Come get some anyhow: Bad reviews won’t affect Duke sales

The first batch of Duke Nukem Forever reviews are in and things aren’t looking so good for the one-liner-spouting action hero. Over 10 years in the making, the first-person shooter finally hits shelves in North America today. 

According to EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich, this is one of the rare cases where he feels that poor reviews won’t have any affect on how it does at retail. 

“I don’t think the critic reception of Duke Nukem even matters and will unlikely impact sales,” he says, adding “There are very few times I’d suggest ignoring critic reviews, and Duke Nukem is one of them.” 

Duke Nukem reminds me of one of those cheesy SyFy movies, [like] Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” he says. “You know what you are getting into, it’s a guilty pleasure.”

Our own Jim Sterling gave the game a dismal 2 out of 10 rating, calling it “absolute garbage that should have stayed confined to the bowels of Development Hell.” Metacritic scores across the board aren’t looking so hot, either, with a current average of a 62 across the PC and console versions of the game. PC Games Germany gives it the highest praise with an 81%, saying “It’s a great shooter for fans but of course suffers from the bad graphics and some boring levels.”

Randy Pitchford, head of Gearbox Software (the developer that picked up the Duke Nuke Forever torch after 3D Realms collapsed), agrees with Divnich. He told Eurogamer earlier this month that he’s “not worried about” the reception. It didn’t much matter in the UK, where the game shipped to stores last Friday; it currently sits at number one on sales charts. 

Despite reviews, many folks have already decided to see the epic Duke Nukem Forever saga to its conclusion. Many in Destructoid’s own community have already committed to pre-orders, some shelling out as much as $100 for the massive “Balls of Steel” collector’s package. Like those people, many who feel the need to be “part of history” by purchasing and playing a game that almost never saw release, Divnich views the game as a piece of history. 

Duke Nukem is a game that needs to be played by all, just so one can appreciate the history of our industry,” he says. “Not to mention the game offers some over-the-top audacious moments that will no doubt be remembered for years to come.”

Our reviewer, Jim Sterling, agrees with Divnich (and Pitchford) on the sales front. But he wildly disagrees with analyst’s last point. 

“The game will sell well based on pure hype and audacity,” he says in the wrap up of his review, “but history will not look favorably upon this game. Nor should it.”

“If for the very least, pick up and play Duke Nukem because it is unlikely we’ll see another in our lifetime,” suggests Divnich. 

With Gearbox now in possession of the Duke Nukem IP, I’d imagine that if sales are strong, we won’t have to wait a lifetime to see another Duke Nukem game. And perhaps his next set of adventures will have more to offer gamers than pure nostalgia. 

Nick Chester