Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 76 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 76
  2. Negative: 34 out of 76
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  1. Jun 15, 2011
    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.
  2. Jun 10, 2011
    What many had hoped would be a glorious trip down memory lane, is a muddled affair that lacks spit and polish across the board. Hail to the king, baby? No. Sadly, it's more akin to, 'Fail to the king, baby.' And I'm genuinely disappointed that I couldn't love the game more.
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    It's just a mess. It pains me to say it, but it's absolutely true.
  4. 59
    An interesting game that's too-often a dog-egg to actually play. Sorry Duke, take fourteen years and try again...
  5. Dec 12, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever aspires to take gamers back to a different period in the gaming continuum. What it will really do is inspire you to take it back to the store for a full and complete refund.
  6. Jul 3, 2011
    I don't think anyone who had realistic expectations about Duke Nukem Forever will be disappointed with what we've finally gotten. It's not brilliant, but it is a good solid old school shooter, which feels like its predecessor. I just hope this isn't the last we've heard from the Duke, and that we won't have to wait so long next time.
  7. Jun 10, 2011
    After 12 years, the one and only badass videogame hero is back. Its gameplay and visuals aren't exactly groundbreaking, but in any case Duke Nukem Forever proves to be an outrageously fun rollercoaster of fast paced action and intense emotions!
  8. Jun 13, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever has a creepy engine, is linear, and somehow dull. Still, it's one of the most politically incorrect games of this generation, and the acid disrespect of Duke is worth the cost.
  9. Jul 3, 2011
    The PC version is definitely preferred over the console versions with better graphics, shorter load times, and a $10 savings off the retail price. Play with a controller and you'll be playing the 360 version that all Xbox owners wish they could be playing.
  10. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  11. Jun 15, 2011
    Should you spend $60 on it? No. To spend that much money on a game, whether it's a notable franchise or not, it needs to convey the "must have, must play, must keep, must replay" feel, which this bad boy doesn't have. Duke Nukem Forever is a solid rental. Maybe even a purchase once it drops to $30 or $20. Whatever suits you best.
  12. Jun 13, 2011
    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.
  13. Jun 10, 2011
    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.
  14. Jun 23, 2011
    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.
  15. 70
    Duke Nukem Forever is far from perfect and certainly has its flaws. But it also has its moments, quite a few of them actually, and reminds us of happier times where shooters weren't as pompous and self-important.
  16. Jun 10, 2011
    It's easy to see that Duke Nuke Forever has been in developement just about... forever. The gameplay and graphics just feels dated and the overall feel is more of Xbox Live Arcade game rather than a fully priced title.
  17. Jun 15, 2011
    What awaits you is a Duke that would have rocked the genre nine years ago but for today's standards this is just mediocre.
  18. Games Master UK
    Jul 25, 2011
    How can Duke be such a dick, have such an inconsistently crappy game and we still enjoy it? [Sept 2011, p.84]
  19. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  20. Jun 14, 2011
    An ugly, buggy shooter that veers back and forth between enjoyably average and outright boring, with occasional surges of greatness along the way.
  21. Jun 16, 2011
    It's an embarrassing, abhorrent heir resting on its laurels with plenty of ugly humor, bubblegum pastiche, and very little in the way of ass-kicking prowess.
  22. Jun 13, 2011
    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.
  23. Sep 14, 2011
    The potential for a fun but simple shooter is here, but even with Gearbox at the helm Duke Nukem Forever is clearly a hastily-cobbled sum of unfinished parts. It could have been epic if it was released 3 to 4 years ago, but nowadays there are new rivals for the throne.
  24. Jun 27, 2011
    Missing the coop multiplayer badly, suffering from long loading times, small episodic levels and an old graphics engine fans will buy the game for sure, but I hope, Duke will make a real comeback in the next part of the series.
  25. Jun 12, 2011
    DNF isn't a revitalization of the early days of the first-person shooter genre or a middle-finger to the increasingly complex and sophisticated nature of videogame entertainment. It's a muddled, hypocritical exercise in irritation with solid shooting mechanics and decent encounter design.
  26. Jun 17, 2011
    Duke, it's great to see you back again, I never thought I'd see the day. My memories mean you've earned a few runarounds online, and completing the campaign, but it is more nostalgia driven than being pulled through a compelling, polished experience.
  27. Jun 14, 2011
    Buried deep into Duke Nukem Forever there is nice game to be found. Problem is that developers have put their best efforts to hide it from the surface. Despite all of this, when Duke can be him at his full, he can still deliver some good shots of plain fun. Too bad it doesn't happen that often.
  28. 55
    After 13 years, Duke Forever is ultimately and thoroughly mediocre, with heavy bouts of boredom and frustration mixed in. And yet, for anyone with an appreciation for videogame history, we absolutely recommend giving it a playthrough.
  29. 60
    This genuinely engaging experience is soured not so much by the ropier aspects of the visuals, nor even the fact that the frame-rate plunges into the toilet from time to time, but by the writing, which plays a clear second fiddle to the mishmash of different mechanics.
  30. Jun 10, 2011
    Duke's return is bittersweet, serving as a great example of how much the industry has progressed. We still love him, but he deserves better.
  31. Jun 20, 2011
    Is Duke Nukem Forever as awful as some folks are saying? No. But is it a project that's been worth waiting for over the last decade? Also no. It's disappointing that Gearbox couldn't quite make the whole experience a worthwhile effort for someone like Duke, while, by the same token, it sticks to its retro guns fittingly in some parts, enough to make the game worth a rental.
  32. Jun 15, 2011
    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.
  33. Jun 17, 2011
    If you can get passed the muddy graphics, dated character design, difficult first person platforming and throwaway multiplayer there is an enjoyable single player campaign to be had.
  34. Jun 13, 2011
    DNF was damned if it did, damned if it didn't. I'm just glad to have finally played it. And upon completing the campaign, and laughing at the ending, I loaded it back up and started again; on Easy this time to avoid the long reloading. That alone speaks volumes. It feels like a long time ago since I enjoyed a FPS campaign like this.
  35. Jun 25, 2011
    Duke is a competent shooter, however, it didn't grow with the times.
  36. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  37. Jun 22, 2011
    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!
  38. Jun 19, 2011
    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.
  39. Jun 16, 2011
    The game feels like it was released ten years ago and someone just now found it lying on the shelf. Still, I love Duke. I had a blast with the game, and I think fans of the series will, too.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 468 Ratings

User score distribution:
  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 betweenFirst, 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"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 17, 2011
    This has to be one of the worse games I have played in a LONG time. The jokes in the games are not even funny. You start off the gameThis has to be one of the worse games I have played in a LONG time. The jokes in the games are not even funny. You start off the game Pissing... RT to piss.... wow.... very clever. The first gun you get has 69 bullets and after that there is 69 floors in the elevator. It feels like a 13 year old wrote this game with the stupid humor. You can actually get an achievement for picking up poop in the toilet "Turd burglar" yeah... this game is crap. The multilayer is garbage, maps are small as hell, targeting system is bad, spawning points are sh*te. Full Review »