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DNF Review Dust Up

Ars Technica has a screenshot of a since-deleted tweet from PR firm The Redner Group with an overt threat about negative reviews of Duke Nukem Forever, saying: "#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews...we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom." A follow-up tweet backs off from this and apologizes: "I have to apologize to the community. I acted out of pure emotion. I will be sending each of you a private apology." A pair of subsequent tweets stress that this was Redner acting on its own, and that "2K had nothing to do with this." As of this writing the Metacritic scores for the first-person shooter sequel are 57 for the PC edition, 56 for the Xbox 360 edition, and 48 for the PlayStation 3 edition.

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120. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 20, 2011, 08:27 Xirgu
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 17, 2011, 11:33:

anyone remember the old text adventures where you could type anything the pc would pick up keywords and react with more or less appropriate dialog instead of a preset of lines? npc dialog was an open prompt

No, I remember:
Pick up rock - what do you mean "pick up?"
grab rock - what do you mean "grab?"
take rock - what do you mean "take?"
put rock in pocket - what do you mean "put?"
kick rock - what do you mean "kick?"
use rock as bludgeon to kill designer of game - what do you mean "designer of game?"


jaja too true, but this is like 15 years ago... with machines with 1 MB of Ram. if this had progressed a little it could be good. and be fair, some games did it properly.
 
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119. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 18, 2011, 19:23 Jerykk
 
Many of us hold old game designs we loved on a pedestal, but I'd guess that if we went back and played a serious hit game from a decade ago that we somehow missed we'd find it less enjoyable than modern games.

People often use that argument but I don't think it really holds true. For example, I played Fallout 1&2, Planescape: Torment and Arcanum for the very first time a few years ago and I still consider them better than most RPGs released in the past ten years. I also played Star Control 2 (released in 1993) recently and thought it was awesome.

It really comes down to priorities. If presentation and accessibility are your top priorities, you will not enjoy old games. If depth, innovation and challenge are your top priorities, you will. DNF is obviously lacking in presentation and the platforming and puzzles make it less accessible than the mindless shooters we have today. It really is amazing how little thought most games require these days, particularly shooters. When I see big, bold "FOLLOW" text floating above an NPC's head or giant objective markers in the middle of the screen, I facepalm but evidently people have come to expect such things. It was really depressing watching the GiantBomb QuickLook of DNF and seeing the reviewer get lost in a level he's already played through.

It's also that puzzles made sense in the context of HL2. I don't think they'd make as much sense in DNF, not that I've yet played. It's like if you put Portal puzzles into Serious Sam - no one would enjoy them even if they love Portal.

There were puzzles in Duke3D. Granted, they were mostly limited to pushing buttons in the correct sequence but they were puzzles nonetheless. As for context, they make sense in DNF. You typically have to solve puzzles in order to remove a barrier or create a path and progress. The puzzles are intuitive and make sense within the game world. They aren't completely arbitrary and contrived like the ones you see in most adventure games.
 
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118. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 16:57 Beamer
 
Duke3D was as much about finding keys and passages as it was combat though. DNF just replaces the keys with physics puzzles

Every game was back then.
Few are now. The ones that do it well do it organically.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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117. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 16:49 StingingVelvet
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 17, 2011, 11:18:
It's also that puzzles made sense in the context of HL2. I don't think they'd make as much sense in DNF, not that I've yet played. It's like if you put Portal puzzles into Serious Sam - no one would enjoy them even if they love Portal.

Duke3D was as much about finding keys and passages as it was combat though. DNF just replaces the keys with physics puzzles.
 
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116. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 11:33 Beamer
 

anyone remember the old text adventures where you could type anything the pc would pick up keywords and react with more or less appropriate dialog instead of a preset of lines? npc dialog was an open prompt

No, I remember:
Pick up rock - what do you mean "pick up?"
grab rock - what do you mean "grab?"
take rock - what do you mean "take?"
put rock in pocket - what do you mean "put?"
kick rock - what do you mean "kick?"
use rock as bludgeon to kill designer of game - what do you mean "designer of game?"
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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115. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 11:20 Xirgu
 
anyone remember the old text adventures where you could type anything the pc would pick up keywords and react with more or less appropriate dialog instead of a preset of lines? npc dialog was an open prompt. that has disappeared too. Then again this is not a pc only trend, look for example at roleplaying games, everything goes towards easier and flashier. trend of the times I suppose. you are supposed to have momentary distractions, God forbid you might actually t.h.i.n.k.  
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114. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 11:18 Beamer
 
It's also that puzzles made sense in the context of HL2. I don't think they'd make as much sense in DNF, not that I've yet played. It's like if you put Portal puzzles into Serious Sam - no one would enjoy them even if they love Portal.



And time really does alter tastes as a whole, like you mention. For all of us. Many of us hold old game designs we loved on a pedestal, but I'd guess that if we went back and played a serious hit game from a decade ago that we somehow missed we'd find it less enjoyable than modern games. I mean, I loved the tension of Delta Force and considered it a pretty solid game (at least in multiplayer), but I'm guessing that if we had someone that missed it then play it now they'd hate it.

