Enforce the will of The Emperor and purge an onslaught of heretics in the latest edition to the catalogue of Warhammer 40K video games in NeocoreGames, Inquisitor Martyr. Unlike recently released Space Hulk: Deathwing, Inquisitor Martyr steers clear of manic, FPS shooter mechanics and instead adopts a Diablo-esque, action-RPG style of gameplay that does the extensive and intriguing 40K universe a far greater degree of justice.
As the game’s title depicts, you take on the role of an Inquisitor, a protector against threats towards the Imperium and humanity in turn. You must journey throughout the far and formidable reaches of the fictitious Caligari sector and fulfil The Emperors bidding by dispensing of the Heretics, Xenos spawn and Chaos Daemons that infest and taint it. Inquisitors are a diverse variety of secret agents possessing powerful and unique skill sets and playing as one bodes as one would expect. NeocoreGames have done well to cohere soundly with 40K lore and ensure you feel almighty and powerful in the boots of an Inquisitor. You’ll undoubtedly feel at an advantage in most combat encounters as you cut through hordes of oncoming enemies as if it were child’s play.
Upon loading into the game, you must choose an Inquisitior to play as from one of three available categories: Crusader, Assassin and Psyker. In each category is a further three playable characters, each specialising in different abilities and perks and all adequately profiled and summarised as to allow you to gauge which will suit your play-style best. Not only does this variety cater to an ensemble of different players, but also does well to invoke a strong element of replay-ability. Even after finishing the campaign, you have reason to return to delve into a somewhat unique playthrough with another character. Fortunately, the game allows for multiple profiles/ saves so don’t fret about losing progress with an existing character if you want to mix things up a little.
Inquisitor Martyr features a generously long campaign that’s complete with a stimulating story full of drive and choc-a-block with 40k’s expansive lore, praiseworthy voice acting and a flurry of side quests/priority assignments to dabble in (level permitting) outside the breaches of the campaign itself. Upon clearing the first chapter of the campaign you are granted access to the Command Bridge which serves as the main hub for the game. Here you can access your inventory, vendors, storage for your valuables, continue the slaughter cooperatively or chart a course on your Star Map to proceed with missions at your own leisure. Missions throughout the game exhibit a bountiful selection of objectives, ensuring both the campaign and optional quests alike do not outstay their welcome. Completing these will not only reward you with XP but with oodles of valuable loot too. Loot is graded with a colour system and you may alter your inventory contents and exchange gear from the Command Bridge wheel menu. It is worth mentioning however that the colour system grows to be a little irrelevant as you play on. You’ll no doubt let out a vexed grunt as you find yourself picking up lower graded gear with better stats regardless.
Throughout the course of the campaign and whilst frolicking through the game’s wealthy abundance of side quests, you will survey numerous alluring locations. The world of 40K is no stranger to gore and all means of destruction and Inquisitor Martyr is no exception. Ship debris and grotesque displays of war make for compelling exploration. An easy to comprehend mini-map makes certain that you wont lose your way as you hunt down objectives whilst cloaking yet to be discovered parts of the map with a dark mist, retaining their mystery. It pays off to explore these blackened sections thoroughly for they could be concealing chests brimming with priceless loot or hiding a resupply station in a time of dire need. It’s a shame however that the game’s mediocre visuals do little if any justice to these potentially atmospheric and immersive settings. Yes, sadly they really aren’t anything to write home about. However, it’s firmly established early on in the game that the visuals are not where the game’s focus lies and this isn’t a bad thing. It becomes remarkably difficult to get hung up on this flaw among several others littered within the game in the presence of the joyously fun and addictive combat element that’s been well implemented.
Combat is at the heart of Inquisitor Martyr and as you grow accustom to it’s workings you’ll take great joy in coating the game’s many settings in Nurgle-guts. Much like the Diablo franchise, Inquisitor Martyr features an isometric view which is befitting in the game’s stream of combat encounters. Your Inquisitor has a series of moves assigned to buttons on your controller, identified by a key provided in bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Realism is rife as you execute a sequence of moves, assuring you cannot accomplish a further attack or dodge without finishing the prior animation. As you scavenge heaps of loot throughout your travels and interchange weapons in your two available weapon sets in turn, your available moves will change so be sure to keep a watchful eye to refrain from panicking about unresponsive attacks in the heat of combat.
Experimenting with your equipped arsenal is advised for becoming acquainted with a set up that suits your circumstantial needs best. Playing as an Assassin, I favoured an Arc Blade/ Pistol combo for the balanced ranged and melee capabilities it provided me with. Although a cover system has been cleverly manipulated into the game, it can feel a tad redundant as running in guns and blades blazing feels far more productive than frantically smashing “L1” in an attempt to take cover as waves of enemies overwhelm you. Inquisitor Martyr’s abundance of weaponry isn’t the only well-intact RPG element of the game for you are also able to pack points into an elaborate skill tree which allow you to spec your player in a way that best takes your fancy. The immense scale and intricacy of the skill tree and perk options may be daunting at first but is easy enough to develop an understanding of as you gather points to pack into it. Levelling up via missions and completing Heroic Deed challenges will allow you to unlock new, higher-tier gear and earn skill points respectively to allocate as you see fit.
Thanks to the smooth difficulty curve of the game and sufficient tutorials that can be accessed at any point, adjusting to the combat of Inquisitor Martyr is effortless and you’ll be adding methodology to your initial arbitrary button-spam within the first few missions. Across encounters you’ll be introduced to numerous races from Warhammer 40K, making combat diverse as you tackle enemies ranging from nasty Nurglings to colossal Hellbrutes. Furthermore, carefully sewn into the game’s more “traditional” combat are brief “Tower Defence” segments that shrewdly disturb the initial predictability of the game. However, as the game’s events transpire it becomes apparent that it doesn’t look to overwhelm you with more difficult enemies but with sheer numbers instead. But even so, if you’ve established an attack combo perfect for filing down hordes, it still feels all but too easy. Moreover, with NPC’s being painfully incompetent throughout, judging attack patterns turns undemanding, really eliminating the feel of a challenge and that buzz of accomplishment in turn – enter Challenge Mode. This optional mode can be toggled before any mission, upping the ante of the game for more veteran A-RPG players. A higher difficulty is introduced in exchange for bigger and better rewards, counteracting the mundane vibe derived from slaughtering stacks of easy targets.
In light of my disappointment in the more recent 40K game releases I wrapped my hopes for Inquisitor Martyr tightly in bubble wrap as to protect them from another disheartened sigh upon it’s release. However, being proved wrong hasn’t defeated me but instead, seen an enormous gluttonous Nurgle-esque grin emerge on my face. NeocoreGames action-RPG approach on the Warhammer 40K universe incorporates the tabletop’s ever-enticing lore, an engaging and addictive combat system and vast ocean of enemies and locations to unveil. All of this fine handiwork ultimately constitutes hours upon hours of captivating action-packed fun. Whether you’re a seasoned 40K nut, action-RPG fanatic or a fresh-faced newcomer altogether, Inquisitor Martyr has little something for everyone.
**A code was kindly provided by publishers/ developers in exchange for an open and honest review**