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Lunch » Tags » Video Games » Reviews » Duke Nukem Forever » User review

This Duke isn't quite A #1, but still really good. 80%

  • Jul 28, 2012
Reading a lot of these negative reviews has made me pretty irritated, to say the least. The way people have been trashing this game is almost like they just played Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (considered by many to be possibly the worst videogame ever). True, there are some things missing from Duke Nukem 3D that should have been in Duke Nukem Forever, but it still has a lot of good things as well, along with maintaining an unmistakeable “Duke Nukem” feeling, so it doesn't deserve so much of the backlash that it's gotten.


It's been quite a few years since the last time Duke Nukem kicked alien butt, and after attaining so much fame for his deeds, he's now franchising himself like crazy. However, the aliens have not learned their lesson and are back to wreak havoc and steal Duke's babes. With the babes being abducted and Duke's various businesses being destroyed, he's mad and ready to unleash lots of pain to the alien invaders.

As you can tell by the story, it's not on the same caliber of storylines like those in the Mass Effect or Deus Ex series, and it's not supposed to, this game is all about fun.


While the gameplay is the most important part of any game (more on that later), one of the most important parts of a Duke Nukem game is atmosphere. DNF makes no bones about being a crude, violent, sexual, and humorous rollercoaster ride of over-the-top action. Much like in DN3D, there's lots of one-liners spewed from Duke. If you're a fan of classic 80's and early 90's action films like Escape from New York, Robocop, Total Recall, and Commando, then you're gonna have a ball with all of Duke's one-liners that reference said films.

Personally, one of my favorite Duke quotes is when after you kill one of the Cycloid floating tentacle monsters, he'll sometimes say “Take your tentacles and go back to Japan!!” (not quoted verbatim).

Also, there's some more modern humor to make the game more “relevant,” but thankfully doesn't water down the original Duke Nukem-styled humor. Examples of this would be in some parts of the single-player mode, an EDF (Earth Defense Force) soldier states to Duke that “Your power armor is ready, sir!”, and Duke replies “Power armor is for p*ssies!!”, which is an obvious jab at the Halo franchise. Another example include a film director behind a late night TV stage berating one of his crew in parody of Christian Bale's infamous meltdown on the director of photography on the set of Terminator: Salvation (even better is that you get a Steam Achievement for punching the director). The last example is that when you interact with one of the phones in the game, you hear a voice message that's in the same spirit as Bill Lumberg's voice messages in Office Space stating “Mmm, yeah I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday.”

There's even a parody of the Olson twins named the Wholesome twins, and I seriously doubt the Olson twins would be flattered with their portrayal in this game.


What's a videogame without good gameplay? Fortunately, DNF has good gameplay to go behind the crude, violent, and humorous atmosphere. While a lot of the game is the good old fashioned gun fights and big explosions against alien “pigcops” and jetpack-wearing aliens, there's also some nice variations from the over-the-top action.

There's some nifty puzzle sections that while not as brain-twisting as those in the Half-Life games, is nonetheless a nice addition to the game. Also, there's some fun platforming sections like when you're shrunken inside a Duke Burger and have to save a pretty female employee from a flooded kitchen with loose live electrical wires. This platforming section in particular is also mixed with some neat gun battles with some pigcops. There's even a section in the game that has you ride through the desert towards the Hoover Dam in a monster truck the Duke named “Mighty Foot.” These stages are fun since you can utilize the truck's built-in jet-boosters to get over some canyons and to get some great speed to turn your alien enemies into roadkill.

One of the things that was lauded about DN3D was the interactive environment, and thankfully, it's back in DNF. Among my favorite and most crude interactions you can do in this game is take a leak in a toilet or urinal when you want a little break from the combat.

I personally like the moments in the game where you get shrunken through alien shrink rays and have to navigate the world as a tiny Duke. This leads to some interesting interactions like having to platform through a dangerous series of cogs in the Hoover Dam, and hearing Duke with a high-pitched voice is quite funny.

There's some neat power-ups that totally match the spirit of the Duke Nukem franchise. Your sunglasses provide “Duke Vision,” which allows you to see in the dark, and this has infinite supply. There's one-time use power-ups like beer, steroids, and the holoduke. The beer slows you down but makes you more resistant to damage, steroids make you crazy and run around killing enemies with one or two punches, and the holoduke makes you invisible while fooling your enemies into shooting a holographic projection of yourself.

The weapons overall, fit the Duke Nukem aesthetic. Some classics like the RPG (this comes with a target lock feature) and Shrink Ray come back in this game. There's also some funky weapons like the Freeze Ray and the Ripper, with the latter being a three-barreled machine gun that can dish out some nasty hits to your enemies. One of my favorites is the alien weapon called the Enforcer, which fires three target-locking missiles at once and can kill big enemies with only a few hits. I wish some weapons like the microwave gun would have came back in DNF, though I can overlook that since the weapons in this game are still a lot of fun.


