Duke Nukem Forever - PS3 Review
|10/6/2011||2K Games||2K Games||3D Realms (Original)|
Piranha Games (Multiplayer/Console Port)
"Hail to the King, Baby!" The wait is finally over and one of the most iconic characters in video games is finally back after a 14 year hiatus. Indeed, having been announced in 1997 it has been a continual waiting game for gamers to not just get this game in their PC/consoles, but to even see the game. It was often years between trailers and showings of the title at various game shows and when, in May 2009, developers 3D Realms closed down it all seemed lost. A little over a year later though 2K Games announced Gearbox was finishing off the title and set the game for a mid-2011 release. That's where we are right now. The game is here, and we see if it lives up to hype after over a decade in development.
|Hail to the King, Baby! Duke is back...|
In terms of a storyline there isn't much here. Aliens have invaded again and they're stealing the babes. Duke doesn't like this of course and seeks to save the girls, oh, and save the planet along the way too.
The first thing that set alarm bells ringing about this game was the way in which 2K actually handled review copies. After signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement a bit over a week before release the company didn't actually ship the game to reviewers until the release date - were they hiding something? Most companies ship out review code for games (without NDA's) days, if not weeks, before release allowing reviewers time to play the game to get reviews online as close to release date as possible.
|Taking on multiple enemies.|
Anyway the game is here, and being fans of the previous PC games we were keen to check this out. Install the game, start it up, wait for it to load and the first scene you get is of duke taking a piss in a urinal. Really? Are they taking the piss?
This is a First Person Shooter from start to finish and Duke has a wide range of weapons at his disposal from pistols to rocket launchers, to grenades, to shrink rays and more - although he can only retain two weapons at once to switch between. The game also has some puzzle solving elements - some of which are decent enough but some of which are just plain stupid (We're looking at your remote control car in the locked room!).
|Taking on a Cycloid with fists?!|
One entertaining inclusion in this game is the shrink ray which can shrink your enemies to be stomped on, although at times the tables are turned with Duke being shrunk down to miniature size which allows you to access areas (such as air vents) that can't be reached when fully grown. Perhaps more entertaining is the fact that when you are shrunk down, normally bog-standard enemies, become massive boss encounters. A neat twist. Also, while shrunk down Duke can jump onto remote controlled cars to go zooming around the levels which was fairly entertaining.
One aspect of this game which we've actually enjoyed is finding the interactive items. Being able to write on a chalkboard, flick toilet paper rolls, play air hockey, work out in a gym, play a pinball machine or poker machines may sound fairly superficial, but it adds quite a bit of interest to the rather generic, and quite linear, levels.
|Duke signs for the kid...|
By far the most annoying aspect of this game is the loading. Not only between each level it seems that every time you die the game needs to scrap everything it's loaded into memory and starts again leading to load times around 30-seconds every time you need to restart. Sooooo annoying.
There are plenty of other issues too. Strangely we all know about the humour in the game, the sexist jokes, the nudity but there are sections that just don't make sense not least of which are the three boobs on the wall in the hive which can be slapped to boost Duke's ego/health meter. Speaking of which the game includes regenerating health/ego which is the norm these days, but I would have liked to see a return to the old styled health packs from the earlier Duke Nukem games. Finally while the game includes a few puzzles these are pretty basic and rarely involve little more than hitting the right switches.
Multiplayer is supported in the game too, and it's probably a decent diversion for a couple of hours if you have some friends playing online, but in reality, much like the main game, it's just so underdeveloped that it's never going to get anywhere near something like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Indeed the "Capture the Babe" mode, which is this games version of CTF, is sure to get women riled up, and is sure to feel sleazy to many male gamers too. Overall the multiplayer doesn't even match up to some other "mediocre" titles. Now we understand this component was developed fairly late in the development cycle by Piranha Games, but that's not really an excuse.
|Now that's one massive enemy!|
To add a little more insult to injury for console gamers the developers are releasing a pretty extensive patch to the game for PC owners but at this stage there has been no sign, or mention of that patch coming to the console versions. We do believe however that there will be some DLC down the track.
Using the Unreal Engine 2/2.5 this game certainly looks rather dated with some poor texturing, average lighting and some very rough edges. Perhaps what disappoints the most is that the developers didn't bump the game up to Unreal Engine 3 prior to release - but perhaps delaying the game in order to finish it off wasn't a great idea. Level design is a bit stale although there are a variety of locations, while the animations are a bit rough in places, but the enemy design, albeit with a limited number of enemies, is pretty solid. There are also plenty of interactive sections to the game which is a nice touch including the ability to write on whiteboards, being able to piss into a toilet and more. Still, yar, this is a very average looking game overall.
Sonically the game is going to polarize opinions. The music is adequate, the sound effects meaty enough as well. It's the dialogue though that is sure to divide opinion with often hilarious, but very often very sexist comments being made by Duke Nukem himself (and yet again Jon St. John has provided Duke's voice for the game). "Have a taste of my ball", "My balls, your face", and "Time to put on the Beer Goggles" to name a few.
|Duke Nukem Forever is out June 2011.|
But there are some hilarious lines too "Power Armour is for Pussies" has a dig at Halo, "I'm gonna run for President" an obvious reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger (who, after all, Duke is modeled on), "I am the Duke" in reference to John Wayne, and "If it bleeds, I can kill it" from Predator. I loved these one-liners, they were a great fit.
Duke Nukem Forever would have been a solid game five years ago, but today it feels dated. Funnily enough there's a line in the game "I'd buy this for a dollar", but for some, perhaps that will still be too pricey! There are some flaws, the primary one being the horrible load times, but it's not a terrible game either with plenty of humour and some fun moments. It falls we below today's shooters, but is worth a look if you liked - or indeed can remember - the previous game.
Review By: Dave Warner
Talk about Duke Nukem Forever in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||There are some decent parts, but for the most part it looks like a poor first gen PS3 title.||57%|
|SOUND||Duke's one-liners are hilarious, sound effect good and music decent.||71%|
|GAMEPLAY||It feels like an old-school shooter, but the lengthy loading becomes so annoying.||64%|
|VALUE||There's a bit of length to this game, multiplayer is ok, but unlikely to play through twice. This is not a great game technically and for $110 in Australia that's a ripoff.||52%|
|OVERALL||Duke Nukem Forever is, even after 13 years, a rushed product. It still needed more polishing, better visuals and certainly reduced load times. It's worth checking out for a nostalgic trip, but isn't a great game. Still, I love Duke and I'd give another sequel a decent chance.||58%|