Duke Nukem Forever Review

It’s been 20 years since Duke Nukem 3D and as such Gearbox have decided to re-release it. However the Duke Nukem series hit an all time low as far as ratings were concerned with it’s latest installment Duke Nukem Forever. As such I thought I’d dive straight into it, yet another Humble Bundle game that came with The Darkness II.

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Now I haven’t played much of the Duke Nukem series. I remember only playing a demo of Duke Nukem 3D which was a pretty sizable demo. Should I have picked it up? Maybe… however I ended up getting this instead. Regardless I had fun playing it back then. It had some cleaver secrets and some pretty well designed levels for its time with lots of iconic venues. Of course I didn’t get to play all of it but I just loved using weapons like the Ripper to mow down enemies, those were my best moments playing Duke Nukem, shooting things and exploring the levels. The same could be said about all FPS games really.

So when I picked up Duke Nukem Forever I wondered to myself “How bad could it possibly be?”. I dove straight in and was almost immediately introduced to a boss fight who couldn’t even hit me because I was constantly circling him as he repeated the same attacks over and over again. This is when I realized that Tryptych didn’t really give a fuck about the game’s AI, they added very little variation with the boss fights so much so that they felt stale and uninspired.

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That was the first thing that stuck out like a sore thumb to me, that and the simple fact that each time the bosses health bar reaches zero, you had to perform a quick time event execution sequence to finish them off. Needless to say, I didn’t know this at the time and as such I kept fighting it and fighting it till I finally realized what I had to do.

Then the game immediately dropped all of the action in favor of some walking simulation nonsense which exists solely to show just how much of an egomaniac, narcissist Duke is and how everyone and their mother knows and worships him as if he is some kind of god. Funnily enough, I actually enjoyed these sections more than I did the actual game. Why? Because of the level of interactivity in each of those sections. I swear I spent hours just drinking soda out of a vending machine just to see how much of a mess I could make on the floor. That and I love vending machines. Why couldn’t they make the ones in DOOM do something?

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Honestly I felt like I was playing two different games at some point. Watching Duke fanny around with pretty much everything is ironically far more satisfying than anything the combat had to offer, so much so that it appeared that the developers knew this and as a result they reduced the level of combat to a minimal. This time instead of fighting tonnes and tonnes of enemies, you are instead thrown into long-ass physics puzzle sections only to encounter brief combat sections every now and again and then returned to the puzzle solving and the occasional walking around and interacting with nonsense stuff. Then you’re thrown into a turret section where you are severely punished for fucking up and finally vehicle sections which were also pretty satisfying IMO.

However the meat of the game, I.E the combat is where Duke Nukem Forever falls flat on its ass. Now the two weapon limit is annoying in itself but I would have been able to cope with it if the weapons you were given didn’t have such limited ammo capacity. Honestly this wasn’t an issue back in Duke Nukem 3D due to the weapon carry limit which is arguably the biggest complaint this game received simply because each weapon has such limited ammo that you are forced to swap between new weapons every so often. This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t make so many of the weapons situational. The railgun for one is near useless in a game like Duke Nukem Forever as it is a single shot sniper in a game where you supposed to be up close and personal with the enemy. Even Painkiller’s sniper rifle managed to adapt to this style of gameplay but the railgun feels misplaced.

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Other weapons such as the Freeze Ray and the Shrink Ray feel needless, those weapons were originally designed for experimentation purposes to go alongside the huge roster of weapons at your disposal in Duke Nukem 3D but would I seriously swap one of them with the Ripper/Shotgun? Hell no. To add insult to injury, most bosses are immune to bullets and any other non-explosive weapon so it’s important to keep an explosive weapon with you at all times.

In addition you also have access to Pipe Bombs and Trip Mines. Trip Mines are basically useless in most encounters because the enemies just appear and you often end up blocking your own routes. there are even times where the enemy has walked directly into the laser and still lived and in the end I have to shoot the mine to trigger it manually. Pipe Bombs are still useful thankfully and can pack quite a punch against regular enemies. They can also bounce off of jump pads which look like a combination of a flytrap and a rotten cucumber.

