Duke Nukem 3D is arguably the Duke’s finest moment, the FPS adventure that brought the tough-as-nails, balls to the wall, wise-cracking monster slayer to the masses and made him part of video game pop culture. Despite all the sequels and spinoffs, both good and bad, players always seem to come back to the original for some classic run and gun gameplay. Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour just so happens to be another reason to come back for more. Bringing all new 3D visuals for current gen consoles, previously released content, and new stages created by the original level designers, this rerelease is the definitive version of a classic. But is it worth another purchase?
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour Review
Developed by Nerve Software and Gearbox Software / Published by Gearbox Publishing
Available on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by Gearbox Publishing
Now, if you’ve played the recently released Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (which came out three years ago but no longer exists due to Gearbox owning the IP), it’s a pretty similar experience which borrows some features. It’s the same, fantastic old-school shooter, bringing the four-episode campaign full of flying monsters, police pigs, damsels in distress, toilet humor, and plenty of one-liners to a new generation of players who haven’t experienced Duke’s finest adventure, as well as eight player multiplayer deathmatches. It also brings along 1080p visuals, and the incredible feature that lets players rewind time to any point in the stage should they die, allowing them to literally restart anywhere before the moment right before their death so that they don’t have to restart from scratch. It’s a great feature and it makes it easier for newcomers to take on the old-school challenge, and the visual improvements make for a refined experience.
With 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour, a couple of new features and additions have been added to the classic game. The first, and arguably the biggest draw of the new package is of course the new set of eight levels created by original designers Allen Blum III and Richard “Levelord” Gray. These stages are full of the signature campiness and humor that put Duke on the map in the first place, with players traveling all around the globe to thwart the alien invasion, making for some challenging and fun moments, including visiting UFO-inspired dispensaries in Amsterdam, fragging monsters in Paris, check out the pyramids in Egypt, and more. The stages are well designed and are challenging, full of monsters that can wreck you and plenty of firepower to take them out. Duke also has a couple of new one-liners recorded by original voice actor Jon St. John, which is a really cool touch.
The other new addition is the all-new True3D rendering mode, which takes the original 2D/3D visuals and takes them up a notch, offering a new paint job with improved textures, added lighting, and more. Players can switch between the original visuals and the True3D at any time during gameplay, so you can see the small but noticeable improvements that make it a better-looking game. It’s not that drastic of a difference that it’ll blow you away, but the awesome lighting definitively breathes new life to a classic.
These new additions aren’t enough to differentiate it from the Megaton Edition, since the eight new levels technically replace the missing expansions Duke It Out in D.C., Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach, and Duke: Nuclear Winter, and the True3D is great but unnecessary, but they are both nice additions that will keep players busy as step into Duke’s shoes once again and kick some butt. Owners of the previous release however might find the added content not enough of a reason to upgrade to the new version. It’s all up to how much of a fan you are and if you snagged the Megaton Edition before it was removed.
At the end of the day, Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour is the best version of the game available to date, bringing new content, improved looks and the excellent run and gun gameplay to current-gen consoles. While it might not offer much to veterans of the series, it’s an excellent starting point for newcomers looking to get their classic first-person shooter fix.