|Duke Nukem Forever: The 3D Vision Experience|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Games|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 22 June 2011|
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Forever Is a Long Time
If you're interested in this game, you've probably already read some of the currently available reviews, wondering if it was worth the wait. And yes, many of the criticisms are valid: the graphics don't approach the level you'd see in Crysis or Mafia II; the humor is vulgar and misogynistic, and the gameplay at times can be uninteresting, such as the early section were Duke is accidentally shrunk and must make his way in a toy car, without the ability to even shoot anything (there are advantages to this viewpoint, as shown in the image below). True, this is a DirectX 9 title(!), but I think such carping misses the point of the game, which is that it's supposed to be cheesy, vulgar, and misogynistic. These are the same people who have never, ever enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The game begins with the Duke playing...Duke Nukem. It's a sly bit of referential humor, but establishes the setting well. 14 years after the alien invasion, Duke's cashed in on his celebrity with a massive, Las Vegas style hotel/casino complex named after him. There are also "Duke Burger" franchises and other homages. The aliens return, but the president orders Duke to stand down so they can try peaceful negotiation. This doesn't work. Unexpectedly! The aliens are gunning for Duke himself, and most of the action early in the game takes place inside Duke's casino as the aliens blast through walls and ceilings, gunning for The Man. As the Duke would say, "Come get some!"
Although most of the "kill actions" (like stomping on shrunken enemies) from the original Duke Nukem 3D remain in Forever, there are some new moves such as "Execute": a brutal head kick that decapitates a downed enemy. The Pig Cop on his knees in the image below is ripe for this. There's a certain visceral satisfaction to watching the head bounce away in real 3D. In the shot below, you can see Duke's "Ego meter", which replaces the "Health" you normally see in first-person shooter games. When Duke's ego runs out, he dies; but you can increase it by drinking beer, and increase the maximum ego by doing things like lifting weights and killing boss monsters.
Once you move outside, the "3D Vision Experience" really comes into its own. In the image below, I'm shooting a turret gun at Pig Cops that rush out from behind burned cars and charge towards you. It's hard not to flinch backwards the first few times you see this, as the enemies appear ready to burst through the screen.
Here's where the trouble started: the local Duke Burger franchise. What, you think this is over the top for a burger joint? Nothing's too good for the Duke! 3D Vision excels at giving the impression of distance.
After lots of fun above ground killing baddies in the shattered remains of the city, you'll move underground into the alien hive. Here, you'll need Duke Vision to make your way about. I guess that's why he wears those shades all the time.
One of the boss-level monsters you'll have to overcome: the aptly-named Queen Bitch. Just guess where you have to shoot her to take her out. While you're trying to do that, she'll bombard you with bugs that skitter towards you and spit acid balls, as well as slashing at you with giant lobster-like claws and some sort of electrical/telekinetic attack.
With most of the boss-level monsters, killing isn't as simple as firing into them until they go down: you'll often need to jump onto your vanquished foe and physically rip off a valuable piece of anatomy to make the kill. But this being a modern game, there's more than just blowing away bad aliens: there are several "puzzle areas" as well, where Duke must use wits and cunning to proceed. Sometimes, a little radio-controlled car can be really useful, and those bouncy alien lilly pads can often put that pipe bomb right where you need it.