You can hardly fault Streum On Studio for trying to make the next DOOM Eternal. With shooters very rare at the start of the PlayStation 5 generation, the developer had the opportunity to leave their mark with a fast FPS that picks up where id Software left off last year. It even had the Warhammer 40,000 license to go with it, though the universe was a dump for some. However, Necromunda: Hired Gun categorically fails to capitalize on everything he had going for him. On its own, this is an average shooter. When the cracks start to appear, gaming is one of the worst performing, buggy experiences we’ve had in quite some time.
While it’s safe to say that Necromunda: Hired Gun is far from a PS5 showcase, let’s start by setting the scene. You play as a bounty hunter who takes jobs from a base in exchange for money that can be spent on items and upgrades. The general loop revolves around running and shooting through 13 missions and returning to the refuge in between each to improve stats and gear.
What you do in these levels is where the title draws comparisons to DOOM, in that you’ll be flying through battle arenas taking on endless waves of humans, monsters, and everything in between. Enemy density isn’t quite on the same scale as the aforementioned series, but staying alert is still a must. With a double jump, wall, and grapple rounding out the mobility options, it’s easy to see how one might have a good time. Movement speed whips you up at a rapid pace, and with so many ghouls to shoot down, the blistering action could have (and probably should have) been worth it.
What immediately makes this impossible is the appalling shooting game, which takes away all satisfaction at the squeeze of a trigger. Weapons lack impact and weight, which means almost all guns feel the same, whether it’s the most basic gun or a supposedly powerful minigun. It’s bad enough, but this is where the game completely crumbles: it doesn’t have aim assist at the time of writing. The feature is disabled by default, but you can enable it in settings. Except the title never saves the change, which means Necromunda: Hired Gun literally lacks aim assist on PS5 at launch. Not a problem for those who play on PC, but a death sentence on consoles. Never have we missed so many shots in an FPS. As a result, shooting weapons seems sloppy and inaccurate.
This, however, only scratches the surface of what appears to be a game that is totally unoptimized for the PS5. Control inputs do not always register. Weapons take up so much of the screen that it can be difficult to see what to expect. The sound effects are muffled. The animations seem to be completely missing. Enemies you haven’t killed yet disappear for a few seconds, then reappear elsewhere. The PS5 DualSense controller quickly stops vibrating when you make your way through a weapon loader. The bugs and problems are plentiful, with just one example being the complete disappearance of the weapon in our hands.
And then there’s the frame rate, which pretty much manages to hit its 60fps goal when absolutely nothing is happening on the screen. But when the action heats up, there are plenty of frame rate drops as well as stuttering once enemies appear. Combined with some extremely basic enemy AI, this turns it all into a kind of comedic slideshow where you walk towards an enemy who does nothing to prevent their impending doom as the frame rate rises and struggles to keep up with your moving speed. It is simply awful.
The same goes for the menus and the user interface, the latter displaying text that almost looks like a placeholder. Scoring a critical hit should be cause for celebration, but instead the game casually casts a little white, continuous writing. Menus are the opposite of the spectrum; they are confusing and unwieldy. Upgrades suffer the most here, as the interfaces to upgrade weapons and gear are so confusing that we’ve bypassed the mechanic entirely in order to launch the next mission. The improvements are cursed.
It took us until the eighth paragraph to mention that you won’t be alone on your journeys through Necromunda: Hired Gun, with a canine companion who can be called upon to help during combat. The fact that we haven’t discussed the puppy so far is a reflection of the mechanics as a whole: we really forgot that the option existed even for large parts of the game. It just doesn’t seem useful to the game. all. You can spawn the dog for a limited time and have it attack enemies, but that’s something your weapon can already do. Sure, it’s cool and all to deal damage on two fronts, but the mechanic isn’t implemented enough to be of much benefit.
While a platforming puzzle here and there breaks things up, combat is really the name of the game. The campaign will last around six hours if you only focus on the main missions, but the side bounties can extend that duration by. game if you want to engage with optional content. However, we don’t recommend it – we don’t think you should bother playing the game.
Necromunda: Hired Gun will need a lot of work to bring it into near-condition we might recommend playing. Actually, activating aim assist shouldn’t be a difficult task, but the same can’t be said for the abysmal frame rate and long list of issues and glitches. Without them, the game might be considered somewhat average. Along with them, we wonder how Necromunda: Hired Gun was allowed to ship to PS5 in the first place.