Necromunda: Hired Gun - Review
The Warhammer 40,000 universe has a huge potential for creating video games in a variety of genres. However, the Games Workshop company distributes a license to everyone, which affects the final quality of a number of promising projects. Necromunda: Hired Gun continues this tradition.
The French studio Streum On, which is literally obsessed with board games, was responsible for the development. Her debut project is a very strange shooter with RPG elements E. Y. E: Divine Cybermancy, which is strongly inspired by Warhammer 40,000. The franchise's ears stuck out from everywhere: demons, an analog of the Inquisition divided into two factions, Mars, and even a reference to Space Hulk.
The second game of the studio - Space Hulk: Deathwing - has already used the official license from Games Workshop. And this is the second shooter in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The concept of Left 4 Dead was taken as a basis, but the quality left much to be desired. Despite the excellent art, the project suffered from many bugs, the story turned out to be bland, and the gameplay turned out to be lopsided. Everything was so bad that the developers released an updated Deathwing.
It would seem that Streum On should draw certain conclusions. But the limited budget, lack of diligence and the small size of the team again played a cruel joke with the French.
The events of Necromunda: Hired Gun unfold on a giant hive world called Necromunda. The player takes control of a mercenary who was hired to find and destroy a killer who eliminated a member of one of the trade guilds. In the process of completing the task, the punitive squad is ambushed, and the protagonist / protagonist miraculously survives the massacre and receives new augmentations.
Unfortunately, the story in Necromunda turned out to be incredibly boring. The characters are poorly remembered, conversations are boring, and the developers practically do not use the potential of Warhammer 40,000. A simple player who is not familiar with the products of Games Workshop will not even understand how the Necromunda gangs differ from each other. Even the mediocre strategy of Necromunda: Underhive Wars coped with the task much better.
Gameplay project Streum On is a loot shooter that combines elements of DOOM Eternal and Titanfall. Players have a hub - a small settlement of the End of the Martyr, where you can buy equipment, replace modules and amulets installed on weapons, as well as pump up the active and passive skills of the character and your cybermastiff.
The character is trained to double jump, can quickly move around the map due to the cat hook on his hand, run along the walls, and also use several abilities. The main skill is the summoning of the above-mentioned cybermastif. Toothy robopes highlights the enemies around and attacks them.
There are a lot more additional skills, but the player can only use one quickly (the rest are available through the radial quick access menu). For example, a mercenary can turn on slowmo, auto-aim, switch to berserk mode with a knife, stun the enemy, and so on.
The levels in the game turned out to be quite large, and the developers are trying to push them to study. Loot will fall out of enemies, but rarely, so you need to look for chests with equipment hidden in the location. Some of them are mined, but traps can be defused by buying special tools and special cards in the hub that increase the value of loot.
The problem is that when you receive a loot, you can't view it. It is allowed to replace weapons right on the spot, but it is allowed to change full-fledged equipment only in the hub. The inventory itself is implemented crookedly. For example, special amulets and modules for improving weapons have quite a lot of storage slots, but only a few cells are available for weapons. The player has as many as three slots for storing armor, which is not particularly necessary, as well as four slots for amulets, of which only three can be used at the same time.
With weapons, too, not everything is fine. At the same time, the character carries two submachine guns (for example, a bolter and a plasma gun) and two pistols. But there is also a fifth slot reserved for the default stub gun, which is not even allowed to be replaced with a better version.
Streum On's strong point is the work of artists. The locations turned out to be very diverse, allowing you to evaluate the specifics of the world of Warhammer 40,000. Giant railways, huge statues of the Adeptus Astartes, mysterious tunnels of the Underhive, some landfills, Gothic buildings, caves with phosphorescent mushrooms, neon trading settlements, logistics centers. All this is superimposed on the local flavor. AI is banned in the Imperium, so most of the technology is based on servitors - biocomputers created from prisoners, slaves and criminals who have their identities erased. To make the elevator go, the main character beats the servitor, and the local barges have an emaciated human carcass sticking out of the steering wheel.
The features of the universe even affect the calculation of the money that is credited after the mission. From the total amount, the "imperial tithe" is deducted - the tax at the expense of which the Imperium exists. The reward is affected by how many times the player resorted to treatment with stimulants that allow you to resurrect the character on the battlefield (additional lives), how many chests he found, how spectacularly he dealt with enemies, and so on.
But all the work of Streum On falls apart when it comes to the gameplay and the quality of the console port. Necromunda: Hired Gun can claim to be one of the worst games of 2021.
Hired Gun should be played exclusively on the PC, because all the developers ' efforts were thrown at this version. The console version is also available for the editorial review provided only on the day of release, it was clearly not a priority. Yes, we have a repeat of the Cyberpunk 2077 syndrome here.
The problems begin already on the start screen, where two menu items are indicated, although the space is left for three. The missing slot was the Exit button, which is only needed on a PC.
