Reader Review: Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever - without drawing on cliche, it truly was a game that divided audiences. Everyone pretty much agreed on the fact that the game itself wasn't exactly 'good', but the disagreements reigned over whether it really mattered? There were those that were happy to play despite the fact it was a little rough around the edges, and those that weren't.

Now, a couple of months after release, Kotaku reader ShiggyNinty has taken the time to deliver a reader review in order to kickstart that debate one more time!

And as always the best review each month receives a Blu-ray pack from Madman Entertainment.

Take it away Shiggy!

Duke Nukem Forever So after 14 years, countless engine changes, being in the hands of 4 different developers and what seems like forever, we finally get to play Duke Nukem Forever. But does it live up to the hype and expectations? Read on beloved reader and I’ll inform you... if you can handle my Balls of Steel!

Loved Hail to the King: Duke’s back and he’s still the same egotistical, chauvinistic, macho meathead we’ve come to love (or hate). He still throws out one liners like there’s no tomorrow and they genuinely made me laugh. The game plays like it was from 1996 and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something that you have to get used to. It’s clunky and slow at first but soon you’ll be blasting away pigcops like they’re nothing.

I got no time to play with myself: There’s a lot to see and do in Duke’s world. Play pool! Play pinball! Put a rat in a microwave! Draw giant penises on whiteboards! Most things you do in game help increase your ego (the Duke version of a health bar). I found that I would just walk around in the world just seeing what I could interact with and it’s half the fun, I mean what’s not fun about writing “[email protected]!k You” in some poor kids book?

Step right up and get some: Multiplayer is a hell of a time for both good and bad reasons. You make your own Duke through completing challenges and unlocking hats, glasses (seeing Duke’s eyes is scary...) and shirts. You have your usual games like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the Babe. There’s also challenges to complete like killing a certain amount of players with certain guns and so forth which help you level up. There’s a lot of fun to be had shrinking players and stomping them into nothing.

Here’s me holding up the world: When you level up in MP, you gain items in “My Digs” which is a giant apartment that you can fill with useless junk. Although useless, I found it exciting when I levelled up to run around to see what I got. I want that pinball machine goddamnit!

Take a bite of Duke’s special pain cake: The arsenal in this game is a hell of a lot of fun to use. The shotgun packs such a good punch and it feels like it does real damage. The usual Duke weapons are here too including the shrink ray, freeze ray and the good old Devastators. The only problem is...

Hated Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun: Why the hell can I only carry two guns? Look how big Duke’s arms are! Can’t he carry more than two guns? Duke can make fun of Halo as much as he wants but carrying two guns ain’t the Duke I love.

Looks like Lady Luck gave you the finger: The difficulty in this game, even on normal can be a bit full on. It especially ramps up when you crank it up to insane. I dreaded reaching certain parts because I knew I would have trouble - and I did... to the point I wanted to snap the disc in half and throw it into a volcano then throw the volcano into space.

What are you waiting for? Christmas?: DEAR GOD THE LOAD TIMES! I played this on Xbox 360 and I truly was terrified of dying knowing I’d have to wait a good 30-40 seconds to reload and try again. I’ve heard the load times on PC and PS3 are better but I haven’t been told how much better.

Connected! Disconnected: Multiplayer, although fun, is only fun when you can get a decent game going. I found myself being able to play a lot of games for about 5 minutes before I dropped out, and that’s not mentioning the lag which is infuriating at points. Some games I’ll shoot but don’t hit the person I’m aiming at, and then jet across to the other side of the room, then explode into a thousand pieces , then repeat until I’m kicked.

So after 14 years is Duke Nukem Forever worth your time? I can’t answer that. For me personally it was but for you dear reader? Go download the demo, give it a crack and decide whether the King has returned. EXCELSIOR!

What did you guys think of Duke Nukem Forever? Let us know in the comments below.


    "Can the game live up to 14 years of expectations" The answer to that is a big N-O, but people still had their expectations up way to high and feel butthurt because it didnt live up to their expectations.

    play it for what it is, a nostaglia trip back to a time when games where simple and awesome, if you are willing to overlook its shortcomings it should be a fun time.

    I am really looking foward to the single player DLC that should be coming soon.

