"Duke Nukem Forever"
Reviewed for: Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
Also available for: Windows PC
From: Gearbox Software/3D Realms/2K Games ESRB
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, intense violence,
mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual
content, use of drugs and alcohol)
By Billy O'Keefe
As perhaps you feared, the real-life saga of "Duke Nukem Forever's" development — 14 years, numerous reboots, a developer's demise and a 13th-hour rescue after the project had seemingly been buried for the final time — is more engrossing than the game itself. When the public finally gets its hands on "Forever" this week, more players than not will wonder what, exactly, took so long.
At the same time, "Forever" is more good than bad and more fun than not. Its spottiness is doubtlessly the fault of taking an eighth-grader's lifetime to complete development, but it's also born out of a willingness to try (and sometimes succeed at) things most contemporary first-person shooters would never attempt.
Because "Forever's" titular character has a sense of humor more reflective of gaming's juvenilia than its present condition, "Forever" finds itself wildly at odds with the same audience that was raring to play it in 1997. Time hasn't been kind to Duke, and while some of "Forever's" self-referential humor is pretty funny — Duke is now a celebrity with more endorsements than Krusty the Clown — most of it falls flat (often embarrassingly so).