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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Always bet on Duke.

Sorry to all the naysayers who fancy themselves such comic geniuses. You will soon have to come up with some original material as it seems your favorite joke is fast becoming irrelevant. Adam Sessler once commented in a G4 segment titled "Sessler's Soapbox", that he was happy to see the game "cancelled", and had often wondered which would last longer, his career, or Duke Nukem Forever's development cycle. Well, it seems that unless he lives forever, Sessler loses. It's funny to watch the May 13 clip of him gleefully carrying on about the death of Duke Nukem Forever and 3D Realms, then juxtapose it with a picture of him at Titty City on February seventh. Never once was it announced that the game was cancelled. Sometimes I feel like the only person who remembers that. Duke Nukem Forever is indeed coming out, and from the look of it, not too much has changed since the king moved to Gearbox. Despite the elation I feel, I have noticed another disturbing trend in gaming journalism, and I'm starting to wonder if any of us remembers how to just let go, and have fun.

"Assuming the game was gonna actually make it out." 
Never assume, Sessler!
If you're like me, you are probably in your mid-twenties to early thirties and you have a beard because you're fuckin' manly, and if you don't, grow one (Otherwise you're like Woody Harrelson over there and should just stop reading now). The first time you encountered Duke you were but a teenager, the obvious joke of having pig-creatures dressed in police uniforms was the funniest thing in the universe to you; wanton violence and explosions were what you looked for in the majority of movies you watched; and you were on a never-ending quest to see boobs. You've played Wolfenstein 3D and Doom and found a fondness for blasting Nazis and demons in the face with a massive arsenal that no one man should be able to carry around all at once. Then Duke Nukem 3D is released. Explosions, breasts, gore, pissing, swearing, porn, Duke Match! Shit! This fucking game has everything! And the one-liners! It didn't even matter that half of them were ripped off of Bruce Campbell and Rowdy Roddy Piper, that's what Duke is! He's a parody of all the machismo action flicks of the mid-1990s. He has been since the 2 original Duke Nukem games. Stop thinking like the sensitive, pussy you've grown into, and think back to how you felt the first time you handed a stripper a wad of cash and spouted "Shake it baby!" for the first time. Felt pretty fuckin' good, didn't it?

Just run into this mess and fucking kill something!
Why make it more complicated then it has to be?
Fast forward to now. You've been playing video games most of your life and they've gotten a lot more complex since those days. 2D sprite characters in pseudo 3D environments are a thing of the past, and now we're all racing to tap "A" before our character messes up his pre-animated finishing move that you get to sit and watch. Most of your play time is spent hiding in corners, or behind chest-high walls; just waiting to heal before you attempt to spring up and pop off a few more rounds in the direction of the nearest in-discernable, brownish figure shooting at you from the far side of the map. Afterwards you're treated to a cut-scene or 6, and can only carry a max of 2 to 4 weapons. I don't have a problem with this kind of gameplay. It feels cinematic, and there's some tension as I'm waiting to see what happens nex-HEY! I'm waiting to see what happens? Shouldn't I be making things happen? Isn't that the point of a game? If I wanna wait and see what happens I'll watch a movie. This is the very thing that Journalists are railing on Forever for. They're calling the gameplay "shallow" and "dated". I've got news for ya, if it feels dated, it's because it IS. If it feels shallow, that's because it's simple. Duke hails from a time when not everything had to be hyper-realistic and maps were actually complex enough that you had to find where you had to go instead of having a whiny fuckin' side-kick chime in every 2 seconds with the answer. You didn't wait to pop out of cover, you just ran in with your fucking guns blazing, alone, with little to no story to get in the way of the ass-kicking. Sure it's not modern, but guess what, it's an old game! I think some people don't realize that they haven't started development over again just because GearBox is finishing it up. This is a game from around 2005 at the latest. It's as though someone thawed out an iceman and now they're pissed that he can't do calculous and keeps trying to rape your female lab-assistant while chewing on a lab rat. It's a hyper violent beast who's not very polite, and a tad uncoordinated. What can I say? They didn't have manners during the ice age. Sex and violence were the most entertaining things going.

After reading a few previews for the game I decided to leave a comment on that I think sums up my feelings better than any number of massive blog posts can:

"Lots of people who have played this thing first hand are calling the gameplay dated. If this thing played like Gears of War, I think there would be more outrage. Seriously, modern shooters are relatively easy and are more like a string of cutscenes strewn together on a carefully planned grid. I like the idea of getting back to complex level design riddled with secrets and fun interactive bits that you're not going to find all of the first time through. Lets get some classic challenge back in our shooters. Classic Duke needs classic gameplay. I hope if they decide to do a fifth installment we'll get the same sort of gameplay with polished, more modern visuals, but I don't want any "Gears of Modern Halo War 3: Black Ops" in my Duke Nukem. You can keep that shit."

I'm not trying to say we should forgive the egregious delays, crap-console Duke games, or years of raised and crushed hopes. All I'm saying is you should try and let your inner-14 year old out. I didn't have a chance to go to "Duke Nukem's Titty City" to try out the game, but I'm certain it plays like I'd expect it to. Over the top humor, nudity, and ultra violence. After all, isn't that all we wanted in the first place?

Side note, If you don't understand why they chose to hold their press event at a strip club then I'm afraid you've missed the point entirely... Or you're 16.

By the way... Told ya so bitches!
Duke Nukem Forever WILL BE RELEASED, on June 14th, 2011.

*EDIT: Duke Nukem Forever's release has been pushed back to June 14th, 2011... That's what I get for bragging about the ONLY exact release date we've EVER been given.