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Movement in Duke Nukem Forever is pretty standard, you can dodge most bullets and avoid most melee attacks with ease. Explosives however are near impossible to avoid completely. I find that explosive attacks often end up being in a Leningrad esque scenario in the sense that it’s kill or be killed. Now this would have probably been more acceptable if it wasn’t for the horrible regenerating health mechanic that this game shoehorns in. I mean seriously did you need to cover at all in Duke Nukem 3D? No you just shot your way through everything and dodged everything. In this game however you are hit with high AOE blast radius attacks which deal a fuck ton of damage.

Octobrains are the worst for this because they have way too much health and deal way too much unavoidable damage with their explosive breath attack (or whatever it is) which deals insane damage. There really isn’t much balance in terms of the enemy strengths and weaknesses from what I have seen. Octobrains are pretty resistant to the Ripper, the Shotgun is useless because they like to stay as far away from you as possible, rockets and grenades are useless because they fire them back at you and the Shrink Ray is useless since you can’t squash them and makes an already small, fast moving target even harder to hit. Plus the Freeze Ray lacks the range to even reach them.

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Most enemies on the other hand will die to pretty much anything except bosses which to me feel all the same. Shoot them get into cover, shoot their minions, leave cover, shoot them again, rinse and repeat. Sure they try to mix them up with certain fights but the lack of cover makes these fights really annoying and the way you are forced to play against these bosses is just nonsense, especially in a Duke Nukem game. The new alien weapons on offer feel rather gimped in comparison to returning weapons and many of them have limited ammo capacity.  Some of them are pretty strong but  you’ll never rely on them because it’s difficult to find ammo for them and other weapons do the job better in general.

It seems what they were trying to do is make it so that certain weapons are better against certain enemies but the two weapon limit ruins this completely. It they didn’t have this two weapon limit I believe the enemy encounters wouldn’t be so uninteresting because there would be so many ways to experiment with lots of different weapons at your disposal and you’d be encouraged to try them all.

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I made a point of trying to stick with the Ripper and the Devastator for as long as I could because there would occasionally be ammo crates littered around which gave you access to infinite ammo, you would keep these two weapons around for this reason. However I found myself trying to conserve as much ammo as possible in most sections which was a pain, even trying to melee certain enemies to try and kill them. Yes that includes meleeing an Octobrain.

It just doesn’t feel right, I want to put my finger on the LMB and mow enemies down fast but instead I fire the ripper in short bursts which was not as it was intended to be used for. I didn’t get any satisfaction from any of the weapons for that reason which is a huge problem in a first person shooter like Duke Nukem Forever.

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The Level Design is decent for the most part… if a bit linear. A lot of the locations felt uninspired as opposed to that of Duke Nukem 3D. You find yourself in the same bland offices with the same bland tunnels and wreckage for most of the game, it likes to throw the same at you a lot and there isn’t as much variety as I would have liked. Granted Duke Nukem 3D has a lot of levels that look very samey the levels are only that way because of their thematic style and it is consistant. However when you are on the Duke Dome mission in Duke Nukem Forever, most of that mission is spend wandering around wastelands of wreckage and construction sites and it gets old seeing these areas when in reality you want to see what’s going on inside the Duke Dome that the level is supposed to revolve around. Funnily enough once you finally reach the Duke Dome, the level ends.

The biggest annoyance for me was the puzzles. I could cope with the rest of it but the puzzles were just boring. Some of them were straightforward and simple but just took time to do such as filling up a crane with barrels to re-balance the weight. I find that the game threw way too many puzzles at you and it’s just needless. They weren’t even that hard and quite frankly I’m pretty thankful for that. Nevertheless it’s more busywork the player has to do to reach the next shooting section and even that wasn’t much to look forward to.

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Quite frankly I had the most fun playing through the walking sim sections and funnily enough I was looking forward to see more of them but eventually there comes to a point in the game where you no longer have any of these interactive moments kinda like in Bioshock Infinite, heck It’s as if most 2K games just love to have these walking sim sections in them. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the actual gameplay wasn’t so monotonous. The sad thing is that the best level in the game turned out to be nothing more than a dream which is hilarious as it just goes to show that even Duke himself is getting bored with this game and it shows.

