The popular opinion on the interwebz is that Duke Nukem Forever is a fiery failure. It’s so bad, the developers’ PR firm sent out a rather scathing tweet about it — one that was soon deleted, but preserved forever by Ars Technica here.
The chief complaints seem to center around load times, boring/linear level design, base humor, and a handful of technical difficulties across multiple platforms (consoles and PC).
I can’t say I’ve experienced technical difficulties. Surprisingly, the game handles alt-tabbing rather well, which I’ve found to be hit and miss lately. Recently, I tried the Bullestorm demo, and it crashed on first startup — then decided to leave a process running that I could not kill without a complete reboot, eating up 400k of memory the entire time. DNF ran fine the first, second, third, and fourth times I’ve played, and only presented one technical goof during my last play session. That being, the pop-up indicators telling you to hit a key to swap or choose a weapon were showing to be blank, rather than their respective keybind. This sorted itself out after reloading the level, following Duke’s demise at the hands of a randy Pigcop.
The debauchery and base humor… well, yes, it’s there. Is it anything you haven’t seen in an R rated movie? Nope. At its worst, the storyline delves into territory seldom trod in cinemas and more often reserved for highly esoteric anime titles. Then again, when aliens kidnap women, they’re likely going to experiment on them, possibly fertilize them, and generally do some icky things. Haven’t you people played Prey? Do you remember the scene with Tommy’s grandfather? This isn’t the first time we’ve seen excessive alien violence, or similar sadistic behavior, in gaming.
And Duke’s virtual lap-dance was no more horrible than what we could see in a Grand Theft Auto game, years ago.