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Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 22 - 2018

A Warhammer 40,000 based action RPG.

I was there for the birth of Warhammer 40,000. Well, not the actual birth, more in the waiting room. I was already a fan of Games Workshop’s Warhammer, so when Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader launched, offering a sci-fi spin on the tabletop game, I was all over that. And ever since, every time a Warhammer 40,000 videogame is launched, I get excited. Then, nine times out of ten, disappointed.

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However, NeocoreGames’ Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr from the very beginning promised to be something special. After all, an action RPG set within the Warhammer 40k universe sounds like a match that even the Emperor could get behind. Who wouldn’t want to play Diablo with a gritty sci-fi setting?

Jumping in at the Early Access stage, I must admit that there were some concerns. The lack of explanation and a crowded UI left me feeling that Martyr could well go the way of most other 40k games, despite the obvious potential. But, as it turned out, with the official launch, Neocore made good and provided what is probably one of my favourite Games Workshop based games so far. I had better explain. Join me in the war torn future…

The 41st Millennium is a pretty grim time to be alive. War is pretty much everywhere, and all of the primary races of this time are constantly fighting each other. Perhaps the biggest threat to all life in the universe is the incursion of Chaos, and the Caligari Sector in which Martyr is set is suffering more than most. Players will take on the role of an Inquisitor, a tough as nails agent for the God-Emperor himself, and fight either lone of with others to complete missions in this sector and turn back the tide of chaos.

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While there is a lot going on in Martyr to keep the player busy at any time, there is a nice meaty campaign story to play through, which does an excellent job of introducing the player to everything they need to know, proving to be the main aspect missing from the early access version that I played and struggled with. The story revolves around a mysterious space hulk, a giant, planet-sized spaceship, that disappeared some time before and has now reappeared. This space hulk, known as the Martyr, has something to do with the past of the Inquisition and turns out to be a really gripping story. Or at least it does to a fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I am not entirely sure how newcomers will find the story, or the characters that play major roles in the tale. They are all a bit serious and stoic, and one could even say fanatical in their duty for the Emperor. So yeah, I can see that the story will not sit well with all players, but I enjoyed it.

Players get to choose one of three different classes – the Crusader complete with oversized armour, the Assassin with skill and agility, or the Psyker who wields magical powers of sorts. Each class plays to a different play style, but then the player is able to further define their role by selecting from three specializations for each class, allowing players to be very specific with how their character will play.

Through playing the campaign, the player is slowly introduced to everything they need to play the game. The isometric viewpoint will be familiar to most action RPG players, as will the concept to moving along corridors and killing the hordes of enemies that stand in the players way. A radar map on the screen will give the player an idea of where to go, but sometimes the maze-like maps can lead the player to dead ends and require a little back tracking. This is no big deal though, as the levels tend to be fairly small in size and time requirement, which is quite nice for drop in play.

Something new to Martyr is a cover system, which I can’t remember ever seeing before in an isometric action RPG. Things can get a little chaotic when facing off against the forces of chaos (chuckle), so having the character able to slip into cover at the press of a button is a nice idea. I won’t say that it worked perfectly every time, and on occasion it prevented me from actually shooting the chaos hordes. After a while, I found myself rarely using it except against the more tricky boss battles, where I could. It is a great addition though.

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When it comes to the fighting, the skills that a player uses in battle come down to whatever weapon they are using. It tends to mostly be a case of firing against the enemy units, while also using abilities when they are available and healing as and when needed. It doesn’t get much more complicated than that. Players can assign two different weapon load outs and switch between them at will, grenades can be thrown, and there will be some bosses that the player will have to work a little bit harder to defeat. But for the most part, shoot and kill. You are a big, tough Inquisitor after all.

Where would an isometric action RPG be without loot. As is always the case, enemies will drop loot, and chests can be found, providing not only currency to spend in the space shop, but also lovely loot allowing the player to become more powerful and also change their look. The inventory is grid based and stuff that is not needed can be sold, ensuring there is always space for more loot, which could be that awesome looking new armour kit that makes your Inquisitor look totally bad ass, or that rifle that will mow down the nurglings. The combat may be a little samey samey after a while, but that drive for more loot is something that drives almost every action RPG.

Outside of the main story, there are plenty of other missions available. Pick a system from the star map, and the available missions, of a variety of different types, will be visible. The player will have a rating that dictates their power, and missions have a similar rating so players can see how difficult or easy a mission will be for their character at that time. As they get new gear and become more powerful, they will be able to take on more difficult missions without penalty, and so on. It’s a good system that will prevent frustration.

But Martyr is not a perfect game by a long shot. The game spent a long time in Early Access and, in my opinion, could have remained there for a while yet. It doesn’t feel finished. It is not so much about the bugs or glitches, although there are a few, but more about things like the very bland skill trees, or the variety of the special abilities that are tied to the weapons. Also, despite the inclusion of a cover mechanic, the game is a lot less tactical than you would expect, and much more suited to run and gunning. There also needs to be more variety to the game, something which I believe the developers have already promised for the future.

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So, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr could be improved upon, but it is already a great game. There is loads of content, and the developers have not finished with the game yet, so there is likely more to come. What the game does best though, is bring that gritty war-torn universe feel to the action RPG genre. Fans of 40k or those looking for a grim future action RPG would do well to check out Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr.




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