Tits. May I say tits? How about penis? Blowjob? Lesbian porn? You see, without these rather colourful words, I fear I won't be able to convey the appropriate tone here. 90 minutes into Duke Nukem Forever and I've ripped the eyeball out the socket of a twenty-foot alien, pissed in countless urinals, scrawled a penis in a child's book, talked dirty to myself in the mirror and been fellated by twin blondes in tartan skirts with fun-bags the size of footballs. To curb the vulgarity of my language would mask what kind of an experience the game has to offer. It's rude, ridiculous and radically different to anything the FPS genre has seen since, well, Duke Nukem 3D.
This is a double-edged sword the size of which the FPS genre has likely never seen before. A large percentage of today's Call of Duty crowd just aren't going to 'get' Duke Nukem Forever. I was lucky enough to play the game in Las Vegas, surrounded by neon lights, poles and women (presumably strippers) with huge silicon-filled norks serving me drinks. Not only this, I know Duke's history; the intricacies of the 12-year development process and that the game has been an industry joke for most of that time. The game is fully aware of all this, too, of course; you have to admire Duke's habit of smashing down the fourth wall.
You may have had a chuckle at some of these things yourself after watching the trailer that recently hit the interwebs. The game itself jabs at your humour glands at every opportunity, reminding you that immaturity is, in fact, tremendously funny.
I'd talk about the opening 15 minutes of the game, and the huge penis (with veins and hairs) I drew on a white board to the elated cries of "that's genius!" from my EDF team mates, but this has been spoken about before in our last preview. Instead I'll talk about the new stuff; the first four or five levels of the game and the myriad of entertaining moments littered within them. After putting down his Duke-branded control pad (the first fifteen minutes of the game are in fact a game within the game), our narcissistic hero sets off on a stroll about the penthouse of his casino; Lady Killer.
It's here, without your guns or aliens to riddle with bullets, that you realise just how much work has gone into creating distractions from the main story. Walking into an employee lounge, you can pick up a bag of popcorn, cook it in the microwave and then eat it. You can urinate in any toilet you come across, drink any beer you happen to find, and play any slot machine that grabs the attention of your wallet. Perhaps the most interesting of these activities finds Duke pumping iron in the gym. After curling a few weights, the big man complains that they aren't heavy enough for his needs. The game doesn't tell you what to do, but intelligent players will start looking to add to the bar, eventually giving Duke a workout to be proud of. Taking the time to seek out these little events is more than just an entertaining distraction; it permanently increases your maximum health.