So, it’s been a few weeks since everyone was trashing this game as hard as possible. News of some new multiplayer DLC is coming and also a promise of this not being the last of duke although with apparently poor sales I’m not sure what that means. I have just finished the single player campaign and below are my thoughts on the game.

My first thought was, this is exactly like Duke Nukem 3D only with more of everything, more crudeness, more nudity, more one liners and more boss battles. My second thought was….what were people expecting? Game looks ok on my computer, no graphical glitches or bugs I came across in single player and while I am well-known for not placing graphics as a high priority I think it looks decent enough without being beautiful.

People seem to be hating a lot for a game that doesn’t feel all that different in content to Duke 3D, a game everyone hailed as a success way back then. The jokes are not funny, the storyline is preposterous and while everyone idolizes you for saving them you are basically an asshole. It’s everything no other fps shooter currently is and that alone makes it interesting. The variation from shooting to puzzle solving, platforming, driving and simply exploring is fun I think, while never quite being great due to slightly wooden animations or slightly weak physics.

It definitely shows some elements of age in its design but it also seems to take elements of more modern games which I don’t like, such as the two weapon limitation….which is unessecary. The sudden implementation of night vision (duke vision) which, while functional doesn’t really add anything fun to the game because of the horrible brightness of the effect.

I actually liked driving round in the monster truck, hitting the nitro button and jumping over chasms or running down pig cops. The physics puzzles are mostly seesaw related and I find it odd they were a point of annoyance, they don’t seem all that different to Half Life 2 Physics puzzles and everyone thought they were great. Granted the physics in Duke Forever are not quite as polished but then it’s a very minor aspect of the game, not a selling point as with Half Life 2.

The weapon selection seems comparable to the last game although I didn’t like the freeze ray because it took too long to freeze enemies and left them plugging at you for too long between kills. The pipe bombs and laser trip mines return and can be put to good use, the holoduke, beer and steroid pills have some utility but for the most part I found myself more concerned with ammunition which is limited quite strictly when carrying only two guns. I loved the rail gun and shrink ray, I thought they were very satisfying to use.

Personally I wasn’t offended by the crude humour, I didn’t find it all that amusing either but then, I didn’t expect the game to be particularly genre defining or politically correct. I think if you really were a duke fan back in 1990’s you would enjoy this game, it seems to revive all of the enemies, bosses, weapons and even the strippers although they are now fully 3d rather than just pixels. There are some in-jokes about other games which could be described as easter eggs but they tend to be obviously placed so you don’t really have to look far to find them.

I think the game was unfairly treated by reviewers, while it may not be in the same class as games like Crysis, Half Life or Call of Duty it’s still better than many first person shooters and stays true to the themes made popular by past games. It’s not a parody, it’s an asshole simulator, you get to be the guy who everyone hates to love, someone who gets the girls but treats them like trash, who thinks he’s better than everyone else and then proves it….you want to hate him but then he seems to be surrounded by idiots…so you get to be the asshole and take full advantage of it. It’s not like other shooters and I don’t think that’s a bad thing considering how many Call Of Duty games there are now.

I would actually like to see gearbox make another Duke game, I don’t know how much of this one they made, obviously some of it they inherited from past developer 3D Realms. It would be interesting to see what Gearbox could do for Duke given all of the development time on the project rather than on just finishing off somebody elses attempt.

If you can get past the bullshit review scores and haters, you might find, like me, it’s actually ok.