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Old 06-15-2011, 04:49 AM   #1
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Default Duke Nukem Forever Review

After more than a decade, the king is back. Duke Nukem has been living the dream of being a worldwide icon since finishing off the Cycloid Emperor long ago - but the aliens have returned. Duke once again has to save both himself and the world by any means necessary. Does this adventure manage to live up to the last?

You can read through our full Duke Nukem Forever review for the PC and then discuss it here!
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:15 AM   #2
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This is probably about as close as an M rated game can get to the Coffee House thing in GTA Vice City.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:51 AM   #3
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Hot Coffee you mean, that only caused a fuss because it wasn't declared and it would have pushed up the rating. Funny really... bloody massacre, rampant swearing, torture, racial and sexist humor... Teen Rating! T&A and it goes straight to the AO section...

Don't let them go near 'Artificial Girl' - heh, they'd have a field day...
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:01 AM   #4
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Balanced review. It's nice to see something that isn't "this sucks" or "this rocks". I can't agree with all that has been said, though. But this is so much about personal preferences or even the mental predisposition at the time, that I think it would be futile to debate the details.

I was a bit violent on DNF on another thread, so I feel I should add my, hopefully more levelled, 2 cents on this official review thread.

(5/10)

I found the game fun to play. That in itself always puts any game on a personal 5/10, right off the bat. With no chance to go down. Only up. It's other things that then tend to climb my personal appreciation and increase the score. For the FPS genre these tend to be level design, playability, replayability, graphics and sound. Story also tends to matter. But since this is Duke, I know it would be unfair to factor that in.

To be fair, some of these should have landed DNF an higher score. I agree the game sound and score is good, for instance. Strangely I also somewhat enjoyed the lackluster graphics that made sure there were tiny moments there (very fleeting, but there) when I felt transported back to DN3D. The "shrink ray" was always fun, even though I agree often it just felt like more an out-of-the-blue game imposed gimmick, instead of something being introduced within a context.

But as I could be ready to start upping the score on these tings to more or less the levels you present on this review, deeper feelings didn't allow me.

I'm also a big fan of Duke. Also since the very first game. The first game is especially vivid in my memory because it coincided with my purchase of my first VGA ready computer (and upgrade from the CGA's, hrm, less interesting option, to put nicely, that I had been using for nearly a decade). Duke was the first game where I tried it on, despite being in fact an EGA game. For any of you you used a monochrome CGA card for a length of time, you can imagine the impact this had on me.

But despite the visuals, the game was also immensely fun to play. And from then on I was hooked all the way, and including, Manhattan Project, which was right up until last week the last Duke PC game.

What really tripped me against this incarnation of DNF was exactly my love for the game. My expectations where very high that I was going to have again a wide and immersible corridor FPS with superior level design, puzzles, a good dose of defiant humor and a blazing fast mindless trigger-happy gameplay perfect for both singleplay and multiplay. All in the best tradition of DN3D... in fact, in the best tradition of the golden age of FPS. In short, I was hoping for the DNF to be what was first announced 14 years ago.

The years passed and I cannot but see with contempt what they did to DNF and FPSs in general. Not that we don't have good references ever since. Hell, no! There's been some amazing pieces of work. Half-Life, Quake, Far Cry the first, first installments of Call of Duty, BioShock, I could go to produce a big list no doubt. No. The issue is not the lack of good games. The issue is the fear of going back to old-style FPS that so much rocked my world in the 90s. And DNF was the perfect tool for the job.

Instead they gave me a game that can't even compete with modern FPS titles. Where DN3D make Duke into a star, DNF turned him into a loser begging for some attention and trying to live off his past fame without making so much of an effort to become grandiose again. It's, for all that matters, a mediocre game compared to what it was in the past. It's how you kill a series. If DNF was a TV show, it would be right now on the director's table up for a review for a quite possible cancellation.

Or maybe not... sales will tell. But I didn't see Duke Nukem in this game. What I saw was a linear FPS (as many are done today) with none of the imagination of the past title, that took legal hold of the IP and did what the hell it wanted, with no regard to what actually turned the IP into a cult classic.

If you remove the Duke Nukem persona from this game and imagine it replaced by someone else (let it stay the chicks, the pigs, the aliens, the one-liners) very few would be so kind reviewing this game.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:22 AM   #5
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LOLZ @ "This is no Battlefield."