Kind of like, in retrospect, I'm hating Monkey Island 2. Seriously, mixing the blue and yellow drink to get a green drink then sipping it with a straw to thicken my spit? That's arbitrary as hell!
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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113. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 11:06 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jun 17, 2011, 01:50:

I was in a similar debate elsewhere and eventually the guy I was debating with just came out and said Half-Life 2 is "old" and "a slog to play through now."

It seems some people move on and never look back.

Their taste changes. It happens to all of us, just more or less drastically in certain genres. I can't stand racing games anymore, they're repetitive tripe and too often have terrible AI or poor multiplayer code. On the other hand I still like jRPGs despite all of their various flaws and issues.

Game design has changed peoples expectations a lot too. People aren't used to non-combat stuff anymore. Most games are guided experiences down a corridor with exposition cutscenes every 5 minutes. I'd also argue that the non-combat aspects of DNF aren't very rewarding and enjoyable but obviously that's subjective.
 
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112. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 04:45 Jerykk
 
Yeah, that always strikes me as weird. The only things that have evolved over the past decade are presentation and accessibility. Games are easier and prettier than ever before. That's it. Platforming and puzzle-solving haven't really changed much. If you enjoyed them in HL 1&2, there's no reason why you'd suddenly stop enjoying them now.  
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111. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 17, 2011, 01:50 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 18:11:
Well, you need to have something worthwhile to do if you're not shooting stuff, and it sounds like people feel Duke doesn't. Sounds like they also feel that the puzzles are a step back from HL2, which makes no sense considering HL2 is what, 7 years old now?

The question is why they dislike the non-combat segments. Do they dislike them simply because of what they are or do they dislike their actual implementation? It seems like many people just hated the fact that you were platforming, solving puzzles or driving instead of shooting aliens, regardless of how well these things were implemented. I like platforming and puzzle-solving and I enjoyed their implementation in DNF. Driving, not so much, but I don't like vehicles in shooters at all so that has less to do with implementation and more to do with the mere presence of the driving segment. I felt the platforming and puzzles were on par with the HL games, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because the HL games still hold up well today.

I was in a similar debate elsewhere and eventually the guy I was debating with just came out and said Half-Life 2 is "old" and "a slog to play through now."

It seems some people move on and never look back.
 
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110. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 18:11 Jerykk
 
Well, you need to have something worthwhile to do if you're not shooting stuff, and it sounds like people feel Duke doesn't. Sounds like they also feel that the puzzles are a step back from HL2, which makes no sense considering HL2 is what, 7 years old now?

The question is why they dislike the non-combat segments. Do they dislike them simply because of what they are or do they dislike their actual implementation? It seems like many people just hated the fact that you were platforming, solving puzzles or driving instead of shooting aliens, regardless of how well these things were implemented. I like platforming and puzzle-solving and I enjoyed their implementation in DNF. Driving, not so much, but I don't like vehicles in shooters at all so that has less to do with implementation and more to do with the mere presence of the driving segment. I felt the platforming and puzzles were on par with the HL games, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because the HL games still hold up well today.
 
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109. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 17:52 Beamer
 
They repeatedly state that the player doesn't spend enough time shooting things but the very same thing could be said of the HL games.

Well, you need to have something worthwhile to do if you're not shooting stuff, and it sounds like people feel Duke doesn't. Sounds like they also feel that the puzzles are a step back from HL2, which makes no sense considering HL2 is what, 7 years old now?

Damn. 7 years old. Damn damn damn.

Plus people complained similarly in HL2 - remember the boat level everyone and their grandmother hated but I actually didn't mind too much? I did hate most of E1, though, and I think the defending idiots part, as well as the nothing but zombies parts, led to that.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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108. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 17:45 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 16:24:
Oh, nobody is denying that the HL games implemented these ideas better than DNF. However, from what I've read, most reviewers aren't complaining about the implementation of platforming, puzzle-solving and driving in DNF. They're complaining about the very existence of said mechanics. They repeatedly state that the player doesn't spend enough time shooting things but the very same thing could be said of the HL games.

Indeed. Also the very same people on giantbomb bashing Duke in its quicklook for being linear and allowing only two weapons and not being innovative and feeling old can be heard on the Modern Warfare 2 quicklook talking about how fun that campaign is.

It just doesn't make sense to me at all, personally.
 
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107. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 16:24 Jerykk
 
So, again I haven't played, it seems like the HL comparison is fair in that it's a direct attempt to make HL with Duke, but unfair when discussing the successful use of those ideas. It fit HL because it felt deliberate. It doesn't fit Duke because nothing feels deliberate at all, like you say.

Oh, nobody is denying that the HL games implemented these ideas better than DNF. However, from what I've read, most reviewers aren't complaining about the implementation of platforming, puzzle-solving and driving in DNF. They're complaining about the very existence of said mechanics. They repeatedly state that the player doesn't spend enough time shooting things but the very same thing could be said of the HL games.
 
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106. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 14:42 StingingVelvet
 
Verno wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 13:50:
I don't agree at all with the HL comparison.

I don't mean overall or anything, but specific things people are bashing Duke for were in Half-Life and other successful shooters.

