Friday, 31 August 2012

Winterton’s Fridays- Duke Nukem Forever: A Defence

On a day when 103 Percent Complete releases a list of joke articles that never got written, you might be mistaken for thinking this is another one. I assure you, however, that this article is completely genuine; I am indeed going to (attempt to) defend the abomination that was, and still is, “Duke Nukem Forever”.

I won’t bore you with the long and often hilarious history of the Duke’s most anticipated outing, but will give you a quote from the Bradygames Official Strategy guide: “Three engines in three years… If you’re keeping score at home, that’s not a normal process”. The guide also prints a timeline, showing all the consoles that were released during the game’s development time; the most recent being the 3DS, and the oldest being the Game Boy Colour. You know, the thing that had the first “Pokemon” games on.

Pictured: Graphics that are newer than "Duke Nukem Forever"

So I recently had the somewhat ambiguous pleasure of playing through “Forever”, expecting a big mess of a game with no original ideas. What I actually got, however, was a big mess of a game with a couple of original ideas.

Yes, obviously, “Duke Nukem Forever” is a bad game. You already knew that. If you don’t know that, I invite you to download the trial of it. I don’t think a game could go through the development that “Forever” went through and come out as a decent game. Except maybe “Alan Wake”. But there are those few original ideas…

Ultimately, what I wanted from the Duke was a game that was unapologetically comedic, flicking the Vs at mainstream titles with some clever sideswipes at current gaming and popular culture as a whole. Regretably, it fails to do this, but it does do some things I genuinely really like in games. Firstly, it comes up with interesting reasons to mix up the gameplay and scenario. We get monster truck sections, dream sequences, helicopter rides and crashes, and Duke playing his own meta-textual version of “Forever”. Are these sections good? Not really, but they do a decent job of linking them together.

The controls for this vehicle are even worse than you think they are.

Also, the general layout of the game is good. I’ve bemoaned the exclusion of chapter selections before, as well as the removal of cheats and extra content. The Duke delivers on both these accounts. The achievements are also quite a lot of fun, putting focus on different ways of playing, as well as the standard “beat a boss” style of achievement. And no bloody multiplayer achievements either.

Moreover, the actual gameplay isn’t even that bad. I mean, it’s not great, but it’s functional, and certainly not a game killer. The biggest, most criminal mistake “Duke Nukem Forever” makes? It is quite simply not fun. And when the supporting cast is strippers and you are a 90s twat killing aliens, you can’t exactly challenge “Bioshock” for character and plot.

In summary then? Shit.

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