Friday, June 17, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever is out, and the reviews are offensive.

So after a very long wait, Duke Nukem Forever is finally out. The reviews that accompany it are troubling. There is a slew of horrible reviews out there. Scores of one to three out of ten. Essentially saying that this game is completely unplayable. This level of hate is unfounded, and truly unprofessional.

The game isn't perfect, that's clear. But it is in no way as horrible as these so-called reviews are trying to claim. Scores such as they give are reserved for games that are broken. Full of bugs and glitches, unplayable, un-winnable, graphical and sound errors everywhere, and basically a game you can't play from start to finish. That's definitely not case.

DNF is a decent shooter. It's nothing new, using features seen in most of today's First Person Shooters. It uses a two weapon system, that limits what guns you can carry around with you. That is one of the main complaints that the fans have, as they prefer the "carry all you can find" style of Duke Nukem 3D. There is also a regenerating health bar (or Ego in this case). Which leads to a lot of cover based play instead of the run and gun style that the previous Duke game had.

The game is also full of Duke, in all his rude, offensive, sexist, ego maniacal glory. And that's something the fans are happy for. The old Duke is back, just as promised. While the action may have changed a little, the one liners, puns, horrible jokes, insults and general crass behavior is still there.

The reviews out there have been bashing the game in many ways. And Duke's personality tends to be a main theme. Saying that the game is too offensive. That it's humor is childish and crude. That nobody could enjoy such things. Which is odd to see considering that it's exactly what the game was supposed to be. It's what the fans have been crying for for the last 14 years. To make comments like that in the reviews is like saying that Gran Turismo (one of the most popular racing games out there) is a bad game because there's too many cars and too much racing in it. It's a baseless complaint, and generally insulting to the fans out there who have been waiting for just what they got.

There is one review that went into a rant about how horrible the graphics and lighting in the game are. Specifically, they referenced a level called the Hive, complaining that the level is too dark to play and horribly designed because of it. The thing is, the level is SUPPOSED to be dark, as the entire point of the level is to make you use your night vision to find your way around. The stage is specifically designed for that, yet the reviews make it out to be some horrible error in designing the game.

Duke Nukem Forever has been a long time coming. Announced about 14 years ago, the game was originally being made by 3D Realms. They worked up a semi-complete game, but then scrapped the whole thing to start anew with a new engine. This happened multiple times. And a couple of years back Gearbox software took over the project from 3DR. They basically restarted the project using the design concepts left from 3DR. Yet again building the game from the ground up, and using some pieces here and there that were left over from the previous build.

This may be part of the problem. The reviewers seemed to be expecting a game that technically took 14 years to produce, a game that would be an epic masterpiece that was finely honed over all those years. But in reality, it's a game that took about 2 years to make (much like most games) and wasn't designed to be ground breaking, or to revolutionize shooters... but rather to give the fans what they wanted. More Duke. And that's exactly what it did. But, as it didn't live up to the expectations of the reviewers, it's met with nothing more than scorn and slander.

This sort of behavior is unprofessional and downright insulting. Fortunately, there are countless people out there who love the game. Most European reviews haven't jumped on the "hate" bandwagon. And the gamer written reviews are a lot more honest. While the game isn't getting perfect scores, it tends to get a seven or eight out of ten. It's a decent game, that may have a few faults, but is definitely not the garbage that the so-called professional reviewers are trying to make it out to be.

Duke Nukem Forever is to video games is what Bruce Campbell is to movies.

You don't go see a Campbell movie expecting Oscar winning performance, ground breaking special effects, or even a well written story. You go to see them for a good laugh. Often childish and crude, but still appealing to those who enjoy such humor.

Duke Nukem Forever is much the same. People didn't want the new big hit shooter. They didn't want revolutionary. They wanted more of the classic bad Duke humor, and that's what they got. 

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