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June 14, 2011 8:19 AM   Subscribe

The game with the never-ending development cycle, Duke Nukem Forever, saw its North American release today.

Reviews and reactions have been pouring in the last few days and the consensus is not very favorable to say the least.

Initial impressions from Kotaku: "...pending a dramatic improvement in the game's latter levels, which will embarrass this initial impression into being the inverse of some unimaginably glowing Kotaku review, what we've got here is no magnificent resurrection. It's more of reanimated corpse, a shambling, shivering thing of the past, thought dead but now brought back."

Hardware Heaven highlights some good: "The shooting mechanic works ... The controls are responsive, the graphic/sound acceptable and we noticed no bugs when playing the PC version... Past that though there is very little to say about it in a positive way."

Destructiod is not so kind: "The reality of Duke Nukem Forever is that it's absolute garbage that should have stayed confined to the bowels of Development Hell."

Ars Technica sums it up: "The game seems only to exist in order to do things like show a pair of twins performing fellatio on the main character."

At least Gamestop will still honor your pre-order. Previously. Previously-er.
posted by d1rge (164 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Playing the game can't possibly be as much fun as snarking about the game never coming out was. One more thing I used to treasure has been ruined forever.

Thanks a lot, assholes.
posted by Naberius at 8:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


I've really enjoyed seeing bus ads for Duke Nukem Forever around town. It's like my own personal "we're in the future!" sight gag.
posted by theodolite at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


Those reviews are more positive then I thought they would be.
posted by zephyr_words at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2011


Hey, it's released at least. Did anyone actually expect it to be good too?
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2011


Props to Gearbox for picking up the pieces and making a releasable game. Hope that works out for them. Also, stop fucking around and make another Borderlands already.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to play this game while listening to Chinese Democracy.
posted by dismas at 8:28 AM on June 14, 2011 [38 favorites]


There's no way that anything that was hyped this much and had its development process mocked for so long was ever going to be any good.
posted by brand-gnu at 8:30 AM on June 14, 2011


It didn't really have a "never-ending development cycle."


On September 3, 2010, after 13 years, Duke Nukem Forever was officially reported by 2K Games to be in development at Gearbox Software.[10] It was originally confirmed to be released on May 3, 2011 in North America, with a worldwide release following on May 6, 2011.[11] This has however been delayed by a month to June 10 internationally with a North American release on June 14. On May 24, 2011, it was announced that Duke Nukem Forever finally went gold after 14 years.[12][13] After going gold the launch trailer for Duke Nukem Forever was released on June 2, 2011.[14]

-wikipedia


Sounds like about a year in development, to me. And judging from reviews, it was a bit rushed. Sure the product name was kicking around forever, but this isn't the next George R R Martin book, it's just a franchise name that's been bought and sold.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2011


Is it possible to unlock developer commentary? ("This fellatio animation took over 12 months of daily, personal research.")
posted by naju at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I will totally buy this when it's on sale at steam for $15.
posted by empath at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


...and yet still, in some dim corner of my brain where it is still 1997, I still have flickers of desire for it. It can't be that bad, can it? Surely it must have some of the old fun? It's Duke!

I dunno, maybe something else Duke-like will come along and save us from the boring ass military man-shoot, but not actually suck.
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2011


I will totally buy this when it's on sale at steam Goodwill for $15 $2.

FTFY
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:35 AM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


:: database search for Duke Nukem one liner :: parameters = something that conveys both eagerness and vague contempt :: verifying originality :: [ERROR] :: best match - source located :: advisement :: use BRUCE CAMPBELL voice :: endrun ::

*ahem*

Groovy.
posted by quin at 8:36 AM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Heh. TBH if Great Game I Really Want To Play was at best buy for $2 I'd probably still want to buy it on Steam for more, because that's just how games are done now. Physical media? Pah!
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Garry Trudeau should have bought the franchise name when he had a chance and done some weird crossover game.
posted by COBRA! at 8:39 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The PC demo I played controlled poorly, with little sense of impact when using any of the guns. The stage design had that annoying combination of wide-open appearance with extremely linear paths that so turned me off to the first Half-Life (which is a whole different rant), and the wholesale theft of Halo's two-weapons-at-a-time system is just plain annoying on every level.

So in short, I'm gonna go play Duke 3D again.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:39 AM on June 14, 2011


No Mac version, eh? I suppose that's fair, considering development started four years before Mac OS X was released.
posted by ryanrs at 8:39 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sounds like about a year in development, to me. And judging from reviews, it was a bit rushed.

Yeah, this seems to be the source of a lot of the bad reviews - a quick glance at Metacritic shows a lot of people who are irritated that this game that was "13 years in development" are disappointed that it's a rushed-to-market FPS. Just because you've been waiting for it for 13 years doesn't mean they were actually working on it for 13 years, people.

It has, however, had 13 years to raise peoples' expectations, which means it was basically doomed from the get-go. Will almost surely still sell a zillion copies, though, for the same reason.

I hope Diablo 3 fares better (and actually is better).
posted by mstokes650 at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


13 years of "raising expectations" might be overstating the matter.
posted by ryanrs at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2011


This is a black mark on the legacy of a second-rate FPS with adolescent "humor" and plagiarized catch phrases!
posted by Legomancer at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It didn't really have a "never-ending development cycle."

Oh, but it did. Before Gearbox took over it was in development for over 10 years, including at least 3 game engine changes and complete rewrites. It's been top on Wired's Vaporware awards like 8 of the last 11 years.
posted by chundo at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


it makes you wonder what they did for the other 14 years and 10 months.
posted by acb at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Stagger Lee: It's like in Hollywood when someone buys the rights to a script but then it gets shopped around to different production companies. I dunno, you're kinda splitting hairs. I consider the selling and buying of the rights to the game part of the development cycle.
posted by d1rge at 8:43 AM on June 14, 2011


Sounds like about a year in development, to me. And judging from reviews, it was a bit rushed. Sure the product name was kicking around forever, but this isn't the next George R R Martin book, it's just a franchise name that's been bought and sold.

They started working on it in 1997 and were showing screenshots in 1998. They restarted from scratch numerous times.
posted by justkevin at 8:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, what chundo said.
posted by d1rge at 8:44 AM on June 14, 2011


"The game seems only to exist in order to do things like show a pair of twins performing fellatio on the main character."

You say that like it's a bad thing
posted by fusinski at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a black mark on the legacy of a second-rate FPS with adolescent "humor" and plagiarized catch phrases!

Duke Nukem 3D actually innovated a lot -- destructable terrain, scripted action sequences, mouse look, interactive environments, etc... It wasn't second rate at the time. Even though Quake's engine was more advanced, my friends and I preferred Duke Nukem deathmatch because it was just a lot more fun, and not as ugly.
posted by empath at 8:47 AM on June 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


"The game seems only to exist in order to do things like show a pair of twins performing fellatio on the main character."

