wants to be DOOM. That’s not a bad thing by any means; DOOM and DOOM Eternal are two of the finest shooters that released on last-gen consoles, so why not try and replicate their fast-paced formula? They also brought with them plenty of polish to ensure that their experience was smooth and enjoyable though, and unfortunately that’s something that’s missing in Necromunda: Hired Gun.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an awful game by any means. It just needed a bit more work before release, with plenty of issues hampering what is otherwise a decent shooter.
Check out a gallery of Necromunda: Hired Gun screenshots below:
The game stars a hired gun within the mechanized planet of Necromunda, with the player tackling an array of dangerous jobs for the criminal gangs that are running their seedy businesses. As expected, a job ends up going wrong and, after being left for dead, the player goes on a mission for revenge. It’s all gung-ho from there with action very much at the forefront of Necromunda: Hired Gun’s experience, but the world and its characters are neat enough to keep players semi-invested in the narrative.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Necromunda: Hired Gun prioritises fast-paced shooting with some platforming segments thrown in for good measure. Whilst you’ll be pulling off ridiculous leaps left, right and centre, you’ll also be wall-running and picking off shots on your enemies at the same time. Basically, you’re pretty aerobic, with levels designed to cater for plenty of running-and-gunning… you know… like DOOM.
You’ll find plenty of different weapons in levels that can either be kept or sold on for credits, whilst new gear can also be found that’ll alter your stats and weapons in varying ways. Whilst there isn’t a whole lot of depth to Necromunda: Hired Gun’s equipment options outside of minor improvements, there are upgrades you can unlock that are a lot more substantial. Scanning areas to reveal enemy locations, slowing down time to get the upper hand on foes, an auto-aim function to snap to enemies, quicker health regeneration… they’re just a few of the upgrades that go a long way in ensuring you’re more likely to survive the onslaught of enemies coming your way. They’re fun to tinker around with and it’s always satisfying to see yourself improve in-game.
“As far as gameplay is concerned, Necromunda: Hired Gun prioritises fast-paced shooting with some platforming segments thrown in for good measure.”
One feature that I haven’t touched upon yet is your canine companion, with your trusty doggy Mastiff joining you on the job. On paper, this sounds glorious; who wouldn’t want a cybernetic-enhanced dog helping them kill enemies? Unfortunately, its use is just a little bit bland in-game, with it simply attacking foes and retreating until you can call him again. There are upgrades that allow you to alter his effectiveness, but I actually found myself rarely calling upon him in-game and kinda forgetting he existed. It’s a shame because it could have been one of the best ideas in the game if utilised effectively.
The gun-fights themselves could be a little lacking too. Enemies won’t make themselves easy targets for the player, but instead stand back and pick their moment to attack. This means you can often get the upper hand and nail in a stealth kill if they don’t notice you, but it also means that they’ll often take cover and wait for you to come to them. This is fine and adds an extra element of strategy to the game, but the darker and grimy environments often make it difficult to see any foes that are shooting at you. Whilst I’ll admit that this could’ve just been down to my lacking skills, I’ve never had issues like this in a shooter before (and believe me, I’ve played some dark ones).
“It didn’t help that something felt a little off when using most weapons in the game though, with Necromunda: Hired Gun sometimes seemingly ignoring button inputs.”
It doesn’t help that some of the weapons felt like they lacked any punch. Some are great (as you’d expect from the Warhammer 40,000 universe), but others were a bit dull and barely felt like they had any impact. It didn’t help that something felt a little off when using most weapons in the game though, with Necromunda: Hired Gun sometimes seemingly ignoring button inputs. It was an unusual thing to encounter in game, but there were times when I’d have to double-tap the reload button for it work, whilst actually lining up precise shots will take some tinkering with the game’s controls beforehand.
It’s a shame too because Necromunda: Hired Gun does have some really good moments. When everything clicks, players can expect some slick showdowns that bring with them brutal shootouts with blood everywhere, whilst some clever level design makes it a joy to run and leap your way around. The enemies are a formidable bunch too, so constant movement is encouraged if you want to keep on top of them. Add to that some great enemy designs and it’s clear that Necromunda: Hired Gun isn’t always a drag – in fact, it even manages to live up to its DOOM inspiration at times, which is a pretty big compliment.
“When everything clicks, players can expect some slick showdowns that bring with them brutal shootouts with blood everywhere.”
That being said, it does have some performance issues that can see it falter. Given it’s a PlayStation 5 title, I was hoping that Necromunda: Hired Gun would manage to be consistent with its frame rate. Instead, it regularly stuttered under its 60fps target, especially when new enemies entered the fray. Notice a sudden hit to the frame rate? You can guarantee some new enemies are in the area.
Looks-wise, everything is fine… just fine. I loved the futuristic and mechanical world design and there’s something really cool about its derelict appearance, but nothing about the game’s visuals ever felt like they were booming in quality. It probably didn’t help that the frame rate hindered the experience a little, but it just didn’t feel like I was playing a next-gen game.
Whilst Necromunda: Hired Gun has the potential to be a decent game, some technical issues and lacking design choices see it fall short of the mark. It’s a shame too, because it has some real stand-out moments that were a lot of fun to play through; they were just hindered by a sketchy frame rate and some shooting mechanics that were inconsistent and lacked bite.
I’d be interested to come back to the game again when all of the problems are fixed because it’s clear that it has potential. As it stands though, it’s pretty difficult to recommend playing Necromunda: Hired Gun on the PlayStation 5.
Developer: Streum On Studio
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
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