Duke Nukem Forever


By: Conrad Reyners    On: PC
Published: Monday 20 Jun 2011 4:00 PM
 
 
 
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Expectations are a dangerous ruse in video gaming. If publishers set them too high they run the risk of guaranteeing disappointment. If they set them too low they waste an easy opportunity to get their game in the spotlight. Striking the right balance is always difficult, and the longer the wait between announcement and expectation, the harder that balance will be.

Duke Nukem Forever is more than fourteen years in the making. That’s a long time for most things, for video game sequels it’s phenomenal. 3D Realm’s original Duke Nukem 3D preceded the Playstation, the iPod and even Google. Over a decade of expectation has been festering and 3D Realms, along with Gearbox, have finally ended the delay. So there’s no use ignoring the elephant in the room: has the wait has been worth it?

Duke Nukem Forever has a strong early start. The opening credits alone send a tingle of anticipation down your spine, and the Duke’s quirky self-referentialism hits just the right note. The Duke is back, he knows it, and he’s ready to show you a good time. For the first twenty minutes or so it’s like we’ve never left him. Duke’s one-liners and over-the-top masculinity serve as one collective madeleine moment. Almost every gamer of my generation spent quality time with the Duke and Duke Nukem Forever’s early gameplay is almost eerie in its ability to transport us back to that simpler time. The title’s early incorporation of modern memes and pop-culture is zany and clever. It hits the ground at full speed, and the Duke looks like has a promising experience in store.

But after a good half an hour the intoxication of memory wears off – and the hangover is a bitch. Because when we pare back the charisma of a character we have grown to love, it is clear that Duke Nukem Forever is a travesty of a game. It’s a title plagued by problems and bereft of ideas; from its artificial intelligence, to its story, to its graphical design. There are only two things holding the game together; the Duke himself and the valiant desire of his loyal fans to push their way through it.

When Duke Nukem reinvented itself as an iconic first person shooter in 1996, it was revolutionary. Its quirky mix of humour, weaponry and storyline set the standard for the genre. But it’s been fifteen long years since then. First person shooter gaming has grown in leaps and bounds. But Duke Nukem Forever still seems trapped in the style of its predecessor. Its gameplay is linear and repetitive, consisting mainly of blasting your way through hordes of spawning aliens, who offer little in the way of intelligent challenge. It’s not a fundamentally bad approach to first person shooters, but it’s the standard archetype since id Software invented it in 1992. To be fair, Duke Nukem Forever does manage moments of diversity – such as combat segues where Duke takes control of a mothership-killing turret, or zooms around in a toy car – but these excursions feel tokenistic, and in the case of the car, are just downright tedious.

The problem with Duke Nukem Forever’s gameplay is that at its core it offers nothing different to what we’ve seen for the last decade. Gaming hasn’t sat idly by during that period. New and innovative things have happened, but frustratingly those lessons seem to have been ignored and for no good reason. The singleplayer maps are linear, and leave little room for intelligent, exciting, first person combat. Some of the level design is just downright lazy; having a fire extinguisher attached to a corpse – suspended inexplicably on a rope above a raging inferno – is almost comical in its obviousness. Gamers’ have waited twelve years for the Duke. We expected more than just 1996 but with better lighting.

And even in that regard things are a little on the sketchy side. Duke Nukem Forever’s visuals are average at best. Textures are bland, and the game’s character designs are bizarre. Most of the NPC’s appear cut from literally the same cloth, and the plot characters appear wooden, both in look and in emotion. What they say also doesn’t help to stir the senses. The dialogue is poorly written and clichéd (which is ironic, given the fact that the Duke is a cliché himself) and the games narrative dialogue is delivered with clumsy voice acting.

The environments themselves fare no better. PC gamers buy their rigs for a reason – they want their games to look good, and they are willing to fork out the thousands of dollars it takes to achieve that. Duke Nukem Forever gives a bad return on that investment. Even on the highest settings Duke’s world appears plasticine and his environments feel soulless – especially the ones located outside. For a title that banked so heavily on its charisma, this realisation is distressing.

But deep down, behind the poor combat and level design, behind the poor graphics and atheistic, there is an even greater discomfort. And that’s the Duke himself.