It is a bad thing. After 13 years we expect triplets to be performing fellatio on the main character.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:47 AM on June 14, 2011


After 13 years I expect a USB peripheral to perform fellatio on the user.
posted by ryanrs at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


It didn't really have a "never-ending development cycle."

Well, if Gearbox started from a clean slate and wrote entirely new code and generated entirely new level designs, monsters, etc, then its development cycle was about a year.

But if Gearbox started off using existing code as a base to build on and using existing assets to start with, then they were just the last step in DNFs interminable development cycle.

And, yes, GET BACK IN THE BIT MINES AND GIVE ME MORE BORDER-SOMETHING.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:52 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"porn just got real"
posted by lemuring at 8:53 AM on June 14, 2011


It does not strike me as unDukelike.
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on June 14, 2011


Damn, those alien bastards gearbox developers are gonna pay for shooting up my ride semi-nostalgic shit-fondling blowjob simulator.
posted by boo_radley at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2011


Alright, I didn't write this, and I don't know who did, but it was too interesting to not pass on, true or not:

I think the change in atmosphere from previous Duke games makes sense when you realize that the people who are making Duke Nukem Forever and the people who are buying Duke Nukem forever are the same exact people who bought and played the first games, almost a decade and a half later. DNF is quite literally a mid-life crisis.

It's been fourteen years since the last time Duke did anything. He can't run as fast or as far as he used to. He can't carry as many guns as he used to. He can't take a bullet as well as he used to. The frat-boy sensibility about women from the previous games has darkened to a sense of fear and no small resentment (the pregnancy motif in the Alien level is important here- regretting having children, Duke?) The game's willingness to make fun of its protagonist even as it supports him is completely gone, because its desperate clawing after virility cannot tolerate that.

For a game sold as a comedy, it takes the fight to preserve the masculinity and youth of its main character incredibly seriously, not realizing that the fight is already lost. When a vehicle breaks down on Duke Nukem, he responds "Aw, and it got such good gas mileage." That is not a thing Schwarzenegger or Van Damme or Bruce Campbell would say in the films Duke Nukem is supposed to be parodying. That is a thing your dad says when the Volvo is beyond repair.

Duke Nukem Forever is a game about an aging sexually insecure man, made by an aging sexually insecure man, sold to an audience of aging sexually insecure men, which perfectly captures their anxieties. Duke Nukem Forever is art.

posted by KChasm at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2011 [102 favorites]


After the title alone reached such legendary status, the developers who picked Duke Forever up pretty much could've shat in a box and people still would've bought it just to be able to post 'OMG IM HOLDING DUKE NUKEM FOREVER OMGOMGOMG'. I guess they realised that, too, and did.

After 13 years I expect a USB peripheral to perform fellatio on the user.

Funnily enough, a far better sequel to a legendary game is out today in the US, which only falls a little south of that mark.
posted by emmtee at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great, what with this and the Assyrian Dictionary coming out I have no way to define vaporware anymore.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It can't be that bad, can it?

It really, really can. Ars Technica gave it a zero out of ten. Most places are giving it less than 5/10 ratings, on a scale that usually goes from six to ten.

PC Gamer gave it an 8 out of ten, which gives you an idea of what their reviews are worth.
posted by mhoye at 8:56 AM on June 14, 2011


Wow, getting Jim Sterling to say your game is tasteless and offensive is an accomplishment that deserves some kind of recognition.
posted by straight at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I remember fondly the days when PC Gamer game things single-digit scores out of 100.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this image comparing the (apparent) map design between the original and this release pretty-much sums it up.
And, honestly, kind of exemplifies my reaction to a lot of FPS games these days.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:01 AM on June 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


I miss cruising around with a jetpack, waiting for my dormmates to emerge from their hidey-holes. "You can't hide forever!" I'd call into the next room. "One of you will betray the rest and you'll all come out to die!"

And then one would and they did.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thorzad, I think that image was originally Doom vs. Call of Duty, but apparently it would apply to Duke Nukem Forever just as well, (especially if you doodle some male genitals next to the map on the right).
posted by straight at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2011


Hey! Those were the days of map editors! You could totally make you Duke level that looked like a doodle of some male genitals from above! (And it would have more depth and complexity than a Call of Duty level)
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this image comparing the (apparent) map design between the original and this release pretty-much sums it up.

How sad is it that i recognized that as e1m6?
posted by empath at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


(Other favourites include the Wolfenstein level that looks like a giant swastika and, personal fave, "the dog tunnel". which was a wolfenstein level consisting of a long tunnel, with no ammo and lots of dogs, which you would end up hacving to stab. Ah, happy days of youth. )
posted by Artw at 9:10 AM on June 14, 2011


Thorzad, I think that image was originally Doom vs. Call of Duty, but apparently it would apply to Duke Nukem Forever just as well

Yes. And, thus, the "apparent".
posted by Thorzdad at 9:11 AM on June 14, 2011


BTW, I recently replayed Quake and cannot recommend it highly enough as a palate cleanser after whatever high-scripted railsy FPS you've just played.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anybody else remember the sewage level from Dark Forces? That was probably my favorite. That or the level where you have to punch a dragon to death.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know that a lot of you reading this are not game developers, and so you may not understand completely what I'm saying here. Let me try to make it more personal by rephrasing it as a handwritten letter from Brandon Reinehart that will be packaged with 3D Realms' flagship product for 2001 - an elaborate presskit announcing the delay of Duke Nukem Forever to 2004. -- Old Man Murray, 1-15-2001
posted by brookedel at 9:16 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh. The bit where they point at Daikatana is classic.
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


How sad is it that i recognized that as e1m6?

I dunno, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:19 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a reddit discussion thread about the level design pic.
posted by d1rge at 9:20 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is pretty damning: It’s a grab bag of trends and ideas from the last decade of action games, a severely delayed reaction to Half-Life, Half-life 2, Halo, Gears of War and most of the id catalogue from Quake onwards. It can’t be the first at any of its ideas and features, but it damned well tries to have the most. All those inspirations – all of which it attempts to sneer at with meatless gags such as a dead soldier in a Dead Space mask, a crowbar reference, a pile of Master Chief armour – yet no real sense that it understands why they should be inspirations. It’s a smash and grab raid on the shiniest features of its de facto peers, successors and rivals, stitched together into a chaotic mess of mini-games and sudden gear-shifts.

That's one doomed Space Marine.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


d1rge: "Hardware Heaven highlights some good: "The shooting mechanic works ... "

Well, it's heartening to know that a mechanic that has been defined for decades is working still.

I've said this before here, but I would have been much happier with Shadow Warrior Forever, racism and all.
posted by brundlefly at 9:30 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Orator April Fool's prank ever.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:33 AM on June 14, 2011


I look forward to reflexively adopting the groupthink on this issue.
posted by Pants McCracky at 9:36 AM on June 14, 2011


Here's a reddit discussion thread about the level design pic.

