Duke Nukem Forever 2013 review, the Build version

Duke Nukem Forever 2013 logoIf this review should give you one recommendation – don’t read it. Just go ahead and download it right away – it’s really worth the time. I’ve not been so attached to a game for several months and  I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

I also did not include any pictures from the gameplay in this review and for a damn good reason – any interesting picture would probably lead to a spoiler, in fact the logo itself says a bit too much :). If you won’t be able to play it like ever, you can see the whole thing start-to-finish played and commented on YouTubeobviously it’s a huge spoiler but it can be used as a walkthrough as well…

So here goes the review.

The most important thing – what is the game about? How does it play? Is it any good?

This mod is based on the information mostly seen in trailers (!!!) and some leaked documents of the “original” Duke Nukem Forver. There is also very little inspiration from the 2011 version of Duke Nukem Forever (at least in my opinion) which after some polishing released Gearbox. In case you missed it I say it once again – those guys used what they saw in these few short trailers of unfinished game and put it together so it did make a story:

If you are done watching these videos, please play all of them three (3) more times – you can thank me later as you will play the mod.

Those guys simply did an incredible job as I stated in the beginning – they used parts of the disclosed story and graphics and re-did it in a complete game. I played it through in roughly 4 hours (yeah lots of exploring) and thrust me there is a lot to see – plenty of new textures and enemies as well as weapons.. Plenty of secret areas, jokes and references. A must-have for all Duke Nukem fans.

Technical

Mod is based on the build engine, which powered the good old Duke Nukem 3D and yes it is dated beyond what I would like (original Build was even intended for MS-DOS). However eDuke32 extension is used so it runs fine on Windows and uses OpenGL and some filtering (if enabled) plus obviously high resolutions like 1920×1080 are possible. If you compare it with high resolution pack which duke4 site also hosts it’s quite sad. If it did look like anything close to this (and I believe one day it will) I would be more than happy – seriously I don’t need more. I don’t need Cryengine 7 or Unreal engine 12. Quake II engine with decent textures is more than enough for me. 2D sprites are just too old school even for me and that is what original Build engine is about.

As I bit a little to the technical side of things mod also contains a few a bit unpleasant bugs – for example at the end of the first level (oh god here goes the spoiler…) simply put you have to go fast with the “thing” (please don’t ask – just play it) and if you don’t it won’t load the next level but you die on that “thing” instead. There is plenty of stuff which some might call bug (poor/simplified animations) while others call it feature (Build limitation) so I won’t dig any more into it – but yes it is finishable and not very annoying.

As for the sounds – music is in my opinion a bit unbalanced – there were times when it didn’t fit and I had to lower the volume in control panel to be able to hear the ambient music in … well in the very early part of the game 🙂 when I entered certain building…. Then in 3rd level was playing very nice ambient music so I increased the music volume once again.

Conclusion

Simply put modern gamers probably won’t touch it with a stick. For Duke Nukem die-hard fans it’s a must. For others (who played Duke 3D and liked it) I would highly recommend it.

I wish this 2013 mod was build with some more advanced engine so there could be more features implemented without too much hassle as they work out of the box (Source engine wink, wink). Though I can’t really complain – you can see the obvious hard work, enthusiasm and I had fun playing it so what the hell.

P.S. If there are ever those old build released I would probably had a heart attack :). Come on guys we all know you have those builds and we don’t care it requires Windows 98 and to be run from console (aka “map e1l1.map” – we did it with HL2 leaked alpha we can do it here as well).

P.P.S. Kudos to the modders for having balls (of steel) calling it “Duke Nukem Forever” as it will probably raise some eyebrows to say the least….