Necromunda: Hired Gun Review

Necromunda: Hired Gun could have potentially been among the finest Warhammer 40K licensed video games. From the prerelease trailers to the not-so-subtle Doom inspirations, Hired Gun looked to be a violent, visceral romp in Hive Primus’ dejected underbelly. Developer Streum On Studio includes a track record of janky releases, though. Take a look at their last release Space Hulk: Deathwing, a previous Warhammer 40K first-person shooter that oozed atmosphere but fell short in just about every other department.

Unfortunately, Necromunda: Hired Gun is stamped in the same sheet metal as Deathwing, although it could well be much better than its predecessor in some areas. There’s plenty in this particular seedy underhive to appreciate, but not every part has been expertly crafted. Hired Gun is definitely an enjoyable shooter, one most undoubtedly have fun with, but it doesn’t allow it to be out of the manufactorum in fighting condition.

Necromunda: Hired Gun – budget Doom with a whole lot of jank.

Necromunda: Hired Gun has been likened to the recent Doom titles on more than one occasion, and the comparison isn’t without merit. Hired Gun is very much a mobility focused first-person shooter, where stopping to line-up your shots will result in your death. You have to keep running and gunning if you plan to remain alive, and it’s in this regard Necromunda: Hired Gun excels.

There’s a sticky wallrun that seamless comfort to make use of, forward slides and sideways dashes to bolt around your enemies, and a grappling hook that’ll sling you up and around the various combat arenas within Hive Primus’ rundown domes. Movement in Necromunda: Hired Gun is snappy, responsive, and deadly. Once the game is hitting all cylinders it’s a badass bullet ballet as you dodge, duck, and dive between enemies together with your boltguns, autopistols, lasguns and also the remainder of your body-annihilating arsenal.

Thing is, Necromunda: Hired Gun offers some rounds shy a complete cylinder. For those that it does well, such as movement, there’s a junkyard of jank to match. For instance the aforementioned grappling hook. It’s quick to make use of and frequently puts you in which you desire to be. Yet, it'll a lot more than happily wedge you between objects in the environment, pinning you in position and forcing a restart. This didn’t happen more than a number of times, but it’s just one of many, many off-kilter issues that attempts to drag Hired Gun in to the sump.

For every positive trait in Hired Gun there’s a similarly negative or baffling one. Go ahead and take guns for example: are all a good cacophony of rage and cordite. The sound design for each type of weapon is spot on. The lasguns crackle and spark with sinister energy, and also the shotguns roar with a throaty explosion every time you pull the trigger. But – because there’s always a but – there’s zero sound feedback from hitting enemies.

That may not appear to be an enormous deal when reading it on paper, yet recall some of the best shooters on the market. Doom, Overwatch, Destiny 2 – each has a punchy sound-effect associated with bullet impacts. Pumping lead into an enemy’s body is accompanied by a meaty, thumpy impact sound that further augments gun-feel and feedback. Necromunda: Hired Gun lacks these sounds entirely. Instead, headshots are highlighted by flaccid floating text saying, “Critical Hit.” I disabled that UI element immediately.

Speaking of audio, it’s everywhere. The ambient sounds that complete and produce to life the various environments of Hive Primus’ underhive are pretty damn solid. May it be the distant wail of some Sump monster, or even the grinding from the colossal gears driving a train how big a small city, ambient environmental audio is fairly good in Hired Gun.

The same can probably be said from the music. Composer Olivier Zuccaro clearly took inspiration from Mick Gordon’s Doom soundtracks, leaning heavily in to the industrial metal genre Gordon expertly channeled for Id’s outstanding shooters. That’s not the only motif Zuccaro utilizes though, mixing in certain more western-flavored notes and tunes to complete the soundtrack and give it a suitable “man without any name walks into town” vibe. All said, the soundtrack is good; it won’t “wow” anyone, however it certainly elevates the gameplay its attached to.