I liked Borderlands and all, but when you're saying (like someone at the end of that thread does) "Hey, for people that like complicated levels, they still make stuff like Borderlands!" you know we've gone a long ways in the wrong direction from, say, Thief.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will say this - sometimes a maze can be just as grindy as a railsy corridor between set-pieces.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on June 14, 2011


I look forward to reflexively adopting the groupthink on this issue.

Yeah, and maybe you should go watch Battlefield Earth to form your own opinion about whether it's bad or not (SPOILER: It is.). I've got too many good games waiting in my queue to feel like I need to waste time actually playing DNF before I'm allowed to make fun of it.
posted by straight at 9:47 AM on June 14, 2011


If y'all haven't read Masters of Doom, it kind of explains everything.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:50 AM on June 14, 2011


My review: Leisure Suit Larry got a gun.
posted by analogue at 9:52 AM on June 14, 2011


Happy Flag Day.

A different sort of long awaited follow up hits US shelves today too.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:58 AM on June 14, 2011


I torrented a copy for PS3 last week and I feel like I'm the one who got ripped off.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:01 AM on June 14, 2011


I've really enjoyed seeing bus ads for Duke Nukem Forever around town. It's like my own personal "we're in the future!" sight gag.

Alright. Start working on those hoverboards now...
posted by Skeptic at 10:03 AM on June 14, 2011


Just because you've been waiting for it for 13 years doesn't mean they were actually working on it for 13 years, people.

Well, it doesn't mean they weren't - but a lot of that work had to be ripped up as the engines became outdated. Rather than move to the Unreal 3 engine, it looks like it's launched on a hugely customized version of Unreal 2.5.

According to rumor, it was getting towards done in 2009, when 2K pulled the plug in 2009, and then Triptych (the rump of the 3D Realms DNF team) and Gearbox picked it up again after negotiating the license with 2K and worked on it for some time before announcing it.

I feel for the Triptych team - some of whom may have spent their professional lives on Duke Nukem Forever. At least now they have a game shipped, and I imagine a game that will make money - or at least more money than if it was never released.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:07 AM on June 14, 2011


Are there any good articles out there with the inside scoop on Duke's development process? I find myself wondering what George Broussard is up to. A quick look at his Twitter doesn't reveal much.
posted by frenetic at 10:07 AM on June 14, 2011


Are there any good articles out there with the inside scoop on Duke's development process?

there's a pretty good wiki article on it. Broussard comes across as insecure over the decade and a half it took to make this.
posted by hellojed at 10:11 AM on June 14, 2011


I'm actually really looking forward to playing DNF despite what the reviews say. The last FPS I tried playing was Bulletstorm and I just threw up in my mouth at the dialogue of that. I can't really get into today's modern "Hide behind this brick wall and shoot people for 12 hours" level design.
posted by d1rge at 10:13 AM on June 14, 2011


I will say this - sometimes a maze can be just as grindy as a railsy corridor between set-pieces.

If Duke still moved at the frenetic speed of a runaway 18-wheeler on ice that early FPS avatars had, I could probably forgive everything else.

Given the choice between padding out the gameplay hours by making me run back and forth in a ridiculous maze (but letting me do it at LUDICROUS SPEED) and padding out the gameplay hours by making me trudge along (in a straight, uncomplicated line) as though I am walking upstream through a river of molasses, I will take the former every time.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:16 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


You might like the Serious Sam HD remakes, d1rge, it's a great throwback to the circle-strafe style combat of Doom. I picked them up after playing the DNF demo, mainly because I wanted to shoot something...and nothing else. It's been a blast thus far.
posted by hellojed at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2011


I can't really get into today's modern "Hide behind this brick wall and shoot people for 12 hours" level design.

I'm not sure why you'd want to play DNF, then...
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2011


There really is a place now for a good, indie FPS in the Doom vein. I don't necessarily mean sprite enemies and no mouse look. Circle-strafe combat, abstract environments and fast.
posted by brundlefly at 10:23 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I made an FPP about this a while back: Coelacanth: Lessons from Doom
posted by brundlefly at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Duke Nukem 3D wasn't second rate, to me anyway, when it came out. It had bright open spaces and interesting places to explore (the city and the space station mainly). I didn't really care about the strippers or catch phrases. Quake was cramped and dark, and trying a little too hard for realism. It was fun to shoot things on a street or in a movie theatre rather than in a dark rusty corridor.

Note that I'm not a gamer. I think DN3D was the last FPS I played all the way through. Now I own a Wii and play things like Super Mario Galaxy.

BTW I don't see Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project mentioned in this thread. I played it a few years ago and it was a blast.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frenetic: It only goes up to the point where DNF looked properly dead in the water, but this Clive Thompson piece is a good rundown. This 2009 MetaFilter thread also has some links on what was known at the time.

Apparently George Broussard and Randy Pitchford meet and play poker regularly, although he had no formal input into the game after 3D Realms lost the license. Hopefully the release will give him and others emotional and organizational closure.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:38 AM on June 14, 2011


STILL WAITING FOR MY FREE DR. PEPPER
posted by Afroblanco at 10:39 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anyone figured out how Portal 2 does health? It seems like anything not instadeath that hurts you will kill you pretty quickly, but if you step away from the cause of the hurt you're pretty much undamaged. Though it strikes me that it could be basically the same as the health recharging concept, but with the health level hidden - though I'm sort of against the recharging concept generally that's an interesting way of doing it.
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on June 14, 2011


BTW, I recently replayed Quake and cannot recommend it highly enough as a palate cleanser after whatever high-scripted railsy FPS you've just played.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on June 14 [1 favorite +] [!]


Much love for Quake and all, but washing your palate with that palette is only recommended if you enjoy having some Deadwood-style brown-ass teeth.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:45 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of it is blue!
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on June 14, 2011


Has anyone figured out how Portal 2 does health?

Well, Portal tends to use health as a way of creating 'no go' zones until you can remove the source of the damage, so it makes sense to kill and heal quickly.
posted by empath at 10:47 AM on June 14, 2011


Artw, I'm guessing it's an in-combat/out-of-combat toggle - no recharge in combat, but when you aren't in combat it's super-fast (but not instant.) That would handle standing in damaging fields (damage exceeds recharge) and turrets (no recharge until not targeted.)
posted by restless_nomad at 10:48 AM on June 14, 2011


Artw, that's how the first Portal worked. There was an invisible health meter that regenerated quickly, but not quite quickly enough to balance out the effects of being continually shot by machineguns.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:52 AM on June 14, 2011


I'm going to add "recharging health" to my list of things that theoretically I hate that I somehow like when Valve does them.

