Developer(s) – 3D Realms, Triptych Games, Gearbox Software & Piranha Games
Publisher(s) – 2K Games & Aspyr Media
Designer – George Broussard
PEGI – 18
Often cited as one of the worse video games of the seventh generation, if not the worst, Duke Nukem Forever had attached to it a fifteen-year-long development cycle (which was enough for me to have written an entire article about), with many setbacks delaying the game until it’s eventual release in 2011. And though it miraculously sold enough copies to be profitable after such an unusually long development cycle, most people are in agreement that it is a very poor game; and I am no exception.
Graphics – 5/10
Aside from being very unoriginal from a conceptual standpoint, with many, if not all enemy designs looking very familiar compared to most other games that had been released during the sixth generation, the game is also rife with glitches and graphical inconsistencies. It’s amazing to think that after fifteen years of developing the game, it wasn’t even finished when it was finally released; especially under the circumstances, since although many details had been changed throughout the development cycle, most of the basic premise and settings of the game had largely remained the same throughout, judging by some of the earliest footage from back in 1998.
Gameplay – 5/10
It has been said by many that the game is mainly just fan service as opposed to it being something that many other gamers would also be able to get on board with; and in my opinion, that’s evident enough. It is a very basic first-person shooter, especially compared with many of the other games in the genre that were being released at around that time, such as BioShock, Fallout 3, and even Gearbox Software’s own Borderlands. There are a few mini-games strewn about the place, but not enough to hold the player’s interest for considerably longer.
Controls – 6/10
Though the first-person shooting aspect of the game’s control scheme doesn’t have a great of problems, the real issues arise with playing both the mini-games and the car-riding segments. There is one particular instance early on in the game whereby Duke is shrunk to a fraction of his normal size and must ride a remote-controlled car to advance. However, controlling it can be very unnecessarily tricky, and since it is mandatory in advancing further into the game, it only adds that much more to the frustration that gamers will feel whilst playing.
Lifespan – 5/10
A linear first-person shooter with very few outstanding gameplay features or proper side quests, Duke Nukem Forever can take roughly 6 or 7 hours to complete; which is about the average lifespan for a game of its kind. There are DLC packages that can be bought to expand the game’s lifespan, but in all honesty, playing through this game even once (if a player can bring him/herself to do so), will struggle to find a reason to want to play a game like this for any longer than that.
Storyline – 6.5/10
The one saving grace of the game is the trademark attitude and demeanor of the Duke character himself. The story follows Duke Nukem on his latest mission to save the United States from an alien invasion. The best thing about the game’s story is undoubtedly the controversy surrounding it, and the comic relief that Duke provides throughout. It’s rude, risky, politically incorrect, and incredibly funny, which though further perpetuates the theory of this game being simply fan service, wouldn’t be considered a Duke Nukem game otherwise.
Originality – 0/10
Despite the developer’s intentions to bring something very new to the table in terms of a video gaming experience, the fact of the matter is that George Broussard, at some point during development, decided to simply take elements from most other games that were coming out at the time, and add it to this game, making constant demands of his development staff (of which there were only 18 people at first), thus needlessly delaying the game even further. As a result, the game became more of a collection of features as opposed to it being a fully cohesive concept, and thus, there’s nothing really original about it.
To sum up, Duke Nukem Forever is considered one of the worst games of the seventh generation, and for very good reason. It fails to stand out among the multitude of first-person shooters released at the time, and in all honesty, fails to stand out among any other first-person shooter at all in any kind of positive way.