I’m not sure why nearly all of the pre-reviews (and now, post-reviews) of Duke Nukem Forever are so negative. Conspiracies, as ever, are less appealing explanations than incompetence. So I thought I’d run down the list of complaints.
It’s not funny, and borderline tasteless. Subjective, of course, but I’m not sure what isn’t funny about it. I’m still chuckling. It’s not as pointed as Blazing Saddles, sure, but even that had fart jokes. Did I miss another politically correct bandwagon?
It’s on rails, instead of a dense map. Well, duh. Level design changed with better graphics technology. If all you have are gray walls and limited field of view, you build a maze; if you have power to spare, you build Half-Life 2 levels.
One technology that hasn’t changed much is storytelling. The stories that games tell seem no better now than they did in the days of Infocom, which is why it’s amusing that the story of DNF is far more detailed than that of its predecessor DN3D.
It’s a letdown.Well, you only have yourself to blame for that. The game delivers what it promised – Duke. If you now realize to your dismay that you really don’t like Duke, then, well, proceed to the last complaint…
It’s not exactly what I wanted. Boo hoo. Nobody gets exactly what they want. It’s permissible to complain, of course – sometimes I think that is the point of life, to complain, D. Adams’s 42 notwithstanding. And if many people complain about the same thing, then, well, the chances increase that the developer misread the market. But I place my vote in the “It’s what I wanted” camp.