There are still some people out there that believe Duke Nukem Forever is an elaborate hoax, a massive troll by 3DRealms which Gearbox and 2K Games have decided they wanted to get in on. But if that's the case though, it's a damn good hoax. After playing the multiplayer-side of things, the game isn't looking half bad and there's more than enough one-liners to go around.
Everything about the multiplayer in Duke Nukem Forever felt old school. From the modes, to the level design and even how the game actually played. This might be seen as a bad thing for some, but it was nice to play a game where it didn't feel like there was any pandering going on. There's no sense of auto-aim or anything like that, and there are plenty of power-ups and crazy guns littered around to keep things frantic.
In many ways, it felt like a modern day Quake or Unreal Tournament. The starting pistol is hard to hit with and doesn't do much damage, but there are weapons scattered around everywhere, so it's easy to find something more useful. Nothing feels all that powered though and it's all very fast paced.
The assortment of weapons is rather traditional, with the classic rocket launcher, shrink ray and Duke's three-barrel machine gun. There's also a lovely freeze ray and some pipe bombs. The balancing is pretty solid, although the rocket launcher is still rather over-powered if possessed by someone with good accuracy. Duke can also pick up items to consume, such as steroids, which send him into a rage fit of manliness.
To make Duke feel even more manly, Capture the Flag appears, but in slightly tactless form - Capture the Babe. It works very similar to Capture the Flag, but when you pick up the babe, she will try to distract you by waving her hand in front of your face. How do you stop her from doing this? By smacking her butt of course! If you're in possession of the babe, you're also given a rather nifty pistole too.
Duke Nukem Forever also contains the standard Deathmatch, there's also an implementation of Zones. Here, Duke's symbol will be placed at a location around the map and while standing in it, you'll accrue points. There's only one location available at a time though and everyone in the game knows exactly where it is. Mayhem is an accurate word to describe this scenario, as everyone descends upon to a single spot.
Given how modern-day shooters play, it was honestly rather strange to play something that felt like it belonged in the early 2000s. It created a certain air of nostalgia, like you get when playing Serious Sam HD, but the game also felt like it belonged in the present day. There did seem to be a few issues with hit detection, especially when using the shotgun, but it's not really much of an issue and it's something that can easily be patched.
One thing's for sure though, Duke Nukem Forever's multiplayer certainly delivers the kind of experience that one would expect from such a franchise. It's fast-paced, crude and devilishly unforgiving. Be sure to check it out when the game ships on the 10th of June (7th in North America) on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.