Curb Your Enthusiasm

I was going to review Duke Nukem forever and then thought better of it. There is no need to point out the flaws, as they are well documented by many online reviewers. There is no need to beat a dead horse. But i am going to do it anyway.

This is not a review. This is a rant.

This will not be solely about Gearbox Software and their farce of a remake. There is a need to show that the frustration and disappointment for many gamers is directly caused by the incompetence and laziness that pervades the industry as a whole and can be easily avoided.

During the 80's and 90's gaming developers were small and the money was not attractive enough for the big business bottom liners. Much of their success sprang from creative and passionate minds, making games that became templates for today's virtual frolicking. Now most in the industry just remake successful formulas with no thought or care. The gaming industry has surpassed the movie industry in sales dollars. Big business has come to gaming, and although I don’t like the symptoms of it, I do understand the benefits and attention our industry has experienced, but that is altogether another rant.

Duke Nukem Forever, simply put, is... nothing new. It is a badly rehashed version of an old shooter. The developers didn’t even try, it is a run of the mill run and gun shooter with nothing unique about it except its flaws. And flaws aplenty. Let’s break it down.

Platforming: how in the hell can you have a shooter when 30% of the game is platforming?!  I would understand if the platforming was fun, i.e. Prince of Persia, but it was as simple stupid jumping from A to B. Repetitively.

Skilled Shooting: None. I found the most effective thing to do is unload a clip point blank into the enemies. There was no counter-strike-esque headshot and i believe this is due to two reasons. First the targeting mechanics are too loose and therefore unreliable. Second, headshots were not as deadly as other shooters.

Lack of variety and depth: in gameplay terms, the enemies and their AI were repetitive and horrendous, respectively. Enemies may have looked different but they acted the same. A pig cop stupidly stood there and fired at you while an enforcer with a jet pack glided around and shot at you. Big whoop. Enemies never worked together or knew when to take cover. I can sum up the AI with two words easily, melee and ranged. One ran at you mindlessly and the other fired ineffectively, occasionally (and in many cases unnecessarily) ducking into cover.

Too much Duke: And this one bothered me a lot. They Duked out Duke. In the classic Duke Nukem 3D, the player was only ever cognizant of Duke was when he/she heard Duke remark comically about the situation. Gearbox Software decided to sell as much Duke as possible and pushed the character too much into the players faces. Duke spoke much more often.

Every other level had Duke items, be it a mug, magazine, billboard, statue, even a burger joint. Even the premise of the story, which was never a serious facet, revolved around Duke. Don’t get me wrong, i love the King but there is a point where it gets old, fast. Duke Nukem 3D was subtle in its Dukeness, and that i believe was a great thing. That allowed the gamer to envelope the character instead of being overwhelmed by him.

Maybe somebody someday will give Duke a proper Nuking. Until then stay away. And for the older fans sit back, have a beer, and listen to the metal melody of Duke Nukem's theme remake by Megadeth in nostalgic goodness.

Duke Nukem Forever….I hope not!



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