Duke Nukem is an artifact of the early 1990s and it shows. Once you pare back the adolescent gusto and the self-referential machismo, what you are left with is a pretty sad premise for a video game. The entire point of Duke Nukem Forever is the wanton destruction of a whole bunch of aliens in the most brutal and sadistic way possible, all in a paternal attempt to rescue ‘your’ women from their procreative clutches. This blatant sexism is suffocating in its vulgarity. I’d be the first to admit that there is nothing wrong with a bit of toilet humour here and there, but any comedic value to be gained from the constant and unending reference to balls, sex, smut, and violence wears off incredibly quickly. Part of me doesn’t want to take this aspect of the Duke Nukem Forever experience so seriously – it is, after all, part of his ‘charm’. Duke’s boorish chauvinism could have worked were it so beyond the pale it was a caricature of itself. But here, its not. It’s just crass. Times have moved on, in the last fifteen years gaming has grown up. It is no longer the preserve of teenage men and adult boys. As a piece of entertainment, Duke Nukem Forever is a product that no longer has a niche to fill.

Even after a short amount of time with Duke Nukem Forever it becomes obvious that the elephant in the room has changed. Gone is the gamble about the title’s quality. Instead there is the unfortunate realisation that Duke Nukem Forever is a bad game. As a first person shooter it has the barebones of what you would expect. But a masterpiece of gaming it is not. It feels rushed, unfinished and ill-thought out.

If you’re a fan of the Duke, you’ve probably already checked this game out. If you’re a fan of your childhood, then the first thirty minutes will fleetingly take you back there. But the rest of the game will not. Duke Nukem will forever hold a special place in gamer’s hearts, but this title is not the one to keep him there.

Maybe 3D Realms knew that all along. At the very beginning of the game the United States President tells Duke Nukem he is a relic from the past. As sad as it seems, perhaps he was right.


The Score

Duke Nukem Forever
"Gaming’s moved on. But has the Duke?"
4.8
Mediocre
Rating: R18   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

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Comments (20)

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cortez72
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 4:35 PM Posted by cortez72 NZGamer.com VIP
Good stuff Conrad, this review captures exactly what I thought of the PS3 version of the game.
 
 
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Ron
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 6:15 PM Posted by Ron NZGamer.com VIP
What I've found amazing is the marketing material (namely the TVC) around Duke. One piece of footage looks great and other parts terrible. It's a shame as I think it could have offered a truly great FPS experience in this cluster of wartime FPS's, but it's clear from these two reviews it hasn't.
 
 
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fauzman
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 7:51 PM Posted by fauzman NZGamer.com VIP
Im a bit curious as to why this review rated 4.8 while the ps3 version rated 7.2. There was no mention of any specifics that would rate so low other than a brief mention of graphics which by itself shouldnt lower the score so much. I also noticed that different reviewers were used for the two versions but I would assume they would co-ordinate their efforts??? An explanation of the discrepancies would be great.
 
 
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ChatterboxZombie
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 8:15 PM Posted by ChatterboxZombie NZGamer.com VIP
I like the other guys review better.

also would it kill you guys to take some original screenshots?
I've seen these screenies in magazines like 2 years ago
 
 
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phantom
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 8:18 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
20 June 2011, 07:51 PM Reply to fauzman
Im a bit curious as to why this review rated 4.8 while the ps3 version rated 7.2. There was no mention of any specifics that would rate so low other than a brief mention of graphics which by itself shouldnt lower the score so much. I also noticed that different reviewers were used for the two versions but I would assume they would co-ordinate their efforts??? An explanation of the discrepancies would be great.
There are no "discrepancies" - each reviewer judges the game by their own, learned, subjective measure. Conrad's description contains information which, in my opinion, backs up his score.

What we are seeing here is a classic example of a divisive game - neither review is glowing, however Dene was able to glean some satisfaction where Conrad was not - period.

I'm extremely pleased we were able to provide both viewpoints here on the site, as I believe that is the best possible way to provide our readers with the information required to assist them in coming to their own conclusions - look for more multiple reviews of marquee titles in future!
 
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ChatterboxZombie
On Monday 20 Jun 2011 8:35 PM Posted by ChatterboxZombie NZGamer.com VIP
20 June 2011, 08:18 PM Reply to phantom
There are no "discrepancies" - each reviewer judges the game by their own, learned, subjective measure. Conrad's description contains information which, in my opinion, backs up his score.

