Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 48
  2. Negative: 19 out of 48
  1. Jun 13, 2011
    55
    It's a muddled, hypocritical exercise in irritation with solid shooting mechanics and decent encounter design. There's some dumb fun to be had in Duke Nukem Forever, but the game tries hard to ensure it's only fleeting.
  2. Jun 16, 2011
    30
    The bland and ugly Duke Nukem Forever turns a famous gaming icon into an embarrassment.
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    52
    It's just a mess. It pains me to say it, but it's absolutely true.
  4. Jun 14, 2011
    68
    I'm glad Gearbox stepped up and finished this game, but after hearing about it for 12 years, I have no desire to relive any of it again. I'm now satisfied in my knowledge of what Duke Nukem Forever is and ready to never talk about it again. Welcome back, Duke. I hope your next game (which is teased after the credits) goes off without a hitch.
  5. Jun 14, 2011
    50
    And that, as insane as it sounds, is the crux of the matter: Duke Nukem Forever feels like it was rushed out the door. So many of the design decisions are poor, so much of the maps are unbalanced (going from uneventful to extremely difficult in a flash), and the graphics are so shoddy, that an experienced gamer can come to no other conclusion.
  6. Jun 13, 2011
    60
    Like reuniting with a close friend after many years apart and then discovering how they've gone nowhere with their life, Duke's return is a sad engagement that makes you wish you had left the past where it belongs.
  7. Jun 22, 2011
    50
    Aliens are here, kidnapping and impregnating women, and it's Duke's job to blow them away. The more intriguing aspect of Duke Nukem Forever is how the character's apparent mythos appears to be the engine of the entire experience. He's worshipped as a living god in the game, with his own burger joint, strip club, museum and stadium. His mission is about rescuing babes and kicking ass, which is well within his strike zone, but did it need to leak into every capillary of the experience? It's as if Gearbox was relying a little too much on the "Dukeness" to cover up any weaknesses. Who care if the game looks dated? It's Duke! Let's have him mess with Halo because he's Duke!
  8. Jun 21, 2011
    33
    Dated in almost every way.
  9. Jun 14, 2011
    0
    It's not obvious they knew just how monumentally moronic the game they created is. That's the key difference between the two titles: Bulletstorm is the funny guy at the party who has a bit too much to drink. DNF is the guy who gets plastered, runs around naked with a lampshade on his head and doesn't understand that everyone is laughing at him, not with him.
  10. Jun 16, 2011
    60
    Duke Nukem Forever's world-record development time has produced an ugly, buggy shooter that veers back and forth between enjoyably average and outright boring, with occasional surges of greatness along the way.
  11. Jun 14, 2011
    73
    An extinct approach to first-person shooters, like a game locked into a time capsule that has been relased now (which is almost what happened). There are indeed many better shooters out there, but very few as charming, although the game might disappoint some who are just looking for a FPS by today's standards.
  12. 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.
  13. Jun 15, 2011
    69
    At best, Duke Nukem Forever is a solid but flawed game that most people would enjoy only as a new iteration in the 3D Realms veteran series. Despite some old promises, this game has a lot of trouble living up to those high expectations set forth by the saga's past triumphs.
  14. Jun 10, 2011
    80
    It was never going to be perfect but it hits a spot that's been left unappreciated for an awfully long time. While the likes of Call of Duty and Crysis continue down the road to absolute realism, Duke Nukem Forever takes gamers back to remind about how to have fun; surely that's why people play games?
  15. Jul 25, 2011
    20
    Plain and simple, Duke Nukem Forever suffers from being passed around the development table for too long without any updates to its core.
  16. Jun 27, 2011
    58
    Overall this is not what I had expected after 15 years of waiting. The graphics are not state of the art, the gameplay is average, the mini games suck and the level design doesn't offer you more than one option. The only advantage is that the game is cheaper than other shooters and the Duke is back. However, I had expected a more glamorous comeback of the guy with balls out of steel.
  17. Jun 15, 2011
    60
    Duke Nukem Forever is not just a game, it's a relic from the past. Not a great one, unfortunately. With a campaign that mixes some good moments with a lot of boring ones, Duke's return isn't the game everyone wanted it to be. It's a passable shooter, with some decent level design, nothing more.
  18. Jun 19, 2011
    65
    With its incredibly obsolete graphics and technical aspects, combined with inappropriate modern elements, Duke Nukem cannot be called a good game. It is however a fun game, that offers the Nukem-trademark humour together with much variation in surroundings and gameplay.
  19. Jun 15, 2011
    70
    Duke Nukem Forever has many imperfections, like worthless AI and poor-looking graphics. The question is, though, whether that really matters with this game. We did enjoy Duke Nukem Forever from beginning to end and weren't bothered by those imperfections. The one-liners are, once again, the stuff of legend, and Forever does constantly introduce the player to refreshing gameplay elements. All and all it's a real Duke Nukem game. And as an ode to the biggest legend of the game-industry is exactly how we judged it.
