ANTI-GAME OF THE YEAR: Duke Nukem Forever
In the end, it could only be this.
Assuming you’ve read this article from the beginning and didn’t skip straight to the end, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. To be fair, Duke Nukem Forever is far from the worst game released in 2011 (or the worst to star Duke Nukem, for that matter), but that’s not really what this “award” is about. The AGOTY is traditionally awarded to whatever game embodies the worst aspects of the industry at the time, and this year, that’s Duke Nukem Forever.
After spending a decade and a half in development and being brought back from the dead by normally brilliant developer Gearbox, Duke Nukem Forever is a disappointing mess. It looks dated and lacks key features (like nonlinear levels and destructible environments) that made Duke Nukem 3D great, and yet it’s buggy and takes forever to load (on consoles, at least). It adds modern-shooter elements that don’t make sense for a hero who’s supposed to embody balls-out destruction, like a two-weapon limit and a flimsy, regenerating health bar, and then forces players through the kinds of insanely boring physics puzzles that most shooters abandoned years ago. It wears its sense of humor on its sleeve, and yet for all its out-of-context movie quotes, crass sexism and rehashes of things that were considered topical in 2009, the only thing in it that comes close to being funny is a sidekick who swears all the time.
Above: This isn't him
Through it all, Duke Nukem Forever exhibits a completely unearned sense of its own greatness, repeatedly telling us how much ass it kicks and how awesome it is that Duke is back after his long hiatus. And while we were excited to see him back in action, spending more than a few hours with him makes it clear that he’s a creaky relic of a bygone era – and so, unfortunately, is his game.
That's it for another year's bashing. Did we leave out something that pissed you off in 2011? You may find it among our personal Anti-Awards, or you can tell us about it in the comments below.