ESRB ratings are quickly becoming the destination for pre-release laughs about what's going to shock or surprise gamers in the more mature titles. We saw it for Bulletstorm and so it's only natural that Duke Nukem Forever, a contender for the title of least-serious first person shooter, brings the funny big time in this regard.
Duke Nukem Forever has been mired with an over-a-decade-long development journey through hell and is definitely a title the gaming world has its eyes on. Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford has tried to put gamers at ease by stating that he thinks the game will score well with reviewers, a bold claim considering the long wait many of us have had to endure for the game, and against concerns over how the Duke will stack up against the current generation of shooters.
Thankfully, the ESRB Rating Summary is here to remind us why we waited so long for Duke Nukem Forever. The ESRB Content Descriptors claim the title has been rated Mature for, "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol." While most of this has been covered in some form or another, that doesn't make reading the Rating Summary any less hilarious.
This is a first-person shooter in which players assume the role of Duke Nukem, an action hero who must save Earth from invading aliens. Players use pistols, rail guns, shotguns, explosives, and Duke's bare hands to attack and kill the alien enemies. The majority of gameplay involves destroying these enemies in frenetic gun and laser battles in order to move on to the next section. Aliens are often decapitated or dismembered when hit, sending large splashes of blood across the ground, surrounding walls, and players' screen. Some sequences depict more 'over-the-top' instances of violence: aliens getting stabbed in the head or impaled; a human soldier bursting into bloody gibs after being tossed through propeller blades. In one sequence, players have the ability to shoot human characters that are trapped in pod-like alien webbing; bodies explode into pieces upon impact. During the course of the game, players enter a strip-club level and view several topless dancers and receive lap dances. A couple of missions within this level require players to recover sex toys and pictures of topless women. A few sequences strongly imply sexual acts: two women appear to perform fellatio on the central character (e.g., raising their heads from his lap)–though there is no actual depiction of the sex act; Duke moans and leans up against the wall of a bathroom stall (furnished with a hole)–it is implied that a sex act (not depicted) occurs. The game also contains several sexual references and innuendo in the dialogue (e.g., 'I have hungry–you have big egg ro' for me, Duke,' 'If you supply the dancing, I'll supply the pole,' and 'I'll need something naughty to play with.'). Duke's comments range from jokes about colon cleansing to several one-liners about sex and female body parts. Bathroom humor includes the ability to urinate in toilets or urinals and/or pick up feces from toilets and throw it against walls. Players can use both steroid pills and beer as power-ups; when beer is consumed, the screen temporarily blurs. The words 'f**k,' 'sh*t,' 'c*ck,' and 'a*shole' appear in dialogue and on-screen text.
Duke definitely scores points for being the only FPS of this quality to allow you to go to the strip club, or for that matter having your way with a glory-hole. To be honest, gamers probably don't even want to know why you can smear the walls with crap you've pulled from a toilet, but the game even has that too. Whatever your fetish, it's probably covered.
What do you think of this game's Rating Summary? Does it live up to everything you expect Duke's long awaited sequel should be?
Duke Nukem Forever is going to be bringing lots of sex, drugs and violence to the living room - finally you don't have to leave your house for all of that - on May 3, 2011 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.