Okay, so after waiting forever we finally get Duke Nukem Forever. How is it? It is not bad. After hearing all the complaints I went into the game with low expectations. However, what I found is a game with a number of novel, surprising touches, balanced with glaring flaws and major disorders. It definitely brings back the controversial adult-rated environments of the prior Duke games but more-so. Duke was cool in the prior games. In this game, they went too far to the point where Duke is really more unlikable. Yes, he likes guns, babes, boobs, partying, is narcissistic, but he is also an all-American hero and "cool". After you dive into the game, you realize he's more of a washed-up has-been A-hole with only something he did 12 years ago to ride on. Yes he's loaded, and that makes sense. But this Duke needs to be more bad-arse. The first 20min. of the game you run around without any weapons during an alien attack. Duke is the kind of guy who should be able to lift up a sofa cushion and have an arsenal, or open the ice-box and pull out a rocket launcher. It seems instead Duke is an advocate for Gun Control laws and enemy of the NRA. Still, it's raunchy enough to make me feel like I was playing a game that should have been part of the POSTAL series. This game is a like a linear cousin to Postal 2 in that way.
Graphics aren't that bad - I don't know what people are complaining about. It runs good for me with everything maxed and I wouldn't say I have a monster A+ system either. The GFX do the job.
Blood/Gore - this part is sufficient enough, they didn't tame it down as most wussy developers do these days. Bad marks for the fact there didn't seem to be any blood decals at bodies. WTH? You can blast an alien, see blood splatter everywhere, but the body looks unharmed. I remember Soldier of Fortune 2, if you shot them in the arm, you see a bloody hole in the arm. Vast majority of most games these days refuse to show this sort of thing which is questionable.
Surprises - nice surprises are some of the in-game games you can play, such as the casino slots, card game, pinball, basketball hoop/throw game, the air-hockey table game was pretty fun, more fun than some other parts of the game. Some of the novel shooter/rail sequences were very good. The mothership battle was neat, it was cool to see the mothership slicing apart skyscrapers around you while you blast at it. Nice touch. This game had alot of nice touches like that. Picking poop out of a toilet with Duke saying to himself (or the player) "Awww what am I doing this for?!" and other comments was another nice touch for example. These minor things helped flesh out the game I thought.
Boobs/hotchicks - this game is loaded with boobs, hot babes, strippers, pole-dancers. Alot of sexual stuff in the game, so they definitely weren't afraid to go at it with some of this stuff.
Action/weapons - they felt good and balanced. The enemies reacting to getting hit was a plus. Blasting a jet-packed alien with a Devastator or shotgun sending him tumbling 50 feet was hilarious action. On that note, the sequence where the alien grabs Duke and take off and you struggle/fight it out way up in the air above the city was another nice, surprising touch to the game.
Barely any ammo - you run out of ammo too fast, Duke stopping to reload the shotgun to full is a pain when the 1 or 2 rounds already in it are enough to blast the leaping pig alien fiend about to tear your face off. The 3 second delay to interrupt the loading to shoot results in your face being ripped off. Reloading should have a manual option like other games. It's a pain to find ammo throughout the game. You spend most of the action hoping after you kill the alien, that he drops a good weapon with enough ammo you can use since you are constantly running out.
Limited weapons - continuing on, the ammo issue is painful because Duke can only hold 2 weapons at a time. Whose stupid idea was this? We are treated the game "notes/tips" during loading with things like "Duke can bench 600lbs." But if he is carring a shotgun and a pistol, he will have to drop one to pick up the machine gun. Absolutely ridiculous. So you are constantly changing weapons throughout the game. It is very distracting.
Boss/Mini-Boss/Mob-fight sequences - are poorly executed. Some of the major boss fights are incredibly difficult. Given the lack of weapons/ammo this makes such fights very frustrating. The Death and loading process is tooooo long. You can't just go "oh crap I died, reload". You have to wait about 10 seconds for Duke to finish dying and then for the game to reload from the last save point
No normal Save/Quicksave/load - instead, it uses checkpoints. Naturally, part of the scheme to make this a console-friendly game than what us PC gamers expect. How dumb is this?
Developer community support is non-existent - Like other Unreal based games, any every other shooter on the market, there are mods, and communities backed by the developers. Instead, with DNF, there is no such thing. The game is wired through Steam in a manner that you cannot use any of the UT-based Cheats. Yes, no Cheat Codes whatsoever. There are no mods for this game, no support, the developers have a tight grip on this, if you modify, it won't work, it wont let you alter or edit anything, through Steam, they will just overwrite with default files. If you want any new stuff, say hello to paying for DLC. Zero mods for this game. What a shame.
Damage/random death - When receiving damage, the levels seem to vary to the point I can survive a couple of direct blasts, where on other occasions one direct blast from something will kill Duke. I surmise they are head-shotting me but the game is old-school in that you can shoot the enemy wherever, it won't make a difference how much damage they take.
No Health bar - No, it's "ego" and as you get pummelled, it goes down. If you hide and wait, it will go back up to max. This was kind of stupid.
So no, this wasn't some "run thru the corridor and shoot stuff" game. I've heard alot say that and they are way off. I've seen newer "critically acclaimed" games where that is all they do. I think a lot of people had it in for this game from the start. Ultimately, this game was majorily tweaked to be a console-friendly game.
FPS games don't belong on consoles, I don't know how anyone can seriously play an FPS with a gamepad. Neither can the developers so, like with many other games, they nuke off modern, standard game features in favor of sub-par console features. There should be a way to toggle "Modern PC Gamer" mode vs "Console Fanboy gamepad thumbpounder pilot" mode.