What we are seeing here is a classic example of a divisive game - neither review is glowing, however Dene was able to glean some satisfaction where Conrad was not - period.

I'm extremely pleased we were able to provide both viewpoints here on the site, as I believe that is the best possible way to provide our readers with the information required to assist them in coming to their own conclusions - look for more multiple reviews of marquee titles in future!
Yeah Dual reviews're usually pretty interesting.
Thumbs up for trying something new(ish) nzg
 
 
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cortez72
On Tuesday 21 Jun 2011 12:27 PM Posted by cortez72 NZGamer.com VIP
20 June 2011, 06:15 PM Reply to Ron
What I've found amazing is the marketing material (namely the TVC) around Duke. One piece of footage looks great and other parts terrible. It's a shame as I think it could have offered a truly great FPS experience in this cluster of wartime FPS's, but it's clear from these two reviews it hasn't.
The PR company got the sack, and yet this game has been heavily PR'ed.

I've seen motorway billboards, ADshells, full window displays in stores, TV advert's, viral adverts...

They went all out. Was it because they expected heavy sales, a hit? Or did they know it was going to need hype to sell this "thing."
 
 
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CheeseTastic
On Tuesday 21 Jun 2011 3:05 PM Posted by CheeseTastic NZGamer.com VIP
21 June 2011, 12:27 PM Reply to cortez72
The PR company got the sack, and yet this game has been heavily PR'ed.

I've seen motorway billboards, ADshells, full window displays in stores, TV advert's, viral adverts...

They went all out. Was it because they expected heavy sales, a hit? Or did they know it was going to need hype to sell this "thing."
Their sacking wasn't actually anything to do with their PR, but rather their reaction to sh*tty game sales. Namely, threatening to blacklist reviewers who gave low scores. Considering blacklisting is a very sensitive subject in game journalism, it's not surprising they got flicked off.
 
 
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fauzman
On Tuesday 21 Jun 2011 4:14 PM Posted by fauzman NZGamer.com VIP
20 June 2011, 08:18 PM Reply to phantom
There are no "discrepancies" - each reviewer judges the game by their own, learned, subjective measure. Conrad's description contains information which, in my opinion, backs up his score.

What we are seeing here is a classic example of a divisive game - neither review is glowing, however Dene was able to glean some satisfaction where Conrad was not - period.

I'm extremely pleased we were able to provide both viewpoints here on the site, as I believe that is the best possible way to provide our readers with the information required to assist them in coming to their own conclusions - look for more multiple reviews of marquee titles in future!
Interesting. I raised the point about the two reviews because it wasnt adequately mentioned in the reviews whether it was simply about two diff. reviewers having diff opinions about the same game OR whether the PC review (PC review came out 2nd)was a much more horrible glitchy cloned mess. IMO still seems like a large difference to have between two reviews of the same game. Its not so noticeable when having a game that gets average scores but would the same process apply with better quality games ie large discrepancies in say LA Noire. Would there be a review process to try and bring scores closer or is it totally dependent on the reviewer?
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 21 Jun 2011 5:00 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
21 June 2011, 04:14 PM Reply to fauzman
Interesting. I raised the point about the two reviews because it wasnt adequately mentioned in the reviews whether it was simply about two diff. reviewers having diff opinions about the same game OR whether the PC review (PC review came out 2nd)was a much more horrible glitchy cloned mess. IMO still seems like a large difference to have between two reviews of the same game. Its not so noticeable when having a game that gets average scores but would the same process apply with better quality games ie large discrepancies in say LA Noire. Would there be a review process to try and bring scores closer or is it totally dependent on the reviewer?
There's no direct comparison of the two versions; each reviewer only had access to the particular version they were tasked with reviewing. From what I can tell, having played the Xbox 360 version myself and now having read many of the various reviews on the 'net, there's little significant difference between them.

As I said earlier, this is a divisive game. Two people can review the same material, see the same faults, and come away feeling differently about it - which is exactly what's happened here. The faults, in general, are identified clearly in both reviews - Conrad came away nonplussed, where Dene was able to find some enjoyment despite the (numerous) faults that each identified.

In general, we try to ensure that games are assigned to the reviewer we feel is best suited to cover the material. No point giving FIFA to someone that hates sports games, for example.

