Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr, is a top down Action RPG, which pits the player as a member of the Inquisition, the most powerful agents of the Imperium, to purge the unclean and carry out the emperors will.
Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr is set within the Chaos-infested Caligari Sector, and gives players the option of 3 classes, a Crusader, an Assassin, and a Psyker. The crusader is your heavily armoured class, clad in power armour, and often seen wielding the largest weapons from the imperium’s arsenal. The assassin is the lightly armoured, agile class, who makes use of long-range rifles and swift melee to dispatch enemies. Lastly the Psyker is the mandatory caster class, using his powerful mind for his attacks. Each of the three classes has its own unique character, voice, and personality all brought to life with voice actors who have really captured the 40k spirit, and help to make the character you play feel that much more believable, and part of the world.
Even the secondary characters have their own unique dialogue and quirks, which help to bring the crew to life, and is definitely aided by the well written, researched dialogue. Each class has its own set of armours and weapons it can make use of, and this helps to make the character feel somewhat separate and purposeful, but sadly, the gameplay loop stays very much the same across the three.
While classes have their own little play style differences, Assassin characters can dodge for example, while Crusaders cannot, this sadly doesn’t do anything to alter the frustratingly repetitive gameplay look on offer in Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr.The sad truth is that the vast majority of the game’s missions are simply ‘fight your way from point A to point B, then to point C, end.’ You become briefly excited when the prospect of a traditional Horde mode style mission of defense comes up, as it acts as a change of pace, before you’re rapidly thrust into the loop of kill absolutely everything on-screen.
While this does tend to be the sort of gameplay that a top down RPG of this sort leans towards, I can’t help but feel it would be beneficial to create other ways of finishing missions, especially with the classes available. Having viable stealth options for the Assassin, or allowing the Psyker to use his mind in a manner that isn’t simply popping Chaos Marines’ heads off (as fun as that is) would be really beneficial to expanding upon the gameplay to help keep things a little more fresh. Sadly while the classes have their differences, the game ultimately leads to slaughtering everything in sight, which is a shame.
It’s not for the lack of unique enemies to fight either, Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyractually has an incredibly stacked line-up of foes for players to eradicate, with a nice combination of squishy hordes, ranged cultists, abominations, and Chaos Marines but to name a few. Sadly they all require the same method of death, holding down the mouse button. regardless of class, a lot of the combat simply revolves around holding down the mouse, and waiting for everything in-front of you to stop breathing. Even the bigger boss battles in the game feel the same, and often end up feeling like you’re chipping away at a health bar as opposed to having a genuine fight. It’s a shame, and really does take any form of tactical decision out of the game entirely.
Each class and weapon comes with its own selection of hotbar abilities, but these do little to add any real substance, and are often just variations of attacks (burst, full-auto, ect.) or the ability to fire slowly and retreat. You can change this up by altering your armour type to alter your armour’s ability and altering your grenade, but this ultimately does little, if anything, to alter the loop. The thing is that your abilities lack any form of synergy between them. there’s no real chance to combine abilities together in the way you could in more tactically engaging titles such as Diablo.
The Psyker class can equip spells which cause warp anomalies if overused, creating balls of elemental energy that cause damage to the character. This is a nice addition and avoids the need for a resource system in a unique way (other classes use reloading or overheating to balance), and adds a nice risk reward, with the abilities becoming more dangerous rather than simply uncastable. Sadly, at the end of the day, you’re still slicing your way through a horde.
The most fun that Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr has to offer to me comes from the Assassin class, utilising Melee weapons. The ability to dash coupled with leaping into groups of enemies with an AOE ground attack brought a glimpse of that ability synergy I was craving so much. The class can also use armour that allows the character to cloak, but ultimately offers little tactical advantage, as you’ll always end up revealing yourself sooner or later, and then have everyone you left behind to deal with too. Both the Assassin and the Psyker are considerably more reliant of the game’s cover mechanic than the Crusader (who pretty much just says fuck cover anyway) and sadly the system is borderline useless.
Cover appears to be made from paper in Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr with enemies able to destroy all cover within a matter of moments, or completely circumvent your new hiding spot with the sheer abundance of grenades they all seem to pull out of their arse as soon as you hold the space bar. This leaves yourself having to play areas on a shoot and move basis, and makes you heavily reliant on having some form of heal. It’s a shame, and does pose the question, why on earth is the cover system here when it’s had such little work put in to making it a viable option? It’s questionable choices like this and the lack of additional options for combat that really hold the title back.
The story and world created within Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyris a definite good point. While a little rough around the edges, you can tell that emphasis has been put on making the world feel as 40K should, and effort has been put into making the story and the role of the Inquisitor as true to the lore of the world as possible and as mentioned before, the performances from the voice actors really help to illustrate that, adding the quirks to members of the imperium that you come to expect if you’re even slightly a fan of the 40K universe. The story revolves around the Martyr, a hulking ship now ridden with the forces of Chaos. The dark depths of the Caligari Sector present a well-written mystery, reminiscent of some of the classic 40K novels.
The game eventually throws the player some major choices to make, such as whether to side with the Radical or Puritanical branch of the Inquisition. You’ll be going it alone, or with friends, to tackle the objectives before you. Sadly the classes do little to synergise together, so it becomes a lot of killing, but with a friend. Each mission of the campaign can be selected from the helm of your ship, where you can also interact with the various characters you pick up along the way, sort out your characters build, your inventory, visit the black market, or even craft some new hardware yourself.
This is where another one fo the game’s poor design choices comes into factor however. Each mission has a level, equivalent to the equipment level of the player’s character. The game then rewards, or penalises the player depending on if they are over or under levelled. This often leaves you having to sacrifice good gear that has a slightly lower level for gear that is more common but of a higher level to avoid any penalty, and removes the idea of building up your character’s item stats for a system of damage reduction. It’s a really stupid mechanic that serves no purpose other than to buff those already powerful enough for the mission.
Technically, Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyris a troubled title. The game is by no means the smoothest performing title, with vast frame rate differences across the title, and its heavy dependence on CPU power. This is to be expected from a top down RPG with such an emphasis on horde type enemies, but it has been well documented by players since early access of the game suffering frame drops on even the higher end of the PC spectrum. It would be nice to see the title given that extra level of polish and optimisation that it deserves, because right now it really does take from the experience. I even suffered issues with the audio de-syncing on cut scenes, which is simply inexcusable. The title controls like any other top down Action RPG, but locks you into a camera angle that is frankly ridiculous.
I can’t help but feel this has been done to reduce the amount of shit on-screen for the sake of frame rate, but it really hampers the gameplay in my opinion. The camera isn’t so bad on the more open area’s, but really feels limited on the corridors, of which there are a lot within Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – Martyr. You can of course rotate the camera and zoom in a little, but that is really where the manipulation ends. The game’s settings do little to improve the experience, and lack a lot of options that really should be standard in 2018. Lastly, a myriad of the animations feel unfinished, with the executions being rare for one, but also being relatively clunky, as well as general melee attacks not feeling complete. Perhaps that’s the cause for all the blood, to cover up the lackluster character animations. Who knows.
I really wanted to love Warhammer 40K: Inqusitor – MartyrI really did. It’s a shame that some poor design choices and a complete lack of optimisation have let down what could have been a stellar title.