Last Saturday, I spent some time with Duke Nukem and the long awaited sequel. To be frank, it wasn’t a very good time. If this game was under any other name, I wouldn’t have even given it the time of day. But nostalgia is a powerful force, so I took advantage of the early access privilege and downloaded the demo from Steam.
I chose to try the PC version not because of the franchise’s PC roots, but to eliminate potential reasons for not enjoying the experience. I didn’t want finicky framerate to get in the way. It was a fruitless effort because I was still disappointed by the tech.
DNF looks ugly. Only Duke, the girls and the pigs he goes up against standout as decent; everything else was drab and primitive. I was running at 1080p resolution and managing to get 50+ FPS without VSYNC or any form of anti-aliasing on my Radeon HD 5770. Everything looked sharp, but the same could be said with games from the early 2000′s.
Those of you watched the Duke Nukem Forever PAX 2010 videos will be familiar with what this demo has in store. It starts off with Duke at urinal where I can pee to my heart’s content. The rest of this level is filled with interactive pieces like those found in Duke Nukem 3D. It was fitting considering the end of the level had me reliving the final moments of that classic game. But as soon as new and original level loaded, it quickly became apparent that this game was quite poor without the aid of rose tinted glasses.
I’ve shot aliens, shot down their ships and even pushed a mine cart before. And I’ve done all those things in much superior games. The only redeeming quality I noticed was the attention they devoted to keeping everything in first person. When Duke was knocked to the ground, he got back up and brushed himself off. It’s something worth noting because this is one thing most first person shooters don’t do enough of — even the best ones out there don’t display this kind of effort.
So that’s it? Nostalgia and a handful of first person techniques? Unfortunately so. If the demo was any indication there’s nothing of worthwhile here. As much as I enjoy Duke’s machismo ways, it’s not worth forking out full retail price for. I’ll wait for it to hit budget price or lower.
What’s a few more months of waiting in the grand scheme of things?
Duke Nukem Forever debuts June 14th, 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information, visit the official site.