Duke Nukem Forever Appears to Be A Full-Priced Mess

Some time on Saturday, as I was playing Duke Nukem Forever on my Xbox 360, I realized that in all the conversations I've had with people from Gearbox Software—the company that heroically salvaged this game from its decade-plus sink toward oblivion—no one ever said this game would be wonderful.

They reveled in accomplishing the impossible task of bringing a presumably dead game back to life. They rejoiced in gaining control of the Duke character, of giving Duke what he deserves—namely freeing the character from the drag of gaming's longest-running gag, the interminable development cycle of Duke Nukem Forever.

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Illustration for article titled Duke Nukem Forever Appears to Be A Full-Priced Mess

Not once did the Gearbox people promise me the game would great. Outrageous? Sure. A great game? Or even a good game? Nope.

They were content to confirm that the game was... a game. A real game that real people would be able to play in 2011. That was stunning enough information. Judging from the first few levels I've played of DNF, it also seems to be as far as honest hype could take them.

I was going to write about how unpleasant my time with Duke Nukem Forever has been so far—how primitive its technology appears to be, how clunky it animates, how crude it looks, how uninteresting its level design is, how forever-long its load times are—but I decided to simply show you with the video atop this story. (Note: If you're a fan of the Duke character, you *might* like this game more than I did.)

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Illustration for article titled Duke Nukem Forever Appears to Be A Full-Priced Mess

The people who accomplished the task of bringing Duke Nukem Forever to life should be proud of doing what so many had failed to do for so long. But pending a dramatic improvement in the game's latter levels, which will embarrass this initial impression into being the inverse of some unimaginably glowing Kotaku review, what we've got here is no magnificent resurrection. It's more of reanimated corpse, a shambling, shivering thing of the past, thought dead but now brought back.

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Apologies to any Dead Rising or Resident Evil games coming out later in 2011, but for its initial exhibition of something old and seemingly dead brought stumbling into the present—decayed parts still on its skeleton—Duke Nukem Forever is my early nominee for Zombie Game of the Year.

Duke Nukem Forever is out now in Europe and Australia. It will be released in North America on June 14.

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DISCUSSION

spiderweb1986-old
spiderweb1986

Steven - who's reviewing the game, and on what system? Is there any chance of getting a PC review over a console one?

The reason I ask is that so far, all of the highly negative reviews I've seen have been for the console version.

Eurogamer rips the game, but also says this:

[Please note that we reviewed the game on Xbox 360, but Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter informs us that the PC version plays much better. "It's a complete mess on 360 - sub-HD resolutions, hugely obtrusive screen-tear, terrible aliasing, low frame rate," he says. "All of these things can be remedied by playing the game on PC. It doesn't transform it into a good game, but it makes it much easier on the eye and certainly smoother, far more responsive and thus more enjoyable to play." Look out for Rich's full Duke Nukem Forever Face-Off very soon. -Ed.]

PC Gamer gave the game an 80. Not sure I believe their review, but they don't mention the glaring technical problems everyone else does.

The message I'm getting: don't buy the game on consoles, period. The PC version might be worthwhile, or at least more playable if it's still not a good game.

I'm willing to give it a shot. Not at full price at this point, but once it goes on sale on Steam, I'm in.