Further - more. The control is adapted to the gamepad is simply disgusting, trying to change it will not solve the problem. For example, the reloading of weapons and the activation of the finishing animation in melee are activated by pressing one button, which creates a conflict during finishing. The tackle and jerks are hung on the pressing of the stick, so some of the actions can not be performed normally. By default, pressing the right stick is assigned a quick use of the ability, so you can accidentally click on the first-aid kit or use a valuable ability in battle.
The gameplay in the game is crooked and oblique. For some reason, the developers mixed DOOM Eternal with Titanfall, not understanding the principles of the originals. Running on the walls was particularly badly affected. The levels practically do not take into account the presence of this mechanics in any way. The training talks about the need to hold down the jump button to run along the walls. However, the ability can be accidentally activated during a normal or double jump.
The character may not stick to the wall or even start running with his back. As a result, we tried not to use this mechanic throughout the game, although several pumping points are aimed at encouraging running on walls at once.
The worst thing is with shooting. On the release of the shooter, the help in aiming on the gamepad did not work at all. The function was available in the menu, but it was not saved. As a result, the game resembled a perverted torture, in which DOOM Eternal was crossed with the console version of Rainbow Six.
Later, the patch still fixed the problem, but the miscalculations in the balance did not go away. The ultimate weapon in Necromunda is a bunch of bolter firing rockets, and an ability that grants auto-aiming mode for a while. The rest of the weapons become unnecessary, and only enemies who have gathered in large crowds create a serious danger. Almost all bosses (except the penultimate one) die literally in a matter of seconds. The most crooked turned out to be an energy weapon - a lasgun on one of the levels can not destroy organic mines of genestealers.
Melee is stripped from DOOM Eternal, but to start the animation, you do not need to finish off the enemy - just go close to all the enemies (except for huge ogres, mechs and genestealers). During the animation, the character is invulnerable, so it is very easy to exploit this miscalculation on a PC. On consoles, the crooked control interferes.
Cybermastif is another failure of Streum On. The dog is an additional skill that is constantly buggy. The pet may refuse to follow the character because of a small obstacle on the way, and in other situations the dog begins to fly, pass through walls and jump from a giant height. AI opponents are not much better, because they really like to forget about the existence of a player standing nearby.
There are many questions about the structure of the missions. There are 13 levels in total in Necromunda (the shooter can be completed in 10 hours), but they do not always return to the hub location, although only there you can configure equipment. And in the middle of the game, the developers decided to shove a horror mission about their favorite genestealers, tying it to an already mediocre plot with white threads.
Streum On clearly expected to stretch the passage due to replayability. A terminal with side missions divided into difficulty levels is available in the hub. In fact, we are thrown out to old locations and offered to do something (kill genestealers, burn supplies, capture control points, and so on) by throwing different sets of enemies. However, the developers did not take into account that this can break the gameplay even more. For example, in some missions, the player is attacked in a narrow corridor by several mechs that can dig into the ground at once (standing on a piece of iron, under which there is lava, it is very logical). Because of this, the mercenary died several times, stuck in a narrow corridor.
The French love to use endless respawn without measure, which is also broken. Enemies appear with a significant delay from the air and start shooting at the player's back. It comes to the point of absurdity - in the very first story mission, the bandits ambush, opening the doors according to the script. That's just the timings are not verified, so the doors open independently, and the enemies are drawn only after five seconds.
The system of side missions is so crooked that you can quickly earn tens of thousands of credits. It is enough to choose the mission "Rescue of Witches", which is performed in two minutes, if you do not stand still (otherwise, endless waves of bandits will gore).
For completing secondary tasks, relationships with many factions are pumped, for which they are awarded with legendary equipment. However, orders are placed on the public bulletin board not only by loyal sons of the Imperium, but also by cults of genestealers and heretics. Ow, Inquisition, where are you sleeping?
But the final nail in the coffin of Necromunda: Hired Gun was optimization, which was simply forgotten. The shooter can not be called advanced in terms of graphics, but on the consoles of the last generation, the developers created a genuine Eye of Horror. Even on the PS4 Pro, the resolution is so soapy that it is very difficult to distinguish enemies against the backdrop of the scenery. And the excellent work of artists is not able to save the final result.
When the battle begins, the performance begins to jump, and the respawn of enemies causes friezes. In particularly tense moments, the game regularly crashes with an error. Fortunately, the inventory of the protagonist is saved when selecting a new item. There are also terminals scattered throughout the levels, through which it is allowed to restart missions or return to the hub. We do not recommend using them, because this is fraught with additional departure.
Necromunda: Hired Gun ruined the ambitions of Streum On, multiplied by a lack of budget and inexperience of developers. Instead of focusing on a few key aspects, the French mixed a whole vinaigrette of gameplay mechanics, which they did not understand well. All this outrage is filled with sauce from a completely helpless plot. And for such a nightmarish console port, it is necessary to punish.
If you still want to give the game a chance, then take the PC version. Yes, the performance is much better on the new generation consoles, but this does not cancel out gameplay miscalculations and control problems.