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This isn’t our official review of Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary World Tour ($20 on Steam). That’ll come later—this is the busy season, and everybody (meaning me) is working overtime (meaning playing a million different games at once).
I did get the chance to boot it up and run through a few levels though, and my official recommendation: Buy the hell out of this remaster/re-render/whatever Gearbox wants to call it. Or at least buy it if you have any interest in Duke Nukem.
Duke 3D is a classic—a sometimes off-color, sometimes offensive classic. Like your creepy uncle who you constantly feel the need to apologize for, and yet you love just the same. The 20th Anniversary World Tour uses a different rendering technique (which you can toggle by hitting “C”) so all objects show up in true 3D instead of a stretched fish-eye effect, and throws in pretty lighting to boot. Here are some examples:
I do wish I could change the FOV, as a spoiled PC gamer here in 2016—it’s a bit tight for my tastes. But hey, the game’s twenty years old. Can’t get everything.
Aside from the visual upgrade the 20th Anniversary World Tour adds eight new levels, designed by Duke 3D vets Allen Blum III and Richard Gray. I’ve played two of these so far (they exist as their own episode, so you can jump right in) and they’ve both been wild. It feels like authentic Duke 3D, but integrating some modern tenets of level design. And a flamethrower.
I don’t know how big the audience is for a Duke 3D remaster in 2016 but I can’t fault Gearbox for the end result. This is the best Duke game we’ve had in...well, twenty years. I’m looking forward to playing more, as soon as the onslaught of games dies down a bit.