I spent hours playing the snooker minigame trying to get that ego boost and I ended up getting more engaged in that and all the other minigames on offer than I did with any of the shooting sections. I had a lot of fun playing air hockey and the pinball game was intense and pretty cool. There was also the whack-a-mole game in which I used far more reflexes than I did in any of the shootouts. The dream section only lasted so long though and you couldn’t revisit it or any other area like it for the rest of the game.

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Occasionally there were a few other distractions littered around levels and the odd restrooms where you could piss about in (literally) but aside from that is was just walking through repetitive levels, solving puzzles and shooting baddies, trying to keep your ammo stocked up. I swear that I spent the vast majority of the game searching for Ammo for my guns simply because I wanted to keep my Ripper in my inventory and didn’t want to swap it for anything else.

Visually speaking, the bright lighting kinda felt a mid misplaced, unlike in Duke Nukem 3D where it was always night time which added this cool lit up city vibe, Duke Nukem Forever is brightly lit outdoors 95% of the time  and it made the visuals feel lacking in the variety department. A lot of the visual appeal shown to us in Duke Nukem Forever’s original trailer showed this dark urban environment that I felt was lacking in Duke Nukem Forever.

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Bright lighting and a dark cloudy sky… not the best combination.

Only inside buildings did you ever see any dark lighting which was a shame. Regardless the visuals aren’t as bad as people make them out to be, there are some nice locations and some dull locations. I find that later on in the games the levels become really dull and samey though.

Additionally the game also seems to have a few minor characters and I mean minor characters. It’s a shame you didn’t really get to see much out of them though as Duke was the central character of the game and even though I understand that they were trying to get that one man army vibe that Painkiller gives, these minor characters just feel as if they were shoved in there in order to take the piss out of modern shooters when it only serves to make them the same… if not worse.

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It wouldn’t have been so bad if there was some banter between Duke and Dylan but a lot of the time, Duke just stands there and listens, he doesn’t ever communicate with his team when he is battling alongside them. If anything it’s a missed opportunity on Gearbox’s part.

It would have been cool to have given Duke a cool side-kick who would have given Duke someone to natter to during some of his missions rather than just nattering to himself which is quite amusing to be honest. I guess deep down, Duke isn’t much of a sociable person, if fact despite being an alpha male stereotype he appears to be socially awkward in most situations… unless he’s talking to one of his “babes”.

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Dylan seemed like a cool guy to me. Shame he was completely shadowed by the Duke.

The music in the game is pretty forgettable minus the theme song of course which never gets old. There are a lot of tense tracks that appear at random in certain sections but for the most part there is nothing but silence. There are also remixes of the Duke Nukem theme song in the ambiance as well as some classic jingles which play in the elevator which anyone who played Duke Nukem 3D will remember.

All in all as a shooter, Duke Nukem Forever works… it just doesn’t work very well. It feels like a very watered down shooter with minimal satisfaction. To be fair I can see the appeal die hard Duke fans can get from this game as Duke is still for the most part the same Duke, you’re still facing the same enemies and you still get the same legendary quotes. They just threw it all into a very bland modern FPS which tries to function more like an old school FPS at times. However it fails due to the use of modern mechanics which leads to the game being a clusterfuck at times. Still if you want more Duke Nukem, there really is no harm in playing this. It’s not the worst FPS out there and is definitely far better than the horrendous Red Faction was IMO.

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Tough choice…

I recommend trying it only if you’re a die hard Duke Nukem fan as you will get something out of it so long as you keep your expectations low but even then I really mean it, the game still feels very sterile even to the most die hard fans however I do honestly believe that die hard Duke fans will be able to appreciate this game and will definitely enjoy the many throwbacks this game has especially the walking sections since a lot of it is pretty much a tribute to Duke himself and the game still works as a shooter. For everybody else, just wait for the 20th anniversary remaster for Duke Nukem 3D.


Story/Plot: Decent
Visuals: Decent
Gameplay: Mediocre
Music: Decent
Lifespan: Quite Short
Would you replay? No

Overall: 20160920201056_2

Value: £5.00

Purchase Duke Nukem Forever (PS3)

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Update: New Review Section

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It had to happen at some point but I have given the review section a proper page so you can access all of the reviews on one page, plus it means less scrolling for each review you want to read as a blog format simply doesn’t work well enough for it. To access the review just click the link or the image and it will send you directly to the review instead of having to manually scroll down to find it. It also means you don’t have to click on the review’s title just to leave a comment. Handy huh?

