Duke Nukem Forever: PAX 2010 hands-on. Seriously

"Can you fucking beleive this shit? You're going to play Duke Nukem Forever." Thus begins the one demonstration absolutely no one could have predicted - the full-blown reveal of a game that's spent the past 12 years in varying states of development. Now in the hands of Gearbox (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms), gaming's buffest badass is most assuredly real and on his way to PS3, 360 and PC in 2011, with all his corny one-liners, rampant womanizing and I-don't-give-a-shit attitude intact.

Above: Get ready for more of this

But Gearbox knew it had an uphill battle, as DNF has been promised for more than a decade, each time with nothing more than a new screen or brief trailer to back it up. Now, in front of 60,000 PAX gamers, Duke was undeniably present with a 15-minute hands-on session. In fact, the game's so far along that it's in the "polishing phase," and could have been shown at almost any point in the last year. But instead of premiering at E3 or Gamescom, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford (whose career began with Duke Nukem 3D) specifically chose this venue because it's filled with gamers, not press. It's such a community-driven reveal that we journalists don't even have screens or trailers of the game yet. So enjoy some shitty cell phone pics!

Above: RIP Duke Nukem Jokes, 1998-2010

But is it fun? Can a game that started development when Quake II and the first Half-Life were cutting edge offer anything new? In a way, the one thing it already does better than a lot of modern shooters is convey a sense of pure fun. The first level opens with Duke pissing in a urinal (hold X to flush) and ends with him kicking a monster's eyeball down a football field, without a heavy-handed plot to get across or any faux-philosophical nonsense. It's just running, shooting and nonstop gags that poke fun at cliche videogame meatheads. Looks like, if you just want to play a damn game without pretense, this will be it.

Above: And "Beer" is mapped to the ENTIRE D-PAD

The first actual bit of playing picks up right after the urinal, where Duke bumps into some of those aforementioned gung-ho types, who're busy planning an attack against alien invaders. Their plan is written on a white board, which you can erase and replace with anything those analog sticks will allow. Naturally I tried to put the ol' cock and balls on there, but one of the PR handlers said "the demo is only 15 minutes, you can draw dicks later." Well, fine then. On to the boss battle in a rainy, stormy football field against a towering, rocket launching beast. There was plenty of ammo, loud-ass explosions and dead-simple combat. No finesse, no elaborate combat system, just trigger-trigger-trigger.

Above: A room full of PAXers, getting a world-first hands-on with DNF

After that came a monster truck section that had Duke tearing ass through a canyon, splattering enemies and launching over cliffs until he runs out of gas. Exiting the vehicle, we found a rail gun, then a shotgun, then a Duke-specific shrink ray that zaps the pig-faced aliens into pint-sized versions of themselves. It also appeared that Duke will have finishing moves of some type, as when we approached a staggered enemy, pushing X (or Square) triggered a final blow.

Speaking of blowing, the demo ends with the camera pulling out, revealing Duke in his living room playing the game himself. Then a girl pops her head up from below the camera. Then another. They ask him if it was good, to which he replies, "After 12 fucking years, it better be." Lulz he was talking about his game, not blowjobs.

Duke Nukem Forever isn't about re-inventing the genre. Its no-nonsense, knowing-nod approach to blasting feels like a bit of fresh air when most franchises today are tripping over themselves to start an ironclad canon. Forever will finally appear next year (they PROMISED), and judging by Pitchford's neverending stream of profane praise, it'll be every bit as fun as the demo suggests. Plus we already can't wait to hear all of Duke's ridiculous lines. In the trailer, he sees a 400-foot-tall, triple-titted femonster and still manages to crack one out - "Eh, I'd still hit it."


PAX 2010


  • leprechaun - October 20, 2010 12:49 a.m.

    This article just said fuck you to all the other GamesRadar articles about Duke Nukem
  • The - September 7, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    If it sells well they are going to try and make another one. Watch and see how long that one takes.
  • Deckard5627 - September 6, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    dont worry, there's plenty of duke to go around
  • jmcgrotty - September 6, 2010 8:52 a.m.

    As someone who has been playing since the first Duke Nukem, I can clearly say I couldn't care less. How can anyone have any interest in a game that is only interesting because of it's development cycle? From what has been shown (admittedly very little), this doesn't offer anything new or worthwhile, even with it's comedy slant.
  • Octoboy - September 6, 2010 8 a.m.

    Yeah, right, inbetween Gears 3, Killzone 3 and Crysis 2 I'm really gonna care about Duke Nukem.
  • Lionhunter44 - September 6, 2010 5:24 a.m.

    where is "show me your's and i'll show you mine"?
  • SHEESHKAH - September 6, 2010 1:01 a.m.

    Battle Royal. Duke Lombardi vs. Duke Nukem.
  • GangsterJew92 - September 5, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    Last year my friend's computer crashed playing Far Cry 2. He wanted to get a new computer to handle current-gen games. He said he would buy a new computer when Duke Nukem Forever came out. He finally was able to afford one and brought it over to my house. As he was setting it up, I got on my iTouch to check GamesRadar for any PAX news, and sure enough, this article was at the top of the screen.
  • chukky N17 - September 5, 2010 9:49 p.m.

    IF IT DOES ACTUALLY COME OUT........ I'll buy it. Unfortunately, even if it sucks! (I won't hold my breath)
  • keefster - September 5, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    Lol, I was about 2 years old when this game started development. My whole live has been a joke, a hollow pointless existence, merely waiting for this game to exit the womb of development. Anyway I can see fanboy disappointment rage coming from a mile away when this game comes out, seriously there is no way this will live up to the hype. and after 12 years without an appearance I honestly think this is irrelevant now. but maybe it will kick ass, hopefully.
  • Zeb364 - September 5, 2010 8:37 p.m.

    I almost fell over dead when I stumbled across this on the PAX floor. It took me until now to truly wrap my head around the idea that it's an actual game.
  • Baron164 - September 5, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    I will get this, even if it's a mediocre game I'll still get it purely for the nostalgia factor. I'd feel silly not getting it after it's taken them 12 years.
  • The_King_of_Nothing - September 5, 2010 6:08 p.m.

    YES! I am totally getting this game! FINALLY!
  • oufour - September 5, 2010 5:55 p.m.

    game of the century, 21st 22nd 23rd. then duke nukem's sequel comes out and the cycle restarts. HAHA!
  • metalgatesolid - September 5, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    I bet when it comes to reviewing it, you'll give it a 5 or 6. I WILL buy this game because it will rock balls...HARD. But i bet when it comes to you guys reviewing it youll compare it to COD, Halo, Killzone and the like. Duke Nukem is the God of FPS and I guarantee this game will deliver on all fronts.
  • Riq12 - September 5, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    Always bet on Duke!! "It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And I'm all outta gum!" Hell yeah!
  • eltonbm - September 5, 2010 4:34 p.m.

    Telltale games have and ADVENTURE BUNDLE 2010: less than 20,00 for Sam & Max, Puzzle Agent, Penny Arcade Adventures and more. And All the money goes to up to five charity organizations. Every player out there, HELP IT NOW!
  • nemesisuprising - September 5, 2010 4:03 p.m.

    Im this is shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • CandiedJester - September 5, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    Don't get so excited, they're going to run out of money and cancel the release again. jk If it does actually release, I am going to buy it just because of all the hype surrounding the damn game.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - September 5, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    FUCK. NINJA'D. Good play, cjwalsh7.

Showing 1-20 of 58 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000