He's Back, Baby
Fifteen years ago, back during an age in which consoles were just beginning to discover the possibilities of compact discs and PC gaming was most commonly done on a DOS or Windows 3.1 platform, a game came along that stood out amongst the various Doom clones that plagued the mid 90s. Duke Nukem 3D was more than just another shooter: it was a game whose action, humor, and gameplay advances made it stand far apart from the other titles on the market. Inevitably, when a sequel was announced for the game it was natural to expect a next-level experience.
Unfortunately, Duke Nukem Forever became the running joke in the gaming industry for over a decade with the most lengthy development timeline of all time. After multiple engine switches, complete redesigns, and years of development controversy; finally, a decade and a half after it was conceptualized, the next adventure of the legendary alien ass kicker is on our doorsteps. With so much time gone by though can the King’s old school gameplay aesthetics match up to the Call of Dutys and Halos of modern gaming?
Twelve years ago (much like the game’s actual timeline), Duke Nukem prevented an alien invasion, rescuing both our planet and our chicks in the process. Regarded as a world hero from then on, Duke has passed the time as a successful entrepreneur by opening up a large casino in Las Vegas, a fast-food chain, and living off his celebrity status ever since. After finally getting his hands on the game based around his exploits from twelve years prior, he learns that the aliens have returned and despite the President’s intentions to negotiate, the invaders make their first target the very man who defeated them previously.
If that amazing plot description intrigues the story critic within you then allow me to be clear: in the realm of great story telling, Duke Nukem Forever lives in an entire state away. Despite having the development time of five or six triple-A titles, 3D Realm’s swansong weaves a tale that would be an insult to even B-movie critics. There is virtually nothing memorable about the game’s overall story as even this writer, just hours after finishing the game, could not find a truly memorable sequence. All the player needs to know is this: there are aliens in your way and you need to kill every last one of them.
The appealing factor of Duke Nukem Forever shouldn’t be its story so much as its titular character. After all, who wouldn’t want to play as the most sexist, crude, and awesome killing machine on the planet? Duke’s character hasn’t changed in the decade and a half he’s existed and this is unfortunately where the game seems to be quite confused with itself.
Great one liners at times, shrinking levels
Horrible loading times, little new weapons and enemies