Voice-acting is ok, in a “the voice-actors were fine, but the voice-direction clearly wasn’t” sort of way. The scatterbrained story clearly written with no regard for fans new to Warhammer 40K and Necromunda doesn’t perform the voice-overs any favors, but Necromunda: Hired Gun’s cast does well enough with the material these were given. That said, the audio-mixing hanging around clearly has VO tuned towards the lowest possible volume, because it often seems like characters are whispering for you during conversation. A recent patch somewhat addressed this, but it’s still common for ambient sounds and music to overpower the dialogue.

While we’re talking about the audio, positional audio is virtually non-existent in Necromunda: Hired Gun without some sort of external software like Dolby Atmos. It’s not unusual for enemies to spawn in behind you and also for you personally not to hear a peep from them. The only indication they even spawned on your ass is really a swelling red haze in your screen as well as your own bafflement as to who could possibly be shooting you.

Much like sound the graphics are an equally mixed-bag. The sport looks fine in motion, but performance should be better taking into consideration the game appears like an earlier PlayStation 4 or Xbox One title. Muddy textures aren't difficult to spot, animations are stiff and awkward (such as the melee takedowns you are able to perform), and also the lights are largely fine but not everything complex. Yet, even with Nvidia’s DLSS enabled my computer struggled to remain above 60 FPS at 1080p throughout the busiest scenes. I might have a 3070 Mobile, but considering how Necromunda: Hired Gun looks I shouldn’t be seeing performance this low with DLSS.

Not the Emperor’s finest.

For every element Necromunda: Hired Gun does right there’s another holding it back. The planet design is absolutely amazing – I’m merely a casual Warhammer 40K fan as well as I'm able to say Hired Gun absolutely nailed the 40K aesthetic. The team at Streum On Studio aced the skill design in Hired Gun, almost as much ast they did in Space Hulk: Deathwing. They clearly loves the Warhammer 40K universe also it shows in every inch of each and every environment, weapon, and character.

Then exactly why is the UI so damned soulless? Relic’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a decade old, and it were built with a better UI than Hired Gun. Even that comparison doesn’t fully sell how flat the UI in Hired Gun is. Space Marine didn’t possess a stellar, game-changing interface, but it was both functional and possessed that distinct Warhammer 40K flavor. Hired Gun’s UI appears like it had been produced by a temp using MS Paint and the Arial font, not with a team staffed by obvious 40K super-fans.

Enemy design isn’t as lifeless because the UI, but there’s deficiencies in variety that does hamper the general experience of Necromunda: Hired Gun. Despite facing off against the various Houses that control the gangs in Necromunda, all of them felt pretty damn similar mechanically. They are somewhat visually distinct, yet it felt like I had seen everything the game was going to throw at me by Chapter 4. There’s some minor variation here and there, but Hired Gun rarely challenged me to alter my loadout or method of overcome the enemies I was facing.

Which is another problem with Necromunda: Hired Gun – your loadout and inventory seem like they were designed entirely divorced in one another. Incidentally, Hired Gun has loot, and it really feels like it shouldn’t. Guns, suits, items, charms, and archeotech can all be acquired from either slain foes or hidden chests scattered about a level. They come in various rarities, have different stats, and all sorts of felt superfluous.

Necromunda: Hired Gun is balanced in a way these little stat boosts don’t really impact gameplay at Normal difficulty. They type of matter within the higher difficulties, but not enough to truly justify their existence. These light RPG mechanics feel strapped on due to the fact Warhammer 40K itself has RPG mechanics, but they don’t gel well with Hired Gun’s more straight-forward first-person shooter design.

What helps make the inventory and loadout systems truly strange are how they are handled. You can carry as much as five basic guns, five sidearms, three special arms, and four heavy weapons in your inventory. Having said that, you are able to only carry two “primaries” and two “sidearms” inside your loadout in addition to the Stubgun you can’t unequip. So, you essentially have three sidearms equipped at any time. Why we can’t hold one of each type and swap out the Stubgun for any different sidearm is beyond me.

It doesn’t assist you to can’t open your inventory or manage it without notice. If you wish to fiddle together with your inventory you need to go to the shop vendor and visit the sell tab. Should you put something inside your inventory after mission screen and change your mind you have to go to the shop vendor to remove it. If you wish to improve your loadout you need to either visit the Gladiatorum console or start a mission. You can modify your weapons at the Artificer, but why do that when you can do the same at the mission start screen?