To access the new review section, you must click review on the menu bar at the top. The sidebar remains unchanged and will bring you to the old school blog-style format should you wish to use that instead but bare in mind that it will only list the most recent reviews. If for some reason the review section isn’t updated, I recommend leaving a comment in said review and I will put it up. Mistakes are easily made.

I have also changed the “so-so” rating to Mediocre, I believe it makes more sense. I may plan on altering my review format further in the future but until then things will remain as they are for now.

Try the new review page here

Videogame consoles need to go… now!

Before I begin this rant, let me begin by saying I have been a console gamer for a sizable portion of my life. I had a lot of fun playing consoles, particularly in the sixth generation of gaming with gems such as the Nintendo Gamecube and the Playstation 2. Those consoles were great, the Gamecube especially being my favorite videogame platform of all time, so much so that I decided to make it into the logo for my website.

I loved playing consoles for a long time and after having invested in a SNES and a N64 I have consoles littered all over the place and it’s kinda difficult to keep everything together. So much so that I had to separate them from my main setup which is the main reason why it has been difficult to write about SNES/N64 games on the site because I have been unable to get screen caps from them due to them being on the other dies of the room to my PC.

The biggest selling point of a console to me has always been its accessibility, its ergonomic focus on design, the ease of setting up local multiplayer and finally the ability to purchase games second-hand to avoid sticking my crotch into the mouths of greedy publishers, something I have taken great pleasure in doing for many years. When you compare these factors to the flexibility of PC gaming, it may appear to be easily outmatched at face value however when you weigh them up, as someone who enjoys playing local multiplayer (particularly Co-Op) and buying second-hand games at a cheaper price without having to worry about DRM and having to forfeit my principles when it comes to purchasing games distributed by greedy publishers, I believed for a long time that console gaming was the real deal.

However like most things in the gaming industry, consoles have moved on and like most things these days, have become a shadow of their former self. It all started in the year 2005 just as the sixth generation was nearing its end and beginning to transition into the seventh generation which began in the year 2007. The console known as the Xbox 360 was manufactured and distributed across the world.

Now I was never an original Xbox player. I saw that the Xbox was lacking a lot of exclusives and that many of its games were PC ports and vice versa. The console never appealed to me and I found that the Gamecube and PS2 overshadowed it in every single way. However with what I presume to be the power of marketing brought by none other than Microsoft or as I like to call, the kingpin of the tech industry. As a result, Microsoft could easily catch up with Sony due to the fact that they already have plenty of money from their previous successes via software distribution. They believed that they could make their mark on the console market and so they did and people bought into it.

I purchased an Xbox 360 mainly because it was the console all my friends were playing on and I purchased Halo 3 which at first wasn’t a game I was excited for but I grew to enjoy it. This is when things started going wrong. First of all an acquaintance of mine offered to set it up (which I didn’t need but he did it anyway). Problem is that in doing so he entered his own details into the console without telling me so essentially I had no access to my account even though it was on a console… but wait, why do I need an account to play videogames on my console? It was never a thing that I expected at the time. Previously I had just put the game in and it played but now I saw this huge menu littering the screen.

At first I was just baffled by just how much needless bull crap this console seemed to want to throw at me but I just wanted to play Halo 3, so I did. Of course I was also given a free trial for Xbox Live so I played online for a bit and had some fun, however I didn’t know all of this because an acquaintance set it up for me. In any case eventually my Xbox Live ran out and realizing that it was a subscription based service I was outraged but I paid the money anyways because back then I was a complete mug.

However over time I grew to hate the Xbox 360, I hated everything about the console, the disk drive wouldn’t work half the time, the red ring of death, the needless subscription fee for online which I never had to deal with on other consoles at the time and the fact that besides a few exclusives like Infinite Undiscovery, many of the games in the seventh generation were either shit or mediocre and Xbox’s exclusives besides Halo and Infinite Undiscovery were just that. Heck Halo itself wasn’t anything special and Infinite Undiscovery is still considered to be one of tri-Ace’s worst games by many and for good reason. However I enjoyed both of these games and they were the only saving grace of that console.