    The load times on the PS3 are around 30 seconds, a bit better than the 360 I gather, but painful nonetheless :\

    I imported, $50 is fine for the Duke - definitely not worth the Australian price though.

    I can tell you that load times on my PC are around 4-5 seconds. My PC is 3 years old, and I was running everything on highest detail. I'm glad someone finally mentioned multiplayer, it's quite fun. I didn't have any disconnection issues tho, played the same server for a couple hours at a time.

      It feels like old school multiplayer to me which was awesome. Yeah I'd imagine you wouldn't drop out nowhere near as much on PC. I was on 360 and it was pretty hard trying to stay on one game for a decent time.

    I had pretty low expectations, but have to admit I've been having a lot of fun with DNF. Played the demo on 360 and was a bit turned off, but load times are way better on PC.

    I had my expectations pretty much down on the floor, and this game still managed to disappoint me. Great job, 3D Realms!

    lol, load times are around the 4-5 seconds here too. My advise to those with consoles - buy a PC that was designed in the last 3 years and you'll be fine

    I consider myself a big Duke fan but DNF simply didn't appeal to me. The humour was forced and fell flat, the gameplay was clunky and while I felt like it was something I could adapt to, there was nothing appealing enough about the game for me to make the effort.

    On it's own merits DNF isn't terrible, but the only thing that would have kept me playing was nostaligia. I don't think I'm being too hard on it for being disappointed by it, I just refuse to go easy on it.

    Good review, even though I disagree with it.

      I will say this though, the game had me excited early on because I did feel intune with it at first - when your talk show gets cancelled due to aliens you walk backstage with some guy complaining and verbally abusing some innocent. I wanted to hit him - and as I approached the dukes went up. WHAMMO. Down he went. And I thought "Yes! This game gets me".

      But from there it just went:






      And that's where I stopped.

        Hahaha, the smiley faces sums up my experience of DN:F. It's not finished and been added to my pile of shame.

        The shooting mechanics and gameplay just felt off to me after a while.

    I'd just like to thank you for presenting a balanced review.
    Duke has had a polarising effect on the community.
    It's good to see someone say it's good, but not great, bad but not terrible, or possibly the other way around.
    At the moment I'm waiting to upgrade my computer so I can play my PC copy on my now-struggling rig which is about 5-6 years old.
    It runs, but doen't register enough key strikes for quick time events.
    Anyone remember when the first one is?

      First quicktime event is in the first 15 minutes or so of the game against the Cycloid.

    I'm forcing myself through this game right now... it's a struggle. I don't think I'll make it.

    Maybe 6 years ago it would pass as a decent game, but it feels to me like a game from that long ago that I just found in a drawer and whacked in the PC. I've had a couple of laughs but the rest is a chore.

    Duke is first and foremost a PC game. The original Duke Nukem games were all PC. Duke Nukem 3D was also originally PC. I've never known anyone who's ever played any Duke game on anything that's not a PC at the time of release.

    So why the hell are all the reviewers playing Duke Nukem Forever on an Xbox 360? And then complaining that the console version sucks? WTF?

      I play most of my games primarily on a console, thus I bought and played Duke for Xbox 360.

      here here, I thoroughly agree, My first duke game was duke 2, and 3d was something i played tons, the console spin offs were good and I thought manhattan project was a blast, but Duke is for PC gamer's, the pc version of forever has reasonably better graphics (if you max it) and runs much faster for me.

    I actually had some of the most fun playing DNF that I've had playing any game in the past 10 years. It had me hooked.

    I'm not sure what it is that people look for in FPS games anymore, but I got what I wanted from DNF. It's a shame to me that they'll probably try to change the formula even more to match people's skewed expectations.

    I don't like most current FPS, so I can't imagine why anyone would proclaim the lot of them to be better than DNF.

    The same thing happened to Crysis 2, for me. I loved Crysis 1, heard all of the complaints, and then saw Crysis 2 try to take on those complaints as it completely ignored the people that liked the first installment.

    Divided audience much? I don't consider modern FPS gameplay to be an "improvement" at all. The environments are solid and certainly prettier, but many of them lean away from games and more toward interactive film.

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