This is easily the best review of the ones that I have read and I'm not just saying that. I'd call Rob out if I thought it weren't and I'm sure he'd expect it. Finally, a review that states the good and the bad with examples of each - not just using vague phrases without any elaborating.

I'll probably grab the demo if time allows just so I can see what the fuss is about and draw my own conclusion but I expect it to be much the same here. I'm extremely immature at times and am a HUGE Duke fan to begin with so this game should be perfect for me. No gum here!

I'd love to see Gearbox do a ground up build of another TRUE Duke game though. Good call on that one.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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I agree with many of the points you have made here Rob. I am not done with it yet however, but I leaning in the same area for final review score.

Agreed build a new Duke game from the ground up. This time with one engine and out in 3 years not 14! Oh and another idea how about an option to turn down or up Dukes banter through out the game, it does get old.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tharic-Nar View Post
Funny really... bloody massacre, rampant swearing, torture, racial and sexist humor... Teen Rating! T&A and it goes straight to the AO section...
No kidding, that drives me nuts. I think the problem is that a lot of people have been desensitized to violence, but sex is just getting more prevalent in video games over time, so people tend to notice it more. This subject alone is too complex to discuss in a simple thread like this though... I could almost write a book on my feelings on the matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Balanced review. It's nice to see something that isn't "this sucks" or "this rocks". I can't agree with all that has been said, though. But this is so much about personal preferences or even the mental predisposition at the time, that I think it would be futile to debate the details.
I can agree that a lot of people won't like this game, and I don't have a problem with that. But what I do have a problem with is some outlets going on a free-for-all and bashing the game for the fun of it, and then giving out inaccurate scores. One site, as mentioned, gave it a 30/100. REALLY? Another site gave it an F. REALLY? An F?

In the 10 or so hours that I played the game, I didn't encounter a single bug... not one. No crashes, no show-stopping glitches... nothing. That's a lot more than can be said about any other launch game I've played in recent memory. At the same time, the game is very, very playable. You can complete it without much getting in your way, and most of it is fun. ANYTHING positive about the game should have awarded it better than an F. Again, a lot of sites, to me, are being more sensationalist about this game than they ought to be, giving out quotable quotes and ridiculous ratings to get attention. I think it's unfortunate.

I don't like to bash the methodologies other websites have, but come on. If I pulled off the same sort of stunt, I'd deserve to be called out on it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
The "shrink ray" was always fun, even though I agree often it just felt like more an out-of-the-blue game imposed gimmick, instead of something being introduced within a context.
I agree, though I guess the same could be said about DN3D, where the shrink ray was never a "required" gun. That's one aspect that disappointed me about this game though, thanks both to its length and the fact that only two weapons could be wielded at one time. There was no real such thing as swapping weapons to change things up, but rather you are basically forced to stick with one of your favorites, and then one on the side.

In DN3D, the game was so long that there were a ton of instances where you could haul out the shrink way one minute, a shotgun the next and then the ripper. There were constant opportunities to use whatever weapon you want, but here, that's been thrown out the window.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
For any of you you used a monochrome CGA card for a length of time, you can imagine the impact this had on me.
Going from CGA to VGA is about as major a jump as you can get. Was this before Duke Nukem 2 was even available? If so, DN1 might have looked good, but DN2 would have blown your socks off back then, haha. Oh, and Halloween Harry, can't forget him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
In short, I was hoping for the DNF to be what was first announced 14 years ago.
This is a big problem to overcome, I admit. After you beat the game, you unlock an extra that shows off the E3 demo from 1999, and wow, was the game different back then. It STILL looks like a ton of fun. But given the (unfortunate) progression of FPS titles, DNF never had a chance to truly stick to its roots this late in the game.

As a side note, does there exist a single FPS game anymore that sticks to that old-style of gameplay? I'm talking corridors, keycards, overhead maps where you can see the entire dungeon, et cetera. I guess there are good and bad about current FPS, but given this was a direct follow-up to DN3D, it did leave a lot to be desired.

