If you grew up in the 90s playing video games, then you know all about Duke Nukem and his extreme action hero persona. Arguably the biggest title to feature Duke and his catchphrases, Duke Nukem 3D, was ported to many different platforms over the years. While Duke Nukem hasn’t been too popular in gaming recently, especially after the critical disaster that was Duke Nukem Forever, there is still an audience that appreciates his golden days as a Doom-inspired shooter. This is the nostalgia that Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour tries to appeal to, bringing along a selection of new content created by the original Duke Nukem 3D development team. However, this 20th Anniversary celebration may be only for the most dedicated fans of the series.
The biggest problem with Duke Nukem 3D World Tour is how terribly its gameplay has aged over the years. The controls are exactly how you remember, with moving around and aiming being the same as the original Doom. Everything else however doesn’t hold up as well. The platforming sections in some areas feel stiff and can be annoying when you slightly miss a jump and fall to your death. Ammo can be very scarce even when playing on the lower difficulties, leaving only Duke’s boot to defend yourself. Finding key areas or switches to advance through the level can also be annoying when you can’t tell them apart from the pixel background.
An interesting addition to the game is the rewind feature when you are killed. Each time you die, you are given the option to rewind back to any point in time during the level and start over. This can be done to go back to seconds before your death or to the beginning of the stage. This was super helpful to me in stages where I made mistakes that lead to getting killed and I wanted to just redo what I did wrong, not the entire area. It helps also that all of your ammo or items used are replaced when you rewind, giving you the options to try out different weapons and actions.
For the 20th Anniversary, the game includes new levels in both single player and multiplayer, as well as some developer commentaries and more extras for fans of the series. You don’t need to play through the entire game to access the new content, as everything is available from the start. The new episode “Alien World Order” gives you more single player action that feels like it was made for the game’s original release.
While it might be longer than the previous episodes, it’s still more of the same. There is a neat visual toggle that allows you to play using the original game’s graphics or a new True 3D filter, which adds improved lighting and cleans up some of the sprites and models. You can switch between both visual styles on the fly without stopping your game at all.
Multiplayer is somewhat barren and only offers the most basic deathmatch and team deathmatch. Not only is it hard to set up or get into a lobby with other players, but the outcome of matches can end up being questionable. When I did get into a match up with at least one or two other players, the games were borderline unplayable on the PlayStation 4. Constant latency, sliding across the map, and invisible bullets scoring kills quickly put an end to any fun I could’ve had.
Duke Nukem 3D World Tour is a game for fans of Duke Nukem and nothing more. The gameplay hasn’t aged well throughout the years and the new content for the 20th anniversary only does so much for this package. Multiplayer is pretty much non-existent and unfortunately won’t take up much of your time. Both the True 3D and Rewind features are interesting concepts that I would love to see implemented into other classic first-person shooters. If you didn’t like the series or never played the original game, this won’t bring you on board to becoming a fan.
This review was based on a review code of Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour for the PlayStation 4, provided by Gearbox Software.