We do provide a guide to reviewers that explains what we feel the various numbers mean (i.e. that we use the whole scale, average should be 5-6, 10s only go to truly landmark achievements - etc) and extra guidance is available should it be requested.

But otherwise, as Editor, while I might feel out a reviewer if I believe their score doesn't reflect their words, the score is left to the reviewer to determine, based on their experience.

I won't put anything on the site that NZGamer.com doesn't back 100%.
 
 
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fauzman
On Tuesday 21 Jun 2011 6:28 PM Posted by fauzman NZGamer.com VIP
21 June 2011, 05:00 PM Reply to phantom
There's no direct comparison of the two versions; each reviewer only had access to the particular version they were tasked with reviewing. From what I can tell, having played the Xbox 360 version myself and now having read many of the various reviews on the 'net, there's little significant difference between them.

As I said earlier, this is a divisive game. Two people can review the same material, see the same faults, and come away feeling differently about it - which is exactly what's happened here. The faults, in general, are identified clearly in both reviews - Conrad came away nonplussed, where Dene was able to find some enjoyment despite the (numerous) faults that each identified.

In general, we try to ensure that games are assigned to the reviewer we feel is best suited to cover the material. No point giving FIFA to someone that hates sports games, for example.

We do provide a guide to reviewers that explains what we feel the various numbers mean (i.e. that we use the whole scale, average should be 5-6, 10s only go to truly landmark achievements - etc) and extra guidance is available should it be requested.

But otherwise, as Editor, while I might feel out a reviewer if I believe their score doesn't reflect their words, the score is left to the reviewer to determine, based on their experience.

I won't put anything on the site that NZGamer.com doesn't back 100%.
Cool. thanks for the explanation.
 
 
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Dannyboy
On Wednesday 22 Jun 2011 7:13 PM Posted by Dannyboy NZGamer.com VIP
21 June 2011, 05:00 PM Reply to phantom
There's no direct comparison of the two versions; each reviewer only had access to the particular version they were tasked with reviewing. From what I can tell, having played the Xbox 360 version myself and now having read many of the various reviews on the 'net, there's little significant difference between them.

As I said earlier, this is a divisive game. Two people can review the same material, see the same faults, and come away feeling differently about it - which is exactly what's happened here. The faults, in general, are identified clearly in both reviews - Conrad came away nonplussed, where Dene was able to find some enjoyment despite the (numerous) faults that each identified.

In general, we try to ensure that games are assigned to the reviewer we feel is best suited to cover the material. No point giving FIFA to someone that hates sports games, for example.

We do provide a guide to reviewers that explains what we feel the various numbers mean (i.e. that we use the whole scale, average should be 5-6, 10s only go to truly landmark achievements - etc) and extra guidance is available should it be requested.

But otherwise, as Editor, while I might feel out a reviewer if I believe their score doesn't reflect their words, the score is left to the reviewer to determine, based on their experience.

I won't put anything on the site that NZGamer.com doesn't back 100%.
You use the whole scale? Taking a quick look at the review scores of the 1276 games NZG has reviewed in its lifetime only 59 have scored a 5.0 or less. That's 4.6%.
 
 
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phantom
On Wednesday 22 Jun 2011 7:41 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
22 June 2011, 07:13 PM Reply to Dannyboy
You use the whole scale? Taking a quick look at the review scores of the 1276 games NZG has reviewed in its lifetime only 59 have scored a 5.0 or less. That's 4.6%.
Good observation - however, your conclusions are flawed. It's common for publishers to withhold review copies for games they don't feel will rate well and we seldom purchase games for the purpose of review. So there goes a slew of games that would review below 5.

People never send us shovel ware, either, so that's a host of "games" that don't get the chance to go through the mincer.

And, in general, most games aren't actually crap. Most do have redeeming features. Most will find some sort of audience, somewhere.

We also don't compare every game we review to every game we've reviewed before, either, so direct comparisons between games (I.e. "game x scored more than game y, therefore game x is better than game y") aren't valid.

Hope that answers your question! Thanks for asking it, by the way :)
 
 
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Dannyboy
On Wednesday 22 Jun 2011 7:51 PM Posted by Dannyboy NZGamer.com VIP
22 June 2011, 07:41 PM Reply to phantom
Good observation - however, your conclusions are flawed. It's common for publishers to withhold review copies for games they don't feel will rate well and we seldom purchase games for the purpose of review. So there goes a slew of games that would review below 5.