And I'm not saying this is a good game. If reviewers actually used the entire 1-10 scale I think a 5 average would be about right. My only point is that they usually use a 7-10 scale and sub-6 games are broken or completely unenjoyable. DNF, as flawed and fractures as it is, plays and works fine and is miles above real basement-level shooters like Turning Point or Legendary. I think the 2s and 3s and such are a direct result of those reviewers considering this game open to greater attack than most games.
 
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105. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 14:17 Beamer
 
I don't agree at all with the HL comparison.

If you read that Wired article from 2009 you'll see a part where a developer says that, upon playing HL2, George ran into the office yelling "did you see that opening sequence? We need one of those, that was amazing!"

I read it after watching about 5 minutes of that first 40 min YouTube video, and it's so clear that the entire sequence is the result of George's exclamation. You're right, though, in HL everything is coherent (moreso 2 than 1, but back in the days of 1 graphics were still primitive enough that a mishmash of setpieces made more sense to add variation.) The opening sequence of HL2 sets the tone, sets the mood, gives you the background on what has passed since HL1 and really creates a feeling of ominence. The opening sequence of Duke, from what I've seen, is just there to create the feeling that Duke is a world treasure that kicks a lot of ass, bangs a lot of girls and is idolized by children. Artfully setting the tone in HL2; causing the feeling of dread, panic and urgency, worked brilliantly. It needed some time to set that up.
Setting up "Dude, Duke is awesome!" needed a single uttered phrase as you whip out your gun, not 20 minutes of no shooting.

So, again I haven't played, it seems like the HL comparison is fair in that it's a direct attempt to make HL with Duke, but unfair when discussing the successful use of those ideas. It fit HL because it felt deliberate. It doesn't fit Duke because nothing feels deliberate at all, like you say.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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104. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 13:50 Verno
 
I don't agree at all with the HL comparison. The various set pieces of the HL universe and games feel like a relatively cohesive mesh. DNF felt like everything was bolted and tacked on, all the while strung together with humor that felt a bit forced and played too much to fads gone by years ago. Bizarrely they updated some mechanics of the game to be more like other shooters such as Call of Duty and Halo yet they go ahead and mock them later on. It is pretty much what I would expect from a very troubled project that didn't even manage to limp to completion by itself. Duke just being Duke isn't enough anymore, that kind of character doesn't play well these days when it has nothing else to hang onto. I had a few chuckles but most of that was nostalgia, it was a really disappointing experience even for people who just wanted basic retreads of older gameplay and humor.

As for game reviewers, they are human beings with their own biases and preferential tastes just like you guys. I've seen quite a few games you've played wrong and posted about the same way I'm sure you've thought I didn't play something properly(perhaps even this very game). As an example Giantbomb are literally morons about Demons Souls, they do not "get" the game, they don't understand its design concepts and how it is supposed to be played. On the other hand there are a ton of games they do seem to fairly represent. I wouldn't say DNF is a game that they unfairly libeled, it deserves the overwhelming majority of criticism its receiving.
 
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103. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 12:20 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 04:04:
That said, I don't think the misogynistic humor was the only reason why they hate DNF. A lot of people really hate platforming and DNF had plenty of that. If you check out the GiantBomb quicklook, you get a pretty good sense of the general tastes a lot of people have these days. Jeff Gerstmann also complained about the underwater segments, which I thought were entertaining. I'd really love to know how these reviewers feel about the HL games, given that the series has many of the gameplay mechanics that they apparently hate.

Like I said, it's far from the only reason, I just see it as a catalyst that allows them to unleash more anger and frustration on Duke for its problems than they typically do with other games.

And yeah, Giantbomb quicklooks are a great way to peer into the mind of gaming journalists and certain types of gamers. I find them extremely interesting because so often the way they play and things they say are so opposite from how I play and look at games. Also those quicklooks are all the proof anyone should need that a reviewer definitely can "play a game wrong." Watch the APB review, he ignored the team functions, ignores other people entirely, then complains about the game being boring because you just run around by yourself. I'm not saying APB was a good game, just that playing it wrong like that makes it worse than it already was.

And you're spot-on with Half-Life comparisons. I said elsewhere DNF doesn't play like a 90's game it mostly plays like a Half-Life 2 clone. That game scored amazing well and is on most peoples top 10 FPSes of all time list. I assume reviewers will tell you that game came out 7 years ago or whatever and that gaming has "moved on." Frankly though if Call of Duty is the modern standard I would rather go back to 2004.
 
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102. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 10:25 Verno
 
Bumpy wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 09:34:
PC is just a port of the console versions. They are all the same game, how is it any worse?

Massive load times, a lot of glitching (characters getting stuck in level geometry, etc), performance isn't good and so on. It's all there in the reviews which I can confirm partially from the half an hour I spent with the 360 version at a buddies place. I don't know about the PS3 version but its apparently just as bad.
 
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101. Re: DNF Review Dust Up Jun 16, 2011, 09:34 Bumpy
 
Verno wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 08:31:
Have any of you played the 360 port? It's exceptionally bad and rough. I can easily see it justifiably getting those scores.

PC is just a port of the console versions. They are all the same game, how is it any worse?
 
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