Actually, I wonder if that mechanism, with the super quick depletion/recharge, and no visible meter might work in a more conventional shooter, maybe combined with some kind of major wounds system that requires more manual attention from time to time (as per Action Half Life)
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on June 14, 2011


I'm not sure if that Ars Technica pullquote was the most representative of their feelings on the game. This might be more descriptive:
And that's before you come to the really offensive bits. Just in case you didn't feel like the game had adequately rubbed your nose in its horrific depiction of women, Duke arrives at a point where two nude ladies promise to lose their pregnancy weight from bearing their alien children, and they plead with you to let them live. (These are the same characters who performed fellatio on you during the beginning sequences of the game.)

The only way past this section of the game is to kill both women.

Update: I apologize for the confusion—as was pointed out in the comments, if you wait long enough, they'll explode due to the aliens growing inside them. You may now mock me for getting out my gun to try to escape the game just a little bit quicker.
posted by danny the boy at 11:00 AM on June 14, 2011


Also, if you watch a video of that bit, his response to the women (before either shooting them or watching them burst) is, "You're fucked."

It is such a creepy game. The sort of game I imagine dudes with long coats, who follow you home and scream at you if you don't return their affections, play to unwind after a hard day's stalking.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:03 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to add "recharging health" to my list of things that theoretically I hate that I somehow like when Valve does them.

I think it mostly works because it's not really a combat game.

In Doom or Call of Duty, you're supposed to get shot as part of playing the game correctly, and then you heal. In Portal, getting hurt usually means you're not doing the puzzle right, so it's more of a Yes or No situation than a 80% hurt vs. 40% hurt.
posted by straight at 11:09 AM on June 14, 2011


Actually, I wonder if that mechanism, with the super quick depletion/recharge, and no visible meter might work in a more conventional shooter, maybe combined with some kind of major wounds system that requires more manual attention from time to time (as per Action Half Life)

Other than the wounds system, isn't that how most modern shooters work? There's no health meter in Call of Duty or Red Dead and the like, and you recharge pretty quickly when you're not under fire.
posted by kmz at 11:13 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"MEET ME AT THE POOL."

Back in those days, we pitted ourselves in 1-on-1 modem-fueled duels on maps that weren't designed for multiplayer. They were the narrative levels, meant for linear progression, intended to have sprites wandering around waiting to get knocked over like punks at a carnival ball toss.

But Duke Nukem brought the FPS outside and into the world. Sure, that hotel, or movie theater, or city corridor, or spaceship-infested canyon had a beginning and end. But there were nooks and crannies and bars and offices that made them all feel like real places. And those maps inspired us to make our own: recreations of our high schools, neighborhoods, and classic movie sets.

When we played, much of our time was spent wandering the map of choice, gathering up a stockpile of weapons, hoping not to run into the opponent before the appropriate bevy was collected.

And then, we'd type out the challenge.

"MEET ME AT THE POOL."

The opponent would open the sliding doors, stroll into the swimming area, and almost instantaneously find a rocket flying directly at his chest.

"HAHAHHAHHA." The rocketeer would type, sitting high above the pool, never intending to have a fair fight.

A few minutes would pass.

"COME TO THE POOL AGAIN. SERIOUS THIS TIME."

We were dumb teenagers: Plans needed to fail before we'd reassess our strategy.

To answer this challenge, of course, the opponent would jump the alley fence using a dumpster, and fire a rocket up into the sixth-floor closet that was serving as a sniper perch. Control of the chlorinated water would shift, turning the tide of the war.

From here, though, the challenge scenarios would become a game of booby-trapped roshambo.

Duke Nukem 3D included — possibly for the first time in an FPS — trip mines. While it was easy enough for a human player to see and avoid the red laser trigger, the mines could be placed facing a door, with additional mines and pipe bombs placed around the door frame. As soon as the doorway slid open, the first tripmine would begin a chain reaction of explosions that would vaporize anyone who pressed "E" in their proximity. It could be anticipated, but never reacted to. And it was thrilling to see and hear.

And so, our goal became to create elaborate tripmine traps through the alternative routes an opponent could try to come to unseat a rocket sniper.

"I AM AT THE POOL. SEE YOU HERE."

Minutes later, flames would erupt from the window of an 8th floor hotel suite. Guessing the opponent's next path became the game.

"MUHWAHAHAHA."

The trapper would set off quickly to pickup supplies and spring new elaborate machinations.

"DON'T TRY TO TRICK ME. JUST COME AND FIGHT BY THE POOL."

And as he turned the corner to grab the tripmines, he'd see — for a split-second — a red laser at his ankles, just far enough back to have been invisible from the joining hallway. The game now flowed two ways.

Boom.

"GOTCHA."

Duke Nukem was special because — despite being one of the last in a tired lineage of 2D, sprite-based shooters — it offered new things to play with in new types of places to play.

Yes, part of that was a character who was an actual character: certainly not dynamic, but definitely distinct. But to me, the game's success has more to do with the game's attitude, which Duke's attitude was just a piece of. It wasn't trying to have bigger, grosser, bloodier monsters or cleaner competitive play — essentially what embodied Quake and its ilk. It just wanted to fuck around and have some fun (and add some yellows, blues and greens to the palette). And it was infinitely fun if that's what you wanted to do.

The mistake in the drive to complete Duke Nukem Forever was the assumption that people wanted Duke Nukem. Duke Nukem is just an icon for what that game meant amidst its peers.

There's a throne to be taken in the market by something that is what Duke Nukem 3D was. But I don't even think a high-tech, expanded recreation of Duke Nukem 3D is that thing (although it would be kinda badass)...

So yeah, it's profoundly disappointing that Duke Nukem Forever can't even be that. It's a game that's set itself down on the rails, happy enough to be a brand, while forgetting that it's a game.

Maybe that's why it was such an ill-fated venture in the first place. You can't be different by being the same. Bigger and better always seemed to be the goals during the production process, but Duke Nukem 3D isn't beloved because it was the biggest, most elaborate game on shelves.

It was a sprite-shooter with trip mines.

Trip mines aren't enough anymore.
posted by pokermonk at 11:14 AM on June 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


Does the game have a shrink ray and laser trip mines? If so, I will buy this game. If not, it is no Duke Nukem game.
posted by antifuse at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2011


They sort of replace the scurrying around for healthpacks with the waiting behind boxes for optimum health thing though, and you take damage slowly enough that there's a lack of consequence to being shot at if there's a box nearby. Getting rid of healthpack grind seems like a good goal, but currently it seems to be replaced by waiting grind.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2011


There's a throne to be taken in the market by something that is what Duke Nukem 3D was. But I don't even think a high-tech, expanded recreation of Duke Nukem 3D is that thing (although it would be kinda badass)...


Arguably, Portal? In the sense that it is an FPS with goals totally orthogonal to the goals of a regular FPS, a totally different palette and a completely different feel?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:22 AM on June 14, 2011


I hear they're going to fix some of these issues when the N64 port comes out.
posted by JHarris at 11:24 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


All I can say is that I am waiting, with great anticipation, for the Zero Punctuation review.
posted by hellojed at 11:27 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


After that much time, and after building that much anticipation, 2K Games really had balls of steel to let such a crappy product ship.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2011


There's a throne to be taken in the market by something that is what Duke Nukem 3D was.

