REVIEW: Necromunda: Hired Gun’s setting is its only real strength

I’m a sucker for the setting of Necromunda: Hired Gun. In the Warhammer 40,000 hive-world of Necromunda, gangs wrestle for energy, the wealthy wage struggle, and bounty hunters make names for themselves. Warhammer 40,000 has been a continuing in my life since I used to be roughly fourteen years outdated. I first fell in love with Necromunda after I learn Gordon Rennie and Will McDermott’s “Kal Jerico” novels as a youngster; I went even deeper after I received the field set for Necromunda: Underhive, a skirmish-based tabletop sport about lawless, violent gang wars. It guidelines.

All of that is why I performed to the tip of Necromunda: Hired Gun, a fast-paced first-person shooter from Streum On Studio. Warhammer video video games are sometimes hit-or-miss. Necromunda: Hired Gun’s setting is a success. Everything else is a miss.

The interior of a cavernous stone building in Necromunda: Hired Gun

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive by way of Polygon

Hired Gun’s opening two missions left a foul style in my mouth. The weapons my bounty hunter began with felt terrible to make use of, and the hyper-fast, Doom-like gameplay simply didn’t really feel proper. While the participant could be swift, sensible, and agile, the enemy AI is something however. Then I received my arms on a Bolter, a totally automated weapon that fires rocket-propelled rounds. Once I paired that with the grappling hook that Necromunda: Hired Gun waited a bit of too lengthy to offer, the sport lastly began to get enjoyable.

That mentioned, the enemy AI by no means received any higher, and the dearth of enemy selection is a bummer. The setting of Necromunda is chock-full of attention-grabbing foes to face, however more often than not, the participant is only pitted in opposition to Goliath, Escher, and Orlock gangers. (You face different enemies finally, however I don’t need to spoil them.) While all three gangs are very completely different in what they’re good at and the way they appear, all of them do the identical three issues: stand in place and wait to die; teleport and wait to die; or unload ammo in your route, and wait to die. The participant’s vary of motion suggests the fight can be quick, brutal, and dynamic. It’s undoubtedly quick and brutal, but it surely by no means turns into dynamic.

This sense of gameplay stagnation extends to the mission construction and narrative supply as nicely. There’s little there, and it’s all dangerous. The central hub world is a very good instance. It’s a bounty hunters’ den the place gamers tackle principal missions and aspect contracts, with distributors who provide weapons and augmetics (boosts). This space is the place Necromunda: Hired Gun’s story will get delivered to the participant, however that narrative entails little greater than speaking to the identical three individuals between every mission. What they should say is by no means attention-grabbing. Still, there are some cool encounters, particularly with the characters and areas that tie immediately into the tabletop sport and its associated fiction. Be ready to fulfill a sure ponytailed bounty hunter, for instance.

Denizens of Necromunda stand around a gritty bar

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

Once a mission is accepted, gamers drop into an enormous space the place they need to discover and interact in firefights and slight puzzles as they traverse level A to B and C. Maps could be explored and secrets and techniques could be discovered, but it surely is all so samey and by no means actually quantities to a lot.

When the warmth of battle is on, Necromunda: Hired Gun turns into a genuinely fulfilling cacophony of mayhem and cartoonish gore. The sound design is delightfully punchy, and participant motion does really feel fairly nice, though all the pieces else surrounding it is sort of dangerous. Combat by no means adjustments until you drive it to alter by attempting new weapons, utilizing your trusty cyber-dog extra typically (sure, you could have a canine sidekick, and sure, you possibly can pet and feed it), or cranking the problem up.

The sport’s ambition could be seen at its margins. Every time it stretches past what it will probably moderately do, it’s in service of presenting a compelling thought. The execution is perhaps middling, however the design crew’s apparent want to correctly showcase the setting of Necromunda and the battles inside did work for me. While fight is by no means exhausting, it does make you are feeling like a bounty hunter—a lone employed gun whom everybody is out to get. Some of Necromunda: Hired Gun’s most attention-grabbing moments occur if you stumble into gang wars already in progress, and you could battle by means of either side whereas they battle each other. It makes the setting really feel alive — but it surely additionally exhibits the place the narrative fails.

The sport’s story by no means captures an ever-shifting gang struggle panorama of assassinations, ambushes, and back-stabbings. Instead, it leans into the worst features of Warhammer storytelling, throwing too many correct nouns on the participant whereas additionally being too grim-dark for a setting that just about coined that time period. You may skip a lot of the dialogue sections and the story may nonetheless be informed with its visuals; in truth, which may even be simpler. Even although quite a lot of the degrees look comparable, there is nonetheless a historical past and sense of huge scale and character in every space you soar, shoot, and dash by means of.

The player character of Necromunda: Hired Gun leaps down towards an armored enemy

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

“One-note” is a fairly blasé time period, however Necromunda: Hired Gun is precisely that. But the one be aware it strikes occurs to be a setting I like, and that makes it adequate to maintain me enjoying by means of its six-or-seven hour marketing campaign. If you loved Doom (2016) however wished that sport was approach buggier and that your enemies didn’t transfer round all that a lot, then this sport is simply what you’re in search of. (The bugs I encountered on Xbox Series X weren’t game-breaking, however Hired Gun is undoubtedly tough across the edges.)

Necromunda: Hired Gun is profoundly common. It is stupendously okay and, fortunately, quick. Still, I’m fairly happy with it. I by no means thought I’d see a first-person shooter the place I’d run by means of the underhive of Necromunda, combating my approach throughout sunken Imperial chapels and shrine rooms of nebulous intent, whereas firing a Bolter into enemies I’ve battled over and over on the tabletop. If you get pleasure from Warhammer 40,000 and Necromunda particularly, you then’re more likely to put up with all the pieces this sport throws at you to make you not get pleasure from it.

There is a time and place for genuinely common video games. In a world the place it looks as if each triple-A sport has to both be “amazing” or “terrible,” it feels sort of good to spend a weekend with a double-A sport that is enjoyable sufficient, attention-grabbing sufficient, and (once more, fortunately) fairly quick. Necromunda: Hired Gun is an awesome common sport.

Necromunda: Hired Gun launched May 31 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The sport was reviewed on Xbox Series X utilizing a obtain code supplied by Focus Home Interactive. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You can discover extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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