo games.

All in all, this is not as bad a game as some would have you believe. The humor maybe a little chauvinistic and cheesy at times but the game play is fun and feels reasonably true to the franchises predecessors.

My Top Tip: If like me you find the aiming slow, raise the sensitivity in the options menu. Best done early on so you have a chance to adjust.

My Score: 7/10

Game Reviewed On: XBOX 360
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