People never send us shovel ware, either, so that's a host of "games" that don't get the chance to go through the mincer.

And, in general, most games aren't actually crap. Most do have redeeming features. Most will find some sort of audience, somewhere.

We also don't compare every game we review to every game we've reviewed before, either, so direct comparisons between games (I.e. "game x scored more than game y, therefore game x is better than game y") aren't valid.

Hope that answers your question! Thanks for asking it, by the way :)
I appreciate the swift reply but everything you've pointed out would seem to suggest your scale is completely arbitrary. What's the purpose of a quality scale if I can't compare the score of game x to game y?
 
 
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phantom
On Thursday 23 Jun 2011 2:29 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
22 June 2011, 07:51 PM Reply to Dannyboy
I appreciate the swift reply but everything you've pointed out would seem to suggest your scale is completely arbitrary. What's the purpose of a quality scale if I can't compare the score of game x to game y?
Let's take the counter point to that argument; what's the point of one that does? Take Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Great game, no question. It deserved the accolades it got. The metacritic rating for that game is at 99% - universal acclaim, the highest rated game of all time.

Since then, games have gotten better; technology improved, methods of story telling and user interaction finessed to epic levels of polish. According to your logic, then, loads of games should be rated at 100% - topping out the scale.

What has changed is this: our expecations. So it's against our expectations, which are fed by improving technology, evolving understanding of the user experience and ever greater intensity around delivery of narrative, that we task our reviewers to score.

So the point of the score, then, is to judge a game against the expectations of the person reviewing it. Something rated 10, then, exceeds expectations in every important respect. Something between 7 and 9 could be said to meet most expectations, maybe exceeding some and maybe failing here or there. And so on.

10 is therefore a moving target; something that will score it today would likely score less in the future, as our expectations increase over time.

So the purpose of the score is to represent a here and now summation of the value of the experience, against the reviewer's expectations of what is possible and what is being attempted (amongst other things).

At least, that's how I take it :)
 
 
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Dannyboy
On Thursday 23 Jun 2011 6:27 PM Posted by Dannyboy NZGamer.com VIP
23 June 2011, 02:29 PM Reply to phantom
Let's take the counter point to that argument; what's the point of one that does? Take Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Great game, no question. It deserved the accolades it got. The metacritic rating for that game is at 99% - universal acclaim, the highest rated game of all time.

Since then, games have gotten better; technology improved, methods of story telling and user interaction finessed to epic levels of polish. According to your logic, then, loads of games should be rated at 100% - topping out the scale.

What has changed is this: our expecations. So it's against our expectations, which are fed by improving technology, evolving understanding of the user experience and ever greater intensity around delivery of narrative, that we task our reviewers to score.

So the point of the score, then, is to judge a game against the expectations of the person reviewing it. Something rated 10, then, exceeds expectations in every important respect. Something between 7 and 9 could be said to meet most expectations, maybe exceeding some and maybe failing here or there. And so on.

10 is therefore a moving target; something that will score it today would likely score less in the future, as our expectations increase over time.

So the purpose of the score is to represent a here and now summation of the value of the experience, against the reviewer's expectations of what is possible and what is being attempted (amongst other things).

At least, that's how I take it :)
Lets say your opinion is correct, what value is there in a number that "represents the here and now summation of the value of the experience" if I can't compare it to any other game? If according to you I can't compare your scores between different videogame generations, if I can't compare two ports of the same game released at the same time because your reviewers have different opinions of the same core game, if I have to assume your average review scores are inflated because there's an invisible pile of games out there that are either too crap to review or publishers don't want you to see (ignoring the fact these games might be all the more important to review to protect consumers from bad games), and if all games have redeeming features which bump their scores up slightly, can a casual reader who doesn't have any familiarity with your caveats take any real meaning from these numbers?
 
 
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Bonzo67
On Friday 24 Jun 2011 2:52 PM Posted by Bonzo67
That's why reviews have text too. A review is more than just a number and I know some magazines played with not including a numbers for their reviews at certain times, or just including the number in the text, so that it wasn't the focus of the page. AFAIK though they all reverted back to having some kind of score system because that's what people wanted. Even if there is no direct comparison between the numbers they do represent a point in time and there are resources like metacritic if you want to get the average of lots of peoples views.
 
