Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 76 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 76
  2. Negative: 34 out of 76
  1. 49
    Part of my childhood has died with Duke Nukem Forever. I guess this is what it would have felt like if Toy Story 3 had have been a letdown.
  2. 45
    We all wanted this game to be good, and perhaps that sense of expectation has proven to be too much. But even then you can look at the shabby graphics, woeful humour and dull gameplay and realise that this game would have been underwhelming whenever it was released. A real shame.
  3. Jun 17, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever should have been released as an XBLA or PSN game for around 1600 - 2400 points which then you could have overlooked the fact that it really cannot compete with the big boys. There is fun to be had here if you're a Duke fan, but whether it's worth the price of entry is debatable and whether it was worth the 14 year wait is something for the history books to document.
  4. Jul 25, 2011
    An 18-rated game made for 13-year-olds, and yet it is the gameplay that is the biggest disappointment. [Issue#74, p.82]
  5. Jun 28, 2011
    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 25, 2011
    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 The Duke Nukem Forever multiplayer seems so outdated in comparison which is a real shame, as both gamers and (in fairness) the developers, were really hoping that it would just be good chaotic fun.
  7. Jun 22, 2011
    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.
  8. Jun 20, 2011
    In resurrecting Duke in this way, dropping him from 1996 into 2011, with uninteresting levels tethered together in a loose way, middling gunplay, and offensiveness trying to hide behind parody and satire, even the thickest rose-colored glasses of nostalgia won't hide the fact the game's not good or even fun to play.
  9. Jun 18, 2011
    Probably the biggest joke in Duke Nukem Forever is that the game was released as a top-tier title at a $60 price point. The game that was supposed to reboot the franchise has without a doubt rebooted it to a BSOD, and it will certainly take some time for the Duke legacy to recover from this fiasco.
  10. Jun 15, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  11. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  12. Jun 14, 2011
    It's just a bland set of predictable first-person shooting levels, not much to look at and not engaging to play.
  13. Jun 14, 2011
    Some will be satisfied that merely having Duke's name attached to the box equals a safe punt. Those suitably enamoured in this respect may possibly be content long after the end credits roll. However, casting a critical eye to this title reveals serious fundamental flaws that Duke, by the mere virtue of being Duke, cannot possibly fix.
  14. Jun 13, 2011
    A deeply flawed game that I would have stopped playing after five minutes were it not a requirement of my job to play longer. Although no amount of money could have convinced me to press on all the way to the end.
  15. Jun 13, 2011
    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.
  16. Jun 13, 2011
    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.
  17. Jun 12, 2011
    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.
  18. Jun 10, 2011
    What has, at long last, been committed to a disc and placed into a box might have been alright a dozen years ago, but by today's standards it simply doesn't hold up.
  19. Jun 10, 2011
    A mark for nostalgia then – it's the Duke, after all – and one for the game. If this was 15 years in the making, it makes you wonder what they did for the other 14 years and 10 months.
  20. Tries to coast by on nostalgia, but even fans will see this as a total waste of 14 years. [Sept 2011, p.86]
  21. Jun 21, 2011
    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.
  22. Jun 21, 2011
    Dated in almost every way.
  23. Jul 23, 2011
    There's just uninhibited hubris masquerading as knowing, swaggering braggadocio, a technological Frankenstein's monster. [Issue#111, p.98]
  24. Jun 16, 2011
    "It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum ...and I'm all out of gum". Someone get Duke some bubble gum, cause he's all out of kick ass too.
  25. Jun 14, 2011
    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...This game takes an icon and turns him into a laughingstock. Except, no one's laughing.
  26. Jun 14, 2011
    This is a sub-par budget title that's pretending to be an AAA game. Shame on Gearbox for wanting their name on this stinking pile of crap! If you do enjoy playing terrible games, please rent instead of purchasing as the publisher doesn't deserve a reward for this.
  27. Jun 14, 2011
    We at least have a chance to marvel at the hectic cost of ambition, and to be mystified, once more, at the strange, stupid, painful things that some of us will do for love.
  28. Jun 12, 2011
    In the end, you feel every year of Duke Nukem Forever's ridiculous, fractured development seeping out of each unsatisfying frame.
  29. Jun 15, 2011
    No game could've been worth this long a wait but the sheer level of incompetence and inanity is the only way that Duke Nukem Forever impresses.
  30. Jun 13, 2011
    A festering irrelevance with nothing to offer the world. It's a game with an odious personality, one that could only endear itself to the sociopathic and mentally maladjusted. There may be life in Duke yet, but not his current incarnation. Not while his developers legitimately think he's cool and hilarious, rather than creepy and nauseating, and not while he's starring in games that can't even compete with budget titles.