Bulletstorm
posted by empath at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Backpack hoarding is resource management, though. It might be tedious resource management that could be done better some other way, but you don't fix it by replacing it with an infinitely regenerating pool. It turns a game of scarcity into a game of simple patience.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2011


I don't think many FPS/TPS games have done health particularly well. I have to admit to loathing the Doom-era health kits system, if only because it made you so reliant on the specific way the designer happened to put the level together. A poor bit of play in one area might be totally irrelevant as there'd be enough health pies around to put you back to 100%, but the exact same actions against the exact same enemies elsewhere might make the level close to unfinishable because there's just no health to be had. Without any designed-in visual clues to say 'lots of health in the next room, okay to be reckless!' or 'not much health about, be careful!', it felt arbitrary.

On the other hand recharging Halo/Gears/COD health encourages a tedious attrition-y hyper-cautious style of play. I've been blowing through a rental copy of Killzone 3, and that's one of the worst examples of being encouraged to sit behind a crate, peek out to let off the occasional shot at similarly jack-in-the-box enemy, absorb bullets until the screen's covered in raspberry jam, then have a nice sit down and a biscuit until the view clears up.

I actually think Infamous 2 almost has a neat idea - being an electrical superhero, Cole can heal himself up by sucking power out of a lamp-post, electric light, passing car or whatever. The game lets itself down by having health recover anyway if you're out of the immediate line of fire for any length of time, making seeking electricity more than a few feet away pointless. I'd love a version where you had more health total, but it didn't regenerate at all without electricity: it'd avoid the arbitrariness of health kits since you can see at a distance whether somewhere has few or many sources of electricity, and discourage turtling as hiding behind a brick wall won't do any good if there's no electricity to be had (and also if sources got tapped out for longer when used - another problem Infamous has is that the need to find a new source when one is drained goes away when the thing is usable again within ten seconds).

I'd also love to see more health regen systems built around special attacks or killstreaks or combos or whatever - something where playing the game rather than hiding behind a waist-high wall and essentially not playing the game for a bit would be key to surviving.
posted by emmtee at 11:34 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


KChasm: "Alright, I didn't write this, and I don't know who did, but it was too interesting to not pass on, true or not..."

I love that. I've always had a soft spot for cheerful strained analogies delivered without ever showing the strain.

Apparently, no one knows who wrote it. I'm googling for it, and it keeps appearing as people passing it along as "I didn't write this." I think it might be a review by SkyNet.
posted by Drastic at 11:36 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Emmtee, oddly enough DNF does a bit of that. Using Duke's up-close finishing moves refills his health...er, "ego"...instantly. Of course it doesn't matter much thanks to the same issue inFamous had, but it's still there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:41 AM on June 14, 2011


Portal:
You get shot - game response: "Don't stand there."
You keep getting shot - game response: "What did I just tell you?"
You insist on getting shot repeatedly - game response: "Fine, if you're gonna be like that, I'll just spare you the confusion and end your life here. Give it another go."

Modern Warfare et al.:
You get shot - game response: "Dude where'd that come from?"
You keep getting shot - game response: "Dude, find some cover!"
You insist on getting shot repeatedly - game response: "Fuck those guys in that direction! Just hide so you can heal at Wolverine speed."

Apples and oranges? Yes, definitely (first person puzzler vs. first person shooter). But as more and more games adopt the recharging health I find myself taking greater risks in said games, because I know it'll all be cool once I find something to cower behind and manage to defend myself for a sufficient amount of time.

And then you have the old skool _shooters_ like Doom where you had X amount of health, took damage, and needed those pickups to keep going. Thinking back to my youth, that system resulted in much more visceral experiences - you always had the option of restarting the level or loading the last save, but you could find yourself facing a boss with 10% health. I think it was just basic gambling instinct - if you could beat the boss with 10% you were 90% more awesome than someone who did the same with 100% health.

As for _puzzlers_.. I like where they're going.

/end nostalgic rambling
posted by pyrex at 11:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Emmtee, oddly enough DNF does a bit of that. Using Duke's up-close finishing moves refills his health...er, "ego"...instantly. Of course it doesn't matter much thanks to the same issue inFamous had, but it's still there.

Oh god, quicktime event bollocks - those deplete MY hit points.

You know that the new Deus Ex is going to have those and they're going to be super intrusive so you can see JUST HOW AWESOME the animations of your character doing something outside of your control is.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


JUST HOW AWESOME the animations of your character doing something outside of your control is.

And again.
And again.
And again.

Maybe you have to press a different button each time but YOU BETTER APPRECIATE THOSE ANIMATIONS DAMNIT.
posted by pyrex at 11:46 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fortunately everything else about the new Deus Ex looks fucking fantastic.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:47 AM on June 14, 2011


Yes, but that one thing fills me with fear for it. That and the cut scenes done outside of the game engine.

I could totally repurpose the Bill Hicks marketing rant for people who make Quicktime Events or Cutscenes. Except maybe instead of asking them to kill themselves it would be "go make short films since that's obviously what you wnat to do and stay the hell away from anything that should be interactive".
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm usually the one at least being equivocal about lots of recent gaming trends, but yeah, I hate those too. I can cope with them as one-off showpieces now and again, but for EVERY SINGLE ENEMY it's maddening.
posted by emmtee at 11:51 AM on June 14, 2011


At least Modern Warfare 2 didn't go insane with repetitious QT events, unlike Bulletstorm. Yes, I fucking get it; have the attention span of a jack russell and hold button X to see things, now climb across this gap with buttons Y and Z. And you better not fuck up, oh don't you dare.
posted by pyrex at 11:52 AM on June 14, 2011


emmtee: "I don't think many FPS/TPS games have done health particularly well."

The aforementioned Action Half Life (which I never played, but I did play a LOT of Action Quake) gets this really right I think. If you get shot, you bleed out. If you're lucky and your wounds aren't immediately fatal, you can bandage yourself once, maybe twice before you die. Headshots are almost always fatal, from any gun, including sidearms (unless you're wearing a helmet). All this meant there was a lot of tension around not getting hit, and if you did, either getting away or killing the other guy before you bled to death. Excellent fun, and great balance between sneaking up on people, waiting in ambush, all out action, and running away in fear.

Which basically was the point of Action (Quake, Half-Life)--to be playing in your favorite action movie.
posted by danny the boy at 11:53 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine that translating well to a single-player campaign, though. If almost any wound is fatal you're going to be reloading a lot, and there's very little you can do with level design and enemy placement before it becomes unfair to the player.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:56 AM on June 14, 2011


I hear they're going to fix some of these issues when the N64 port comes out.