Quite frankly though, the PS3 wasn’t much better, sure it had free online but the fact that there was no removable harddrive was annoying as well as the lack of good games on the system. I played White Knight Chronicles one of the most abysmal JRPG’s I have ever played in my life and besides the Tales games such as Graces and Xillia, there was really nothing for me on that system. It was full of open world action games (which were all inferior to the cross-platform Prototype which I took pleasure in buying second-hand)and silly little hollywood wannabe games like Uncharted which I couldn’t give two shits about.

All that was left was the Wii. Well at least they had the decency to add Gamecube compatibility and as such it is the main reason why I still use my Nintendo Wii today. It’s quite sad to say that I’ve played more Gamecube games on the Wii than actual Wii games. My Wii library is pitiful having a measly 9 games in my library, yes 9 as opposed to my huge collection of 35 Xbox 360 games (well it’s not as huge as most people but it definitely takes up a lot of space on my shelf) and 11 PS3 games (which is only so small because I sold most of them). This is pathetic Nintendo. There was no Kirby (until 2011 which was very late on in the console’s life), no Starfox, no new Pokemon game in the same vein as Colosseum (Battle Revolution was a joke) and most importantly F-Zero.

So needless to say, seventh generation was pretty depressing for me overall and now we are in eight gen. Putting the excitement of Star Ocean and Exist Archive aside (both games I really did enjoy despite their reception amongst critics), the consoles introduced this generation have been complete gutter trash. Basically, take seventh generation consoles and make them worse, that is essentially what eighth generation consoles are, complete and utter horseshit.

It didn’t help that the Xbox One’s launch was a complete disaster and that they forced on a shit load of bullcrap such as always online DRM, digital only gaming and a kinect spying on you 24/7 which you were forced to have kinected (see what I did there) to the console at all times for it to work. Needless to say, fans were in uproar so Microsoft had no choice but to give up on their original plan (temporarily of course) and give them the console the consumer really wanted… except they didn’t, it still has that shitty Xbox Live service that continues to siphon our hard-earned money for seemingly no good reason and it still uses that stupid disk drive and what makes things worse is that it no longer has a removable hard drive which is absolutely ridiculous.

During this Fiasco, Sony took the opportunity to apply their own pay wall to online multiplayer via their Playstation Plus which they only got away with due to Microfoft’s failed Launch of the Xbox One. Needless to say unlike the masses who all went to sony begging with their pants unzipped waiting for their dicks to be sucked (not meaning to offend here but that’s pretty much metaphorically speaking how these companies treat us), I took what I personally believe to be the smart approach and joined the PC master race, a group of individuals I used to hate and still kinda do (even though I completely understand their frustrations).

Then news came in that tri-Ace’s newest titles, Star Ocean 5 and Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky came out. Obviously I knew they would be PS4 exclusives because I saw the tri-Ace logo on Sony’s presentation at E3 about the PS4’s exclusive. So I went to my local game store to see if he had a second had PS4. Sadly he didn’t but he offered me an Xbox One instead. I laughed and went to my nearest GAME store, something I usually try to avoid. I walked up to the counter and asked for a PS4.

After waiting for them to get into the back room only to come out with two boxes each with an exclusive game (I think one of them was Little Big Planet 2 included in the bundle) I told them that I wasn’t having any of that crap and asked if they had any pre-owned in stock. Turns out they did, so I paid a bit less for it, got my wallet out and funneled cash into GAME because even though GAME like to charge obscene prices for their games, at least they still sold pre-owned games that I could get on the day without having to wait for the post all the time.

I received my PS4 in a blank white box, in this box now lies my long and forgotten Xbox 360 which has been buried within its casket that was formerly my PS4’s blank box. I plugged my PS4 in… or tried to. I realized that It came with a HDMI cable which would not work on my cheap standard definition telivision and as such I was forced to buy a converter from Amazon in order to play on my PS4. Next thing I noticed is that I had no games for the system. I wanted to make sure I got it before Exist Archive released in Japan and as such I got it early. I wrote a blog about it on Destructoid which got a lot of negative reception due to the fact that I was tearing the PS4 (and the Xbox One) to shreds.

