Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr has finally made its way onto PS4 and Xbox One after releasing on PC in June. You can read Alan’s full review of the game here, while this will be more focused on the changes from PC to console and the impacts they have on the game overall.
Having read Alan’s review and after playing the game and prior to writing this one, I can’t help but agree with everything he’s said. Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr is far from a flawless title and being ported onto console has done it no favors at all. Top-down ARPG titles such as this, Diablo, and Path of Exile are built and optimized to be played with a keyboard and mouse. Inventory management, ability selection and use and hotkey/hotbars are the kinds of things that need a keyboard or mouse to function properly. A controller has not and never will be able to do these systems justice, always feeling clunky and slow.
Each character class has an extensive list of different abilities, talents and upgrade-able perks to unlock, allowing you to customize your playstyle how you like, however, these menus and interfaces are downright painful to navigate with a controller. You are forced to scroll through numerous blank squares in order to locate the skill/perk/talent you wish to unlock or improve whereas a mouse would allow you to simply click the desired object and be done with it.
This same issue is encountered when organizing your inventory or changing equipment; you’re forced to scroll across items, navigating the grid slowly before arriving at whatever item you’re looking to equip, move or sell. This is especially frustrating when moving items around the inventory as you have to select the item then move to the desired location and select that square to move the item there. It’s a dreadful interface system but all ARPG titles of this design suffer from this flaw.
Echoing Alan’s review of the PC release, the combat mechanics in Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr are awfully repetitive and this causes them to become boring and stale within the first few missions. This isn’t aided by the lacklustre control scheme and camera utilization. You’re pretty much forced to keep the camera as zoomed out as possible in order to not get totally blind-sided and engaged by an off-screen enemy that can sight you from miles away.
Target selection with the controller really isn’t the best either, and you often find yourself running around in a circle or back and forth until the auto-targeting system selects the target closest to you or the re-directs to whatever you actually wanted to attack. It really can be quite hit or miss (pun slightly intended) on whether it helps or hinders you and depending on your method of attack, melee or ranged, it can get quite frustrating.
I found my character often running off mid-combat to melee attack an enemy off-screen or behind cover when already surrounded or engaged with the area boss simply because the auto-target changed while I switched attacks or used an ability. The target lock mechanic helps a little but once your target dies you switch back to auto-mode and the mess continues. Not only that but switching targets while locked is kind of a pain and equally inconsistent.
Target selection is a huge problem, especially considering how often the mission objective boils down to “kill everything”. Due to the limitations of the target selection, there are huge impacts on combat that would be completely irrelevant with our good friends mouse and keyboard. Move the mouse over to your target and click attack or hit one of your hotbared abilities to use on them. Even these are a bitch to aim with the controller, often causing me to miss with grenades (something that should never happen), meaning more often than not I reverted to AoE attacks centered on my character or self-buffs that required no aiming.
Finally, I feel it’s time to address Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr‘s performance issues. Personally, I’ve never been an advocate for the whole “It has to run in immaculate 60fps in ultra high detail for it to be even worth my time!” but considering I played the PS4 Pro version that gets extra high def textures and it was still skipping, lagging and generally not looking too hot in places? I’m disappointed.
My thoughts and feelings on the “superior” Pro version are a whole different kettle of fish, but it’s safe to say this game just added fuel to the fire. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely nails the Warhammer 40k aesthetics and looks great but considering it’s running on what’s meant to be the upgraded console it doesn’t look as good as it should, nor does it handle as well as it should either.
Coming into Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr I wasn’t expecting big things, not because of the title but because of previous encounters with ARPG titles on console. They all suffer from the same flaws yet somehow they keep getting made. Martyr is still a brilliantly well written, voiced and researched entry into the Warhammer 40k franchise from a lore and narrative perspective, however gameplay-wise it falls even further short than it’s PC version. Adding a flawed control system to an already flawed combat system seems like a recipe for disaster, time and time again…