Duke Nukem, the egomaniac, muscle bound meathead in his comeback game after years in development was something I’ve always wanted to try. I’m aware that many people don’t like it but it holds certain appeal to me.
It’s a fast paced first person shooter with a personality in the famous lead character. He loves himself, treats women as sex objects but is strangely nice to his young fans. Duke’s dialogue is sometimes funny (like when he makes a comment about keycards, referencing Doom) and sometimes just stupid. The game itself shows a sense of humour too (like having sixty-nine bullets in a gun), the loading screens even have tips like “If you died from falling from a high place – it was probably your fault.”
The plot is basic, kill the aliens to save the world. Nice and simple for a simple game.
Combat is fairly standard run and gun but hide if you’re hurt. There’re lasers, guns, explosives and melee. Duke can consume beer and take steroids to give himself a temporary boost in a fight which is handy. Plus Duke can perform executions to regain Ego mid combat. The guns don’t have proper iron sight aiming, instead Duke’s eyes zoom in which was a weird feature of old shooters. Boss fights from the ones I experienced are just bullet sponges without much more, they end up being the more boring parts of the game.
Duke’s health is only small but it hides behind a shield bar called his Ego, the Ego can be increased by finding interactive objects in the world (such as weights or mirrors). The interactive objects show a surprising amount of thought went into the game with some things acting like little puzzles while others are pinball minigames to play. The stupid humour comes in too with faeces being a throwable item that splattered when it hit something. The Ego objects act as collectibles which are helpfully tracked in the chapter select on the main menu.
There are minor puzzle elements in the game with RC cars, movable objects, fire extinguishers and explosive trip mines which all added a little something extra to the game.
The real problem with this game, the biggest problem is that even running the Xbox 360 version on an Xbox One the frame rate drops dramatically sometimes. The frame rate drops make the game almost unplayable and it made one boss fight unbeatable for me as I was fighting, couldn’t do anything, then dead.
Although the attitudes in this game are a bit outdated they still managed to hit the ten year old boy that hides somewhere in my brain. The game feels old, like it should be better and I feel a bit naughty for it but the start of the game especially is something that caused me joy and I really enjoyed the dumb fun focus. The feel of the game is like the modern Doom games, Doom is much more polished making it a far better game but this is something similar.
Duke Nukem is a relic from a bygone time, he doesn’t fit the modern world but if you can treat him as a joke and you like the modern Doom I should be able to recommend this one. Fairly average for gameplay with terrible moments that break it, up until that point I was enjoying the creative ideas so sadly I have to call it bad.
I might push on and complete it but I don’t know if I want to, it seems I’ve had the best of what the game had to offer. I played on normal difficulty.