The Brilliance Of Duke Nukem Forever

More and more, it seems the entries here are something I wrote elsewhere that I realized would probably make a decent blog entry.  Here, another Broken Toys comment, where I refute professional reviewers talking about a game I never played the full version of, though at least I played the demo.  Hey, not the best of platforms, I know that, but let me see if this point I'm making holds solid nonetheless.

Personally, I thought the Duke Nukem Forever demo was a brilliant game in that it was a mediocre FPS but excellent lampoon of a FPS. As a FPS, it had an unsatisfying balanced experience, it didn't feel as tight as it should, and the two-weapon limitation felt like it had been neutered by excessive consolitus. However, as a lampoon of a FPS, it was a self-referential humor experience that, while you've played much better, is nonetheless definitely worth at least one play-through simply to see Duke Nukem being a ridiculously overblown Duke Nukem. 

If you pay attention to the game, you'll notice that Gearbox did not spare any effort to achieve that exact aim, just about every single thing they added to it was basically an in-joke that went like this: Duke Nukem lives in a fantasy world that exists wholly to support his colossal ego.  These reviewers disappoint me in that they seem to have missed the joke, many of them idolized Duke Nukem and wanted to see him treated with respect and reverence, delivering a hardcore experience worthy of 15 years of development. But, sorry to say it, they're wearing the nostalgia glasses, Duke Nukem is just a 90s pop icon who deserved nothing less than a misogynistic, egotistical tongue-in-cheek focus.

If the game had ended to see Duke Nukem trussed up in the corner of an asylum padded room while doctors talk to each other about him being a victim of pronounced delusions of grandeur and the whole game taking place inside of his addled mind, it would have been perfection.  It would have ground the point home that this is exactly what you're looking at.  But it doesn't: Duke Nukem has potential sequels to make, after all.  Instead we're to understand that Duke Nukem's delusions are real within his world.  That works, it's a punchline of a different color, albeit one not quite as solid.

So, why am I judging it on the demo, then? Why don't I go out and buy the game, right now, and see just how bad it really is?  Because I know that, in this day and age, with many great game choices available, some of them free to play, paying $50 for a game which is mostly hype and then being delivered a running joke feels like they're charging an idiot tax and you fell for it.  However, $20, the price they probably should have been charging initially, and perhaps removing any annoying fluff content that would have been injected to make it seem like it should be worth more, probably would have you laughing along with them.


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