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NECROMUNDA: HIRED GUN – Review (PC)

I came into Necromunda expecting one thing, a diamond in the rough, unpolished and janky but with great fundamental gameplay and the WH40K vibe. This is basically what it is, just a bit rougher than I expected. To preface this review, I have only got into WH40K through a movie and the games, so I am looking at this from the angle of someone who likes the WH40K vibe and knows a little bit about the lore but it is a casual interest at best. I just love the theme.

Story

The plot is very run of the mill, and the voice acting is OK at best, it’s definitely Warhammer but it does not really do anything to intentionally draw you in and serves mainly as a reason for the game to exist. It starts off with you in a group of 3 for about 10 seconds before you split up, with your character constantly saying how he should have worked alone like he normally does. Except you know nothing of this character, how he normally operates or what he can do. Things then go to s*** very quickly.

You then get saved by someone called Jericho, whom your character does not like, but again there has been 0 plot building. So, you do not know why they hate them, all you know is your main character is telling you he is an arse.  It is amateur story telling at its finest, but from a budget title such as this, it is about what I personally expected.

Graphics

The game surprised me here, it is no looker sure, but it is far from ugly, and it does an admirable job. In terms of environmental detail and textures, there is a legitimate solid attempt at WH40K Necromunda, it feels right, it is dark and grungy but without a lacking colour palette, it achieves it through actual art rather than just dark dreary colours. Martyr’s end is disappointingly tiny, but artistically it feels good to me, it feels right.

This follows through to the missions.  It is definitely a UE4 game through and through, but I can see a genuine artistic attempt by Streum and the game does not look dated in my opinion. It is up to modern standards.  The models however are where things fall flat, they look dated, VERY DATED, and their animations are very stiff. I must mention again however, this is a very budget WH40k title, so while it is disappointing it is understandable.

necromunda review

Sound

Now I am not going to pretend this is a master class, the mixing is often bad, and some of the gun sounds are not good. There are however some guns that do genuinely sound good in my opinion, and even the soundtrack is average, it is solid metal and is fitting not only to the visual style of the game, but what is also going on screen. It often matches the visceral Ness of the combat.

Gameplay

This is where the game shines, it is not perfect, but this is by far the best part of Necromunda Hired Gun, and why it is worth your time.  The game very quickly gives you all the movement options you can have, it does not drag out unlocks to give you a false sense of security. You have dashes, and air dashes, you have a grappling hook that can be used to tether to enemies or tether to almost all of the environment around you, it has 2 uses and a cooldown to start, but the cooldown is so small it feels like it is with you all the time. You also have a wall run, which is a bit awkward to use as you must hold space, and then press space to release.

These movement options make you feel nimble and make no mistake even on normal mode you will be using these ALL THE TIME. The movement has a decent weight to it, the air dash feels light yet heavy, the general feel moving around is great. You can also upgrade your cybernetics to give you new abilities and boost your stats, all the abilities are genuinely cool and have legitimate uses in the game. Nothing really feels like there is 0 reason for it to exist, bar giving the illusion of more content. You will absolutely use everything.

In addition to that, you also have a mastiff that you can upgrade, which effectively just uses credits to boost their core abilities, the nice touch here is the dog visually changes with the upgrades. The dog however is very janky, the AI is poor, and the dog can get killed, but you can still call it back when it’s call down is over and it will magically just appear.  The mastiff is great but janky and undercooked.

The main game loop is you going to the hub called Martyr’s End, here you talk to Jericho and the Tavern keeper to get information on the main missions. However, Martyr’s End also has vendors, one for weapons, one for stat upgrades, one to upgrade the weapons you find and an area to test your weapons.

There is also the mission board which contains undercooked but still incredibly fun (thanks to the combat) side missions. Side missions are worth taking on to earn credits for upgrades/abilities, modifications and find good loot. When you enter a mission you have 4 weapon loadout slots, for the different archetypes of weapons, your body armour and so on.

