Why we need more games like Duke Nukem Forever

Posted by aldo_q (125 posts) -

Duke Nukem Forever has received quite a beating in the press. Some of it just and some of it I personally believe is just both press and gamers stumbling over one and other to see who can kick it to the ground the hardest. I myself finished the game yesterday and I won't defend it's weak spots. The loading times are horrible on the 360, the level design is weak at points, the boss design sometimes downright retarded, etc. I don't think I need to list the things wrong here any further. The 14 years in development show... we know.

But it's not all bad. In fact I think one often mentioned 'bad point' is actually a good point. A lot of reviews raise the issue that the game design is not relevant anymore. Outdated game play that games like Halo and Call of Duty moved beyond. And while I really enjoy games like Halo and CoD I have to object to this line of thinking. The style of FPS that Duke Nukem Forever represents is old yes. The slower moving FPS, more focused on just blasting away and navigating the environment. Often with a big dose of humor thrown in. A FPS that simply does not take itself serious.

This used to be a huge part of the FPS genre. Not just Duke, but also games like Red Neck Rampage and Shadow Warrior are prime examples. While the path is linear you have slightly more freedom. Your not being pushed forward from big set-piece to big set-piece. A lot of modern FPS are either 'highly intellectual'. The art-house variants of shooters. Like Bioshock. Or they are the huge big summer block busters. Like Halo or Call of Duty. But the simple fun to shoot some pixels in the face shooters seem to have disappeared. With only Serious Sam holding the fort. A bit more the b titles, the grind house movies if you want to continue to draw the comparison to movies.

While Duke's latest adventure was poor perhaps in technical execution, the type of gameplay it represents is something somebody like me has been missing. I don't always want to consume all big explosions or feel all art noir. Sometimes I just want to have a wee bit of fun. Just messing about. And this type of FPS or even video game is hardly being made anymore. Publishers are a freight it won't sell, to niche market for the big development budgets is my guess. DNF could be like this now and still sell because of the name alone. But I fear it actually also ends this type of game play for good now. Which is a shame, because DNF wasn't replacing anybodys diet, it was adding a little variation to it. Like forgotten vegetables. One could argue that it was probably forgotten for a reason. But not everything newer is always better. And like with forgotten vegetables there is still a market for it as people's tastes differ.

Given the huge number of greytoned 'modern warfares', I would love for a higher quality Duke game. And then I don't mean becoming a modern game in the terms of emulating CoD. A highly scripted roller coaster. No, just simply better graphic's, normal loading times, tighter level design (but still old school style) and fun old school shootouts. Because without the Duke those of us who like those types of games need to rely again on Serious Sam. And Serious Sam often suffers from a lot of the problems that DNF also does. And is less funny to boot. It represents the Doom style shooter more then the Duke Nukem 3D type shooter. Spice up our shooter experience a bit going retro, but doing it well. Not seeing it as retro. But just another way to give us the shooter experience. Because all the ghost-recons of the world are just going to fail anyway I fear.

[This is my first blog item here. Be gentle. Also I am not a native English speaker, so forgive any mistakes please]

#1 Posted by aldo_q (125 posts) -

Duke Nukem Forever has received quite a beating in the press. Some of it just and some of it I personally believe is just both press and gamers stumbling over one and other to see who can kick it to the ground the hardest. I myself finished the game yesterday and I won't defend it's weak spots. The loading times are horrible on the 360, the level design is weak at points, the boss design sometimes downright retarded, etc. I don't think I need to list the things wrong here any further. The 14 years in development show... we know.

But it's not all bad. In fact I think one often mentioned 'bad point' is actually a good point. A lot of reviews raise the issue that the game design is not relevant anymore. Outdated game play that games like Halo and Call of Duty moved beyond. And while I really enjoy games like Halo and CoD I have to object to this line of thinking. The style of FPS that Duke Nukem Forever represents is old yes. The slower moving FPS, more focused on just blasting away and navigating the environment. Often with a big dose of humor thrown in. A FPS that simply does not take itself serious.

This used to be a huge part of the FPS genre. Not just Duke, but also games like Red Neck Rampage and Shadow Warrior are prime examples. While the path is linear you have slightly more freedom. Your not being pushed forward from big set-piece to big set-piece. A lot of modern FPS are either 'highly intellectual'. The art-house variants of shooters. Like Bioshock. Or they are the huge big summer block busters. Like Halo or Call of Duty. But the simple fun to shoot some pixels in the face shooters seem to have disappeared. With only Serious Sam holding the fort. A bit more the b titles, the grind house movies if you want to continue to draw the comparison to movies.

