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PAX Prime 2010: Duke Nukem Forever

Duke NukemPAX Prime 2010

For every time you’ve probably wound up losing faith in the project and have been let down in the twelve years that it’s been in active development, there’s been some kind of reassuring trailer, or gameplay footage to pull you back in only to slip back into obscurity. With the game’s prior dev team, 3D Realms closed down as of last year, it seemed inevitable that we’d never get to try out a playable version of the long-awaited first-person shooter.

That time has finally come, albeit under the wing of a new developer – this time it’s being developed by Gearbox, the team who brought you Borderlands, one of my personal favorites games from last year. If there’s ever been a reason to get hyped over the Duke Nukem Forever property, the game being shown in a playable state is a pretty good one.

Forever opens with Duke taking a piss in a urinal, shown in first-person. All of these epic war games with dramatic first person segments involving limited control have nothing on Duke. Following that, Duke trudges out into the hall and meets with a military squadron, and following a series of explosions, takes to the football field to go toe-to-toe with a gigantic, menacing robot. By utilizing a manly rocket launcher, he’ll eventually down his foe after feeding him a healthy serving of rockets, then literally kicking his head through the field goal posts.

From there, the camera pans out to Duke relaxing and playing some Xbox, a couple twins are apparently giving him head, simultaneously. They ask him if he felt the game was any good, and Duke replies that it better be after twelve years.

Cut to the desert, where Duke’s behind the wheel of his personal monster truck and is tasked with taking out all the pigs which have occupied the territory. By this point, my demo was nearly over, but not before I got to try some classic Duke Nukem weaponry, such as the Shrink Ray, which turns your enemy into the size of an insect, providing an opportunity for you to go slam their miniature bodies with your fist. And that’s where my demo ended.

Duke Nukem Forever delivers on the self-aware action video game star’s best traits: edgy one-liners, bulging biceps, and an interest in babes. The action feels heavy, fast and frantic. Duke’s movements – whether you’re throwing a punch or reloading a gun – feel like those of a muscle-bound super hero. It’s an undeniably satisfying, manly feeling.

This game looks sharp. If there’s anyone who could be trusted to bring a new entry in the Duke Nukem franchise into fruition, it’s got to be Gearbox. Duke Nukem Forever is scheduled for release sometime in 2011.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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