So I bought Toukiden Kiwami just to kill some time for a bit. I thought about doing a review of the game but somebody else on Destructoid got there before me so I abstained and moved my focus onto Exist Archive and Star Ocean. Eventually the games came out and I played them and enjoyed them. Afterwards I was left wondering what I should do next so I picked up DOOM reluctantly on PS4 since my PC couldn’t run it only to remember that I couldn’t play it online. So I applied for a trial and played some DOOM multiplayer. Needless to say I was hooked by it for days… until my PS+ ran out then I found out some terrible truths.

You see one of the things Sony offered with their Playstation Plus is free games each month. Naturally I downloaded these free games. One of them was NBA 2K 2016 which was shit but I played a bit for the lulz, the other one being Gone Home which was interesting but I never got around to it since I was playing too much DOOM. Finally some Indie game I can barely remember.

However when my trial ended I tried playing these games only to find out that I could no longer access them. Wait what? Turns out that once your PS+ expires, you can no longer use the games. This is the most misleading thing I have ever seen any console manufacturer do, offer a service promising free games but forgetting to tell us that they only lasted for as long as your Playstation Plus subscription lasted. Heck even Microsoft’s Games with Gold allowed me to keep playing the game after I cancelled my Xbox Live subscription (right after they started their whole bullshit security crap which I couldn’t bypass due to my acquaintance setting it up for me and as such I couldn’t access Xbox Live at all, not even silver.

So my hatred for Sony and Microsoft grew more and more potent. Microsoft have already reached the pinnacle of asshatterry but Sony’s recent scandal involving Fallout 4’s clack of modding capability have moved them ever so closer to Microsoft in regards to how shitty their company is. The silly thing is that there isn’t even any monetary gain involved in this which just makes Sony look like a bunch of fools in comparison to Microsoft who can already smell the big bucks coming their way. Add to this the PS4 Pro fiasco, I don’t know much about it nor do I care but the Xbox Scorpio has also been announced.

Could the most recent console generation be coming to a close already or is this just another one of those throwaway ideas made by Sony and Microsoft get some quick cash from newcomers to their respective platforms? I swear if this is another “walled garden” as Boogie2988 puts it in this video (you should totally watch it since it relates strongly to this topic). We can only hope that it doesn’t come to that, maybe it will be like the so-called “new” 3DS which only had Xenoblade Chronicles as it’s only exclusive. We can only hope that it doesn’t become the next Playstation console otherwise things will be very bad for consumers, very bad indeed.

Then again it could be worse, we could be getting another console like the Xbox One was supposed to be at launch with Always Online DRM and there is still a good chance that they will pull that one out of the hat again in the near future. I haven’t heard much about the Xbox Scorpio but I don’t expect much good will come from it. All I can say is that the future of consoles keeps looking grimmer and grimmer with each coming console generation. Oh and here’s a message from me to all of you console manufacturers. When you create a new console and a new walled garden of games for it, for the love of god do not call it an optional “upgrade” of the previous console. It sickens me to just how much of a lie that is, stop doing that.

Oh and before I forget, the most important message I can give to all of you console manufacturers, enjoy it while it lasts. The market for PC is slowly rising higher and higher and the more accessible PC’s become, the faster you will be brought to your knees begging for us to support you and if you aren’t, you are going to lose relevance in this industry quickly with the exception of your devoted loyalists.

As for all you consumers out there, be sure to keep in mind that if my observations are correct, with the path consoles are trying to take “to be more like PC’s” and with Microsoft’s original Pitch of the Xbox One to be “always online and digital only” alongside the fact that most games on consoles lack local multiplayer, consoles are becoming a harder sell to us now. Don’t be a mug like I was when I purchased my Xbox 360 and signed up for Xbox Live. If you give a single fuck about the future of the gaming industry, hop right onto the PC bandwagon. I’m not saying this to be an elitist, I am saying this to make a point. Consoles are dying out, the only thing that remains is their brand and it’s the only thing keeping them afloat. If you want to move on from a “dying brand” then PC is your only option. I wish I could say otherwise but we really don’t have a choice now, PC is the only way to go now, either that or Mobile gaming and I’m sure no one wants to do that.