  31. Jul 1, 2011
    I could go on at length about the bad level design, the repeated attempts at humor, the shockingly poor and limited multiplayer and more examples of the "nothing new here" gameplay but it is best just to forget about Duke Nukem Forever. Forget about it entirely, because you're missing nothing.
  32. Jun 19, 2011
    It's bad because it's stupid, ugly, and mean...Duke Nukem Forever is horrible.
  33. Jun 27, 2011
    Even if you can get past the terrible graphics, lame story, horrible gameplay, bad level designs, outdated mechanics, cringe-worthy one-liners, bare bones multiplayer and abysmal mini-games, Duke Nukem Forever would still be a terrible game. Factor in the long list of performance issues and this becomes one of the worst games of all time!
  34. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 412 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 165
  2. Negative: 72 out of 165
  1. Jun 14, 2011
    First, let me start with the bad. The graphics are definitely not as good as they should be for a game made in 2011. The loading times between scenes and deaths make you contemplate if it would be faster to restart the game itself. The controls are very rigid. This game is also very linear compared to the original classic. And finally, if your looking for a game with a deeply invovling plot with intriguing storyline, then you obviously don't know the Duke Nukem franchise and are too young to be playing this anyways.

    Now the good. It has all the Duke Nukem adult humor and lines. (Granted borrowed from Bruce Campbell) Pretty much all the classic weapons and enemies, plus a couple new ones. Multiplayer follows the traditional classic pre CoD formula of picking up new weapons with an XP system to unlock items and themed girls for your penthouse and accessories your player.

    My overall opinion: This game is just simply okay. It doesn't really bring anything new to the FPS genre or to the Duke Nukem franchise. A majority of the people will be buying this game simply for nostalgia, in which case this game does deliver. Also being able to buy a game with a more adult sense of humor is also nice. Multiplayer will keep you occupied for a little while as long as you are not too much of a Battlefield or CoD fanboy. I would say wait for this game to go down to the 20 dollars before buying it. Or just rent it.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 14, 2011
    "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 »
  3. Jun 15, 2011
    Jumping into DNF, I was hoping for a 10 out of 10 experience, but after playing the First Access Demo, I knew I was going to have to settle for a 7 out of 10 game. However, only halfway through the game, I had to lower the difficulty, otherwise I would never give this game the fair review it deserved, because I was stuck and with the crappy controls, and useless, un-dismountable MG turret, I was screwed. So after lowering the difficulty, I realized how impossible the game was and unnecessarily difficult it was so early in the game and decided to give it a 5. However, another problem arose, I died a lot, thus, I had to start over a lot, which meant settling through 1 minute load times, and has made me struggle to understand whether this game is actually a good length, or just a 'quicky' (see Duke, I can be sexual and funny too). Then finally I encountered yet another problem, I was constantly being lost. I understand First Person shooters have a higher chance of confusing, or having players lose track of where their supposed to be going, especially with games that have a highly interactive environment like DNF. However, even in Half-Life 2, where the whole environment was practically interactive, the longest I had been confused, or stuck on a puzzle was 4 minutes TOPS. And this game, may I add, takes a lot of notes/example, from Half-Life. This is just a poorly made, Half-Life wanna be. Then I encountered a boss later in the game, that I had to battle under water, and as if underwater moments in games weren't out of style about 4 years ago, DNF has successfully ruined it. They ditched the scuba gear, and made Duke somehow inhale air bubbles. And what's even more depressing was actually making it to the boss, which would be the prime example of my point as to why this game is confusing, and how easily a player can get lost. It took me approximately 5 tries, to realize I had to place a bomb, which had a glowing icon to indicate where the bomb went, but it blended in so well with the environment, that I didn't realize it till around my 10th try... which means about 10 minutes were pissed away for me trying to solve the puzzle. Another, yes, ANOTHER fatal flaw of the game is it's repitition. With all honesty, if you just barrow this game somehow, and play it up to the Alien Queen with the 3 **** (which is only 3/8 of the way through the game), you've experienced the whole game. After that, everything the game has to offer (driving, puzzles, combat, you name it) has been experienced... except for swimming, which could gladly be avoided. At this point, I knew me, trolling this game, was inevitable. There's even a frame rate issue (meaning the game can't even keep up with itself... or at least the system). It seems to be a usual thing now in the community though, because DNF has it, BRINK has it... hell the only game that's trying to not have a FR issue is COD... more games should follow THAT example (not COD). The multiplayer is very bland, nothing exciting, yes even the "Capture the Babe" mode is just capture the flag at heart, nothing new, nothing special. The Digs is pretty neat and gives you something to work for.
    However, all in all, I can't stress enough, how bad this game is. It was NOT an enjoyable experience, as much as I tried to make it...
    Full Review »