Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 48
  2. Negative: 17 out of 48
  1. Jun 20, 2011
    48
    At the very beginning of the game the United States President tells Duke Nukem he is a relic from the past. As sad as it seems, perhaps he was right.
  2. Jun 23, 2011
    44
    All attempts to turn Duke Nukem Forever into a fancy scripted shooter look pathetic not only when compared to the Call of Duty series, but even to much cheaper games.
  3. Jun 15, 2011
    42
    But it is a game, and as a game Duke Nukem Forever doesn't succeed at being a good modern shooter, a good retro shooter, or even a worthwhile successor. The shooting is bland, the level design is uninspired, the jokes and ideas are old and tired, and the synthesis between old-school PC shooter and modern console shooter has resulted in a hideous chimera that rarely works as either. It's not utterly without merit, but it rarely manages to raise itself above mediocrity and often falls well below. Unless you're desperate to once more kill the aliens and save the babes with Duke, there's little here for you.
  4. 40
    There are other shooters that offer more, but I do know one thing: Gearbox, now free of the DNF burden, will now be free to create a new Duke, a better one we hope.
  5. Jun 28, 2011
    40
    It's good to see that Duke Nukem Forever finally made it past the development finish line, but the race to get there clearly took its toll on Duke. He started limping toward the end goal around 2007, and he's looking and feeling pretty rough.
  6. Jun 22, 2011
    40
    You won't find any lasting qualities in Duke Nukem Forever and it doesn't have anything to compete against numerous modern games that have so much more to offer.
  7. Jun 14, 2011
    40
    If you're not willing to play a sloppy, cobbled together first-person shooter just because it has some kind of weird historical meaning, though, just forget this ever happened and move on. It's great, in some ways, that Duke Nukem Forever was released at all. But don't be confused into thinking that it's a great game.
  8. Jun 14, 2011
    40
    I've heard rumors that 2K only allowed Duke Nukem Forever to be resurrected in an attempt to recoup a fraction of the money they spent on the game through 3D Realms, but I don't think it was a good idea to bother. I've also heard that Gearbox knew that they couldn't possibly deliver an actual good game in a reasonable amount of time, so they worked on it for about a year and just tossed out what they had so that they could make their own real sequel from the ground up. If that's true, then I can see a glimmer of good coming out of all of this, but Duke needs to be redesigned and reworked with very little of the old games behind.
  9. Jun 13, 2011
    40
    Duke Nukem Forever is a disappointment to say the least. 14 years of development seem like a waste of time when you see what has become of the most famous FPS franchise. Sad.
  10. Jun 13, 2011
    40
    As a bizarre curio of video game history, Duke Nukem Forever's appeal cannot be denied, and there is some entertainment derived from overlooking the end product of one of history's most troubled productions. The main thing we can learn looking backwards, however, is that no game should be like this going forward.
  11. Jun 14, 2011
    35
    While much of Duke Nukem Forever is embarrassingly bad--the kind of game you point and laugh at--its biggest problem is that it's so tedious.
  12. Jun 21, 2011
    34
    If not a bit ironic, Duke ends the game with a line about how 'crappy' the ending was. Well Duke, that just about summed up the entire game. There are no redeeming qualities about this game, the shooting, weapons, enemies, gameplay, platforming and driving all combine to be one extremely unrewarding experience. If it were not for the fact this game has had so much hype and been in development for nearly fifteen years, this game would not be receiving any attention, because it does not deserve any.
  13. Jun 21, 2011
    33
    Dated in almost every way.
  14. Jul 10, 2011
    30
    Not only fails to live up to the legacy of Duke Nukem, it even fails to be a decent shooter. Don't ruin your precious memories. [Aug 2011, p.60]
  15. Jun 16, 2011
    30
    They would have been better off just remaking Duke Nukem 3D, as it had some interesting level design at least. If you took Duke Nukem out of Duke Nukem Forever it would have been one of those games you see for sale at discount stores, the kind you didn't know existed and people only buy as a joke.
  16. Aug 6, 2011
    29
    Petty, nasty and anachronistic. Duke is only relevant as a warning from the past. Avoid these mistakes, developers. [Aug 2011, p.76]
  17. Jun 27, 2011
    16
    I can't think of anything fun throughout my time with the game. I did like some of the models of the monsters and the game never crashed on my PC, but that's about it. I don't blame Gearbox, but I wonder what 3D Realms was thinking all these years.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 1072 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jun 15, 2011
    2
    I so wanted to like this game. We need new, innovative and daring FPSs - in short we need Duke. So what went wrong? Well this game feels like the rag bag of development that it is. Some levels are ok, not great, but ok. Most levels are terrible. The graphics are very dated - but it isn't just the graphics, the whole feel of the game.is clunky. The level design is boring and extremely linear. The one liners are funny for the most part but they can't rescue this slow, ploddy game. Long boring driving sections - I love driving sections in most games but this just doesn't work. The vehicles feel like they are slowing you down more than helping. Out of fuel again? What's that - three times? It plods and it plods.

