Duke Nukem Forever (PC) Review

It has been 12 years. 
Twelve goddamn years to wait since Duke
Nukem Forever
was announced. In that time, most of us have
been through
several jobs, possibly several levels of school, and maybe even several
spouses.   The
latter might be true if
you’re the undisputed king of badasses, but that would require Duke
Nukem to
actually marry someone.  
Maybe that
special stripper you handed all those hundred dollar bills to back in style="">Duke Nukem 3D?  Don't
worry, you'll be seeing some of those in this long-awaited sequel too.

The point
is, we’ve been through few console generations and have gained a few
of RAM since the idea of Duke Nukem
was introduced. 
Gearbox has
taken over the long forgotten child of 3D Realms and now we’re looking
at a
game that actively mocks every aspect of its long development process,
competition, and everything but the Duke himself.

But have we outgrown the Duke? style="">  Or is this legendary
product something that
should’ve remained a myth?


Duke Nukem was never a guy for children. He hangs out with the wrong kinds of ladies and has a mouth that only his mother could love, until the aliens captured her along with the rest of the chicks. Now no one can appreciate his tone. Keep the kids away from this one.

Gameplay - 50 / 100

Duke Nukem
is a collective sum of a ton of seemingly fun activities—run and gun
boots to the head, mild platforming, pinball, pumping iron,
car puzzles, and lovely shrunken Duke action.
And it’s all terrible.
Even the intro, which has you running
around a base
seemingly ‘interacting’ with security and eventually riding an elevator
to the
Stadium stage from the classic and dueling a badass with nothing but
Devastator feels lackluster.  Duke
anemically, and can’t reload or fire during a sprint. 
The last I recall, Duke pops steroids and
outruns RPG shots.  What
the hell is with
every first person shooter making it so you can’t sprint and fire?  This is the one shooter
that could break that
stupid mold aside from Serious Sam,
and it failed on that point.

Duke, we know you're great.
 Even the bowl cut kid knows it.  So why'd you agree
to star in this?

Even as you’re unloading rounds into
classic enemies ranging
from machine gun packing lizards to the almighty Pig Cop, Duke’s humor
has lost
its touch.  Duke
spouts a good line every
now and then, but for the most part, Duke is just crude and not
humorous in his
application of four letter words. 
he’s not talking, you might find the occasional cool reference in the
environment, but you know why those are cool? 
They’re references to good games. 
This is not one of them to be immortalized in an intro
Every mini-game feels forced and adds
nothing to the
game.  Miniduke
jumping in an RC car and
tearing ass around a building is fun for a minutes, but an entire 20-30
sequence?  Are you
serious?  I can’t
even kill any mutants during this
event, and the Duke NEVER leaves an enemy behind. 
Little turret sequences and respective bosses
really don’t feel like things Duke would do. 
You know what else Duke can do?

Even a classic fight like this
has humanity helping Duke by airlifting in ammunition.  Screw
that.  It's down to you and me, you one eyed freak.

Hold more than two damn weapons.  For a game that once stood
for the definition
of badass first person shooting with no holds barred, why
the hell can’t Duke hold more than two guns? 
He can’t hit a pool ball straight either, and
the various other mini-games that raise your ‘ego’ or shield (yes, it
like every other goddamn shield in every other modern FPS these days)
from hidden and annoying to ‘downright rage inducing’ with achievements
the million point pinball score.

Graphics - 60 / 100

The Duke looks good, but the same
cannot be said for the
rest of the world.  Even
the chicks don’t
look all that impressive, which is a travesty. 
Duke does not rescue mediocre women, we should all know
this by
now.  He chalks them
up as Pipe Bomb
collateral damage.  There
are some cool
lighting effects here and there, but the whole game reeks of
development.  Some
places like the Hive
are incredibly well done and sport advanced effects, and others barely
pass for
Half-Life 2 at best.
“Damn, I’m
good”  We
know, Duke.  Apparently
the rest of the game was dressed
down to make him seem that much more badass…

Sound - 77 / 100

The actual sound itself is wonderfully done. The Duke sounds like the Duke, and the women sound delightfully cheesy/forced in their line delivery. The writing of the lines though is often mediocre though.

Weapons ring true, explosions are often and loud, and there’s a good sound effect for delivering justice up close and personal after popping some steroids. It sounds like a Duke Nukem game, that’s for sure. The only thing that is lacking is a killer original musical track, but you’ll get plenty of remixed classic themes as you go.

Multiplayer - 87 / 100

Ahh, the Dukematch.  
The high speed combat of Duke is … somewhat lacking, but
it’s damn hard
to mess up this kind of game multiplayer completely. 
Fortunately, without most of the gimmicks of
singleplayer, the shooting action rings true. 
Aside from shrinking and stomping on your friends though,
nothing stands
out about this game’s take on the Hollywood Holocaust multiplayer. 

Perhaps the best thing they've
done in this game is the implementation of Duke Burger.
 Everyone loved that stage and now you can enjoy it in a
entirely new way!

You even level up your character
online like
Call of Duty, but instead of unlocks, you design your own Duke Pad.  It feels better than the
silly weapon
unlocks, but it still seems like a silly tacked on feature that
could’ve been
scrapped and effort used elsewhere.

Value - 65 / 100

There’s nothing particularly impressive or unique, or more importantly, must-play about this. 50-60 dollars for this game is a sham, especially when the single player is short as hell when you’re skipping stupid objectives like air hockey and pinball. The multiplayer might be good for a few weeks, but that largely depends on your loyalty to Duke and the previous games, rather than the quality of this product.

Lasting Appeal - 40 / 100

The only thing that’s forever about Duke Nukem Forever is the legacy of the development process. Everything about the game is forgettable except for a few choice quotes, and you don’t have to have the game installed for that. Regardless of which mode you enjoy more, it’ll get stale fast and you’ll wish this Duke would be fun forever like its predecessors.

Pros and Cons


  • It came out!
  • Duke and the ladies have some good delivery of terrible lines
  • Multiplayer is kind of fun, which is surprising.


  • Jesus the single player sucks. Way too many forced sequences to change
    it up, let us just run and shoot aliens please!
  • Graphics really look like a project from forever ago—aged and bland.
  • Overall product just feels crappy and unpolished.


We all wanted to love this game, and some of you definitely will. It’s just a cash-in almost; a game made to say ‘I told you so’ to the legions of Duke haters that said the game was vaporware. With a single player with enough gimmicks to make you want to run through stages as quickly as possible, and a forgettable but fun multiplayer component, it falls to the setting and feel of the game to make it live up to the legacy. It falls short, but you might want to hail to the king at some point just to pay your respects to the fallen king.

Overall 64/100 - Average


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