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Is Gearbox doing a good job handling the Duke Nukem IP?



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The Duke Nukem Experience - Part 2

Category: DNF
by Yatta, on Sun Feb 13 2011, 09:54AM

I would like to open part 2 with a video of my experiences on the way to and inside of Duke Nukem's Titty City.  The greater part of this video includes Randy Pitchford's 10-minute introduction to the demo I played.  Randy talks about game logistics and there are quite a few interesting details revealed, so make sure you check it out!  We weren't allowed to record the game off the screens, sorry!

Within this community, the IGN preview of Duke Nukem Forever has become the poster child of unfair gaming journalism.  As part of my preview, I thought it may be conducive to the fans and new Duke enthusiasts alike to hear both sides to the experience of Duke Nukem Forever.

For part 2 of my preview, I've selected passages from IGN journalist Levi Buchanan's preview for commentary.  The third and last part of the preview is still in the works.  I'm waiting for our community questions to be answered by Gearbox, and I'm also thinking about giving some additional commentary on the graphics and gameplay of the game.  Thank you all for being so loyal and so great!

Too many early shooting sequences funneled Duke into an enclosed space and left him firing away at enemies without any real rhythm, such as a scene where Duke has to protect his babes from aliens storming into an atrium. Enemies just drop in through the ceiling and zip around on jetpacks, disappearing and reappearing at random. There's no push and pull, no tension. It's just laying on the trigger shooting to get through a scene.

This is untrue.  Duke is never funneled into an enclosed space.  There is always plenty of room to move around and several directions from which he can approach enemies.  The game has great rhythm, and it's fun to have Duke protect his babes from aliens storming into an atrium.  Yes, in the scene Mr. Buchanan alludes to, enemies drop in through the ceiling and zip around on jetpacks, disappearing and reappearing at random.  That's because these "enemies" are the "assault captains" from the original Duke Nukem 3D and it's in their intended nature to act this way.  There is plenty of push and pull and positive tension as Duke tries to hunt these assault captains down.  As with any other game, you must lay on the trigger shooting, to, you know, get through a fucking action sequence.  Perhaps Mr. Buchanan prefers to fly past the enemies without firing a shot, which is something I actually do in Halo (incidentally one of my favorite shooters) quite a lot.

And as a reminder of how dated shooting scenes like this are, when I used zoom to target an alien that came to a brief pause above me, no ironsights appeared whatsoever. The camera just zoomed in a little. How useful is that? The reason almost every shooter now uses ironsights is because it genuinely helps line up a good shot. That's a perfect example of a strange exclusion of post-1997 innovations.

Duke doesn't need ironsights and this is not a WW2 shooter.  I'm a gamer and I could care less if the guns in any of my games had iron sights when I zoom in.  In fact more than 90% of the time, I don't use ironsights for lining up my shots even in games that support it (even if I zoom in).  Like most gamers, I use the crosshair.  I do find the zooming in DNF to be useful because it enables me to focus my fire on a single enemy or on an object further away from where I'm standing.  It's also ignorant to assume that every shooter now uses ironsights, with Call of Duty (which is a military shooter) being the exception of course.  To use Mr. Buchanan's words, perhaps IGN's Duke Nukem Forever preview itself is  "a genuine, perfect example of a strange exclusion of innovation" in journalistic ability and tolerance for uniqueness.

Pitchford also mentioned to me that he was purposefully turning away from the big set pieces that punctuate games like Call of Duty and Halo. What that leaves behind, though, is just a string of shooting scenes like the one described above. Walk into a room, pop a few aliens, and move on. Big set pieces, when done correctly, inspire big emotions and it's become pretty clear gamers enjoy these giant narrative spikes. Instead, in the demo, Duke Nukem Forever slows things down with a too-long scene where shrunk-down Duke steers a toy car through a crumbling casino.

There are plenty of large environments in Duke Nukem Forever.  And as much as I like both Call of Duty and Halo, I'm glad DNF handles these "big set pieces" differently.  Also, the scene where Duke is shrunk down in the racecar took me 15-20 minutes tops to complete.  At most, that amounts to 2% of the game (I actually calculated this using legitimate numbers).

That's all for now, folks!  Thank you again for being loyal readers.

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