Review – Necromunda: Hired Gun

When I first read the synopsis for this game I was pretty excited.  A game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, based around the work of Games Workshop, and set on the same planet as the game Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team.  There is a lot of good (and bad) things I can say about this game, but I will keep it short.

The Hired Gun plays like a classic Necromunda game, with the new Necromunda rules allowing for a more gritty and lethal tactical experience. Necromunda is a game of gangs. You pick a gang to play, and the gangs in turn pick their own lieutenants, and so on down the chain. It’s a game of conflict and rivalry between the gangs. The gangs are shaped by the character and skills of their members, and also their decisions over what they’ll do with their power.

One of the few expansion sets for the board game Necromunda that has been reviewed on the blog, and one of two expansions that are part of the “Hired Gun” boxed set. The set includes: 4 metal miniatures representing the gang bosses: a Daemon Prince, a Harlequin, a Rogue Trader and a Sergeant; a magnetised Harlequin; 15 cards, including a gang boss and a gang boss card; and a set of 40 tokens that represent bullets/explosives/green paint spray/explosives painted green spray and so forth.

it possible to feel great disappointment and betrayal towards a game you knew nothing about before starting it? I thought it was impossible, but Necromunda: Hired Gun proved me wrong. In theory, this Warhammer 40,000 game had everything it needed to be one of my favorite games of the year: a first-person shooter with the ultra violence, heavy metal, and killing for glory of Doom combined with the wall-jumping mechanics of Titanfall. It seems like a dream come true, but my god, this is one of the most broken and boring games I’ve played in a long time. This is a dog. Yes, you can pet him. No, it doesn’t make the game better. Necromunda: Hired Gun is a fast-paced first-person shooter that spends a lot of resources on a bland story. Fortunately, you can skip it because it’s a big waste of time. In short, you’re a bounty hunter living in a stereotypical haven of drunks and mercenaries. The main gameplay consists of completing tasks to get more money, which you can use to buy equipment from the various shops at your disposal. Continue until the (surprisingly short) story is finished. Honestly, if the story is as badly put together as it is, it wouldn’t be a problem if the fighting and level design made up for it. Which, of course, is absolutely not the case. This is probably one of the most broken first-person shooters I’ve played in years, and I’m not exaggerating. I played Alien: Colonial Marines before moving on to Necromunda: The assassin. To say that Gearbox’s licensed shooter disaster seemed less noticeable at times would be a correct statement. Necromunda’s decision to borrow elements from most of the fast-paced shooters on the market has shot itself in the foot, as those games only work because of their impeccable level of polish and stability. word-image-2177 With so much blood and gore, I generally like shooting games. This game is a rare exception. Let’s get to work: Necromunda: Hired Gun is a console FPS with no directional controls. This wouldn’t be a problem if the game was designed for heavy gunfire and hand-to-hand combat, but for some reason most enemies start throwing bullets at you from hundreds of feet away. You usually don’t notice their presence until they start shooting at you, and then you realize how hard it is to fight back. The aiming is so poor and the camera control so immature that it’s easier to pounce on an enemy like Lyroy Jenkins, hold down the R2 key and hope you can take him out before he does the same to you. Second, let’s talk about button placement. In 99.99% of shooting games released in the last two decades, the triangle button is usually used to switch weapons, right? That is not the case here. Instead, you throw a grenade when you press this button. R3, normally assigned to melee attacks, heals you. You crouch and slide with L3, which seems awkward and out of place. Squat is usually assigned to either R3 or Circle, but in Necromunda the latter is pressed: In the game Hired Gun, you can call your dog to help you in battle. word-image-2178 The Shrek 2 game for Xbox had a better looking character model. Yes, Necromunda: The protagonist of Hired Gun has a dog, and while it’s a sweet, lovable guy, it’s almost useless in this game. For some reason, though, he doesn’t follow you around all the time, although the game’s box makes it seem like he’s a much more important part of the gameplay than he really is. When you press the circle, you press one of your dog’s toys and summon him from the depths of the random toy kingdom. The little dog materializes in front of you and attacks nearby enemies, until the game decides you’ve had enough fun with your pet, and sends it back to where it will stay if you can’t call it. The controls are also incredibly flawed. If you choose to play with a gun as you normally do, holding down the R2 key the entire time, even while reloading, you’ll find that in this case you can’t shoot again until you take your finger off the trigger, wait another second after the reload animation ends, and then press the key again. Was this done intentionally to teach us patience? Or was it just a weird problem? I’m leaning towards the latter. word-image-2179 The glory kills in Necromunda, which are equivalent to the glory kills in Doom, are slow and cumbersome. And, believe it or not, even the menu has flawed service. If you choose to use the D-pad to navigate through options, the game will eventually stop recognizing your actions and force you to use the analog sticks instead. By the way, this happens every time you are in the pause menu. In over twenty years of gaming, this is the first time I’ve seen a crash when navigating the menus. If you think about it, Necromunda can be considered a revolutionary game. …. You think we’re done with game problems? No! Another element of Necromunda: Hired Gun borrows the concept of killing for the glory of Doom and Doom Eternal. Although, as expected, he’s not so polite here. You can perform them in exactly the same way as in the iD Software game: You shoot at the enemies with your gun, and when they’ve taken enough damage, you can press the square button (yes, the same button you use to reload the gun) to perform a very long and slow glory kill. Given the quality of the character models and animations, which we’ll get to later, you can already imagine that I only scored one or two touchdowns in the entire game. I had things to do and places to go, and I didn’t want to ruin them with an animation that looked even crazier than the sex scene in Mass Effect. word-image-2180 Don’t bother using rainbow sights. Necromunda’s directional control isn’t working. To add another layer of salt to the gory wound, Titanfall’s wall-jumping mechanics are just awful. Not only is the level not ideal for this technique, it usually consists of narrow corridors or very large arenas where the walls are too far away to be considered useful, but it’s also poorly coded. If you are near a wall, you are automatically attached to it and can jump over walls like a gecko ninja. However, when the game insists that you use it, it feels like the controls actively decide to troll you and let you die halfway through the jump. The more you die during a mission, the less money you get at the end of the mission. If you die more than once, it’s best to start the mission from scratch. Necromunda’s gameplay is disgusting, and by far the worst the game has to offer. Unfortunately, I don’t think the game would be much more interesting if the gameplay wasn’t so bad. The level design is still a bit dull, and the focus on the story only hinders the pace of the game. None of the characters are memorable or likeable. Of course I would love to see this game released in a functional state in terms of gameplay, but there are other problems here, especially in the graphics and sound departments. word-image-2181 Aim at an enemy – it’s the only way to shoot them without having to rely on an assistant to aim. Visual Necromancy: Assassin for Hire is an ambiguous film. The game looks impressive at times, with high quality textures, especially on your character and weapons, and decent lighting effects. It tries to run at 60 frames per second, but stutters when there is too much action on the screen. That said, I expected a much worse performance, given how pathetic the gameplay is. By the way, note that the game has a frame rate meter if you’re a fan of high performance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a console game. On the other hand, the model of every character who is not the main character is ugly, and some enemies look like models taken straight from the PS2 game. They are also poorly animated, giving the impression of being extremely robotic, and this impression is reinforced by the fact that their artificial intelligence is so poor that they look and act like flawed robots. The game also likes to force post-processing effects on you, and they are just as ugly as the aforementioned character models. word-image-2182 He gave up. Can you blame him? The sound design could theoretically be Necromunda’s greatest strength, if only because the developers wanted to incorporate a lot of original thrash metal riffs into the game for each battle. Somehow the soundtrack is my favorite in the whole game, but it’s just….. good. It’s all right, it’s all right. There are some good riffs here, but they’re nowhere near as memorable as the game’s main inspirations. Necromunda: Hired Gun suffers from one of the worst cases of sound mixing I’ve heard in a game in a long time. The volume of the dialogue can range from louder than a thrash metal riff to almost nothing at all. Sound effects sometimes decide to appear at work or just refuse to appear. Your dog barks louder than rusty elevators and machine guns. Finally, enemies spit out simple phrases every three seconds or so, but you often hear them on the opposite side of the map from where they are. Like the whole game, it’s a mess. word-image-2183 A curious case of Necromunda vessels magically (and statically) floating. Perhaps I spoke too harshly of Necromundus: A service weapon, but that’s mostly because there was a lot of potential here. This game could have been, or rather should have been, a killer action game if the developers had had more time to solve dozens of obvious problems and focus on the (bland) story. This game just wasn’t ready to be released yet. Damn, it was barely ready to be considered an AA beta game. I also don’t think patches can solve all problems. As it stands, he’s just unhappy with his pitching.

