We’ve talked a lot lately, especially in Invisibles, about the fine line between plagiarism and inspiration. In many cases, one studio uses someone else’s good ideas to implement them in their game and somehow adopt them and even add something to the formula. One of the problems with this practice is that you have to avoid the shadow of the original as much as you can and when the shadow is no longer black but is fuligenic, as Gene Wolfe would say, you’ve got it very complicated.
Necromunda: Hired Gun is a first person shooter and in that I put it in the FPS category of Frenzy, a section that rules and I think it will be ID Software’s latest Doom for a long time to come. The introduction to the comparison is not good for the game from Streum auf Studio, but that does not mean that the game is anything but bad, but that you can only kneel and learn against the Slayer.
This new foray into the worlds of Warhammer 40,000 could be said to be going well, considering how many games come out with one or the other Games Workshop license, which incidentally has been making gold since the pandemic. Necromunda: Hired Gun transforms us Space Marines into gang members in an oversaturated world in which only a select few lead a more or less dignified life, the rest live in the depths of the planet, the beehive or worse, in the lower hive.
You can already imagine a world where sunlight is a mirage and crime absolutely reigns throughout the beehive. A swarm divided into various gangs who run the little government that may exist in these lost territories in the hands of the Emperor. Logically, when there are criminals there are rewards and that is what brings us the bounty hunters. Our protagonist will be one of them and in five minutes he will be drawn into a conspiracy that hides more than the hunt for a criminal.
A classic approach that is especially enriched for Lore fans as Kal Jericho, one of the most popular characters in the Necromunda novels, plays an important role in the plot. Outside of that, and with the occasional nod to fans, the game doesn’t offer a very interesting story either. We will face several gangs like the Eschers, the Goliaths and the Cawdors, but there are others we will only hear about like the Delaque or Van Saar. Fortunately, in addition to the always interesting appearance of the Ambots, one of the characters that fascinates me most about the board game, there are a few small surprises to liven up the story.
As a good frenzy shooter, standing in combat is synonymous with death. The game doesn’t give you a truce and always suggests that you don’t stop moving and destroy enemies. Its mechanics aren’t as well-sized as the Blessed Trinity of Doom (gun shooting, melee attack, and chainsaw), but it knows how to create its own flow to keep us motivated during confrontations. Perhaps the most important mechanism is the restoration of life, because as happens in Bloodborne, if we lose health, we can try to restore it. Logically causes more damage. In this way we have to constantly measure whether we are risking the 10 life points that are left for us to gain a little more health and which will make you get the whole game up with adrenaline. Yes, sometimes the title lacks precision or maybe too much, it depends how you look at it as sometimes we want to hook an enemy for a fatality and we pass by without being able to hook him or us starts the melee attack in the Air.
Another interesting addition is the popular hook. Its use will not only give us a lot of mobility and allow us to breathe for a few seconds, it will also serve to stun or disarm rival gang members so that we can kill death and stock up on ammunition on duty. If the hook works tremendously well, the mastiff won’t. And while sharing a cover with our protagonist, our cyber dog isn’t working quite the way it should, and on many occasions I’ve even forgotten he had it. Perhaps the problem is with its long cooldown to use it again or that it doesn’t make any difference in combat since I ended up only using it as a distraction or as a tank when I encountered a particularly powerful enemy.
So far the game would stay simple, not simple for that reason, but it’s nonsensically self-conscious by adding a number of forces between electronics and psyche that in the end give us too many elements to combine in battle and the vast majority of them or I forgot about them or couldn’t apply them as lime. In addition, the choice of power in combat on the console is arduous and the combination to start it, taking into account the speed that everything is going on, results in the fact that you often started something that you did not want or did not touch them Time. In the end I decided on just one pair and stuck to the maxim “sometimes less is more”.
It would have been more interesting to add more depth to what was already there than not to add additional functions. For example, finish performing certain actions in combat, make greater differences between the different enemies that appear and the way we should defeat them, or work a little more on integrating the cyber mastiff into combat. Things that a second party can easily fix.
And while having power always sums up at first sight, we see that when we have such an interesting arsenal, albeit a little unbalanced, like ours, we see that it doesn’t. Necromunda and Warhammer 40k fans will be delighted because the studio threw it all in and we have everything from laser, plasma and explosive weapons to the always-worthwhile bolter. There are a good number of guns out there, all with a great gun feel, which feeds fan service delightfully, although there are some included that don’t quite fit into the game’s action system. For example, the sniper hits you for one shot because once everyone is on the alert it becomes very difficult to get another clean shot. Back to the master, to Doom, the ID game solves it by offering it as a secondary option to a rapid fire gun, but in Hired Gun we don’t have that option so we can only carry limited weapons, it stayed in the trunk. On the other hand, destroying enemies with the bolter gives you a very rewarding feeling, as walking divinity.
On the negative side, our starting pistol can never be without equipment and further restricts the choice of weapons. We’ll give this pistol a high priority in the first few bars of the game, but as it progresses we won’t have any reason to take it for a walk unless we have shooting issues.
After the mission is over, we will have a profit that we can invest in improving our skills, our Cyber-Dogg or buy and customize weapons in the lobby on duty, here a bar embedded in the decrepit beehive.
And while the lobby has the typical classic options that this type of space between missions offers, I particularly liked this one because of the atmosphere it creates and which is carried through the whole game. If you’ve read novels or seen works of art by Necromunda, the art of the game perfectly fulfills your transition to the virtual world. It is very careful to convey to us that we are at the bottom of the planet, surrounded by misery, lava, rust and who knows what; It seems that you get stuck on a wall or worse, get a disease that is not yet cataloged.
Necromunda: Hired Gun does the perfect job of getting us to Necromunda’s beehive. His adaptation of turn-based combat, as the original board game is (and which the rogue factor game Underhive Wars couldn’t compete with), to an uncontrolled shooter is a success. The title works, and while far from Doom’s excellence, but very few titles are up to the task, the Streum on Studio game is a lot of fun. It’s true that it has some edges to polish, but the game has an interesting foundation for giving us a better result in the future.