DNF is one of the PC games that allows for both control through a keyboard and mouse or through an Xbox 360 controller plugged into your computer. I used the Xbox 360 controller through the game and the game even has control prompts with the Xbox 360 controller buttons on them to allow for easier controls than some other games that say something like “Press button E to climb the ladder.” The buttons are used in a logical order similar to most FPS titles and thankfully, all the controls in the game are immediately responsive to your interactions with the controller.


I've only played the PC version of DNF, so I can't really comment on the quality of the graphics on the Xbox 360 and PS3 ports of the game. With that said, while the graphics may not be up to par with games like Metro 2033 and Crysis 2, I think the graphics on DNF are better than the myth that they're no better than on Doom 3. When you max out all of the graphics settings, you actually get nicely-detailed items, people, and environments that I'd say is probably worthy of competing with a 2008 game with top-shelf graphics quality. Besides, graphics aren't everything. What matters most is the gameplay and atmosphere.


The sound in this game comes in crystal clear, and the sound effects for various actions in the game feel just right for what you do. I think especially with the gun sounds, they have a nice punch to them, and go well with the over-the-top feeling of the game.

The music is good, too. There's some decent hard rock riffs in the background that match the macho, “one man army” feeling in this game. There's a more traditional classical score in the background in most levels, and the melodies feel right at home with the scores of action films of the 80's and early 90's, which fits in perfectly with this game.


While I do like this game, it's not without some complaints. I don't like the fact that until you beat the game, you're restricted to carrying only two weapons at a time (if you beat the game, you get an inventory expansion option to carry four weapons at a time). I think when Gearbox was finishing development of this game, they should have had the inventory set up so that you could carry all weapons like in DN3D. Also, the levels seem a little too linear compared to its predecessor (though you can rummage through lockers and crates to get weapons and power-ups), and there's no jetpacks in the game. However, I think in the big picture, these faults don't do too much to degrade the overall quality of the game.


This is NOT a game for the kids. This game has a lot of scantly-clad and half-naked women and even some Giger-esque visuals like “wall boobs” in some alien dwellings. There's also a lot of profanity-laden humor and insults, along with bodily waste and gore. The gore goes beyond copious bloodshed to even included dismemberment and exploding corpses. In some boss battles, you actually rip off some alien battle lords' horns and stab them in the eyes with them.


Don't listen to all the negative backlash this game has got. This game set out to be a slab of crude FPS fun, and it succeeds. If you're looking for a FPS that's all about crude fun, then I'm sure you'll be satisfied with DNF, especially with its current price. I think this game is a much-needed break from the current climate of the FPS genre being totally serious and realistic (not to mention being too derivative of each other). This is a game worth owning, and is also a good companion piece to Bulletstorm.

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review by . June 23, 2011
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About the reviewer
David Kozak ()
Ranked #20
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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About this video game


Duke Nukem Forever is a First-Person Shooter (FPS) that finally resurrects the infamous Duke Nukem franchise. Designed as a blend of the over-the-top ego, humor, risqué scenarios and un-PC attitude that players of the original 1990s PC game releases will still relish, with for technological upgrades that modern gamers demand, Duke is definitely back and better than ever. Features include: a gameworld full of interactive opportunities; over-the-top humor; outlandish settings, vehicle driving, and puzzle solving; Duke specific multiplayer modes and more.

Duke Nukem Forever game logo
Heroes Come and Go, But a King Reigns Forever

Did the Alien bastards not learn their lesson the first time? Duke has been on hiatus for some time now, kicking back and franchising himself on the fame he gained from saving Earth from the first invasion. The Aliens have returned to Earth yet again, messing up Duke's sweet routine of dirty leisure habits. The Alien invaders are stealing Earth's women, especially the hot ones! And they drank Duke's beer. This-Won't-Stand. As Duke battles his way through waves of aliens, the once beautiful gambling haven and Duke Nukem franchise chains are crumbling before his eyes. Time to bring the pain

Duke Nukem striking a pose in an Old West setting in Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem returns to kick alien butt, indulge in his infamous vices and save the world, again.
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Duke Nukem is one of the biggest and most recognizable brands in gaming history. Irreverent, UN-PC, and uber-Macho, Duke Nukem is the perfect antidote to the...

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Number of Players: Single-player, Multi-player
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 3D Realms, Triptych Games
Console: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: June 14, 2011 (NA)
First to Review

"Get Some Go Again"
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