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Maybe We Shouldn't Be Taking Duke So Damn Seriously

Disclaimer: This is commentary from someone who has not played the game in question. I will this week for the review, of course, but for now, I'm merely making an observation based on gamer and critic feedback.

So finally, 14 years later, Duke Nukem Forever comes out in North America this week (it launched in the UK last Friday). And as some of you may have noticed, the early reviews are not encouraging. They go as low as a 2 out of 10 and as high as an 8 out of 10, and the average isn't impressive. It's worse than mediocre, in fact. And although we've heard that the DNF demo on the Store is based on old code, the reaction to that is almost as depressing. So what happened? After all this time, it just went and flopped? Say it ain't so!

Sadly it might be so. But I would like to point something out- these days, most big-budget blockbuster games take themselves very seriously. And they should; games aren't for kids, anymore. But there was a time in this industry's history when certain games were designed for the express purpose of amusement. And when I say amusement, I mean cheesy amusement. Amusement that is amusing because it's amusingly cheesy. ...okay, I'll stop saying "amusing" now. Undoubtedly, Duke Nukem was always one such title. Nobody took that sh** seriously. It was too stupid to take seriously. That was the idea.

Now, if DNF really is broken; if it plays poorly and looks particularly bad and the cheesiness is too painful...well, then we have a problem. But I really believe many critics, who are in the modern mode of taking most everything very seriously (and again, that's just a sign of respect for the maturity of the industry), don't understand this. In all honesty, DNF may have to be reviewed differently, even though logically, it still has to compete with other modern titles. The bottom line is that we don't really see games like DNF anymore, and what is technically labeled a "flaw" might, given the context, be accurately considered a "charismatic eccentricity."

I'll tell you this- if the game is fun, that will be reflected in my review. If I think they captured Duke the way Duke should be captured (like no other video game character, really), and I believe the flaws are easily overlooked, I won't hesitate to recommend it. On the other hand, if it's just a poor production and Gearbox misses the mark, then I won't pull any punches. After all, we have waited for a loooooong time.

Related Game(s): Duke Nukem Forever

Tags: dnf, duke nukem forever, dnf reviews, gearbox

6/12/2011 8:46:14 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (49 posts)

CaptRon
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 9:40:31 PM
Reply

Blasphemy.

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jaynet333
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:06:33 PM
Reply

I'm definitely looking forward to your review, Ben. The reviews here at PSX Extreme are generally evenhanded, so if I am on the fence, I like to see you have to say. So far, based on the demo, I wouldn't pick this one up for quite a while. I understand that the demo doesn't reflect the finished product, but I am still pretty hesitant at this point.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:13:31 PM
Reply

You and I are of the same mind Ben. To a certain extent a person almost has to strip away the last 12 years of advancement and look at it for what it is. I'll be taking special care to explain my process when I review it because I think if DNF has accomplished anything so far it has lain bare the processes by which certain reviewers review games.

What standards should it be held to? Provided it isn't a technical catastrophe how does one rate the experience if it just lacks all the things people expect from an FPS these days?

It's hard to believe Gearbox completely dropped the ball, and the Duke fans seem to think the game is good for what it is so I can't wait to see how you score it here.

I'm pretty sure I'll at least personally enjoy it though, because I just don't LIKE what FPS has become. I liked what it was.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 12:26:03 PM

But if they just wanted to take us down memory lane, why not just release the original Duke "restored for HD" then...?
A new game should be judged as a *new* game, imo.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/13/2011 12:30:23 PM

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tes37
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:14:17 PM
Reply

The PSXE review will determine whether or not I get DNF. I have a challenge from my sister that said she'd stomp my *** playing this game. One player at a time I guess, but I won't argue with that non multiplayer logic. We both agree the game has to be well received at this site.

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LittleBigMidget
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:29:35 PM
Reply

Awful game is awful. Flop of the century.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:32:51 PM

But what is awful about it?

