When Necromunda: Hired Gun first launched at the end of May, things looked pretty dismal for the fast-paced, first-person shooter. The game was plagued by a number of performance issues, quickly earning the game a bad rap with the community. Since then, however, the game has been patched by developer Streum on Studio and it is in a much better state than it started off in. So, if you’re wondering whether to pick up Hired Gun or not, let us help you out.
Developer: Streum on Studio
Platforms: Xbox Series X (Reviewed) PS4, PS5, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release date: May 31st, 2021
The Story So Far…
In Necromunda: Hired Gun, you play as a bounty hunter living in a world consumed by a variety of gangs that are all at war with each other. You take on a mission to kill some Eschers, but the mission goes sideways and the player fails thanks to the intervention of a mysterious enemy. You’re saved by Kal Jericho, Necromunda’s most famous bounty hunter, who brings you back to Marty’s End and becomes your “go-to” for all things story-related. Oh and like, two other random NPCs. Yep.
There really isn’t much to talk about after that, if you’re looking for something resembling a story. Once the introduction is over, you’re dumped into an area called Marty’s End, a hub area that acts as your safe zone. You’ll go between three whole NPC’s for vague story-related details and access some weird corpse computer to pick up missions. Your bounty hunter is basically a loaded gun aimed at the next gang; the violence you bring upon them is the story.
There’s the occasional cutscene but, nothing is ever particularly interesting and each mission just has you blasting through legions of the same, identical enemies, who occasionally interrupt the gameplay when a new type shows up. I did particularly like most of the main mission levels though, as some of them are massive in size. There was one particular mission that I felt dragged on a bit too long. You have to escape a prison and the player encounters a boss battle that really just exists to waste your resources.
Let’s Talk Level Design
One thing I do love about the game is the sheer size and verticality of some of the levels. One of the earlier levels had me infiltrating a base where a gang war was being waged just outside of the gates. I started the mission below the base, in this labyrinthine maze of compacted junk. After circling the bottom for the sake of exploring all the different paths I could find, I made my way toward the top where a row of turrets was blasting away at anyone who crossed their path. In the process of doubling back, I discovered a defunct Ambot that had been wired up to a power source in order to fire its missile payload at the gate. So, clearly, I had to use this for my own personal gain and blew a gaping hole in the gate. It was definitely one of the highlights of the Hired Gun’s set pieces which were already too few and far between.
On the other side of the coin, however, the level design also feels inconsistent. I went from that epic, open infiltration mission to being shoehorned into a level where I was underground, in a claustrophobic map, shooting at Ambots. When that level ended, it immediately went into the next mission which was the prison break mission I mentioned previously. They were incredibly linear missions and the boss fight during the prison break mission felt nonsensical. He chased me around a room absorbing bullets while wasting my stims and time. The worst part about the prison break mission is that the boss wasn’t at the end of the mission. I still had to proceed through the mission, fighting off waves of enemies as I made my escape.
Pew Pew Pew
Running and gunning while stylishly taking down the goons of Necromunda with your trusted Mastiff (doggo) companion is fun, at times anyway. The gameplay is fast-paced, brutal, in a way that’ll remind you of the recent Doom games. There are moments where the mechanics work in harmony, and engagements truly are a blast. However, it’s constantly finding ways to hold itself back. Enemies are blended in with their surroundings far too often, the AI isn’t very good, and many of the enemies found in the game eat bullets like bowls of cereal for breakfast. I found myself being more frustrated with specific enemy engagements than I was satisfied by them. It’s especially annoying when you summon your dog that promptly glitches, stopping it from attacking enemies while teleporting without reason around the map.
Hired Gun features a very wide assortment of abilities for both the Hunter and their furry friend, but they require a bit of cash to purchase from the doctor in Marty’s End. For those who really want to dive into the upgrade system and unlock their bounty hunter’s full potential, side missions are available for players to earn extra cash. They’re quick and result in pretty easy money. Augmenting my dog, however, never really sat right with me though. It looked painful and left my mastiff covered in scars. This is a personal opinion though and doesn’t reflect how I feel about the game. So rest assured that it doesn’t affect my final score of the game.
It’s Not Worthy
Despite receiving some patches, the game still has some small performance issues, but the game is much improved compared to the game at launch. At the end of the day, Necromunda: Hired Gun is a mid-tier game. It has far too many lows, but it is incredibly fun and satisfying when it works. If you can find the game at a discount, and you’re looking for something to play, Hired Gun might be worth your time, especially after it gets a couple of more patches.
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At the end of the day, Hired Gun is a mediocre first person shooter where the cons far outweigh the things that make it fun. You would do best waiting for it to go on a deep sale if you really feel the need to explore this part of the Warhammer universe.
- Fast paced gunplay.
- Brutal and fun takedown animations.
- Some levels have brilliant designs.
- Level design is inconsistent though.
- Bad enemy AI.
- Identical enemies blend into surroundings.
- Bullet sponge enemies.
- Performance issues persist.
- Necromunda: Hired Gun Review