Duke Nukem Zero Hour for the N64 was a lot more fun than DNF looks to be (especially if you play it on an emulator that lets you aim with a mouse).
posted by straight at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't have been the only one who lol'd when Steam started advertising the "opportunity" to pre-order this game, can I?
posted by moonbiter at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2011


Probably best done with short bursts of action with limited saving which play out differently enough each time that it feels like an experience, not grind.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2011


I played a ton of Project Reality, a mod for Battlefied 2, and they did health much like danny the boy describes, but it was limited by the engine. If bullets whizz past you close enough, your vision and hearing distorts for a bit - you get hit; you start bleeding and can patch yourself up for a small health gain (or get a medic to fix you). You get hit again, you're down for the count and have to scream for a medic to come revive AND patch you up.

(on refresh) I've been playing Operation Flashpoint: Red River which has a similar system, and like Zarquon says, it doesn't really create a very satisfying single-player experience. The realism is there, but unless I'm fighting other _human_ players, it just gets.. kind of tiresome.
posted by pyrex at 12:03 PM on June 14, 2011


I'd also love to see more health regen systems built around special attacks or killstreaks or combos or whatever

Playing Venom in the Ultimate Spider-Man game let you eat pedestrians to regain health, an action that left you vulnerable to other attacks if you weren't careful. It was a pretty fun mechanic.
posted by straight at 12:05 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If bullets whizz past you close enough, your vision and hearing distorts for a bit - you get hit; you start bleeding and can patch yourself up for a small health gain (or get a medic to fix you).

More than that, you scream and moan in pain which alerts nearby enemies of your presence.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on June 14, 2011


Dag, those reviews are rough. Ohwells. I tried to help, I really did.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:10 PM on June 14, 2011


Oh god, quicktime event bollocks...You know that the new Deus Ex is going to have those

My impression is that it's more of an extended attack animation than a Quicktime event. In the first game, you'd sneak up behind someone and press the fire button and you'd see an animation of your hand hitting a guy with a stun prod. In this game, you sneak up behind someone, press the fire button, and see an animation of your character doing a takedown. The animation might get tediously repetitive, but the actual gameplay seems to be the same.
posted by straight at 12:10 PM on June 14, 2011


While we're on the subject of reboots of old franchises...

1) Is the new Deus Ex going to be the real deal, with complex strategies, RPG elements and important choices? Or just another bullshit FPS?

2) The new X-Com is just another bullshit FPS, right?
posted by naju at 12:16 PM on June 14, 2011


That's I guess why most fps's never did it for me, because there were never any real consequence to dying. If nothing is at stake, there's no real tension. In multiplayer you can at least make your own consequences (the joy of trouncing your buddies, the shame of defeat) but in single player, where you can just restart from the last save point, who cares if you die or if you have health packs hoarded? Anything you do to that equation just seems like artificially introducing penalties. Like making savepoints inconvenient.

I guess maybe single player and multiplayer are always going to be fundamentally different in how lives/health are going to be treated. In multiplayer, you want to (be able to) die a lot. In singleplayer, if you're dying a lot, there's something wrong and you're probably not having fun.

I think single player FPS's are a dead end on the evolutionary tree, if they ever had a point in the first place.

posted by danny the boy at 12:17 PM on June 14, 2011


close italics damn you I said close
posted by danny the boy at 12:17 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually think Monster Hunter (Demons Souls has a similar but less exaggerated version that I don't think has as positive a gameplay effect) does healing incredibly well, yet manages to do it in a way that totally alienates a lot of people. In short, you come into a fight with a fixed number of potions1, and can use one to restore a chunk of health at any time. However, you had better be damn sure you're not about to get bulldozed by an angry wyvern, because drinking a potion locks you into a fairly lengthy animation that can't be interrupted by anything but taking damage, and leaves you utterly vulnerable. Get interrupted too early, and you didn't even drink the potion. Even if you're hit during the animation after the health boost, you'll often take more than you gained back.

I think the bit that pisses off a lot of players who've yet to resign themselves to the series' quirks is that the last part of the animation is the character doing a sort of daft 'that feels better!' muscle flex, which has nothing to do with actually drinking the potion at all and yet is unavoidable. It's an art problem that's become a series tradition, really - the length of the whole 'potion drinking' animation is obviously a gameplay decision, and a good one, but people would feel better about it if it appeared your character was doing something essential to healing the whole time.

Still, starting out with a fixed number of heals to recover from mistakes, and the need to use tools and abilities to create situations where healing is safe (running away and potentially exposing yourself to more danger/losing the monster, trapping or stunning the beast then using the period of helplessness to heal yourself rather than attack, learning the monster's attacks so you know when you have long enough to heal up etc) are good gameplay. More designers should look to them.

1though the ability to carry tons of ingredients to make more potions, geting around the carrying cap for actual finished ones, is a legacy problem they need to fix one of these days, as is sleeping at the camp without penalty.
posted by emmtee at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is the new Deus Ex going to be the real deal, with complex strategies, RPG elements and important choices? Or just another bullshit FPS?

You'd have a hard time finding a more vocal and articulate apologist for the first Deus Ex than Tom Francis, and he thinks it's the real deal.
posted by straight at 12:25 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of damage, looking at Microsoft's E3 stuff made me nostalgic for the old Ghost Recon. It was one shot kills -- if the enemy saw you first, you died. Frustrating, but so satisifing when a strategy finally worked.
posted by rtimmel at 12:33 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The new X-Com is just another bullshit FPS, right?

Probably. The ubiquity of waist-high "this is cover" clutter in the level design shown in screenshots, and the fact that the aliens take human form so they can shoot at you just like Nazis or terrorists or an occupying North Korean army are not good signs.

Really, can cover systems possibly be enough fun to justify the ridiculous constraints they create for level design? I feel like it's 1998 again and everything is all boxy polygons with fancy textures, but instead it's all waist-high cover with various attempts to dress it up as environmental features.
posted by straight at 12:34 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I'd REALLY like to see a game fully flesh out is a system of ethics. The first real memory of this I have is Peter Molyneux promising a "complex good/bad" aspect of the character back when Black & White was the new "thing". Turned out, you could be good or bad. Same for your manifestation of choice.

Fast forward some years to about a week ago when I reached the endgame of Fable 3 and would you look at that, I can either have angel wings or devil wings at the end of all things. Does it really come down to the fact that our computers are limited to 1s and 0s, or is it too taxing to incorporate some kind of D&D range of character morality? Because I know it isn't the latter, Baldur's Gate and its ilk proved that.

I guess what I'm basically wondering about is why games find it hard to reflect the ethical middleground? Keyword: reflect. I can kill a bunch of innocents in Fable 3 and people will talk smack about me, but as soon as I finish quests whose karma reward balances out/counters my previous evildoings, they'll start cheering for me. It's like they don't remember/care what I did previously and are directed by a numeric value which represents my "current" standing. Which they are.