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Shams
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 12:00:00 AM

I anticipate it will be a relatively competent shooter cashing in on a franchise of the past. Some funny one liners that get old an hour into a 5-8 hour rote adventure rife with conventional sequences.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:30:10 PM
Reply

If it's broken, it's broken, doesn't matter how much nostalgia is thrown at it, or how different a perspective is needed. And that seems to be one of the main issues. It just isn't sure whether it's Duke of old or a modern shooter. Sad really. I'll read your review and hope for the best, but I'm not liking the odds.

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Claire C
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:57:45 PM

Quit being so logical. =^.^=

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Temjin001
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:23:21 AM

Gotta agree Lawless. I think for critics they shouldn't bow down or alter their standards for assessing quality no matter what a game's intent is.

Perhaps for the gaming populace it would serve as a good reminder that we don't just play games for quality. And taking some time out of a AAA gaming schedule to play a humorous game that doesn't take itself too seriously isn't a bad thing.

In the end, I think critics should do the job expected of them, whereas gamers can determine forthemselves if the "fun" of a said title is worth their time despite it's flaws.

One thing I know for myself is that most of my favorite gaming experiences in life haven't always been the highest rated or highest quality.
I enjoy them for reasons that are my own and I dot expect others to see it the same way.

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Scarecrow
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:35:09 PM
Reply

Loved the ps1 3rd person Duke Nukem because of how cheesy it was. Huge guns, lazer guns, dumb pig men, a lot of pr0n stuff, and just pure raw ass kicking.

Now, knowing me I will not get it (too many games to get) but if they kept the core foundation of what Duke is all about then the game is a win in my eyes.

Reviewers expect movie quality just because it took over a decade... Seriously, this is not a 12 year production. These reviewers need to understand that the game was scrapped and redesigned many times until they were finally able to make it for the current consoles.

I agree, to compare this to stuff like Killzone, Resistance, and other big FPSs isn't fair. Same genre but completely different purpose.

But if it's bad in terms of delivering a solid game then they're right. We'll have to see what psxe's review is like, and what other trusted gamers say*

Last edited by Scarecrow on 6/12/2011 10:36:27 PM

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cLoudou
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:37:51 PM
Reply

Despite the low reviews I already paid for this. Gonna get it and enjoy it for its Nostalgia. I remember playing Duke on the N64, I didn't know the reviews scores of it then nor did I care. It was damn fun.

These alien bastards are gonna pay for shootin' up my ride.

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LittleBigMidget
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:40:10 PM
Reply

@World

Story is bad. graphics are meh. gameplay feels a bit dated. The humor is...eh, decent.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:47:24 PM

yeah the story isn't supposed to be good, the graphics don't need to be good, the gameplay is supposed to be dated and the humor aspect is completely subjective.

I'm not trying to dispute your opinions, but just showing why the reviews are so mixed and why this game needs its own set of circumstances to be judged on.

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Alienange
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 11:30:37 PM

The graphics don't have to be good?? Since when?

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AugustoDeItalia
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 4:46:36 PM

@alienange

since all we want is a fun game for once, not a game we base our opinions on his realism and good graphics.

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inVersion
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:41:19 PM
Reply

In a year with more great games coming out than I can count on five hands, spending even a small amount of time (or money) on this one would be a waste. Then again, despite having played a number a Duke Nukem games throughout the years, I have the added benefit of not getting nostalgic when hearing his name.

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BIGRED15
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:43:02 PM
Reply

this game has yet to strike a chord with me and it probably wont. im too busy w/ infamous 2 to care. on my 3rd playthrough already

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:49:58 PM

3rd? Is there more stuff to do?

In any case inFamous 2 is definitely at least an MPT (Must Play Twice) game.

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Deleted User
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:48:34 PM
Reply

I think Duke will be more appreciated from people who cut their teeth on games like Quake, Doom, Castle Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem 3D. Those who eat, drink and sleep Call Of Duty (most reviewers or "journalists") won't appreciate it.

Me, I want to strictly rent it. I don't think it's worth $68 CAN.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:50:23 PM

nothing is worth $68 CAN

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cLoudou
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:59:51 PM

Dude you overpaid for a can.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 9:42:52 AM

@World
Canada's dollar is stronger than the US dollar.

;)

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Geobaldi
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:14:47 AM

Only by .03 cents as of today.

