Imagine someone went into a coma in 1996 and woke up in the present day – but instead of trying to get acclimated to today’s environment they just went around believing that it was still the mid-90s.
He’d talk to you about “Friends” and how they hope Ross and Rachel get together. He’d call you butthead. He’d still be supporting a New Kids on the Block hairdo.
He’d just keep talking on and on and on and on about how great the mid-90s were.
At first you wouldn’t mind. The person has been out of touch for a while, cut him some slack. But then it gets annoying. You get tired of hearing how awesome things were in the 90s.
Finally you snap and yell at him, “It’s not 1996 anymore asshole! It’s 2011. Everything that you claim is awesome and fun has been done, finished, redone and done better since you’ve been dead to the world. Shut up and get with the times.”
This is how I feel about “Duke Nukem Forever”. It’s a good game – for the mid-90s. It’s a hilarious game – for jokes that stopped being funny in the early 2000s. It’s an edgy game – in a time of games where we didn’t have “God of War”, “Grand Theft Auto 4”, “Metal Gear Solid”, etc. Whatever Duke strived to be has been done bigger and better since 1996.
- DNF is ugly. There’s no two ways to look at it. Duke is trying to compete in an age of hyper-realism in video games. If this is the game that was supposed to come out in 98-00 it would have looked great, but its blocky last-generation graphics are beyond dated. DNF is really out at a bad time since we were just given L.A. Noire.
- In a world where we can go nearly everywhere in a game, the invisible walls and linear gameplay in DNF cripple any sort of exploration you would want to do in Duke’s world.
- The comic attitude in Duke is lost. The gamers who found that entertaining in the 90s have grown up; and the gamers of today don’t even care who Duke is.
I have to salute Gearbox for getting this game to come out finally, but I have to wonder if any of the higher-ups there actually viewed any of the gameplay.
Earlier this year “Brink” was released. It was originally scheduled to be released in September, but it was pushed forward to May due to “Gears of War” being released the same month. What we then got was an unfinished, unbalanced game that isn’t worth playing; it’s barely worth being a coaster.
To me “Brink” and DNF are kindred spirits in a way. Rush out a game: it won’t be good. Take forever to release a game that has a dated look, attitude and gimmick: it won’t be good.
It took 12 years to get “Duke Nukem Forever” to come out – I think one more year in development wouldn’t have hurt it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s kind of nice to have been able to see Duke again; I just wish it would have been on much better circumstances.