  20. There aren't any highs as such, just moments of not sucking. [Aug 2011, p.108]
  21. Jun 20, 2011
    72
    While the action is fun, there is no way to avoid feeling it's stuck in the past.
  22. Jun 22, 2011
    40
    DNF plays like it's been developed in a vacuum, serving more as a time-capsule of mediocre PC games from the first half of the last decade than a certifiable, modern-day FPS.
  23. Jul 18, 2011
    33
    Ten years ago it would have been bad. 15 years ago it wouldn't have been worth playing. Today? It's a joke, and one that's just not funny. [Issue#207, p.82]
  24. Jun 13, 2011
    70
    There are lots of things Duke does right however, like ridiculous levels of interactivity, variety in level design and for entertaining me personally all the way through.
  25. 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.
  26. Jun 15, 2011
    44
    Nobody wanted to love DNF more than me but I just couldn't get any enjoyment out of it.
  27. Jul 3, 2011
    49
    Everything we expected and less. Duke should have stayed dead. [Aug 2011, p.88]
  28. 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.
  29. Jul 18, 2011
    55
    Hopefully this is Duke's swan song. No matter what happens next it will never top Forever in terms of hype and discussion. It doesn't deserve the venom it got from reviewers and message boards, but it probably doesn't deserve your cash, either.
  30. Jun 10, 2011
    50
    Somehow, Duke Nukem Forever manages to feel rushed, even though it's been in developement for 15 years. It's not the worst game by any means, but the worst use of resources for video games ever.
  31. Jul 20, 2011
    50
    For the fans, it's a safe bet that offers good diversion. For the others, it's nothing but a dated and bad game at all levels.
  32. 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.
  33. Forever eschews any hope for a decent story or interesting gameplay in favor of shoving as many boobs in our face as possible. As a result, the game comes up short in every way possible.
  34. Jun 25, 2011
    61
    I always new that it would never live up to expectations but I had hoped for something that would have a bit more character than just being an average shooter with Duke's face and humour plastered over it. Still, I can't bring myself to hate it or bash it vociferously. It could never be anything other than what it has been and actually, that's fine.
  35. 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.
  36. It's true that there are plenty of superior overall shooters out there that'd murder for a character with a quarter of the charisma Duke Nukem oozes. He's a dinosaur; a two-dimensional mound of muscles with a gun. But that's the joke. Duke Nukem Forever really is a several-year old game masquerading as a new release. [August 2011 p67]
  37. Jun 13, 2011
    78
    In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed Duke Nukem Forever as it feels like a game caught in the past which it is.
  38. Jun 15, 2011
    40
    Quotation forthcoming.
  39. Jun 23, 2011
    50
    This game is neither a classic nor a complete failure. What ultimately makes it worth playing is the variety. The different parts don't all work quite as well as they should, but there's always something fresh around the next corner.
  40. Jun 25, 2011
    40
    Today's gamers have become used to enjoying a much more balanced FPS experience when playing online and many of us find it frustrating if our game of choice doesn't maintain a fair playing field. The Duke Nukem Forever multiplayer seems so outdated in comparison which is a real shame, as both gamers and (in fairness) the developers, were really hoping that it would just be good chaotic fun.
  41. Jun 13, 2011
    88
    While it's no contender for the FPS crown, it's a solid FPS game with a lot of character. If you've waited twelve years in anticipation for a great Duke Nukem title, then this was well worth the wait.
  42. 50
    The aging loud-mouth hero does not take himself too seriously in Duke Nukem Forever, and neither should you. Overall, nostalgia simply is not enough to save this bland and repetitive shooter.
  43. Jun 21, 2011
    40
    It's not just the dated game mechanics and the misogynism that drags the experience down. Somewhere along the way, Gearbox have lost track of the series' charm, and have effectively killed the franchise for good with their blunt approach. It feels like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend that I've grown apart from and have nothing in common with any more. And I'm out of gum too. What a bummer.
  44. 50
    Duke Nukem Forever is the result of what first began as perfectionism that slowly snowballed into mismanagement.
  45. Jun 12, 2011
    40
    Duke Nukem Forever is a strange enough novelty all on its own, but when all is said and done, it is a vastly aged shooter that is left trailing in the dust of its modern contemporaries.
  46. Jun 29, 2011
    54
    After more than a decennium the Duke is finally back in Duke Nukem Forever but the game isn't really great. It has fantastic humor and the fans will appreciate this game, but technically it's way too old for a good PlayStation 3 game. It's a shame that Gearbox didn't update the game more at the technical aspect.
  47. Jun 15, 2011
    73
    What awaits you is a Duke that would have rocked the genre nine years ago but for today's standards this is just mediocre.
  48. Jun 10, 2011
    77
    Duke Nukem Forever definitely is an awesome old-school experience. It has some flaws (especially in terms of graphics), but that's okay – at least for those who eagerly awaited the Duke's return for more than 14 years now. For all the others: The game probably isn't good enough to change your opinion, but at least you now know for sure.
User Score
4.7