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:17:13 AM

Underdog, if it were stronger than the U.S. dollar, than shouldn't the game cost less for you? We pay $60.00 with our weak dollar for the game. You guys are gettin' screwed.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 1:27:18 PM

@MyWorst Nightmare
You mean Brighat got screwed. It's $59.83 on amazon dot ca with free shipping in Canada. I've never bought a game new for more than 59.99.

@Geobaldi
Actually, it's by nearly .03 dollars, not cents. As of noon, 1 US dollar is worth exactly 97.79 cents Canadian.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/13/2011 1:41:11 PM

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Fane1024
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 9:40:13 PM

@Nightmar

Never heard of sales tax?

Currently U.S. and Canadian MSRPs are the same.

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LittleBigMidget
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:53:34 PM
Reply

Am I the only one that thought Duke Nukem 3D was ok but no messiah?

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Claire C
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 10:55:14 PM

I hope not. Hee hee. =)

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Beamboom
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 12:04:45 PM

No you are not alone. Pre-teen level "humour" never fascinated me - not even during my preteen years.
Only thing was the strippers on the poles. That made an impression on a young man. But so would any silhouette of a woman do back then.

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/13/2011 12:05:13 PM

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Alienange
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 11:27:48 PM
Reply

Who didn't know that DNF was going to tank in the ratings? Serious or not, Gearbox has the balls to ask $60 for this game so they had better put out a top quality product. Looks like they didn't and I'm not surprised in the least.

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Temjin001
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:45:32 AM
Reply

And for the multiplat gamers who have got to know. The digital foundry has cited the PS3 version to be technically better than the 360 version for Duke.

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Ignitus
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 11:46:59 AM

True, though the textures resemble a late PS2 game, acording to the same source.

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maxpontiac
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:50:02 AM
Reply

Look what happened with GT5. It took longer then most titles, and when it was released, it was criticized (not PSX)for nearly every small thing.

Duke Nukem might as well be a PS3 exclusive, for that's how it's getting treated.

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 10:54:00 AM
Reply

Very brave of you to say this, Ben. My admiration of this site has took a 1up.

I'm holding back on my view for my user review. But i will say that IGN's review is the worst review (and by worst, i mean by the fact it is loaded on bad journalism, bad hypocrisy, bad biases and attention seeking) i have read in a long time.
It seems what i predicted in another DNF news post about reactions being either extremely low or high, are becoming a reality.

This has made me fear for the future of games (and not because i might see DNF as a great game) and realise how mainstream the "journalism" has also become. I think you know what i mean by that.

Anyway, i look forward to the PSX review, good or bad.

P.S Ben, i linked this to the Gearbox forums and you're getting respect, including from one of the games designers.
One user said "finally, a critic with balls!" about this lol.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 6/13/2011 10:56:36 AM

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Temjin001
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 11:10:27 AM

That's cool Lotus, but remember Ben still hasn't reviewed it. Let's see what the community will have to say if he gives it a 5 or 6 =p

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 11:45:52 AM

It's fine whatever review it gets here. The fact is that this was a breath of fresh air.

Everyone has their own opinion and the designers seem to not be caring about a couple of negative reviews...and i think that's because they knew how things would go from the get go. Plus, it's getting a lot of love at the same time. Check the comments to IGN or Eurogamer to see a lot of people saying they have no idea what the attention seeking reviewer was talking about and claimed they're loving it, on top of that, those comments are the highest rated.

I'm just levelling it out, i'm not claiming anything nor saying my thoughts yet.

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 11:52:55 AM

Oh, and to further level out the reactions, here's two positive reviews that actually go into a lot of detail aswell....and most of all, have a sense of humour.

http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2011/06/duke-nukem-forever-review/ 8.5/10

http://gamers-underground.com/conten...m-forever.html 86/100

"The game has managed to not only deliver a unique FPS experience, but has also done so in a way that will be able to satisfy old-school fans and newbies to the series alike. So ladies and gentlemen, or babes and fells: Duke Nukem has returned. And it kicks ass."

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Beamboom
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 12:08:37 PM

On IGN you will always, *always* find trash against the reviewer in the comment field. It's how their community tone is.

