Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Gearbox Software
Developer: Nerve Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes

One of my all time favorite games has been Duke Nukem 3D. I think I have purchased every single version, remake and re-release there has been. There’s just something about this game that I always come back to. This new remake from Nerve Software brings the nostalgia, but it falls short in many areas.

In early 2013, you may remember there was a re-release of Duke Nukem 3D on Steam and other systems. This new version is different, as it uses a new engine, has slightly updated visuals and new levels created by the original programmers. Everything looks sharper, with less muddy visuals and some great lighting effects. The sound was also updated to sound more clear. Duke’s voice was given an upgrade as well, with original voice actor John St. John re-recording all of Duke’s original dialog, along with adding some new lines. Game play remains largely unchanged — traverse through a maze, killing almost everything that moves while collecting keys to open doors. One new addition is a Replay Slider you can use when you die. Shortly after death, the game pauses and allows you to rewind time so you can try the exact same spot again without starting over. To me, this kinda ruins the charm of the original game, so I tried not to use it at all.

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Along with the visual and audio upgrades, there have been some new levels added, created by the original programmers! A chapter called “Alien World Order” takes place after the events of the original game, and has Duke battling aliens in seven new locations. Even though they are new, they still play just like the original levels, with their maze like maps, heated gun battles and “exciting” key card collecting. While this is a welcome addition, it’s largely more of the same game play that starts to feel stale after a short time.

While this is a nice upgrade to a classic game, it’s missing a ton of content that was found in the 2013 version. The Duke It Out in D.C., Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach, and Duke: Nuclear Winter expansion packs that were found in the Megaton Edition are nowhere to be found here. This is basically a prettier Duke Nukem 3D with one new chapter. There is a commentary option you can turn on while you play some levels, but don’t listen for hints about the level or anything. Mostly it just talks about level design and enemy placement. The commentary also seems to be short and not very informative.

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Control is actually really responsive and seems to be fine tuned for controllers. I didn’t have any issues maneuvering or dodging for the most part. Previous versions always seemed kinda float-y while moving duke, but here, it seems to be tighter and grounded.

While it looks and sounds better than the original and even the Megaton Edition, there isn’t really enough new here to warrant a purchase. If updated visuals and one new chapter seem great to you, and you already don’t own the Megaton Edition, then you may find something to like here. Nothing in World Tour is bad or broken by any means, and it plays just as you would expect, it’s Duke Nukem 3D through and through. The new chapter is designed perfectly to fit the original design of the game, and it is really cool to play the new maps… it just feels like more could’ve been included. It’s a good release, but not great and could have contained a lot more.

Grade: C+