I'm over halfway through the game and I sort of don't understand why this game was panned so hard. It is certainly not the second worst game of 2011 as Yahtzee put it. If it is, then 2011 must have been a fantastic year for gaming. A year where even the second-worst game is decent! We should be so lucky.
Now, I'm glad I didn't shell out $60 or however much the initial asking price was for it, but that goes for everything I play, so this game is hardly unusual in that regard. I usually wait until a game is $10 or so before I buy it unless I'm really interested in it. (In this case got it for $8 including all DLC, and that feels about right for me.) I'm also glad I didn't wait 15 years for it, and I think this long delay has a lot to do with the perception of the game. I never played Duke Nukem 3D until last year or so, and I was very unimpressed with it. It's not just that it's old; Doom is even older and plays much better in my opinion. Perhaps I'd have loved Duke3D if I had played it back when I was too young to be playing it, but as it happens, I hadn't. Most likely if Broussard had kept his trap shut and never mentioned the game until it was well and truly on its way to release, and if nobody had heard about it until the playable demo at PAX, it would actually have been well received.
Sure, the humor is often juvenile -- as it always has been. Yes, you can pick a turd up out of a toilet and throw it. So what? The people complaining about this seem to have overlooked a simple alternative: don't do it. Nobody's forcing you to. If you find it objectionable, what were you doing looking in a toilet and grabbing a turd in the first place?
And yes, Duke Nukem is a sexist, chauvinist pig. What else is new? I hardly believe the way Duke treats women is the way they should be treated, and I don't think a silly game is going to change that.
People complain about the regenerating health. Some even claim that it's un-Duke-like. I do not understand this complaint. Yeah, hiding until your health regenerates may seem cowardly. You know what else is cowardly? Fleeing the scene in search of health kits. I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore.
The two-weapon limitation, while perhaps a bit strange in a Duke game, is not a problem. Oh no, I have to use my brain and figure out whether I want to keep my nearly depleted Devastator or exchange it for a machine gun! Come on. It makes for more interesting gameplay and I don't think it hurts the game in the least. Besides, what fun is it to wield the most powerful weapon in the game if you always have it available to you?
Bottom line: while I'm hardly in love with the game, I actually like Duke Nukem Forever more than Duke Nukem 3D.