Necromunda: Hired Gun has some nice textures and sometimes decent lighting effects. On the other hand, the character models and post-processing effects are terrible. The frame rate is not stable either. The button layout doesn’t make sense, aiming is just impossible without help, the frame rate is unstable and the game is full of glitches. Even the menu navigation is flawed and unpolished!
The heavy metal soundtrack is pretty good, and the dubbing is quite tolerable, but there are a lot of problems with sound waves and unclear mixing. Necromunda: Hired Gun could be successful if it didn’t focus on the story and if the gameplay wasn’t so obviously flawed. There are signs of a good game here, but it just wasn’t ready for release yet.
Final decision: 4.0

Necromunda: Hired Gun is already available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC. Tested on PS5. A copy of Necromunda: The book The Hired Assassin was provided by the publisher.

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Games Workshop’s own Warhammer 40k universe has been a darling of the game industry for decades now. This is no surprise, since the world of 40k is rich in history, and the battle-forged universe demands blood and fire (and I’m a fan of the former, so that’s a good thing). Necromunda is the brand new card and board game version of the 40k universe, and it’s surprisingly deep and tactical. While the game is still in development, I’ve sampled enough of it to know that it offers a lot of bang for your buck. There’s a lot to like about the game, and it’s definitely a game that I want to keep my eye on.. Read more about necromunda: hired gun release date and let us know what you think.

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