Really, I've never read a review on IGN that I found to be utterly unfair or factually incorrect. I've not agreed with them all, but neither have I with the reviews on this site. Disagreements in itself is not a bad thing. But the comments on IGN is better left unread, imo.



Last edited by Beamboom on 6/13/2011 12:08:57 PM

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Temjin001
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 12:36:31 PM

IGN is hit and miss with me. I think it depends on the reviewer. Now Edge, on the otherhand, is generally one of the worst out there. Honestly I thinkthe gaming industry would be better off without their presence in the media. I don't think I could go home from work feeling good about myself if worked for them.
I would say check out their latest review for Infamous 2, but I don't want them to enjoy the hit traffic for people going there. Take my word for it; they suck.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 4:14:04 PM

Heh, nice to hear.

Have a link to the Gearbox forums?

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/13/2011 4:23:20 PM

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Mr Wright
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 3:16:46 PM
Reply

I never played Duke Nukem growing up, so I have no expectations for this game at all.

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CaptRon
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 4:11:22 PM
Reply

Some of these people's comments make me sick. I guess people don't care how videogames used to be or do they care to remember. Why so serious. Duke is a man's game. If you don't like it, you obviously aren't a real man.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 4:24:24 PM

Are you serious? The jokes in the Duke game was on the level of the Police Academy movies, if you've ever seen any of those. Are they movies for men? Hardly!
Duke was what teenage boys wanted to become before they figured out what it meant to be a man...

A man's game? I'd vote for Red Dead Redemption, that's a real man's game. Or GTAIV. Or Unreal Tournament. Or any of the fighting games. That's for men. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/13/2011 4:32:47 PM

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CaptRon
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 7:19:27 PM
Reply

See... there you go, taking games too seriously. Just like everybody else. It's a damn shame to what games are now. They all take serious tones anymore... And if they don't then people don't support them, damn shame.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:58:23 AM

Dude, it's not a question of taking it too seriously - if anything it's a question of taste. If I say that I don't like the humour in Monty Python, would you say that I "take TV too seriously"?

If you look at games like Saints Row, Mercenaries, Army of Two or Just Cause, you can't really say they are "too serious"? Where's the serious tone in them?
And they all sold pretty well as far as I know, and have descent review ratings.
I have not played the new Duke Nukem but I did not particularly enjoy the old Duke back in the days. It was just one of many first person shooters.
I love Monty Python though. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/14/2011 2:01:15 AM

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79transam
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 8:34:22 AM
Reply

My brother has been playing the PC version in Germany at his base all week. His comments via text message are as follows

"sh&t is hilarious"
"First thing you do is piss in a urinal"
"Dude commentary is hilarous"
"F yah just got blow job from 2 twin chicks"
"Dude cant begin to say how awesome and hilarious this game is"

He sent me some picture mail of the game and from what I could see and what he was saying it sounds like a fun, light hearted game

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 1:39:06 PM
Reply

Just an FYI.....

2K sacks US PR over Duke review row
6/15//2011

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-15-2k-sacks-us-pr-over-duke-review-row

Publisher 2K Games has severed links with its external US public relations and marketing agency after the outfit Tweeted that it was considering blacklisting sites that gave Duke Nukem Forever a particularly rough ride.

A post on The Redner Group's Twitter feed earlier today read: "Too many went too far with their reviews...we are reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom," followed by another stating "Bad scores are fine. Venom filled reviews...that's completely different."

Much internet ire duly followed, and 2K has just chimed in, announcing that it's given Redner its marching orders.

"2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by @TheRednerGroup and confirm they no longer represent our products," read a post on its own Twitter feed.

"We maintain a mutually respectful relationship with the press and will continue to do so. We don't condone @The RednerGroup's actions at all," a further post added.

The offending posts have since been removed from Redner's feed, replaced by grovelling apologies.

For the record, Eurogamer awarded the long-delayed shooter 3/10 over the weekend.
"The appeal of Duke Nukem lives on. But your time and money would be better spent reliving his iconic past than bearing witness to this gruesomely mangled resurrection," wrote Dan Whitehead.

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