I should also note that I'm experiencing the same sort of problem with Half-Life 2: Episode Three. The game is taking -so- long to get here, that I'm starting to lose interest over time. By the time it gets here, it's hard to tell if I'll even be THAT excited, even though I still love the previous games a ton. Delays don't do any game good, I'm afraid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
And DNF was the perfect tool for the job.
What I found depressing was the Hollywood level in multiplayer. What could have been an ideal throwback... wasn't. We have the exact same layout, but instead of the same sort of graphics, the entire level is made to look like a broken down Hollywood set. Why, did they need to do that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Instead they gave me a game that can't even compete with modern FPS titles. Where DN3D make Duke into a star, DNF turned him into a loser begging for some attention and trying to live off his past fame without making so much of an effort to become grandiose again. It's, for all that matters, a mediocre game compared to what it was in the past. It's how you kill a series. If DNF was a TV show, it would be right now on the director's table up for a review for a quite possible cancellation.
The problem is, I think after all this time, making DNF an unbelievable game was just impossible. 3D Realms dragged things on forever, and then Gearbox was handed a half-finished game and had to go through the task of both finishing it and making it as good as can be. And trust me, if there's a developer that can do this, it's Gearbox. We're talking about the people responsible for Half-Life: Opposing Force, Brothers in Arms and of course, Borderlands. The people there, like Randy Pitchford, have also been involved in a countless number of classic games as well (such as Shadow Warrior).

I am of the belief that if Gearbox couldn't take this game and turn it into a masterpiece, then it was an impossible task from the get-go. That's the reason I mentioned in the conclusion that it'd be a good idea for the company to build a brand new Duke Nukem game from the ground up, and hopefully make up for this one. I -still- play Borderlands regularly, and it to me is one of the best games ever produced. There, the gameplay is truly excellent, as is the dialogue. I think Gearbox could have created a far better DNF game had it been built from the ground up rather than inhereted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
But I didn't see Duke Nukem in this game.
This might be where we might not agree. I -did- feel like I was playing a Duke game, although it helped that the vast majority of the enemies were pulled straight out of DN3D, and as I mentioned, even some levels had similarities. Plus, the music on top of things was just great. Sometimes even while subtle, a lot of the music in the background was again pulled straight from DN3D. I got instant flashbacks to classic levels from that game on multiple occasions.

If there's one thing DNF did though, it's that it's made me want to go install 3D again along with the HRP and go through it once again. While playing Forever I couldn't help but picture how epic it would have been if DN3D was brought to the same exact engine. It would be a blast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix
This is easily the best review of the ones that I have read and I'm not just saying that. I'd call Rob out if I thought it weren't and I'm sure he'd expect it.
Woo hoo, "Optix-Approved!".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix
I'll probably grab the demo if time allows just so I can see what the fuss is about and draw my own conclusion but I expect it to be much the same here. I'm extremely immature at times and am a HUGE Duke fan to begin with so this game should be perfect for me. No gum here!
I hate to say it, but I wish Gearbox chose a couple of better levels for the demo than it did. A portion of the Duke Burger level would have been a lot better than the one based deep in the Nevada desert. Still, trying the demo is a lot better than writing off the game entirely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden
I agree with many of the points you have made here Rob. I am not done with it yet however, but I leaning in the same area for final review score.
As we were talking while we were both playing, I could tell I wasn't alone in digging the game. Another friend of mine is a couple of hours in and is really enjoying it as well. It really seems to be a hit-or-miss game, where most people don't like it but some do. It's unusual for me because most often if a game is widely disliked, I tend to agree. This is the first time in a while where that's not the case.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
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Is the demo available to anyone now? (Haven't got the game yet). Making it available only to certain people seems a tad ridiculous. Isn't letting anyone try your game the point of a demo?

I wonder if the game wouldn't have been better received had it been released in 2004, or even all the way back in the late '90's. Looks fun to me ... I'll have to go over east and get it. Or send someone to get it for me.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #9
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Is the demo available to anyone now? (Haven't got the game yet). Making it available only to certain people seems a tad ridiculous. Isn't letting anyone try your game the point of a demo?
Ugh, I didn't even clue into that. I looked around and it doesn't look like the demo is available to the public. *sigh* What a dumb move on 2K's part.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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A few other things I dislike about the game. A major one is you can not back track and it is in every level in one way or another. This sort of level design went out a long time ago, this shows they didn't do much to update DNF just polish it. The game makes many mistakes with it audience, thinking they want to hear Dukes banter all the time and this isn't true. The characters are all very stereo typical, I know this is because it is the Duke uni but I would also like to see a woman kick ass and chew bubble gum too.