While Duke's latest adventure was poor perhaps in technical execution, the type of gameplay it represents is something somebody like me has been missing. I don't always want to consume all big explosions or feel all art noir. Sometimes I just want to have a wee bit of fun. Just messing about. And this type of FPS or even video game is hardly being made anymore. Publishers are a freight it won't sell, to niche market for the big development budgets is my guess. DNF could be like this now and still sell because of the name alone. But I fear it actually also ends this type of game play for good now. Which is a shame, because DNF wasn't replacing anybodys diet, it was adding a little variation to it. Like forgotten vegetables. One could argue that it was probably forgotten for a reason. But not everything newer is always better. And like with forgotten vegetables there is still a market for it as people's tastes differ.

Given the huge number of greytoned 'modern warfares', I would love for a higher quality Duke game. And then I don't mean becoming a modern game in the terms of emulating CoD. A highly scripted roller coaster. No, just simply better graphic's, normal loading times, tighter level design (but still old school style) and fun old school shootouts. Because without the Duke those of us who like those types of games need to rely again on Serious Sam. And Serious Sam often suffers from a lot of the problems that DNF also does. And is less funny to boot. It represents the Doom style shooter more then the Duke Nukem 3D type shooter. Spice up our shooter experience a bit going retro, but doing it well. Not seeing it as retro. But just another way to give us the shooter experience. Because all the ghost-recons of the world are just going to fail anyway I fear.

[This is my first blog item here. Be gentle. Also I am not a native English speaker, so forgive any mistakes please]

#2 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

I am inclined to agree, but if it had been made now DNF could have taken that older game design and run with it in smarter ways. As it stands it is not a good game by any era's standards.

#3 Edited by aldo_q (125 posts) -

@nintendoeats said:

I am inclined to agree, but if it had been made now DNF could have taken that older game design and run with it in smarter ways. As it stands it is not a good game by any era's standards.

I agree with you here. Al through I don't think its as bad as it's being made out in the press (i've played far worse games with higher grades). It would have been a middle of the road experience years ago as well. Nothing as earth shattering as Duke Nukem 3D was for example. I just wish the idea that stands behind DNF, which is also often mentioned in one breath in reviews and by gamers among the bad points about it, would not so easily be seen as a bad thing. This old school way of experiencing a FPS and that part I personally at least love. It's just poorly executed.

#4 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@aldo_q: I wish I could link you to my review, but the site it's supposed to go up on is not yet live. I go pretty in-depth on exactly this. DNF just has a lot more variety than other modern shooters, and that is worth something.

#5 Posted by aldo_q (125 posts) -

When the site is up send me the link. Would love to read it!

#6 Posted by xxizzypop (577 posts) -

I'm curious to see the next iteration of Duke. The problem with this the sheer shitshow that was it's development. Out of date jokes, poor referential humour that barely plays anymore, kind of boring gameplay and those load times from hell just kill it. I'd love to see Gearbox put out a Duke game proper -- modern humour, maybe some more self-awareness, less moments where I just felt gross playing, like the strip club, and a game that is simply tighter, game play and graphics wise.

Duke has a place in the modern world. But this game is a relic from the past that doesn't work as well today as it would have five or ten years ago. I love me some mindless, doofy games, especially shooters, but I just couldn't find anything that I liked in this game.

#7 Edited by Tumbler (162 posts) -

@aldo_q:

I don't think Duke is a good example of games we need more of. It takes the slower pacing, less combat, more scripted events style of gameplay and slaps a stupid story on top of it that just gets in the way of having fun. What we need is more games like serious sam HD that are $20 value titles that are good stupid fun to play. Games like Painkiller might be a good example. What we absolutely do not need is more duke. We do not need to develop stories and characters and immersive worlds around stuff like Serious Sam and Painkiller. The setting in those games serves only to make the experience feel connected to the enemies. All those crazy knights in painkiller hunting you wouldn't make much sense inside an army barracks, but putting the battle in a big graveyard makes the experience more fun. Trying to connect that via a coherent story to the next area would be ridiculous.

The worst thing duke did was ask gamers to pay $60. That is an unforgivable act on the part of Gearbox and 2k and I will carefully review my possible purchases from them in the future.

#8 Posted by YoungFrey (1321 posts) -

I think the problem isn't that Duke had an old design, it was that old disgn also wasn't fun.  Most of those critics that hated Duke loved Bioshock and Portal.  Duke didn't seem to be trying to use that kind of old deisgn.  It didn't ahve the open levels needed to make that slow play interesting.    So it's easy to see why critics didn't see what Duke was doing as an attempt at being clever but rather a failure to innovate.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.