It’s all cumbersome and not whatsoever intuitive. You can hold four suit pieces, yet only equip one. Since enemy variety isn’t everything great there’s no incentive to fill all inventory suit slots to support different builds, that is what the system is trying to get you to definitely do. You are able to carry more “primary” type weapons than sidearms in your inventory, however, you wield more sidearms than primaries in the field. It’s like both systems were produced by different parts of they, nor conferred with the other.

The bounties and bionics are the best bits in Necromunda: Hired Gun.

The bionic augments for your hunter and mastiff are much more impactful, to incorporate the different abilities you can unlock. These abilities really are a little wonky to deploy, but can shift a tough battle to your benefit. Better legs with improved wallrunning are infinitely more useful than a +3 weapon by having an imperceptible boost to damage. You'll need a large amount of coin to afford all of the upgrades on offer for you as well as your hound, however. That’s where Hired Gun’s side bounties come into play.

In theory they are bite-sized, 5 to 10 minute objectives that task you with killing whether single specific target, or perhaps a couple of specific targets. There are a couple of collectible missions and a capture one, but by and large the kill quests are in which the game shines . . . well, mostly. Enemies in Necromunda: Hired Gun spawn 1 of 2 archaic ways: they’ll either respawn in areas you’ve left, or from “monster closets.” During these side bounties they’re normally generated by the first method, meaning you have to backpedal to some previously cleared area to push your objective.

When spawns are rapid and also you don’t need to slog about for your targets these side bounties are an easy way to sample Necromunda: Hired Gun’s strengths. That’s not always the case though thanks to the odd spawn logic, and also, since you need to run these bounties to grab all the bionic upgrades on offer the experience oscillates wildly between exciting and tedious. That said, when these side bounties didn’t waste my time I'd more enjoyable inside them than I did a few of the campaign missions.

You can technically play these after beating the sport should you haven’t had your fill of Hired Gun, but after you’ve bought every bionic upgrade there’s little reason to come back outside of grinding faction reputation. You will find over 15 factions you can increase your rep with, and also the higher your reputation the more money you’ll make from their bounties. Money you’ve no need for anymore since you bought all the upgrades, and also the loot isn’t worth a damn (the seller caps out at +1 quality goods, even after beating the campaign).

That’s the one thing about Necromunda: Hired Gun though: despite each one of these flaws the exciting bits are actually damned good. For all the jank, for all the curious design decisions, whenever Hired Gun let me loose to kill a fuckload of gangers within the derelict domes of the Underhive it was a gleefully violent great time. The mobility, the guns, the relevant skills – whenever you’re able to bolt about and murder with impunity Hired Gun is at its best. It’s all the minutia all around the gunplay that bogs Necromunda: Hired Gun down.

Necromunda: Hired Gun isn’t short on issues, but it has plenty of redeeming qualities. I dunno if the game may be worth the $40 price-tag quite yet – not until Streum On Studio patches a few of the game’s most glaring issues – but it’s definitely the type of shooter that’ll fill a weekend should you ever find it for sale. If anything, I really hope Streum On is given an opportunity to place a sequel together. Hired Gun has got the spirit; it just needs a little more focus and a king’s bounty of refinements.

The Verdict

Despite all of the jank and problems I'd with Necromunda: Hired Gun, I still enjoyed playing it. Sure, there was always something that annoyed me. The game often wants to test your patience, but when it’s locked and loaded Hired Gun is definitely an enjoyable first-person romp within Warhammer 40K’s Necromunda setting. When Hired Gun works it works, but I’ll be Throne-damned if it didn’t attempt to step on its very own toes the entire time.

Necromunda: Hired Gun comes with redeeming qualities. The movement is great, the gunplay feels good, and the environmental design is stellar. There’s simply a legion of issues on both the look and technical fronts working overtime to hold it back. If you are prepared to overlook Hired Gun’s many problems and massive levels of jank you’ll have in all probability a lot of fun blasting gangers to bloody bits. But, I won’t fault you for waiting on the sale or sequel instead.

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