Last Updated on January 2, 2023
In Necromunda: Hired Gun you play a bounty hunter in a colossal hive city on the planet of Necromunda in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. With its gorgeous gritty city landscape showcasing the Doom-style mass closed environment battles, there is plenty to enjoy here for the mayhem-style FPS fan.
The scenery in Necromunda: Hired Gun is utterly gorgeous, and the hive city you play in is beautifully detailed and put together, with the religious fanaticism of the Mechanicus and the horrible toxic plight of the Imperial citizenry on full display in every nook and cranny. The way this is then graffitied over by the gangs in control of each area you venture in to provides the really well lived-in historical feel—the way it should be with a city thousands of years old and thousands of levels deep.
The weapons are plentiful, and there are plenty of upgrades and customisations to make them suit your gameplay and aesthetic preferences. Your cyber mastiff is also a pretty awesome addition—a short term side-kick that you can upgrade as you go, and a character that is super helpful in getting you out of a bind.
The gameplay is very much in the same vein as a Doom, Quake, or Wolfenstein, with plenty of jumping, double-jumping, wall running and running around to avoid storms of bullets and missiles from hordes of gang members (when some massive ogryn or gang leader isn’t lightning-leaping across the room to punch your head in). And when you understand that part of the game–what it is at its core–it makes progression through the missions a whole lot easier.
The health system in Necromunda: Hired Gun is also something I appreciated. The constant dropped refractor shield recharges from killed enemies and the health boosts you get from certain kills, plus a post-death regeneration system that I found very forgiving, make it easy and fun to keep rolling through the levels and the mayhem.
The music score is also just fucking awesome. Metal music for a metal underhive being coated in blood by metal clad gangs. So spot on. A little tricksy when you start mentally attaching the music to combat and all of a sudden you get attacked without music and you are just wondering why we can’t be friends when the music isn’t raging, but there you go.
There are a few things with this game that didn’t land for me, however. I will preface the following with that I provide this feedback as a person with less-than-average gamer capability who just loves games for the story, visuals, and action whenever I can get a few hours to play them. So for those of you who can obsess and sink hundreds of hours into a game no worries: take this with a grain of salt if needed.
My biggest issue with Necromunda: Hired Gun was the mission design.. The first scene sets you up on the tail of the deadly Silver Talon, and then, in the time that I played it, kind of just fritters around from there. There were missions and mission sections that finished when honestly I’m not sure what I did or who I killed to make the mission end. Then those missions’ relation to the relatively watery storyline anchored on a partnership with old school Necromunda legend NPC Kal Jericho also seemed pretty flimsy for the time I played this game to write this review (~10hrs). With such a massive stable of authors working for Games Workshop and Black Library, this is actually the part that surprised me the most.
In addition there was a catch-22 boss in there relatively early, where I found myself in a more narrow storyline section, not allowed to get back to HQ to level up or get better weapons, nor was I equipped with stims to survive or the right guns to take on the boss. Normally, for the layperson gamer like myself, this creates an unwinnable rage-quit point that I really think should not be in the early stages of games. These parts in video games represent the first 20% of a book, in my mind; if you can’t get somebody in and keep them in early, they are likely to stop playing and miss all the awesome stuff you planned for them later.
I also don’t know the kind of demand on my Xbox that it would have required, but keeping some of the bodies and machines you kill in the environment would have been a solid effect. In addition, when in fights with bosses and characters that have a tagline, by the end of the fight I’m more sick of the tagline than I am of killing the exact same character over and over again (eg. “Die, you throne damn skinny!” Gets real old the 150th time you’ve heard it in a four minute battle).
Necromunda: Hired Gun is an utterly stunning game that completely immerses you in the 40k universe, but might have benefitted from a Gears of War style combat system with a little less chaotic mayhem, and a little more use of that gorgeous scenery.