Finally to all you console manufacturers out there, if you think for a second that you’re going to compete with PC, you are mistaken. PC’s tech is upgraded so regularly that it’s impossible to compete because PC offers the freedom that your pathetic plastic boxes of shit don’t have. You cannot win against PC. It doesn’t matter what you do really… unless you get rid of your stupid monthly subscription fees and return to the days of the Playstation 2 back when games had local multiplayer as well as online (yes Playstation 2 has online) then you are well and truly fucked from my perspective. You better pray that your loyal fans don’t get fed up with your shit Sony and Microsoft because I’m already gone. You will never hear from me again and if you do, my money won’t be coming your way, it will be going straight to the retailer just so that I can personally slight you for your wrongdoings.

In addition to all of this, let’s not forget the licensing fees which Boogie2988 brought up in his video also bring harm to game developers as well which is more money which could be spend elsewhere such as… um I don’t know… games? This is another problem that consoles have had for a very long time.

So there you have it, I believe consoles need to go and will go. Do you agree or do you still hold onto your consoles? Leave a message here if you agree and I might respond, leave a message here disagreeing and I probably won’t respond because I can’t help you any further. Regardless, my path has been decided, PC all the way for me, consoles can just go and jump off a cliff.

You can also watch Jim Sterling’s video on the topic here, I think he mails it pretty well as always: Video.

The Darkness II Review

Well I didn’t expect to be playing this game. The Darkness II was a random punt of mine, I got it from Humble 2k Bundle so it was dirt cheap and the game looked interesting enough to get me to pick it up.

Anyways, The Darkness II is a First Person Shooter based on a comic book series which I don’t know anything about, despite all this, I didn’t have too much trouble following the story, even if it was a little crazy. The story sets you as a guy named Jackie who suffered a traumatic experience and became possessed by a powerful force known as the darkness. Naturally this makes him a badass anti-hero and like all good badasses, he is practically the Godfather of the local Mafia.

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Unfortunately for him, the darkness inside him attracts trouble and as such he has to deal with an enemy faction known as the Brotherhood who seek to harness the powers of The Darkness for themselves.

Now the only issue I have with the game’s storyline is that they don’t really build on the whole “mafia” family thing, perhaps they did in the original game but if you jumped into this game without playing the original the pacing of the game is very concise and this is very much to its detriment for newcomers trying to experience the complete story but those who played the original game might appreciate this since they don’t need all the extra exposition.

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Despite this the plot itself is very straightforward and easy to follow but for newcomers such as myself it may lack a certain level of depth that you come to expect from most games. Still, I don’t think story is particularly important in these types of games however, it’s easy to tell that The Darkness II tries to deliver a solid narrative experience and while the narrative does its job, it feels kinda rushed. Even those who are fans of the original may realize this pretty quickly as the game doesn’t last that long to begin with.

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You will frequently encounter these monologue sections where Jackie talks about himself and The Darkness. It doesn’t really connect to the story in any way though.

Visually, the game is pretty good, there are lots of vibrant colors in this game similar to that of the Bioshock series, if you have played any of the Bioshock games then you will know what to expect here. Needless to say, the game still has that dark tone in order to reflect on the whole “darkness” theme this game is going for. You can tell that the developers wanted to make you feel like the darkness and not just some random dude with a pair of handguns.

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In a way you could say that The Darkness II opts for a similar visual style to Shadows Of the Damned in a lot of ways and you wouldn’t be far from wrong. You could also say that it feels similar to Painkiller in a lot of ways however because of the focus on the narrative, the visuals don’t give the game the same feeling as Painkiller as they were opting for a completely different approach. Still I do like this visual style and it really befits the comic book world that they’re trying to replicate.

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There really isn’t much to say about the music, it was just… forgettable I guess. It’s mostly just ambient sound which doesn’t really work with a narrative driven game like The Darkness II even though I saw the reasoning behind it, it just doesn’t do anything for me, nor does it stand out. Then again, that’s just my opinion so make of that what you will.

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The game does have a few ambient quirks in the game’s hub area, the mansion and while exploring this hub is somewhat enjoyable, I wish a lot of the events that occur there don’t have any relevance to the game’s story which is a shame, I was hoping everything would tie in. It is nice that there is a cool looking hub area though as it was fun to explore.

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Gameplay wise the game is rather innovative though this is sometimes to the game’s detriment which I will get to later. Regardless there are lots of different ways to mow down your enemies. Not only do you have guns which can shoot enemies but you also have powerful demonic tentacles coming out of your body. These can be used in all kinds of different ways and it adds a lot of variety to the game and allows you to play in all kinds of different ways.

