The lights are on
I was number one in line Monday night when I picked up my "Balls of Steel Edition" and from there on I was glued to the Television. While many critics could disagree with me; I actually liked it. This game certainly has big flaws, this is actually far from best game material, but it does live up to the simple urge to keep things fun and dumb. To me thats worth a million pixels. However, the game was a bit disappointing and truly failed to live up to its true ungodly hype that I among others stirred up.
This game looks rough, enviorments blur while attempting to render midgame. Corridors look generic and uninteresting. Character models occasionally look like zombies. Duke remains unchanged, to me this is a plus. I could've done with some more varied levels and situations like in 3D, but when it gets a certain area right, it hits dead on. Textures are rugged and the Unreal engine is truly showing its age, the game looks like an early 2007 title in many ways. While many will find this disheartning, the true love for this game is beyond the graphics.
Nostalgic, misogynic and vulgar, Duke packs a punch with a wide array of controversial jokes. I found myself laughing my ass off with the various abortion jokes during "The Hive" level. The rest is pretty much standard one liners we all heard back in 1997. This might not be a bad thing (to some). However, the recent material is very limited and many newcomers (teenagers) will find this unfunny. It's edgy, however not as edgy as teens expect it to be. The toliet humor is endless and sexism is outlandish, only true Duke fans will enjoy this macho theme. Other than Duke, most characters are a blur when it comes to dialogue.
Controls & Playability:
One thing that majorly pissed me off was the standard shooter layout. Nearly identical to Call of Duty. I feel Gearbox ripped the best pieces of Call of Duty and Halo into an odd Frankenstein of a control scheme. The HUD is basically Halo, the controls are Call of Duty. For a game to mock these games and adapt such a control scheme is lame. To make matters worse, health meter was replaced with a Halo-ish shield recharger, thus lowering the difficulty considerably. Additionally, the two weapon scheme has been taken into account. While the shielding lowered the difficulty all together, I found it to increase when I failed to have all the tools I needed in certain boss fights. This often lead to countless deaths. Platforming is decent, but the overall aspect could use some tweaking.
Another thing that pissed me off was the loading times. While PC might have a quicker loadup, the 360 takes roughly 20-60 seconds to pull up a checkpoint. This happens every time you die. Often leading to anger after being killed by a boss the 4th time around. A patch could be in place, the odds of that occuring though is well under 40%.
While I had alot negativity in the review, I did enjoy the game. Not as much as I hoped for though. I could see this being released back before Modern Warfare 2. Besides the nostalgic value behind the game, most newcomers should look somewhere else. This game is fun, just can occasionally get repetitive (I.E Driving levels). If your a fan of the series, I suggest you go out and rent it first. Newcomers should skip. Forever fails to establish any new ground in the gaming world, but it gives a warm welcome to a character we've lost in time for over a decade.
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