I'm confusing myself by this point so I'd better stop right here.
posted by pyrex at 12:55 PM on June 14, 2011


I guess what I'm basically wondering about is why games find it hard to reflect the ethical middleground? Keyword: reflect. I can kill a bunch of innocents in Fable 3 and people will talk smack about me, but as soon as I finish quests whose karma reward balances out/counters my previous evildoings, they'll start cheering for me. It's like they don't remember/care what I did previously and are directed by a numeric value which represents my "current" standing. Which they are.

Sounds like real life ethics. You can rape schoolgirls, but if you score lots of points in $SPORTS_GAME people will cheer for you anyway.
posted by rodgerd at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it really come down to the fact that our computers are limited to 1s and 0s, or is it too taxing to incorporate some kind of D&D range of character morality?

D&D morality is bullshit.

I thought the Witcher 2 handled moral choices better than any other game I've played, in as much as they're all hard choices with fairly unpredictable consequences.
posted by empath at 1:13 PM on June 14, 2011


Fortunately everything else about the new Deus Ex looks fucking fantastic.

Really? Everything I heard about it from E3 was of the "this game is not looking all that great" variety.
posted by graventy at 1:16 PM on June 14, 2011


D&D morality is bullshit.

Psh. Sounds like something a True Neutral would say.
posted by grubi at 1:17 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Really? Everything I heard about it from E3 was of the "this game is not looking all that great" variety.

The stuff that made the first Deus Ex great were not the sorts of things that would look particularly great at an E3 demo.
posted by straight at 1:23 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, now that this misogynist piece of shit is out, maybe there'll be a kickass Hothead Paisan FPS made in response.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 1:40 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck the new X-COM. That shit is dead to me.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on June 14, 2011


graventy: "Really? Everything I heard about it from E3 was of the "this game is not looking all that great" variety."

Consensus on various forums from people who've played it -- and a lot of people have played it, given that a 10-hour slice of game compiled in January this year has leaked onto the internet, and most of those people have talked freely about it, with the blessing of the developers -- is that the journos badmouthing it after E3 are either idiots, Call of Duty fans, or both. The thread on neogaf is overflowing with people who proclaim themselves a) huge fans of the original, and b) huge fans of this update.

I'm looking forward to playing it on the "Deus Ex" difficulty level, where if you get spotted and shot at for more than about a second you're more or less fucked. Stealth plus hacking a-go-go!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:43 PM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is so sad. Duke Nukem Forever was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something completely original. In an industry where innovation is a gamble, Gearbox had a free pass. The game's main selling point, and it's a huge one, is that it exists. They could have thrown in whatever crazy ideas they'd been afraid to try in the past. Hell, they could have made it an adventure game about making DNF. It still would have had our attention. But instead we got a lame update that makes no sense in today's gaming context.

But I also would have accepted a gag release where they just shipped a blank disc with the DNF logo on it. They probably shouldn't listen to me.
posted by Sibrax at 2:32 PM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wish they would have just released all of the broken development code and assets they built up over those thirteen years. I mean, after ten or so years we all suspected that DNF was dead; they might as well satisfy our morbid curiosity by releasing the dismembered corpse.
posted by Pyry at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is so sad. Duke Nukem Forever was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something completely original...They could have thrown in whatever crazy ideas they'd been afraid to try in the past.

The worst part is that Gearbox has made a bunch of first person shooters that range from competent to great. It's really disappointing they didn't have the guts to say, "Screw it. We can make a great shooter from scratch in a couple years using the Duke Nukem Forever license. We do it all the time. There's no reason starting over would be the same mistake for us that it was for 3D Realms."

If they'd just knocked out some Duke-themed levels in their Borderlands engine it would probably have been better than this.
posted by straight at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2011


Typical - idiots in marketing rushing a half-finished game out the door. When will the suits learn to give the developers time to get it right?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:29 PM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Man, I must be the only person (well, gamer) who didn't play Duke Nukem. I played Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, even Serious Sam. I played Rise of the Triad well after the fact, but I at least played it. But I never even heard of Duke Nukem until the DNF vaporware stuff.

I feel like I'm missing out on a giant let-down. =(
posted by Eideteker at 3:34 PM on June 14, 2011


It's been out here since last Wednesday I think, I only bought it yesterday after trading in Crysis 2 (horrifically bad) and LA Noire (pretty cool and unique, but a little meh) and I played a bit of it last night and oh god it's so terrible. I will choke down the rest of the campaign because, hey, it's Duke Nukem, but it has absolutely zero charm, the load times are horrendous, the controls are sloppy and counterintuitive, and the engine and graphics are ten years old.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:39 PM on June 14, 2011


Good! I haven't followed the Deus Ex that closely but I'm glad it's better than rumors have lead me to believe.

I never played Duke multiplayer, and probably only played the demo version, so I've never understood the fascination with the original. I mean, other than giving strippers money for their pixelated boobs. That was pretty great when I was 12.
posted by graventy at 3:45 PM on June 14, 2011


I've never understood the fascination with the original.

Part of it was that Duke 3D was the first FPS to take place in a "real world" setting. Compared with Doom and Quake, which were set in fairly generic, almost abstract, sci-fi / fantasy / horror settings that weren't obviously designed as video game levels rather than as real places, and with interactivity limited to doors that opened and elevators that moved up and down, Duke 3D, set in a realistic city, where you could kick trash cans, flush or blow-up toilets, shoot out storefront windows, run movie projectors, play pool on an in-game pool table, seemed revolutionary.

More importantly, the enemies and weapons were inventive and fun and the levels were well-designed with lots of places to explore and secrets to find.

The crass humor was more like the stuff in the PS2-era GTA games. Definitely there, but by no means the star of the show.
posted by straight at 4:15 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


the first RPS Liveblog is hilarious

I had one of those massive shareware discs and I played through the first two Duke Nukems - the 2D ones. I liked them, since I didn't have a console until the PSX/N64 I had to get my platforming on PCs. I liked shooting turkeys and cooking them... wonder if the games still hold up?

I did play the first level of Duke Nukem 3D and loved it. Agree on the real world setting. Its racist spiritual successor Shadow Warrior was also fun for the same reason.

Would have been funny if they'd released a retro platformer for XBox Live/PSN/Steam and called it Duke Nukem Forever. Like Mega Man 9 or Bionic Commando Rearmed or the Scott Pilgrim game only its something people had waited decades for. I just passed an EB Games advertising DNF and part of my still can't believe its out.

I think there's a hunger for more 'fun' shooting games, especially since things seem so brown. Not so much Blue Skies but more of that smartass Duke/Serious Sam feel. Its part of why Bulletstorm got so much attention and why people are excited about Saints Row 3 (though its not an FPS). I was hoping Vanquish would do that, but it was slightly too straight-laced.

