Duke Nukem Forever: Hell Freezes Over Edition

Now that's what I would have called the collector's edition. I purchased my copy yesterday at a Future Shop because they were offering the only enhanced edition in North America. When I say enhanced, I mean a steelbook cover. A steelbook cover they weren't going to give me because I purchased the PC version instead of the console counterpart. Duke not on the PC? Puh-leese! After some seriously bitter words and a threat to spend my $100 next door at Wal-Mart (purchased Alice: Madness Returns as well), they pulled their collective heads out of their asses and relented.

Now I knew, and blogged about the fact that every critic and reviewer on the planet would slam this game into oblivion simply because no game could possibly measure up to 12 years of hype. Having previously purchased Borderlands and therefore allowed access to the early demo, I felt their derision may be justified. On one hand it played very much like the Duke of 15 years ago and on the other hand, it played very much like the Duke of 15 years ago.

I played and enjoyed the hell out of the original Duke and for the time it was evolutionary to the FPS genre. The DNF demo seemed more like an updated engine containing some missing levels from that 15 year old game. I could point and say that Gearbox has brilliantly blended the levels and spirit that 12 years of development have dumped into a junk drawer, or I could say that it's an updated engine containing some missing levels from a 15 year old game. Then I installed the full version...

I don't ever remember a demo doing more to ruin a game than the DNF demo has. Within the first 30 minutes of gameplay I have laughed out loud more than any game, aside from the brilliant Portal 2, in recent memory. I continue to play and laugh well into the night and decide before I go to bed for the less than four hours of sleep I will be getting, to check on the forums and reviews. Sure enough, everyone is lambasting the game for everything from Poo Achievements to cigarette brands.

First argument from, oh, everyone, is the growingly infamous Turd Burglar achievement. The reviews start with the 'peeing in the urinal' opening to immediately talk about how you have to grab feces from a toilet bowl and throw it at walls. No, o' clueless cudgel of the hopelessly jaded, if not for the trailer showing this very thing, you would have likely never even known it was there. You have to go and look through a wall of toilets to find said fecal matter and press a button to pick it up. Never instructed to, never suggested, you went and looked for it yourself.

Next up is the misogynistic, outdated, testosterone-fueled one liners and should-never-have-been-released, rampant disregard for anything Politically Correct - South Park says hi. I find this humor to be refreshing to the 'friendly' comic trope of today - It's funny because it's not PC, not because I feel it's accurate. Being offended by what is obviously comedy not directed at your sense of humor is your own fault for not finding something else to entertain yourself with. I'm offended by the various 'reality' shows that profit on the misery and injury of real people (not video game characters) and promote apathy towards human suffering, but I don't complain about your ability to watch it.

The game succeeds beautifully at what it started out to do - be a Duke Nukem game. The levels and design can be old school and it may not be the prettiest, graphically speaking, but it's entertaining to that early Schwarzenegger and Evil Dead movie-loving group of 'mens men' that enjoy that certain brand of humor that will obviously be buried one day like they and their outdated DVD library.
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