Necromunda Hired Gun Review – Doom Lite

It’s time once more to venture off into the universe of Warhammer 40K! This time visiting the harsh, industrial planet known as Necromunda. With danger lurking around every corner, it takes a strong, resilient kind of person to want to be on this hell hole. Who better than a money lusting bounty hunter? But the question is: does it pay off, or is it a waste of money to hire this gun? Read on for our Necromunda Hired Gun review!

The Hive Factory

Anyone familiar with the Warhammer 40K lore, will no doubt appreciate the art design in Necromunda Hired Gun. Being a planet that was founded over 15,000 years ago with the sole purpose of mining and manufacturing weapons, Necromunda levels are all highlighted by it’s wealth of polluted factories that stretch forever on.

Granted, it’s not the prettiest looking place, but the diversity of machine-ran locations is well suited and fits right in with the source material. It is hellish, perfectly portraying the grim history of the world to it’s fullest. There’s a lot to be told just from looking at the places you go in Necromunda. Unfortunately, those tales are never told and you are instead given something that barely passes as a story.

As the name suggests, you play a nameless bounty hunter who gets hired to track down some baddies causing havoc on Necromunda. There is a bigger beat to the plot, though sadly it feels muddled in it’s very uninteresting characters and dialogue. By the time I finished the game, it was hard to understand what the reasoning was behind the whole story, especially since the pacing of it all felt rather rushed, just constantly pushing characters to the next segment.

And while I loved the overall art design that all the levels encase, Necromunda is still a pretty ugly game, plagued with performance issues, at least on the PS4. From the very get-go, I could tell that there was something wrong with the general picture quality as everything looked muddy and low textured. I would best describe it as someone smearing Vaseline on random parts of the screen. Here’s an actual image I took from the PlayStation version.

I’m not usually taken back by games that look dated, but something about the textures in Necromunda is super off putting, especially with how inconsistent it is. In one instance it looks super detailed, while in another you just have to stop and wonder what the hell is going on. Upon my first encounters against one of the game’s elite enemy I couldn’t help but chuckle at how bad they looked, almost something ripped right out of a PS2 era game. The performance only made things worse.

Playing on the PS4, nearly every fire fight I had gotten into saw some major dips and hitches. Couple that with the very janky takedown animations, clipping, and other graphical bugs and we had one very vomit inducing experience. The PC version is far more optimized, but that isn’t an excuse to short end console players.

Necromunda Is Eternal

All isn’t bad though as when the game finally does decide it wants to run smoothly, it’s actually a blast to play. Taking huge cues from many ’90s shooters, more specifically Doom, Necromunda Hired Gun makes you feel like the slayer himself. Guns all have big impact, leaving enemies in a huge puddle of gore. The game even has the same kind of brutal takedowns as Doom, though they do feel a bit lacking in comparison.

Other cool mechanics such as double jumping, grappling, and wall-running, feel like fun additions that gives you a decent amount of freedom to wreak havoc in these small, linear arena style levels. Further upgrading your stats and your dog companion makes fights even more satisfying.

It’s all super fast paced to, and calling it “Doom Lite” wouldn’t be wrong at all.

However, I do want to point out that the AIs are dumb as bricks, often encountering them in standing still position, waiting to be killed. Even hilariously, they would just run up in a line, letting me one hit kill them. I couldn’t help but think about that parody video where a guy is slapping everyone.

I would suggest playing the game with the difficulty cranked all the way up since it does provide more of a challenge, though the before mentioned issues are still present.

As for replayability, these come in the form of bite sized side missions mostly revolving around killing X amount of enemies. They’re short, but they do play greatly to the strength of Hired Gun by throwing you directly into the action. A fun way to kill time, especially if you are looking to unlock upgrades in quick way.

Verdict

Necromunda Hired Gun has a wonderful setting that every 40K fan will undoubtedly adore. But outside of that, unless you are a really hardcore 40K fan, Hired Gun is a really tough sell, at least on console. Too many performance issues, followed with bugs and inconsistent textures make this one experience you may want to skip on, which sadly is a bummer, because the gameplay itself is rather quite fun when it works. You’ll likely find the PC version is be far superior, but for you console players out there I would highly suggest you wait for a substantial performance and bug patch to come out. There is fun to be had, but until it gets fixed, the issues outweigh the benefits.

Score: 6/10

Pros

  • If you want Necromunda, you got it. The art design perfectly captures this grim, cold hellish world.
  • When it works, the core gameplay is very fun, very Doom-like.
  • Side missions are short and fun.

Cons

  • Forgettable story riddled with poor, rushed pacing.
  • Major frame-rate drops.
  • Lots of visual bugs, with low textures that are extremely muddy looking.
  • Animations are very rough.

Review code provided by the publisher. Played using a PS4 Pro. You can read SP1st and MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.

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