Probably not going to get DNF, though. I still haven't played Halo, and I'm guessing that's better.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:47 PM on June 14, 2011


Select Button is discussing a scene where (TRIGGER WARNING)








the two women who were performing fellatio on you get raped by aliens, and while they entreat you not to kill them, promising they will lose the extra weight they gained from the pregnancy, you are forced to either kill them to proceed or wait long enough for the chestbursters to kill them from the inside

I can't link directly to the thread (its in a private area), and I haven't played the game, but apparently Duke jokes about it after it. There's also concept art (NSW) of the scene.

so yeah. pretty squicked out
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:06 PM on June 14, 2011


This is a terrible game. It fails at being funny and it fails at being fun, and it's just goddamned embarrassing.

I do not like this game.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:09 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more I hear about this thing the worse I feel for acquiring it, even though I didn't technically pay any actual money for it. Jeez.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:28 PM on June 14, 2011


I haven't followed the Deus Ex that closely...

You can get updates on the Deus Ex through the Twitter.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:29 PM on June 14, 2011


Can we use the obscenity statutes against the makers of this game? Just this one time. I promise we'll hike right back uo the slippery slope. I mean if ever there was a I know it when I see it test surely this....
posted by humanfont at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2011


Can we use the obscenity statutes against the makers of this game? Just this one time. I promise we'll hike right back uo the slippery slope. I mean if ever there was a I know it when I see it test surely this....

I think this is uncensored in Australia, but Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive are banned and Left 4 Dead 2 was severely cut. It's pretty much random.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:25 PM on June 14, 2011


Welp. I got it from Redbox for $2.

I feel like I got ripped off.

I have never played a game that failed so thoroughly on every imaginable level.

I honestly wanted to like it. I thought the beginning section was actually fairly clever, but as soon as the actual game starts? Dreadful.

Every time one of the interminable load screens came up, it made me want to quit. As soon as I got to the jumping puzzle in the casino I was done. Taking it back to redbox tomorrow.

Do not buy this, even ironically.
posted by empath at 6:30 PM on June 14, 2011


Daikatana II.
posted by rifflesby at 7:01 PM on June 14, 2011


I Liveblogged (self link) the demo, and it was radically different from the game that's on shelves. hmm,
posted by hellojed at 8:38 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Against my better upper brain function, I thought I'd stop in and comment.

The Wikipedia article with the production schedule basically rips off this Wired article for structure, but the result is the same (and obviously, Wikipedia has more footnotes). If you look out into the world, very few cases of full-on asset reboots and full-on engine reboots result in a successful product, unless you're Nintendo or Valve, and in both these cases, if you read what writing there is on Nintendo/Valve, you find (1) Nintendo only does this with flagship titles and has a lot of other monetary streams to fund these titles, and (2) Valve is on the boundary of what might be acceptable, making the games take years to come out but being pretty damned good when they do make it out.

Other engine/asset reboots are different - Bioshock had a couple of asset reboots and the team essentially left working for their fearless leader after it. Daikatana had infamous problems chasing the better engine, and... well... I'm going to go obscure you and say that Muq is a hell of a thing. It's obvious that where most such entities would realize financial or other hardships at a point, Broussard never got that, and it made things that much worse.

So to me, this whole Duke Nukem is a lesson learned, a body by side of road to warn others. I doubt the game is all that great, because it's a big mess from day one, a chased dream and the money to let it go forever, until forever ran out.

I really, really enjoyed playing Duke Nukem 3D with my buddy at the game development studio we were both working at - it was a funny setup, lots of puzzles, a real polished work for what it was. I realize this is not the same game by the same people, but one made by a host of people who were burnt out, and people made rich off Duke 3D. I hope there's still a place in the world for folks to try strange and unusual takes on Genres, and that risks will still be taken. But it's perhaps not as intuitive to people that too much money and too much time can actually make a project worse.

So now I know who Deep Throat was, and I will know what playing Duke Nukem Forever will be like. I'm sure there's a lot of other mysteries left, but they escape me at the moment.
posted by jscott at 9:26 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's also concept art (NSW) of the scene.

FUCKING BOO. Goddamn xenomorphic testicles are gonna give me nightmares.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:09 PM on June 14, 2011


Duke Nukem 3D was such an exceptional game not because of the main character (who was nonetheless a welcome change from the faceless protagonists of yore), but because of the brilliant level design, creative art direction, unique and quirky enemies and weapons, oodles of secrets, unparalleled interactivity, excellent deathmatch, rocking music, and refined action gameplay -- an exquisitely crafted cornucopia of adrenaline-pumping escapism. DNF, on the other hand, just seems like an incredibly below-average linear shooter which attempts to leverage Duke to make up for its numerous flaws. What a shame!
posted by archagon at 1:04 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's also concept art (NSW)

Looks like there was a radiation release at the ChatSack™ factory.
posted by ryanrs at 1:49 AM on June 15, 2011


The Quick Look is shockingly depressing.
posted by graventy at 5:05 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Duke's PR agency is not reacting well to the negative reviews.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:56 AM on June 15, 2011


So if they boycott everybody who panned the game, does that mean they'll never publish anything again?

I'm almost happy about that idea, but Borderlands.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:24 AM on June 15, 2011


Quick breakdown: Duke Nukem Forever wasn't published by Gearbox - it was developed by them (or rather, they were development leads) and published by 2K. Borderlands is both developed and published by Gearbox. The people threatening to withhold future review copies were the Redner Group, who handle 2K's PR. So, theoretically slating DNF wouldn't stop Gearbox from publishing Borderlands 2, or journalists from getting review copies - it would potentially affect who got review copies of, say, Bioshock Infinite. Except, according to the Redner Group, it definitely won't, and that tweet was an overreaction for which they have apologized.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2011


And are apparently now no longer representing 2K Games. Ouch.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2011


Yeah if you run a PR company you basically don't get to make tweets threatening reviewers in a fit of pique/desperation/drunkenness.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:22 PM on June 15, 2011


The Quick Look is shockingly depressing.

Holy god, no joke. Ten minutes I've been watching and all I've seen are long loading screens and quick deaths.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:49 PM on June 15, 2011


Fifteen minutes in, Duke's shooting women in the head and I'm done watching. Holy shit this is awful. They never shoulda released it.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:57 PM on June 15, 2011


Of all the deeelicious schadenfreude related to the reception of DNF, none is tastier to me than the fact that they made all these changes to classic Duke 3D gameplay in order to make DNF more like a console shooter, but the console reviewers have rejected it even more emphatically than the PC reviewers. (On a scale from 6 to 10, how mortified should PC Gamer feel about giving this game an 80%?)
posted by straight at 8:23 AM on June 17, 2011


Something Awful:
"Duke Nukem Forever is full of shocking misogyny, puerile toilet humor, and it is terrible, but DNF isn't a joke at all. This is a serious, methodical, absolute refutation of male-empowerment and the patriarchal ideals of manhood. It depicts a reality in which the entire world bows to a single hyper-masculine character's ego and sexual needs, and this world is as dystopian as its egocrat is a monster. It screams, with every flung turd, slapped woman, and chugged beer: "Death to the patriarchy!""

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:35 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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