So Duke Nukem Forever is hitting the shelves tomorrow, but in case you haven’t already seen or read the reviews, it doesn’t look so great. Of course, most Duke fans will completely ignore the reviews and buy it anyway, but this is beside the point because even fan boys will be hard pressed to stay happy with what 2K has to offer with their latest ‘hip’ shooter. Nay sayers are claiming that the game is repetitive, awkward, dated, and grossly (perhaps even embarrassingly) immature. I can’t help but wonder if all of this negativity is purely based on the fact that the game it self is rubbish, or if it’s because people are growing weary of rehashed gaming franchises? Will Halo 6 be met with the same degree of skepticism, or is Duke really just that bad?
It doesn’t take a hardcore gamer to tell you that sequels and video games go together like lightsabers and Star Wars, but sometimes things can go a little to far. Sequels in video games don’t have the same number of negative connotations that we have with movies because the next installment in a game a series is often times better than the original (but not always), so gamers tend to have high hopes and impatient demands. But when we see games like Duke Nukem Forever and other rehashed ideas bubbling to the surface again and again, it raises the question: When do we say enough is enough and finally let our beloved gaming franchises/characters die and rest in glorified peace?
But gamers like familiarity. We don’t always want something completely new and revolutionary, even if we sometimes say or think that we do. Indeed, if a sequel strays too far from the original context, fans will often scream in retaliation that it is ‘nothing like the original’ as if innovation were something to be condemned. The true question that is rattling about in gamer’s minds is really quite simple: ‘Is it fun?’ Duke Nukem Forever (which is merely a relevant example for the topic of this article) is a sub par shooter with an infamous title and protagonist, and I honestly think that everything comes down to the game it self. While the high expectations that have been built up over twelve years without Duke is surely a reason for why people might feel let down with Duke Nukem Forever, but if it had been a truly terrific shooter game in itself then it would have received a far more positive response.
I think franchises like Final Fantasy or Ratchet and Clank are testament to the fact that a game isn’t bound directly to the hype of past installments, but rather how good and entertaining the actual game is on its own. But what do you think? Do you think Duke Nukem Forever is actually a great game and people are simply bad mouthing it because they don’t like Duke Nukem? Should games continuously rehash? Sound off in the comments below.