Mixed or average reviews - based on 48 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 48
  2. Negative: 17 out of 48
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  1. PC Games (Russia)
    Jun 24, 2011
    A real time machine, Duke Nukem Forever gets you back to the glorious age of PC gaming. And despite some dated graphics and level design, it's freaking worth it. [July 2011, p.81]
  2. Jun 17, 2011
    Definitely looks like a game from 2007 and can't match the visuals of modern shooters. Single player is fairly short and multiplayer is mostly a tickbox feature, yet Duke Nukem Forever manages to capture some of the magic of the original and has that spark that seems to be missing from most games these days - it may be rude, shocking and decisively old school, but I had fun!
  3. Jun 10, 2011
    You surely have made up your mind concerning a purchase of Duke Nukem Forever. So a review might sound obsolete. But it's not. The Duke-Adventure matches the expectations, the negative and positive. It's a great shooter for fans but of course suffers from the bad graphics and some boring levels.
  4. Jun 10, 2011
    Don't expect a miracle. Duke is still the hero we love, but struggles to keep up with modern times. Crude humor and classic weaponry keep him in the game.
  5. Jun 10, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever feels a bit outdated and some of the jokes seem to come from another millennium. Well, that's because they do! But still, Duke Nukem Forever is a fun game, despite the shortcomings.
  6. Jun 14, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever delivers some intense FPS action and a solid gameplay, packed with a couple of funny variations. The graphics are a bit dated, especially the backgrounds, and the multiplayer modes are less than average, but the game is overall fun and entertaining.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 dissapoint some who are just looking for a FPS by today's standards.
  9. Aug 1, 2011
    Bottom line: Duke Nukem Forever was not worth the 15-year wait, nor is it worth paying the full $50. However, I cannot deny that I thought it was both fun and funny, which at the end of the day is what this franchise is all about.
  10. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Jul 30, 2011
    It would be a smashing hit if He came a decade earlier. Now our hero limps a little and thanks to his foul-mouthed nature only he is able to keep our attention. [July 2011]
  11. 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 its saga's past triumphs.
  12. Jun 13, 2011
    It may go down as one of biggest anticlimaxes in gaming, but don't expect too much of it and you might enjoy it. I for one am going back to play it again, at least on PC. And besides, I'm sure Duke 5 will be the greatest game ever made.
  13. PC Format
    Jul 12, 2011
    A love letter to PC gaming, scrawled in crayon by an alcoholic bigot. Wait for the bargain bin to say goodbye to Duke. [Aug 2011, p.98]
  14. Jun 10, 2011
    If there's a game that deserves to be called "old school", this is it. There's hardly a change in gameplay and the graphics are out of date, too. The most remarkable thing about this game is the fact that they actually finished it.
  15. 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.
  16. Jun 17, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever is buoyed by the explosive force of its own brand. It has a lot of issues, first of all its old graphic engine. Fans will find an enjoyable experience, but there's much better out there for the same price.
  17. Jun 21, 2011
    Enough gimmicks to make you want to run through stages as quickly as possible, and a forgettable but fun multiplayer component, Duke Nukem Forever fails to live up to the legacy.
  18. 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.
  19. Jul 7, 2011
    Awfully outdated, unfinished, bringing nothing new, but still quite amusing. Despite all of its flaws, Duke Nukem Forever is a legend and nostalgia trip for many fans who gladly forget all of its failings.
  20. 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.
  21. Jun 15, 2011
    Make no mistake, Duke Nukem Forever is not a good game. But although it's easy to point out its many flaws, most people are forgetting its most important feature: Duke's return is quite entertaining, even if it's an outdated game that looks like it's from 2005 and plays like it's 2001.
  22. Sep 12, 2011
    Duke Nukem Forever would be quite decent if one felt entirely certain it's intended purely as a self-parody. As is, it doesn't do the expectations, the buyer or the Duke justice – oh, had he rather remained a vaporware legend!
  23. CD-Action
    Jul 4, 2011
    If I didn't have to write this review, I wouldn't complete the game. I would chuck it in after 2 hours. Duke might be a legend but believe me – this game is so bland it's a waste of time. Duke Nukem Forever should have stayed where it spent so much time: on the drawing boards. [July 2011, p.54]
  24. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  25. Jun 13, 2011
    It's just a mess. It pains me to say it, but it's absolutely true.
  26. Jun 26, 2011
    Effects lacked much of a punch, and a lot of the creature designs had a really generic, evil look to them. There was no personality here, and I think the direction of a serious aesthetic didn't do it any favors.
  27. Jun 25, 2011
    It suffers from a number of technical glitches and performance issues, which is just kind of sad given the game is 15 years in the making.
  28. Jun 19, 2011
    The jokes are pulled from all over the place and most of them fall flat, and no one gameplay mechanic is particularly impressive. It feels like it doesn't quite know what it wants to be, whether it's an old school throwback or a more modern shooter, and in the end it succeeds at being neither.
  29. Jun 17, 2011
    The game not only doesn't fulfill all the hopes we have put in it (lets' be honest – that was impossible), but even when looking at it without thinking about the legend, it seem extremely mediocre. Ugly graphics, cliché gaming mechanics and a general lack of attention to details resemble a typical budget production.
  30. Jun 15, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  31. Jun 13, 2011
    If you're going to 'go modern', do it. If you're going to 'go retro', do it. Just don't go half-and-half and end up failing to appease fans of both approaches. While DNF is kind-of fun, is playable and can be enjoyed all the way until the end, it's far away from what it should have been.
  32. Jun 20, 2011
    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.
  33. Jun 23, 2011
    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.
  34. Jun 15, 2011
    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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Jun 22, 2011
    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.
  38. 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.
  39. Jun 14, 2011
    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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. Jun 21, 2011
    Dated in almost every way.
  45. PC PowerPlay
    Jul 10, 2011
    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]
  46. Jun 16, 2011
    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.
  47. PC Gamer UK
    Aug 6, 2011
    Petty, nasty and anachronistic. Duke is only relevant as a warning from the past. Avoid these mistakes, developers. [Aug 2011, p.76]
  48. Jun 27, 2011
    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

Mixed or average reviews- based on 1276 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jun 15, 2011
    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 likeI 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 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
    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 theQuite 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
    Not as ground-breaking as its predecessor, Duke Nukem Forever nevertheless brings in some much needed fun into the genre with a memorableNot 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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