    Really annoying are the many times when a game character blocks your path by standing in the middle of a wide corridor. Look, I could drive a bus through that gap but Duke has his nose against the invisible wall and the game is not letting me past until I've watched a tedious video on a TV or listened to some dialogue. I want to scream "You're Duke - shove that guy out of your way." It isn't happening. This feels really pointlessly irritating when you find a kid sitting on your throne who refuses to move unless you take his photo. Yep that's right - Duke has to run around after some kid before being allowed to proceed. If that doesn't ruin the immersion nothing will. Bad, bad, bad idea - but it's just one example. I had plenty to choose from.

    I have waited for this for years. I played, and loved Duke 3D all those years ago. I wanted this to be great but I'm not letting that blind me to a truly horrible gaming experience. This is my opinion of course - but I have stated clear reasons above why this game is bad. And it really is bad. Oh God it's bad. How ever much of a fan you are stop and think. Or at least stop and wait until this hits the bargain bin - you won't have to wait long.
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  2. Jun 14, 2011
    10
    Quite frankly the greatest game of our generation. From the rock solid humor to the smooth graphics, all is good here. I can;t speak for the issues people are having with the console versions, but the pc version is top notch! Game of The year, BABY!! Full Review »
  3. Jun 14, 2011
    9
    Not as ground-breaking as its predecessor, Duke Nukem Forever nevertheless brings in some much needed fun into the genre with a memorable single-player campaign with humorous details littered throughout and some semi-old school pacing.

    The 12 hour SP campaign is unusually compelling, has some great moments and the interactive ego boosters you find are rewarding. The story and character is essentially over the top satire and a lot of the humor references other games and pop culture. The puzzles are great, supplying a pacing one finds in past Valve titles and are all very engaging. Most levels feel unique and a few provide interesting twists to gameplay. Many of the scripted sequences lack polish and a few areas appear downright bare when nothing happens. The FBA animations are world class and create cinematic events to immerse you in a rather zany action hero.

    The weapons are a smart mix of conventional, alien and fun. A limited carry capacity for primary guns stresses environmental interaction and map domination. The separately mapped explosives and powerups make for clever tactics. Boss fights provide unique challenges and end in amusing fatalities in keeping with the series. Duke's ego, itself a parody of regenerating health systems, provides some respite from the occasionally punishing combat and brutal enemy characters.

    Graphics are a mixed bag as Vegas looks like a dull attempt at realism and many outdoors areas in general don't have the vibrancy of most indoor levels, which are rendered well. Post-processing effects often tend to miss the mark and some explosions and weapon effects don't always look too good while other effects and dynamic soft shadows look very nice. The level geometry is mostly for the low end and while static meshes are detailed, this is a game that's meant to run better than it looks.

    Overall, it's a remarkably fun, un-PC game and despite the lack of polish in many areas, makes for a uniquely hand-crafted experience that stays with you. I'd recommend this to fans of the Half-life series who don't mind a varied pace. But those interested in graphics or more polished titles with tighter, combat to combat scripting like the Call of Duty series might want to wait till this one is on sale.
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