NSFW FPS: Hands-On with Duke Nukem Forever

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No one thought it was ever coming. Year after year, the vaporware legend of Duke Nukem Forever grew. With more than a decade in development and tens of millions of dollars spent by original studio 3D Realms, gamers waited for years for the next installment of the FPS series.

It’s finally on its way to consoles, though, and I recently got a chance to play an in-development build. The first chunk I ran through was from the beginning of the game. Duke arrives at a underground locker room on high alert because of an alien invasion, interacting with clueless soldier types who are falling all over themselves. On the way to the battlefield, you walk through a bathroom where you can walk up to a urinal and relieve yourself, complete with the option to aim your stream. The voiceover groans and moans make it clear that Duke enjoys this mightily, even if the player doesn’t. Once above ground, Duke gets into it with a giant alien creature called a Cycloid on a football field. It’s a fairly standard, pattern-based boss battle, where you goad the Cycloid into charging, followed by outflanking and shooting until it keeled over dead. Mr. Nukem then walks over to the Cycloid and rips the eyeball out, setting it up for the player to kick it through the goalposts, punctuated with Duke yelling heartily, “It’s good!” (More on Techland: Review: “Rock Band Reloaded” Lets You Play Anywhere. But Is That A Good Thing?)

At the end of the first level, it turns out that Duke’s been playing his own game as himself, griping “That’s it?!” and complaining that the game’s been so long in coming. Speaking of double entendres, the camera then pulls out to reveal that Duke was being, er, serviced by twin girls in schoolgirl outfits. DNF has fun at its own expense and works in the character’s long absence from gaming into the storyline. With a game that’s been this long in development, I was surprised at how of the moment DNF felt. It sported sharp graphics, destructible cover and vehicular combat that wouldn’t have been possible back when it was originally supposed to come out. When asked about the title’s multiplayer, senior producer Melissa Miller couldn’t offer details, saying only “Multiplayer is awesome and will kick you in the balls.”

A teaser clip that accompanied the demo showed off more of the game’s crude humor with triple-breasted alien girls and exploding-head kills. Through the whole demo experience DNF swaggers with a cocky, throwback mentality. Duke talks a ton of trash in his firefights–”Who wants white meat? WHO WANTS IT?!”–and flips the bird, too. Overall, the game’s not at all super-serious or grim at all. DNF comes off as proudly anachronistic and embraces the stupid fun that comes with that. As a line from the game says, “It’s Duke’s world. We just play in it.” You’ll get the chance to play Duke Nukem Forever in early 2011 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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