 
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phantom
On Friday 24 Jun 2011 3:12 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
23 June 2011, 06:27 PM Reply to Dannyboy
Lets say your opinion is correct, what value is there in a number that "represents the here and now summation of the value of the experience" if I can't compare it to any other game? If according to you I can't compare your scores between different videogame generations, if I can't compare two ports of the same game released at the same time because your reviewers have different opinions of the same core game, if I have to assume your average review scores are inflated because there's an invisible pile of games out there that are either too crap to review or publishers don't want you to see (ignoring the fact these games might be all the more important to review to protect consumers from bad games), and if all games have redeeming features which bump their scores up slightly, can a casual reader who doesn't have any familiarity with your caveats take any real meaning from these numbers?
Let's set one thing straight: That's not my opinion. That's fact. It's editorial policy. I'm the editor. I set the policy.

As for the rest of your post? It's already answered: the score is relevant to itself. It tells you whether the review thinks it was a great, good, indifferent or otherwise experience. It makes no sense to compare the score of say Art Academy and Mass Effect.

It also is of more value to readers, imo, to see two different opinions on one game than it is to see one. Readers familiar with Dene and Conrad can then determine, for example, whether their opinions are more likely to mesh with their own.

I know it's obvious and simple to point at one review's number and infer that it's better / worse than another, based on the number alone. That's the problem with the review system as a whole, no matter what you're reviewing.

We provide the supporting information in the text, with numbers designed to sum up the text so that people can tell at a glance whether the reviewer loved / loathed / felt some other way about the game. That's all.
 
 
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addicted2088
On Friday 24 Jun 2011 5:42 PM Posted by addicted2088
This is quite nice. More sites should post reviews from 2-3 different reviewers.
Agree with this review, this game is a travesty. Too much crass humour. Stupid gameplay, bad graphics.
 
 
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Dannyboy
On Friday 24 Jun 2011 7:33 PM Posted by Dannyboy NZGamer.com VIP
24 June 2011, 03:12 PM Reply to phantom
Let's set one thing straight: That's not my opinion. That's fact. It's editorial policy. I'm the editor. I set the policy.

As for the rest of your post? It's already answered: the score is relevant to itself. It tells you whether the review thinks it was a great, good, indifferent or otherwise experience. It makes no sense to compare the score of say Art Academy and Mass Effect.

It also is of more value to readers, imo, to see two different opinions on one game than it is to see one. Readers familiar with Dene and Conrad can then determine, for example, whether their opinions are more likely to mesh with their own.

I know it's obvious and simple to point at one review's number and infer that it's better / worse than another, based on the number alone. That's the problem with the review system as a whole, no matter what you're reviewing.

We provide the supporting information in the text, with numbers designed to sum up the text so that people can tell at a glance whether the reviewer loved / loathed / felt some other way about the game. That's all.
My apologies, you said "that's my take", and I thought "opinion" was interchangeable. I didn't mean to offend, and I don't mean to pick on NZG. I was spurred to post because I read Dene's review first, which was reasonably searing, and I was left surprised the score was in the 70s. My beef is with the perennial trend of video game review scores to average between 7-9 (doc*mented particularly well here: http://www.cerebiggum.com/2011/03/game-review-scores-part-i/).

I don't know any other review medium that has that kind of upper-quartile skew, do you? It may not affect most gamers, we've been reading game reviews for a long time and we know an average game has an 8 rating and can make meaning out of the tenth of a point differentiations below and above that (beyond the fact we know its the words that matter anyway, cheers Bonzo), but I doubt it's helpful for say, grandma, who suspects the score scale works the same as any other medium. Jerry Holkins, who has b*tched about video game scores extensively over the years, recently called it a byproduct of the "warping field" generated by the relationship between the vg press and the PR companies who supply review copies for free (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2011/6/17/ [Since he's actually talking about Duke Nukem here I'll note that I came across his post after I read the NZG review, not before, it was just a very lucky coincidence]).

Whatever the reason for the skew, as an editor who cares about his readers and cares about the legitimacy of video game criticism, I would hope you don't honestly believe NZG, or the majority of review websites for that matter, adhere to an average of "5-6". You can't fix a problem if you can't admit it's there.
 
 
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