Necromunda: Hired Gun is a twitch shooter brought to us by Streumon Studio (Streum means monster in French slang apparently) and published by Focus Home interactive. It’s obviously based on the Games Workshop tabletop Necromunda, but as with all games based licensed properties is it any good? This is always a bigger question when it comes to Games Workshop games, so let’s delve into the underhive and find out. 

As far as GW properties go Necromunda is a deep cut to the wider world so for those of you unfamiliar Necromunda is a tabletop skirmish game set on the imperial planet of Necromunda, GW themselves sum it up as “The planet is a vast powerhouse of industry, making thousands and thousands of different items for use throughout nearby planetary systems. In the darkness of the underhive, fights between the clan houses over the limited resources are a way of life for the citizens of Necromunda.”. In otherwords imagine Mad Max but ruled by Nobel houses who are all to happy to let those beneath (both socially and physically) them commit all manner of obscene acts to keep the balance of power tipped in their favour. 

If there’s one thing that sets ‘Munda apart it’s the atmosphere that the lore and models bring to it and my first concern was if Hired Gun would be able to replicate it. This wasn’t a concern for long. Hired guns atmosphere is immediately fantastic, perfectly evocative of the underhive. 

You’re immediately thrown into some action in dimly lit labyrinth of rusted metal and industrial lighting, then the violence starts, and it’s relentless, gory and swift. You know straight away that the life of a ganger filled with horrific acts as they try to eek out a life and keep rival gangs from ending it. 

Another thing that immediately stood out, British accents, shouldn’t really be exciting but it’s nice to hear as after all GW is a British company and I was a great touch for the locals of Hired Gun to sound as authentic as the games atmosphere felt.

The story at times is difficult to follow, not because it’s particularly complex or you need to know a hives worth of fluff but simply because cutscenes are few and far between those you are treated to are poorly directed and wedged in between huge battles.

One example of this is a massive battle against some Goliaths, you take out the Chem suckers and are interrogating a suspect when all of a sudden a gang of those toxin toting tarts show up and you’re forced to blow them all to hell. I expected to return to the interrogation after this, but nope, the mission just ends. 

Speaking of Fluff (Wargamer slang for in-game lore) there’s plenty of nods to it for those who’ll recognise it. Most obviously in the form of the first real character you meet, none other than Kal Jericho. Those of you who know the name will immediately be excited and weary to see him, those who don’t, well, you’ll definitely get the weary part. Kals deceptive charm is both worrying and fantastic and he’s a highlight of the game no matter if you know who this “Scabbs” chap he’s on about is or not. 

The story does come together rather well by the time you finish the game and to be honest while I did see the ending coming that’s only because it’s so perfectly Necromunda. I let out a hearty chuckle as the games credits rolled and I can’t see any fan of the underhive being disappointed with the games story.

However,  not all is perfect with Hired Gun, what it nails in atmosphere, lore, story and soundtracks, it’s not quite a natural 6 from a technical standpoint.

The gameplay is fairly standard, pretty much what you imagine from the phrase twitch shooter. There’s some light RPG mechanisms in the game that revolve around augmenting yourself and you cyber mastiff. Oh yeah, the dog, to be honest the hound is mostly forgettable, it’s not overly useful in the early stages of the game, at least not enough for you to stop firing an autogun into an orlocks face long enough to summon it. Once you’ve taken the time and spent the credits to upgrade it though he does become a limb shredding beast and many a time late on in the game would shoot and ganger in the leg (normally the Eschers, I have a table top based hatred for them) only to them let my mastiff rip them to brightly coloured shreds. 

You’ll also need credits to upgrade yourself, buy new weapons and upgrade the ones you have. The game offers a decent selection of weapons but I’ll be honest, once I got my grubby augmented hands on a both a Bolter and Heavy Bolter I seldom used anything else. It’s the stand out weapon of Warhammer 40k and in game it sounds incredible. 

You’ll earn credits by selling gear you find in missions (the stuff you don’t wanna keep that is), the game also features side missions you can partake in to earn some extra scrip. 

Side missions are split into sections based on difficulty B, A and S, with S naturally being the hardest. In all honesty though calling them missions is an gross exaggeration as they use recycled arenas from the campaign and no mater what the actual objective is it pretty much comes down to murdering legions of respawning foes that give the impression of legions as opposed to gangs such is their number. 

The game has some bugs, the most noticeable is the games frame rate, I was playing on an Xbox Series X and the FPS would fluctuate widely between 60fps and 40fps depending on what was happening on screen, this coupled the frenetic pace you move around the levels at made playing Hired Gun a disorienting experience, although after a headache and a few hours I seemed to have adjusted. 

One bug which made me chuckle is that if your keep holding the fire button down while swapping weapons the game will play the sound of the first gun firing until it’s fired what the thinks is a full clip despite no rounds actually being fired. This should have been annoying but who doesn’t love the sound of a bolter! Some of the bugs are truly bizarre, in chapter 5 you’ll come across a bolter (although of this so the first time you’ve used one what by Helmawrs teeth have you been doing) and as you pass it there are some distillation tanks, now if if leap between them the game crashes and shuts down, every single time (I did it multiple times just to see). 

The gameplay is so enjoyable that I didn’t and don’t really care about the bugs as a “gamer”. When writing reviews there tends to be bigger picture that you look at and this critical eye would be twitching at a bug but then some slab headed Goliath champion would fail an easy leap (known in our tabletop circle as “doing a Phil”) and plummet into a huge vat of molten metal. Well, I didn’t care about the bugs while laughing at his stim-headed misfortune. 

Necromunda Hired Gun is a must play if you’re a Warhammer nerd like so many of us here at GameHype, the story may hook you if you’re new to the universe but as far as the gameplay is concerned, there are other fast paced shooters out there that do everything much better than Hired Gun..