Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever Preview for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
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4Out of 10
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Duke Nukem Forever screenshot
Duke Nukem Forever screenshot

After faffing about in the corridors of the casino for some time, exploring every nook and cranny of the demo, I eventually started to pursue the story proper. On a satellite link with the President in his 'Duke Cave', our hero learns that the leader of the free world has made a deal with the alien invaders, and Duke is asked not to get involved. Not being the kind of guy that does what he's told, Duke decides stick his nose in regardless. It transpires that the aliens are looking to kidnap all the women (or babes, as Duke would call them) from Las Vegas, which pisses our womanising protagonist off even more. Despite what anybody thinks about Mr Nukem's views on women, he's willing to risk life and limb to save them.

It isn't long before you're furnished with guns and presented with hideous aliens to shoot. You'll do far more than just bloody up extra-terrestrial scumbags over the course of the game, however. During the first five levels, a Gearbox representative refused to let me do the same thing for more than a few minutes. After dispatching of a few rooms full of enemies, the game had me guiding an RC car through an obstacle course to retrieve an energy cell. Shortly after I was manning a turret and shooting down a mothership as the sky was transformed into a shooting gallery. After that I was stopping an out of control elevator from killing its buxom passenger. Then I was shrunk to the size of an action figure, taking the wheel of the aforementioned RC car and tearing up the casino on four wheels. My final moments with the game were squaring up against a colossal boss, and while I don't want to ruin what happens, I'm happy to report that testicles are involved. If variety is the spice of life, DNF is a spicy dish indeed.

Perhaps understandably, Duke Nukem Forever looks more than a little dated. This has been in development for twelve years, after all, with assets swapping hands left, right and centre. 'Dated' is putting it mildly, to be perfectly honest. The game looks unsightly for the most part, with polygon-starved models and poor textures. That said, the scrappy aesthetic works with what the game is trying to achieve. Duke Nukem Forever isn't attempting to compete with the likes of Crysis and Killzone; there's just no point. Instead, it revels in its 90's level design, dated environments and slightly misshapen character models. It's all part of the charm. For some inexplicable reason, the second-rate graphics seem to work in the game's favour.

The frame-rate isn't something that I can forgive so easily, however. Even two or three enemies on screen at the same time sent the frame rate plummeting into single digits. At times the game became borderline unplayable. I suffered numerous deaths because I couldn't process what the hell was going on, with enemies flitting about the screen like players with a dodgy internet connection might on CoD or Halo. Let's not fret about this too much here, though. Randy Pitchford himself assured us that there was still a long list of problems that the team intends to fix. Release day isn't too far off now, however, so let's hope the frame rate is near the top of that list.

There's a lot to love about DNF, but much of it will be wasted on those who know no better than the glorious corridors of Call of Duty and its ilk. The irony, in-jokes and self-referential humour will fly over the top of many heads, just as it might in something like Bulletstorm. Duke Nukem is scrappy, crude and laughably dated, and while a generation of gamers will inevitably hate it, there's another that will lap up every last morsel. The day the review embargoes lift for DNF will be an interesting one. It seems to me that scores are going to differ dramatically, but whatever the number on Metacritic, this is a game people are going to be talking about. Or shouting, perhaps. Hopefully with lots of delicious profanity thrown in for good measure.

Duke Nukem Forever is due for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on May 6.

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11 Comments

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Highest Rated Comment

Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Absolutely not. This game is a breath of fresh air that we need, it shows that you dont need stunning graphics to be a good game. I'm glad this is coming out soon because i'm sick fed up of all the "realistic" military shooters, this game is going to be so much fun.

If anything, it's that attitude that's setting us back.
Posted 17:39 on 09 February 2011

User Comments

Gollum_85's Avatar

Gollum_85

I love the first one, but I can't forgive crap frame rate. They better sort that. Graphics don't look too bad though.
Posted 19:03 on 10 February 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

I mean't that it was going to put gaming back 10 years in terms of they way non-gamers view gaming.
Posted 15:59 on 10 February 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

LOL! I got a few TD's for that comment! I'm not a feminist or a killjoy or anything... I just think it won't be a great game... to many chefs spoils the broth or what ever.
Posted 13:45 on 10 February 2011
enviro-bear's Avatar

enviro-bear

Before The Duke was saved, DNF was such an appropriate acronym...
Posted 18:52 on 09 February 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

DNF sounds like exactly the sort of game to play after having a bad day. Nothing beats kicking a few piggie-cops to death with a size-12 boot. And being of the generation who experienced Duke 3D, and anxously searched for its add-ons in the days 'on-line retailer' meant 'on-the-phone-line, prices listed alongside titles in PC Gamer magazine', means everything to appreciating the game.

Games are meant to be FUN experiences, after all. Not just artistic experiences which is the direction many are trying to take them on. B-games, like B-movies, are necessary.
Posted 18:20 on 09 February 2011
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface

Beta males are so in this year
Posted 18:07 on 09 February 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Amen brother.
Posted 17:46 on 09 February 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

If anything we need a game to remind us that we can still laugh at our selves and make a 90's game again. Too many people get hung up on wanting to appreciate games like Limbo - to the extent that they'll forgive it not being a great game - and want to disassociate themselves from characters like Duke Nukem.

Duke probably has more character than bland angry men like Kratos or dudebros like Marcus Fenix, because at least he's being shallow ironically.
Posted 17:44 on 09 February 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Absolutely not. This game is a breath of fresh air that we need, it shows that you dont need stunning graphics to be a good game. I'm glad this is coming out soon because i'm sick fed up of all the "realistic" military shooters, this game is going to be so much fun.

If anything, it's that attitude that's setting us back.
Posted 17:39 on 09 February 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

This game will probably put the videogame cause back 10 years. DN had it's place during the 90s but I'm not so sure now... I'm all for having a laugh but I fear that this will feel dated, crude and incredibly archaic.
Posted 17:33 on 09 February 2011
renegade's Avatar

renegade

Hmmm interesting
Posted 17:08 on 09 February 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 10/06/2011
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,288
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