It’s not just a rumor, Duke is back baby and more bad-ass then ever in a playable demo at PAX Prime 2010 that takes players through three levels of the game, from battling a predator looking alien to driving a classic Duke truck; albeit poorly in our hands.
For those not familiar with the story, Duke Nukem Forever has long been the butt of industry jokes and a classic example of Vaporware. The original studio 3D Realm originally announced the game in 1997, and since then mere snippets of screen shots, box art and PR marketing materials have surfaced, but never any actual game.
Now it appears that Gearbox Software, along with publisher 2K Games and a handful of other small studios have worked to put together an actual real game that we are all hoping to be on its way to retail
Our first impression was simply shock and awe that the classic pixelated Duke had been so well transformed into his new modern 3D world. The designers haven’t messed with a winning recipe and you will recognize characters and weaponry from Duke Nukem 3D instantly.
The limited gameplay kept very true to classic Duke formula as well. He is the Terminator in the flesh, while not invincible, you can deliver a whole lot of ass kicking with the well rounded arsenal of rocket launchers, shotguns, sniper rifles, ray guns and pistols that border on the ridiculous. Duke comes standard with regenerating “EGO” bar, so it actually takes a special bit of skill to die.
Let Duke get close and he delivers a knockout punch through melee. Against our giant alien foe in the first round, after he was down, Duke proceeds to kick a field goal with the poor saps eyeball; classic Duke.
The graphics aren’t half bad either. Great use of lighting and shadows helps to define the world, especially out in the barren wasteland, and when pelted by rain your vision becomes blurry, difficult to see through the mist and rain drops land on your glasses. While the limited range of scenery in the game does tend to all blend together eventually, the textures and terrain is unique enough to feel like you’re not swimming in a sea of brown and grey.
Overall Duke Nukem Forever isn’t out to revolutionize the FPS genre, it doesn’t deviate from the run and gun style present in your every day shooter, but that’s okay. Duke Nukem gives you control of an incredibly unique character, showcasing crass humour, superjock abilities and well, just being a general bad-ass.
For die-hard fans of the original, the game brings back familiar memories and could just be the climax of the series; fresh players shouldn’t feel intimidated by the heavy history of the game, but definitely need to approach without expectations of FPS grandeur.
Duke Nukem Forever has been given a 2011 release date for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, but then again it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard that.