in Video Games

My thoughts on Duke Nukem Forever

After 13 odd years being stuck in development hell, the final release of Duke Nukem Forever made me giddy with nostalgic memories of my early youth playing Duke Nukem 2 and Duke Nukem 3D and so bought this game wondering if it would live up to the hype, and also wondering how much of that 13-year development cycle would be put into the game.

After about 3-4 hours of playing Duke Nukem Forever I couldn’t believe just how bad it was. I was pretty flabbergasted and couldn’t understand what went wrong.

DNF by all accounts represents everything that is wrong with modern first person shooters. It forces you down one path, and only one path. There are lots of scripted events, there are contrived puzzles tacked on for no reason, and it seems to rely heavily on pop-culture references to the point where it literally screams at you to “look at this! aren’t we cool, hip and trendy!”

I must have counted at least half a dozen pop culture references, everything from Lost to Duke Nukem 3D’s sister project, Lo Wang. Even references to old Duke Nukem games are in there.

In the original DN3D you had to collect health, bonuses, power-ups, however in DNF you have an ego health system which regenerates after a few seconds if you get hit.

Another thing in the game I hated was the really long loading times. Even if you die, you have to wait anywhere between 30 seconds to a minute.

I spent a lot of time playing the single player game as I wanted to know how it compared to the old DN3D. Oh boy was I in for a surprise.

The first few missions has you being handheld, forced down a linear path. At first I thought it was designed to be like this so that it can tell a story and then I’m sure it’ll give me the actual game after this.

Except, it doesn’t. Instead you get one linear path/map after another. A majority of the levels make you go over a certain ledge or platform, after which you cannot go back. Its basically a lazy way for programmers to release memory and keep the footprint of the game small.

Eventually you’ll fight tougher aliens, bosses and drive different kinds of vehicles; one thing you will notice is that the guns are pretty much the same as in DN3D, which I would expect; but I would also expect some other weapons — I mean you did have 13 years to build this game!

Strangely I feel that the 13+ year old Duke Nukem 3D is actually more 3D than DNF, the reason: you could move in 3 dimensions, you had multiple paths, there was much more interesting levels.

I guess it all comes down to expectations. I was expecting DNF to be a throw back to DN3D, showing the Halos and Call of Duty games that you can create a fun game that employs all the mechanics which made the FPS genre famous in the first place.

I would avoid this game, or at least rent it before buying it.