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 243 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 84
  2. Negative: 34 out of 84
  1. Jun 14, 2011
    2
    "This'll be interesting." was my first thought when putting the disc into the drive of my Xbox. This proved to be very true, although not in the way I had expected it to be. Duke Nukem Forever is a game that captures very much the essence of Duke Nukem 3D, it is indeed the same Duke we're about to meet. You really don't need more than a few minutes into the intro to realize this. Paying homage to the original is however nothing you can build an entire game on, and being true to the earlier games is the only thing that is done properly within Duke Nukem Forever. Everything else pretty much sucks. Animations are poorly made and implemented with characters displaying snapping and odd movement patterns. You play in first person view yet there is a ton of bugs related to this. Notice especially how the player seems to hover about a feet above the floor and how it's possible to trigger strafing movement without triggering the strafing animation. Facial animations are so poorly implemented that they seem to have no correlation at all with the content of their audio files. The sound is poor as well, with no considerable variations implemented at all. This makes the game sound repetitive and uninteresting. Just try to jump a few times in a row and listen to the grunting Duke lets out as he lands and you'll understand what I mean. The whole game sounds pretty much like this, apart from the few areas that have for some reason been left totally without any ambience tracks making them feel even more out of place and breaking immersion totally. Considering the competing titles Duke Nukem Forever has nothing to show when it comes to visuals either, it simply looks worse than the titles it's supposed to outrun. I've always thought that the most important thing to pull off when doing a game is the gameplay and since this game doesn't even manage that it's not worth anyones time really. There are huge sections with non-existing gameplay and nothing for the player to do while waiting for some pointless movie (with sucky facials and poor sound) to finish. If you want something that feels like the old Duke Nukem 3D but is a bit new and has boobs that you haven't seen before just replay the old game with some downloaded porno in the background, it's pretty much the same thing. And whatever you do, don't buy this game first hand, there's bound to be a huge second hand market for it within short. Full Review »
  2. Jun 15, 2011
    5
    This game was a disappointment. I realize it keeps the "old school" feel to it and Duke is Duke, But other then the funny one-liners, and little fun interactions, there is nothing special about this game. The length of the load screen itself is enough to make me want to quit playing. It can be fun and challenging (on the hard difficulty) and the game is a breed of its own, but this day in age of gaming requires more than just a trademark name and character. (Especially the FPS Genre) I say give it a rent, have a laugh, kick some alien ass, and move on. Full Review »
  3. Jun 14, 2011
    4
    Sorry but in a cut-throat recession hit community, to release slop like this is a crying shame.

    I appreciate after 13 years, it's a huge
    achievement to get a game published, but what exactly were the developers thinking?

    This is people's hard earned money and poor games means store seller's such as myself take a lot of heat when people find excuses to return under-par games.

    Then there are the graphics which could have been from a Commodore. Hey C4Eva, you seen better right?

    I hate to slate a highly anticipated game, and I didn't for other's but if I let this slide, I wouldn't be a true critic. I am sure the game will bear well with the die hard 40 somethings but I am not there yet and neither is this game. You should have focused on a new userbase as well as the old school fans and it is in this area and the fact it's 2011 that I cast doubt on your abilities, whether it be think - tanking the game or the programming abilities.

    I don't wish to discuss the game in general as I would hate to offend further. Thanks for the news hits but thats as good as it ever got to be honest.
    Full Review »