I have a lot to say but the game isn't over for me, I am about 3/4 of the way through and it's because I am trying to find all the ego items. This isn't really hard for me since my Logitech monochrome and lcd displays show how many are left in the level, but any one else has to look in the chapter selection, not the most efficient way to do this. I will finish up my pro's and con's later right now I am burned out on Duke's banter and linear gameplay, I need something more open time to play BFBC2 with TCS.

EDIT: I will say one thing though I am not as frustrated with this game as I was with Crysis 2 and that is saying a lot.

EDIT #2: I finally figured out what was bugging me about Duke Nukem Forever, it feels to me old as hell. At some point I managed to go back in time and pluck DNF from the shelf in the year 2004 or 2005 and came back to play it today. I know it's hard to believe but it's true, okay it's how I truly feel not a literal truth but you get the point.

I am nearing the end of it and it feels very drawn out right now, especially the shrink levels. At first I didn't have a problem with DNF as a whole, but right now with so many limitations I am losing interest fast, it's more of a grind in my mind now. This game represents in part why I love RPG especially from Bioware in the same time period, they had choice and creativity with the game worlds they created. There is plenty of creativity in DNF however choice is lacking in spades.

I will finish it up tomorrow but I am not as positively enthusiastic as I once was when I first started playing it on Monday night.

EDIT #3:
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalJoeCool View Post
Is the demo available to anyone now? (Haven't got the game yet). Making it available only to certain people seems a tad ridiculous. Isn't letting anyone try your game the point of a demo?

I wonder if the game wouldn't have been better received had it been released in 2004, or even all the way back in the late '90's. Looks fun to me ... I'll have to go over east and get it. Or send someone to get it for me.
I tried to find you a Demo but no luck. The demo I had with the first access club is gone from my Steam list, so it looks like that isn't even an option any longer. /c:

How stupid Gearbox hasn't provided a Demo by now. It amazes me how badly they have dropped the ball on this, especially after how well they handled Borderlands.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Going from CGA to VGA is about as major a jump as you can get. Was this before Duke Nukem 2 was even available?
Yeah. It was. Towards the end of the Summer of '91, I reckon. It was the first game that I played on that brand new computer (a IBM PS/2 30-286) because of a demo on the cover of PC Plus magazine that month.

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Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
As a side note, does there exist a single FPS game anymore that sticks to that old-style of gameplay?
Only one triple-A title that I know off. Anything else, probably only on the indie circuit.

The thing is that old style worked. And like Bioshock proved, it's still possible to do it right this day. Old-style FPS required evolution, not revolution. Unfortunately it got the latter by the industry and a certain vocal minority of gamers that back in the late 90s started to demand for more open FPS experiences.

No doubt a rightful claim. But wet never asked for the death of old FPS, simply a new style of FPS. And so we landed here, where the industry takes a revered title and makes a modern mockery of it, fearing that introducing any little detail of an old (but proven) gamestyle is going to hurt sales. Let me tell you; we will never know, but I could bet my right-click finger that if DNF went old-school (but with all the modern graphics) it would have gone straight into GotY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
The problem is, I think after all this time, making DNF an unbelievable game was just impossible. 3D Realms dragged things on forever, and then Gearbox was handed a half-finished game and had to go through the task of both finishing it and making it as good as can be. And trust me, if there's a developer that can do this, it's Gearbox.
Here, I concede. One that I tend to forget is the sorry state of the project by the time Gearbox picked it up.


...
EDIT: And bioshock also shown that you can do story-driven FPS without linear level design.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:27 PM   #12
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no money! Already bought Witcher 2!
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:27 AM   #13
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It took a while for me to figure out what made me not like Duke Nukem Forever. There are several things that drag this games score down for me but much of it could have been improved IF on 3D Realms could have been allowed to make a game that was about their vision so long ago and not about their publishers, really look at the in game screenshots that are in the extras.

