Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 76 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 76
  2. Negative: 34 out of 76
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  1. Jun 15, 2011
    Duke Nukem fans, this game is for you. The campaign features nice balance and many of the same elements that have since come to define the DN experience. The presentation could be better, and the "loading checkpoints" is a chore to deal with and definitely interrupts the flow. Online, while simple, offers an incredibly fun experience that can be hard to put down.
  2. Jun 10, 2011
    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.
  3. Jun 19, 2011
    A two sided game. On one side we have a lacklustre technical production, absolutely not on par with modern standards, while on the other side we've got the classical Duke humour, capable of delivering some very funny moments. Duke Nukem Forever is like a refreshing dive in the past of gaming, something that someone will surely apreciate, while others will prefer more modern productions.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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]
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Jun 25, 2011
    Duke is a competent shooter, however, it didn't grow with the times.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 59
    An interesting game that's too-often a dog-egg to actually play. Sorry Duke, take fourteen years and try again...
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Jun 13, 2011
    It's just a mess. It pains me to say it, but it's absolutely true.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  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 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. X-ONE Magazine UK
    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]
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. Jun 15, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Jul 13, 2011
    Tries to coast by on nostalgia, but even fans will see this as a total waste of 14 years. [Sept 2011, p.86]
  63. 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.
  64. Jun 21, 2011
    Dated in almost every way.
  65. games(TM)
    Jul 23, 2011
    There's just uninhibited hubris masquerading as knowing, swaggering braggadocio, a technological Frankenstein's monster. [Issue#111, p.98]
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. Jun 12, 2011
    In the end, you feel every year of Duke Nukem Forever's ridiculous, fractured development seeping out of each unsatisfying frame.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. Jun 19, 2011
    It's bad because it's stupid, ugly, and mean...Duke Nukem Forever is horrible.
  75. 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!
  76. 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 491 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 16, 2011
    If this wasn't called Duke Nukem it would just be another mediocre first person shooter that would be put in the bargain bin a week afterIf this wasn't called Duke Nukem it would just be another mediocre first person shooter that would be put in the bargain bin a week after release, its really that poor. Full Review »