We were highly surprised to see ATI Radeon HD 3850 and Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS on the list of graphics cards recommended for Duke Nukem Forever by its developer. The cards are almost four years old, suggesting that the game visuals are far from the standards and beauties of the latest DirectX.
However, it is often the case that system requirements are set lower in order to cover a larger user audience. The game being a multiplatform project is yet another factor because it is the G80 and R600 processors that are responsible for graphics in such game consoles as Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.
The game engine isn't something extraordinary. It is in fact the good old Unreal Engine 2.5 that has undergone some serious modifications in the hands of 3D Realms. The developers say that they didn't touch only those parts of the engine that were responsible for the event triggering and character scripting system as well as for multiplayer. The AI and the texture-mapping and model animation parts of the engine have been rewritten. The character models are based on normal maps and incorporate from 500 thousand to a million polygons.
It is textures that are a disappointment. The lack of details can be easily seen even on such simple surfaces as walls and floors at the popular resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. It is also sad that the game supports DirectX 9, so we can't expect such effects as tessellation or complex version 5 shaders. Instead, it makes use of version 3.0 shaders whereas the shadows and lighting are on a par with Doom 3.