The game that it is now is better then what many could have hope for, honestly did you expect for COD or BF material here? You did? Here is a nice new white coat that lets you hug yourself, a luxurious padded room and your breakfast will be served at 7am.


Let me start off with start of with
What Duke does RIGHT:

The one liners. When the new ones did hit they were welcome.

The Babes, oh the babes are done so right.

The sound works well enough, no popping or clicking and doesn't disappoint when Boss battles kick in. The VO for Duke is excellent and the VO for the strippers are so good they actually make you think they hired strippers to do the VO, it's amazing the talent they hired here.

The info they put on my G19 was cool, if I used a cheat I could see which one and they told me the lvl I was on, what difficulty and how many Ego Items were left.


What Duke does WRONG:

The one liners. They do get repetitive and there should have been a way to turn it down, up or just plain off except for when a new one came around of course.

The GFX it's like I picked this game up from 2004 or 2005, transported it to 2011 and started to play today.

The Achievements, they came about to give an out of game reward for in game item milestones and Duke has a many he wants you to find and this KILLED the fun factor for me. This along with hunting down the Ego Items, these things should be FUN not a CHORE! I had to put Duke down a few time cause I got bored with it, literally bored trying to find them or do the achievements. Trust me play it the first time for fun, not trying to do any on this crap if you stumble upon it fine but just have fun and run through it. It is what Duke 3D was about, it's what DNF first play through should be about as well.

The Boss battles are sometimes hard or easy, with the same Boss!

Platforming in FPS, it's limited but still a pain in the junk.

Getting small gets old fast. I was happy when I was finally finished with it, for good.


Conclusion

Why is there is so much hate for the King? Well Gearbox did what they could but this game was on the way to grave and really they should have just started over but Randy wanted to give it a chance, I do not blame in the least. It would have been stupid to have written this game off! It is how games WERE made before the style of COD and BF. This isn't for everyone and do I hate the game absolutely not!

I was nostalgic all the way thorough it but it wasn't the most enjoyable experience because I had forgotten how to play a game like this! This is the kind of game you play to get an adrenaline high and not much more than that.

Thus I have to give Duke a 6.8
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden
The one liners. When the new ones did hit they were welcome.
Heh, I agree, though most of the best ones were sucked right out of movies. Personal favorite is, "You've got a lot of guts. Let's see what they look like."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden
The info they put on my G19 was cool, if I used a cheat I could see which one and they told me the lvl I was on, what difficulty and how many Ego Items were left.
That to me is cool also, and makes me regret not owning the G19. One thing I missed in DNF that 3D had was the end-level summaries. You could easily see how many secrets you missed and things like that. Now, you need to go into the chapter selection afterwards to see if you missed any. Not nearly as simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden
The Achievements, they came about to give an out of game reward for in game item milestones and Duke has a many he wants you to find and this KILLED the fun factor for me. This along with hunting down the Ego Items, these things should be FUN not a CHORE!
To be fair, that description fits almost every game lately. I have nothing against unlocking achievements and sometimes enjoy it, but there are always going to be some that are seemingly impossible to get. DNF to me doesn't have any of those, so they are still attainable, but require the want to go back and replay some levels over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden
Getting small gets old fast. I was happy when I was finally finished with it, for good.
I loved being small... until I was battling regular-sized monsters. On the same token, being shot to death by minuscule baddies wasn't too fun either. Sometimes it was hard to tell where they even were.

Good review. I'm still a big fan of the game... still working through it on Insane, albeit slowly.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Personal favorite is, "You've got a lot of guts. Let's see what they look like.".
My personal favorite is, "Take you're tentacles back to Japan, YOU FREAK!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
To be fair, that description fits almost every game lately. I have nothing against unlocking achievements and sometimes enjoy it, but there are always going to be some that are seemingly impossible to get. DNF to me doesn't have any of those, so they are still attainable, but require the want to go back and replay some levels over.
I know but Duke wasn't easily built around finding those items, at least it didn't feel that way to me. I think it would have been more fun for me to have just ignored them my first time through and blasted my way through it. The first time I played Borderlands though I liked hunting for achievements or even back tracking for them, in Duke you can't back track you have to reload the whole level. Accessibility is key to obtaining achievements and other character building items but Duke didn't have that, it was far far to linear.
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