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Like with most modern FPS, there is a leveling system in the form of skill trees which you can use to put points into each of your skills. I do think the skill trees work quite well in this game as the darkness allows you to experiment with different playstyles and as such the skill trees allow you to enhance these playstyles based on personal preferences, that being said, while the skill trees do let you focus on a specific set of powers, it doesn’t take away from the experimentation the game has to offer.

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Of course the game likes to throw different types of enemies at you and each one responds to each playstyle differently, certain playstyles work better than others in certain situations. Some encounters can be dealt with quickly when the right tools are available, some can be quite tricky if you don’t know how to approach them. There is a lot of thinking on your feet in this game and this would have been great if the game wasn’t so incredibly clunky.

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First of all I’d like to talk about the controls. If you are playing the PC version, by all means play with a gamepad, the keyboard controls are poorly optimized and it shows. This game is almost as complicated to play on a Keyboard as Freespace, there are so many keys you will need to press spread out all over and this can make things chaotic in the heat of things.

This game loves to overwhelm you a lot but unlike the story, the pacing of the gameplay is actually quite slow. Jackie himself moves at a snail’s pace and though there is a sprint button, the controls are so bad that you’ll never use it effectively.

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Additionally there are a few annoying features that this game brings to the table. The first one being the heart consumption system. While this is a wonderful idea in concept, it doesn’t work very well simply due to the fact that you have to constantly press E to consume souls *cough* hearts (sorry, I’ve played too much Painkiller) and doing this in the heat of battle is essential if you want to stay alive. This means you are constantly mashing keys aimlessly to keep up with the overwhelming gameplay.

The second and quite possibly the biggest annoyance is the light system. Basically if you approach any light, your screen will blur out and you will lose literally all of your abilities (including the ability to eat hearts) for as long as you are in it. This gets even more frustrating when they throw in enemies which have torches to completely disable you. The worst part of this is that to kill them effectively you have to shoot out the tiny little torch in their hands, this can be rather irritating when you’re in the middle of a huge gunfight as you need pin point accuracy to do it.

The light! the liiight!!!

The light… the liiight!!!

The biggest problem with it though is that it breaks up the gameplay. It makes it so that nearly every 2 steps there is a light illuminating the path and it’s very difficult to tell what is light and what isn’t. Some lights can only be destroyed by destroying generators, some lights can’t even be destroyed at all. The worst part is trying to locate all of the lights as they can sometimes be in very hard to find places and of course not all of them can be destroyed anyways which is extremely frustrating since you are constantly searching for them, even in the middle of battle.

I mean sure, I do get the gist of the whole “light” idea, it fits the concept perfectly but it isn’t executed all that well in the gameplay. A lot of the times you will find the game to be a bit too overwhelming for these reasons. Jackie’s slow movement speed makes dodging bullets a pain and it usually comes down to an “act before you think” scenario, similar to Leningrad in Painkiller, the only difference being that whereas Painkiller’s gameplay is very fast paced and fluid, The Darkness II’s gameplay feels very sluggish. and this can often make the game very frustrating.

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However these flaws are still outweighed by the game’s strengths and I do think The Darkness II was an enjoyable romp for the most part. The darkling sections were a nice change of pace as they favored a more stealthy approach which I personally think that this game befit better to be honest and the game’s variety makes it really fun. if you consider yourself to be a fan of games Like Shadows Of The Damned, I’d give this a try as it has a very similar style going for it. Though the game may be sluggish and frustrating at times it manages to keep the player engaged through its variety, if you can get past its annoyances, you will probably enjoy The Darkness II’s gameplay a lot.

All in all, The Darkness II is an enjoyable romp that will last you for about 4-5 hours, its short length may be off-putting but if you can pick it up for under £5.00 it’s definitely worth a punt. I personally wouldn’t spend any more than £20.00 on this though due to its short length bit I do think you will find some enjoyment out of this.


Story/Plot: Satisfactory
Visuals: Good
Music: Forgettable
Gameplay: Satisfactory
Lifespan: Too Short
Would You Replay? No

Overall: Satisfactory

Value: £10.00

Purchase The Darkness II (PS3)