Multiplayer is smooth and doesn't show any sign of lag or frame rate problems. A downside perhaps is that there are only a maximum of 16 players. Other games like Resistance Fall of Man offer game play for at least 20 or more. It's a shame that they couldn't have extended the number of players for this but it is still an enjoyable experience. It also takes a while for it too load the list of servers for online play, so you may as well get used too a bit of a wait, unless a patch or update is implemented to speed things up. As you play through multiplayer mode, you'll gain XP. These can be used to purchase items that are used to decorate Duke's penthouse. This is a fully interactive and explorable environment and there are a lot of things to get for the pad, ranging from paintings to pool tables and even house staff. This adds a unique alternative to using an xp system, but they can't be used to make our hero faster or stronger or upgrade weapons. That seems a shame and an oversight too me and would have added extra meat too the package. OK so let's break down the game further.
Single player campaign is a challenging affair. It's laced with interactive scenery, and has quite a few interesting gimmicks, some that have been seen before, some we have not. To quote River Song again, "Spoilers!" so I'll leave it to you dear reader to find out the rest of the new stuff.
Graphics are bright and colourful, textures are nicely rendered and the smoke, fire and explosions are certainly impressive. Levels are riddled with more than gun play and melee battles, there are many interesting puzzles in the game too. One involves using a radio controlled four by four to access a power cell for a deactivated reactor. The game exercises both the brain cells and the trigger finger. Even on the easiest setting the game will be challenging as the enemy A.I. is pretty decent. They won't just charge you, they'll seek and use cover and gang up on you when and where they can so be warned. There are lots of very cinematic set pieces, including an epic battle between Duke and a mother ship in the early stages of the game that may cause frustration. Watch for the turret gun overheating and keep an eye open for jet pack wearing enemy soldiers and fighters as you try and tack the big bad down and that's just for starters! Boss fights are big and in your face, and are more than just a case of rush in and fight, use your head and make use of cover when needed. And keep that Ego meter charged! Melee style executions are one way in the heat of combat to keep it charged. Steroids and beer can help but use them wisely. They can be found throughout the levels so keep your eyes open.
Loading times between levels and during the pre session screens for online modes are slower than expected. The controls for shooting and everything are responsive but the camera angles during the driving sections are sometimes counter productive. The controls for driving too are a little awkward and twitchy and will test the patience of even the most patient of players.
Although the innuendo and cussing are perhaps a selling point for the series, there are times when even I felt it was a little too gratuitous. In fact the double entendre is bypassed and if you are easily offended or have someone in your family that is, then I sincerely suggest you play this when nobody else can see or overhear it. Don't get me wrong, I am aware that it is an 18 rated game, but they could have reigned it in somewhat. I personally wasn't bothered by it, but I know some people that would be. There are no options to censor the game, maybe that's something else that could/should have been factored in.
Duke Nukem Forever is an entertaining game in it's own way but may be an acquired taste to some. Like I said, the innuendo is ladled on thick and fast so if easily offended stay well clear. Game play is fairly straight forward and lacks some of the sandbox elements of other shooters which is a shame, I'd have like to have seen some truly open ares for exploration. The action comes thick and fast when the situation arises but there are some nice puzzle elements as well.
It's been a long time coming. Like Alan Wake and Gran Turismo 5 this was delayed time after time and we all thought it would never see the light of day. So was it worth the wait? Yes and No. There are some elements that entertain and surprise but there are some niggly camera issues with the driving and slightly unresponsive controls in the same mode. More players online would have been nice and as for the loading times between levels and loading screens, well it's an issue that I hope can and will be addressed. There may be DLC coming for the game, but I haven't heard any confirmation of that yet. If they do, I hope they add some more maps for multiplayer and a few new missions for single player would be nice, especially if they give a tip of the hat to earlier games in the series. It's a decent package all in all and as a bit of a Duke fan, I hope we don't have to wait 12 years for another. Hail too the King baby!