Weapon Variety is great, there are not a ton of guns, but what is there is highly varied, variety is not an issue here, each gun feels unique. The shooting feels very impactful, some are comically so and could deal with dialling down, others feel brilliantly visceral. You will constantly see upper torsos being blown apart, heads being popped off clean, you can also mess around with the ragdolls in gory fashion after. IT IS F*****G AWESOME.

You will nimbly be dashing, air dashing, wall running, grappling, and popping bodies all over the place. This is where the game is at its best, get a plasma weapon, upgrade the cylinder then go into a mission dart around arenas and cause visceral mayhem. The combat in Necromunda revolves around always having tons of ammo unlike doom eternal, and healing by dealing damage. Despite having loads of ammo, due to elemental effects and general feel, you will still want to experiment with your loadout.  

When your HP goes low, you will go into a state where damage you deal heals you, you also have Stimm packs you can collect and buy which are a revive, at the price of less credits at the end of the mission. You do also have melee takedowns; however, these are very overpowered, are overly long and animated poorly, and the camera use is jarring.

Takedowns and enemy variety are where the game falters, enemy variety is not great and takedowns are poorly implemented, overpowered, and can be upgraded to become even more overpowered. Once you have played an hour or so of Hired Gun, you have basically seen all the enemy types.  This is very disappointing. However, given how fun the game is in its moment to moment combat, you can easily look past it, at least for the duration of the game and some side missions.

Jank

This is where the game really falters, there are multiple areas of Jank a lot of which has been mentioned already, poor enemy models, poor AI, subpar animations, and a poor companion system. It does however go much deeper, for example when doing a takedown other enemies can still attack you and often, I will be charged and then floating in the air, doing a takedown against the empty air and then instantly teleported back to where you were.  Your grapple hook will go through objects, there is a lot of clipping, you will get stuck in places and so can enemies. All the clipping is slightly infuriating and just looks plan silly.

There is another system that is poorly thought out too, and that is the loot system.  You can equip weapons that drop or just collect them and other items during the mission. However, there is no inventory system and how the loot works is very confusing at first. It is not until the end of a mission can you go through your loot; you then select what you want to keep and sell the rest. After that, before going into a mission you can upgrade those items, and then select on mission deployment what items you want to equip.  There are multiple other bits of Jank in the game, such as the UI but these are my main grievances of jank.

PC Report

Unfortunately, Necromunda does have its fair share of issues. I have had one crash after a mission but luckily the save system in place ensured that I lost no loot or progress, so props there.  Unfortunately, its tech issues go far further, there are major stutter issues that a lot of users including myself are experiencing that seem to be related to AI loading in and assets It seems to get better as the game progresses, but it is still present.

I have also noticed FPS drops from generally very solid 140 down to 75fps maxed out at 1440p on a TUF 3080 OC paired with an 8700K @ 4.7GHz on all cores and 16GB LL DDR4 RAM @3600Mhz, when these drops happen GPU Usage drops from 99% to as low as 60. Bar the performance and stutter issues, the port overall is solid enough, although mouse control options and so on leave a lot to be desired and the menus are poorly thought out. FOV is also needlessly small.

Conclusion

WARHAMMER 40K NECROMUNDA: HIRED GUN is a great game in a very janky low budget package. Its core gameplay is brilliant fun, and if you can get it for as low a price as I did (£20), it is absolutely worth the ride. I see Necromunda: Hired Gun as a success story. It was never going to be highly polished, jank free and high quality, it was not the nature of this project.

What it is though is the best WH40K FPS we have received and is a perfect example of why we need a high budget high production value WH40K FPS game, and other W40K Titles. There is an undeniably solid fun game beneath all its issues, it proves the limitless potential WH and WH40K universe needs more love and hopefully is a sign of greater things to come. This is the best Warhammer title that has come out by miles (excluding total war) in a long time in my opinion.

7/10

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