Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (PS Vita) Review

By Luna Eriksson 11.04.2015

Review for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on PS Vita

Over 19 years ago, Duke Nukem 3D was released and was part of the holy trinity that helped to popularise and define what first-person shooters are, even to this day. It also created a lot of controversy due to the sexism and violent themes that its machismo attitude inevitably brought to the table. While sometimes unnecessarily tasteless, it is truly hard to care enough about it when there are tons of alien heads to blow up and genre-defining gameplay to go with that. Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is a loyal and honest remake of one of the games that has played a huge part in defining one of the best-selling video game genres. This is an ageless classic that has awoken all kinds of feelings amongst its receptors. The Duke is back in town.

Today, it is hard to imagine a market where there were close to none first-person shooter titles on the top list of best-selling games, but FPSs have not always been as popular as they are now. Back in the early 90s, first-person shooters were a phenomenon almost unheard of in public ears. Due to limited capacity in the hardware and the high popularity of action platformers and adventure games, the concept was almost unheard of in the living room of the commoner. Then something happened that would change that for good. The holy trinity of first-person shooters - Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem 3D - were released, and their heavy popularity helped to define the genre, which has been here to stay. Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is a newly made remake of the last mentioned of these, and it shows that this title holds its own even to this day.

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition succeeds with capturing that feeling that the original did back in the mid-90s perfectly, by keeping the changes to a minimum. The ingenious gameplay is left intact and most things are left exactly where they were left, therefore succeeding in recreating the Duke Nukem experience for a whole new generation to sink their teeth into. With the DLC chapters Duke It Out in D.C., Duke Caribbean: Life's a Beach and Duke: Nuclear Winter all included in the package, there has never been a better time to look into this ageless classic.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on PS Vita

The level design in Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is one of its best aspects, with stages that are far from linear and containing several secrets for the wary to discover, creating high replayability in a way that few games in its genre before and after it have failed to do - part of the reason it has become a timeless classic. Even in its simplicity, Megaton Edition offers a lot of challenge for genre veterans.

There are a lot of difficult areas where the way to proceed is not always clear, which adds the discovery factor of an adventure game into the FPS experience in a great and seamless way that does not feel enforced or out of the ordinary. Another great aspects of Megaton Edition is the weapon balance and how ammo is delivered. The weaker weapons have heaps of ammunition provided to ensure that the enemies ahead can be tackled, and more powerful weapons are rarely given away to prevent face-rolling through every enemy and promotes saving them for more dangerous threats.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on PS Vita

However, it shows that Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is an aged game when it comes to its visuals and physics. Sometimes this becomes very obvious when it is hard to see where to go due to visual limitations that were not an issue back then, but nowadays is because of how spoiled gamers are in the visual department. A crack in the wall no longer means what it used to and is now usually decoration, while back then it was a sure sign of a hidden path. Other aspects are, of course, also affected by the tooth of time.

The sometimes extremely cheesy comments that were considered radical and badass back then in the 90s also do not appear to be more than laugh-worthy now. A prime example is when the Duke sees a Duke Nukem arcade machine in one of the stages and says in his masculine, heroic, action hero voice, "I don't have time to play with myself." This might have been radical and badass back in the 90s because things like these were unheard of back then. Nowadays, however, it just feels enforced and embarrassing due to how often offensive language is used in action games to add a juvenile and artificial feel of edginess, which strongly changes how that remark is met by the audience. Today, it is hard to understand that Duke Nukem 3D is actually a parody of an action movie when the industry as a whole looks like this, and Poe's Law ruins the joke it tries to pull out for its current audience.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on PS Vita

The biggest miss in Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is, that it lacks the level editor that the original was so famous for. This is hugely unfortunate as it was introduced into the genre by the old classic, and a meaty level editor surely helps to keep an old game fresh.

Despite missing the level editor and the fact some parts of the game have passed the best before date, overall, the experience still feels fresh. The concept Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is built upon is both genre-defining and, importantly, an ageless one that keeps the game fresh for a long time to come, making this a title that both veterans and people who have never before played Duke Nukem 3D one to look into.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although the Duke is no longer the only sheriff in town and younger, better looking competitors have appeared, Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition offers a well-made experience and gameplay that is amongst the better in the genre even to this day, due to the way it perfectly mixes the secret-hunting of adventure titles with the action of a first-person shooter. The Duke might have aged, but he has aged with dignity and has experience and accomplishments most of his younger colleagues will never achieve, while walking in the footsteps he once imprinted on the ground of the industry.




Devolver Digital


First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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