Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr introduces itself not only as one of the games with the longest title in years, but also as a complex and ambitious action RPG. Brought by the developers behind the latest Van Helsing series, NeocoreGames, this ARPG presents a different take for Warhammer fans. However, new players can feel overwhelmed with the complexity of the systems it presents, even now that its Early Access state is only a few weeks old.
Published in Steam on September 8th, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr opened its doors to everyone who might be willing to experience the game during its development until Q1 2018, the estimated release window. The extensive roadmap has been shared with the official announcement and it highlights numerous updates for the future, including new game modes, classes and console ports for PS4 and Xbox One users.
So far, the game has a wide ranges of missions to compliment the momentary lack of campaign, two classes with three sub classes each that present a variety in the weapons and gameplay feel, and a main hub with stations for crafting and the multiplayer aspect. The problem is that you are thrown away at this hub without any prior indication or tutorial about what is there to do, or where to start. There are indeed tutorials in form of text and images, but it’s just one of those games in which I felt like I needed a focused guidance.
Right now, you can play as either a Crusader or an Assassin; the third class, Psyker, will become available later on during the development of the game. Each class’ specialization focuses on using different weapons, alongside a handful of abilites that are unique to the gameplay style. But for short, you can expect a more tank/heavy DPS (damage per second) from Crusaders, and a stealth focused experience if you choose to be an Assassin. In the later, the big machine guns or shields get replaced by a set of sniper rifles for long range and a shotgun or autogun for a closer approach.
As many other games in the genre, you will get loot from enemies and as rewards after each mission in form of boxes, which generate random items. This includes different types of weapons (both in rarity and the class), which also have skills attached to. This works similar as the gem system in Path of Exile, requiring you to swap between weapons to obtain other skills, and there after, different approaches before entering a mission. There are also different armors and some additional gadgets and trinkets that offer variety in many different stats of the character.
In Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, almost everything has a skill tree in which you can invest points into. Players receive points after each mission that can be used to upgrade skills, which are also skill strees themselves inside each skill. For example, you get over 10 skills for the Critical path, which increases your chances and damage regarding critical hits. This can also be used for upgrading your movement speed, overall damage and much more.
These skill trees are not available from the start, though, and will require the completition of heroic tasks that involve to complete different objectives when you are in battle, like killing a certain amount of elite enemies. In addition, Crafting also has its unique skill tree that lets players to upgrade certain aspects involving item reciclying for obtaining materials or the time it takes to craft an item. Yes, crafting a weapon can take 30 minutes in real time, something really atipical in games like these. There is also a shop to buy and sell items you won’t use, a storage chest and a terminal that is focused on the potions you can take (or inject, as they are commonly syringes) for both healing or buff purposes, increasing selected atributes for a short period of time.
The missions in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr are currently divided in five types: kill everything, kill marked targets, download Data from specific places in the map, purify shrines and destroy three warpgates; and it’s on the devs plan to add even more on the future, along with an increased map variety. Something that seemed really interesting at first is how the missions are presented in a solar system, displaying a coloured number that indicates the difficulty of the mission. This is how Martyr deals with difficulty, and it’s based on two basic differences: how much less damage you make and how much more damage the enemies deal to you. It’s an interesting mechanic, although sometimes it might lead to an inminent failure if we are just starting out and just want to explore and do some quick missions without realising what to expect.
At the same time, there is a player rank that only increases if you Tarot Missions. These special missions cost a certain amount of Fate, an in-game currency that you obtain after doing heroic threats in normal missions. Sadly, this leaves to an ocassional grind in order to obtain the needed amount of Fate points to be eligible of participating in Tarot Missions.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr plays as a regular ARPG, but it has some unique tweaks that differentiate from the rest. One of the first things I noticed was the need for reloading my weapon, which is tied to both the skills and an additional meter. All weapons have different clip capacities and, thankfully, you don’t need to buy any sort of ammo beforehand. Also, there is a system that in common in the third person shooter genre but not in here, which is the possibility to take cover in the enviroment. This, along with the enough physics diversity to be able to destroy entire columns and parts of the map lead to an interesting approach. While it didn’t bother me at all, I felt the urge to just dodge incoming attacks, heal and keep attacking, but you instantly get the feel that the game is designed in a way for you to take cover ocassionally in order to recover yourself. This stance helps you to heal faster and receive less damage, but the structures can be so easily destroyed that you end up getting some really short windows before you run towards the next object nearby.
But there are other systems as well. After unlocking the neccesary ability, players can perform executions on stunned enemies by getting closer to them and pressing F when an indication appears above their heads. And lastly, there are different stances that your character might enter in the heat of battle, such as being supressed or literally in a great danger by being the target of dozen of enemies at the same time. When this happens, several stats decrease until you are out of the danger zone, but leads to some mental stats such as hallucinations in the meantime. I didn’t get to explode this system that much, but seems like it could be used as an interesting mechanic to prevent players from camping for too long.
I feel like Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr has the potential to become a massive success, but the devs should start to think in a clear direction before continuing with the development. At the moment there is the possibility to play the game in co-op mode, but there is also a PvP mode that will be exploited over time. Missions are often varied, but the overall experience is presented as an “open world – sandbox game”, something that is clearly not what you get in this very moment. Maps are tied to each mission and you can only move freely in your own hub, without any additional interaction with other players apart from general and private channels for chat. And the fact that you have to wait real time to obtain a crafted item might lead to discussion for some players, as it’s often a feature seen in either survival games or MMOs.
I’m really curious about what NeocoreGames might achieve with Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, especially considering that they remain as an relatively small indie studio. But at this very moment is really hard to recommend it to a global audience. Warhammer fans might remain skeptical about the game, specially considering the price tag at $49.99 USD, but those who dare to grind for a few hours and start to learn the basics and get better equipment might find a really interesting experience under layers of, sometimes, unnecesary complexity.