The biggest joke in gaming has been, for 15 years, the ongoing delays surrounding Duke Nukem Forever. Astonishingly, it dropped this month, finally.
Not so astonishingly: it’s apparently awful, awful, awful. The two reviews I’ve read are clinics in brutal-but-deserved takedowns.
From Ars Technica:
In another scene, a woman sobs and asks for her father. You see, the women in the alien craft are being forcibly impregnated by the aliens, and during your journey, you hear a mixture of screams and sexual noises. After I accidentally blew up a few of these female victims in a firefight, Duke made a joke about abortion.
This is what passes for humor in the game. It’s not racy, it’s not funny, and it makes you feel dirty. Every time I put the controller down, I felt the need to rub my hands on my jeans as if the game were making me physically dirty. It’s like watching your uncle tell racist jokes at Thanksgiving and praying someone has the guts to tell him to cut it out, but this time it’s interactive — and you’re the uncle.
Multiple developers have worked on this game for over a decade, so I don’t know who to blame for the unplayable, glitchy, ugly, offensive mess it has become. No humor can make up for the game’s rampant hatred of women, and the terrible writing and one-liners can’t even be compensated for by good gameplay. The game’s jokes about other titles are laughable when you see how putrid Duke is upon release.
Sure, it may still sell millions of copies due to the name alone, but it will disappoint buyers and make anyone with half a brain feel uncomfortable. I have no clue how a game so all-encompassingly ugly can suffer from so many framerate issues, but Duke finds a way. From a business and gaming history perspective, the fact that the title exists at all is fascinating; for everyone else asked to spend $60 on it, it’s merely sad.
I’m a fan of humor that’s willing to push the boundaries, but nothing is being sent up, mocked, or lampooned here. There’s just no reason for what you see and hear. This is an ugly game that exists to celebrate ugliness. The people involved should be ashamed.
But the even better slam comes at the end of this review in the Guardian:
If this was 15 years in the making, it makes you wonder what they did for the other 14 years and 10 months.
Not quite “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul,” but it’s about as close as we’ll get in the real world.