Games Meet Metal: Duke Nukem Forever: The Riff Review

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever: The Riff Review

Thirteen fucking years. I've known dogs and cats that have come and gone. I've known several presidents. I've seen an endless amount of evil metal shows, and 50% of those bands I've seen multiple times in that span. I've experienced intense grief, several console generations, and the joy of boobies. What I'm getting at is that a lot of shit can happen in thirteen years. For Duke Nukem, this meant getting passed from developer to developer in the hopes that someone can finish gaming's favorite one-off joke. In the end, it took the crash of Duke's parent company, 3D Realms, and the financial backing of Take Two Games and the programming skills of Gearbox Software to finally bring DNF to computers as well as consoles.

In DNF, Duke is enjoying the good life. He's a planetary hero, thanks to his victory over the Cylon emperor over a decade ago. Not only is he famous, he's frigging rich! Honestly, the guy has a mansion and his own secret base of operations. Guess that Duke Burger franchise finally paid off in dividends. As Duke is about to guest on a talk show, his pork-flavored enemies decide to make a return and start stealing up all of Earth's hot  chicks to use as birth mothers for ore of their kin. Well, America's number one manly chauvinist  just ain't gonna stand for that!

 The gameplay in DNF is straight old-school with a few nods given to the modern day school. Things such as a refillable health bad and a limited gun capacity replace Duke's hit points and total armament collection. While these changes do alter your combat strategy from what Duke Nukem 3D offered, they feel slightly tacked on. That's because DNF is a time capsule of gameplay. When Gearbox Software was given the DNF project, their objective was to finish it, not retool it into some game-changing behemoth. This is exactly where a lot of negative criticism has been coming from lately.

The main point of contention is that Duke feels old when put up against modern day shooters like Crysis and Halo. You know what? They're half right. The graphics aren't as eye popping as one would expect a sci-fi shooter to have, yet they still have their moments. The boss of the Duke Dome was quite the creation. The load times, probably my biggest complaint, are horribly long and feel especially tedious if you keep dying in a tough spot. What legitimate gripes do exist  tend to overshadow the true fun that DNF can give you. Going one-on-one with space cruisers, boxing a gigantic soldier's balls, ascending the new Duke Burger, and traveling while you've been shrunk down (one of my personal fave moments), all make the new Duke a blast  to pay.

If Duke Nukem Forever was a launch game for the Dreamcast or Gamecube, then it would have praise befall it. Such as it's fate, it's release had to be delayed time and time again. Now, we have this time capsule a bit too late for many people, which is a dame. Despite it's flaws, DNF is still a very fun game to play. When and if you do though, try to put yourself back about a decade and play the game in the past without the scathing comments.

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