Duke Nukem Forever: Was The Wait Worth It? (No)
Duke Nukem Forever is here. I’ve been playing it for a couple of days now. I haven’t finished it yet – though that’s not to say the game is long, just I’ve been doing other things simultaneously – and I intend to complete the whole game before committing to a review and score.
Safe to say though, even without finishing it I know it’s a bad game. A bad, bad game. And not ‘bad’ in the way the Duke would want it to be.
No, this is very much a product of 12 years of disjointed, confused, unfocused development. There are as many old-fashioned, outdated callbacks to the time when the game was first put into development as there are hastily-introduced ‘new’ FPS elements (recharging health, can carry two weapons etc) and it’s all cobbled together in such a haphazard fashion it’s just… no. It doesn’t work.
Stilted, clumsy combat that sees repetitive waves of enemies thrown at you as you circle-strafe around a bland, poorly-textured room wouldn’t even have been that much fun ten years ago, but it seems to be the main way of pushing DNF along. Oh, along with mounted gun sections, obviously. Because we all love having 20 of them per hour so bloody much. It’s unbalanced, not as funny as it wants to be, has awful AI, looks like a 12-year-old game half the time, has only one jump grunt from Duke, has complete piece of trash driving sections and generally makes me want to not be playing Duke Nukem Forever. I was playing yesterday when a workmate put on the most recent in-game video for Uncharted 3. Things like that really drive home how bad – how awfully dated – DNF is.
There are nice touches – it’s good to be reminded of a time when FPS titles did allow you to simply dick about for a bit, playing games and flicking switches. But the fact that Half-Life did it better back in 1998, or the undeniable fact that Duke Nukem 3D did it better back in 1996 should give you an idea of how pointless, how perfunctory this whole experience feels.
I honestly didn’t expect much from DNF. There’s no way a game stays in development hell for that long if it’s a good game – publishers might not always make the smartest decisions, but if something’s undeniably a piece of shit they will treat it as such. Duke Nukem Forever is that piece of shit, and I now wish it had never been released.
That’s twice now in as many weeks I’ve been let down by a developer I love. One black mark on the record of Volition, now one has appeared for Gearbox. It’s a good thing Aliens: Colonial Marines is getting positive word back from E3, or I’d be crying myself to sleep tonight.
It might be time to kick ass and chew gum, but I just wish Duke would piss off right now.