A new game for Warhammer 40,000 fans! Necromunda: Hired Gun is here, and it's a positive surprise. In our Necromunda: Hired Gun review, you can find out why this fast and brutal 40k shooter is such good fun. It's not got much depth, sure, but it's a laugh.
First of all, I'm a huge Warhammer nerd. I currently use a Blood Angels army in 40k, and High Elves for Sigmar. I was unsure about Necromunda, but now I'm thinking twice.
Triple-A console productions are rare for Warhammer games, and most of them are strategy games, as this best reflects the tabletop. Just think of the excellent Dawn of War series, or Total War: Warhammer. If you do want more action though, you got Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine in 2011, which was actually really good... but then we had to be content with rather disappointing titles like Space Hulk: Deathwing. Necromunda: Hired Gun changes that! Although it comes from the same studio as Space Hulk: Deathwing, namely Streum On Studio, it is far better and, despite some weaknesses, a really good game.
Necromunda: Hired Gun Review - Fun Campaign, But Not Perfect
If you are hoping for a profound story, this is the wrong place! The campaign for Necromunda: Hired Gun comprises 13 main missions - which are quite varied - but the story is limited and is played through after about 15 hours. In a nutshell, a guild vendor was killed and we were hired to find the killer. Who is actually responsible for what is not really clear - at least not to me, maybe more Warhammer 40k knowledge will help here...
However, the individual main missions are nicely designed and actually offer variety. Sometimes we find ourselves in disgusting sewers, sometimes we climb around on a crane and then we fight on a moving train... The optional side missions, however, recycle the same level over and over again, which can get pretty repetitive in the long run - but they are optional, so this is forgivable.
Necromunda: Hired Gun Review - Dark And Brutal
Apart from the somewhat thin story, one thing stands out positively, which makes the heart of every Warhammer 40,000 fan beat faster: The incredibly bleak, gloomy, and brutal setting. Necromunda: Hired Gun is faithful to the grim-dark future of the 41st Millenium. The futuristic, but nonetheless dirty look, the mix of advanced technology that still looks like it was hand-made from scrap metal... That's exactly what I want from a game with a 40k license - and this is exactly where Necromunda: Hired Gun convinces me. Sure, the $40 title is not a AAA production, and graphically you have to accept some compromises here and there, but overall the game looks more than good enough for what it is.
If you can't see blood, you should avoid Necromunda: Hired Gun. No matter which of the different weapons - everything from pistols, to assault rifles and shotguns, to thick miniguns - you use, the opponents almost always burst into several parts, lose their heads or at least leave quite a mess. To be honest, that's a good thing, everything else just wouldn't fit the setting.
Necromunda: Hired Gun Review – A Doom Clone?
Let's get to the gameplay. Here, too, if you like the Warhammer 40k setting and are into straightforward shooting action, you get exactly that - but no more. Believe it or not, the closest thing you can do is to compare the gameplay of Necromunda: Hired Gun to the new Doom titles. Running is the standard movement speed. We can slide, do double jumps, run on walls, and pull ourselves up to opponents or walls with the climbing hook. Aiming down sights is overrated, and the trigger is held down all the time.
Aggressive and fast gameplay is not an option, it's a must. The main source of healing is actually dealing damage yourself. This, as well as other skills and properties, can be levelled up in a simple character system for in-game currency, which we receive after each mission. A little more health here, shorter cooldown times there, and also active skills such as aim assist, slow motion, and much more are available. However, the active skills are more of a fun change and not really necessary - at least I hardly used them.
Most of it works fine, but there are buggy animations here and there, especially during takedowns. The opponent's diversity and intelligence are unfortunately somewhat limited, but this is seldom noticeable given the high-octane pace of the game. The developers want to make improvements to the animations and, for example, the exaggerated ragdoll effects as soon as possible.
Oh, and did we mention the dog? Necromunda: Hired Gun provides us with a nasty cyber dog as a companion, whom we can call for help at any time, and also level up. Since his kill animations are cool but incredibly slow, I mainly used the killer Fiffi as a distraction and to mark opponents.
Necromunda: Hired Gun Review – The Verdict
Necromunda: Hired Gun is a AA title that relies on straightforward firing with a lot of blood in the Warhammer 40k setting. You shouldn't expect more, but you'll have a good 15-20 hours of fun - depending on how many side missions you complete. The guns have a lot of oomph, and the fast run-and-gun gameplay runs very smoothly for me (with a GTX 1080) even on the highest settings, with consistently over 60 FPS. The story is a bit thin and here and some things still need to be fine-tuned, but I haven't encountered any game-breaking bugs yet, even if faulty animations occur regularly.
If you feel like a fast shooter in the Warhammer 40k universe and don't need a AAA production, you will get solid action blasts with a coherent setting at a AA price. If you've been looking forward to Space Hulk: Deathwing, and been disappointed, then you should definitely give Necromunda: Hired Gun a try. Personally, however, I would advise waiting for the first patches to appear before buying. A first patch has already been released, but the developers have already announced more.
- Release Date: 01.06.2021
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Genre: Action-Shooter
- Single Player
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC
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This review was originally written by Lukas Ballat.