Warhammer 40k Inquisitor Martyr is a new ARPG currently in development by Neocore Games, the creators of the Van Helsing series of video games. A perplexing and unsystematic opinion dwells within me while writing this article, I still can’t put down exactly how I’m feeling about the game. This will be a first impressions on the alpha so take most of what I say with a pinch of salt, and with that being said I also have very positive things to say about the game as well as negative.
But to begin we’ll go with the positive. The Warhammer 40k universe is one that I’ve been in love with for years but never actually had the motivation to collect its tabletop original product. On top of that there hasn’t been any mind blowing games to come out of the universe either, Dawn of War pops to mind and maybe Fire Warrior but other than that there hasn’t been any games that do the grim universe of Warhammer 40k any real justice.
In comes Warhammer 40k Inquisitor Martyr, a game that concentrates pretty solely on the dark and grim atmosphere that pollutes the games universe. You play as part of the Imperial Inquisition, a secret chapter of the Space Marines who’s sole task is to squelch the Chaos threat around the universe. If you know nothing about WH40k then that probably made little sense to you, for the moment the game is in beta so any story for now seems unrepresented.
While being an ARPG Inquisitor follow a very different set of rules and in-game mechanics to many of its brothers and sisters. Slaying hordes and hordes upon enemies isn’t what the title tries to take advantage of. Instead the gameplay is mostly handled in a much smaller and tactical scale. With the introduction of the cover mechanic inside the game, much of the rule set actually follows the table-top rules. At first I really didn’t know how to feel about the way it works. After a few hours I came to enjoy its unconventional mix of Xcom type tactical feel and twin stick shooter approach to the genre.
One thing’s for sure is that I absolutely adore the atmosphere within the game, it’s a genius mix between dystopian helplessness and a sense of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. A one man army vs hundreds of Chaos spawn, of which we have little variation as of now in the beta. As time goes on I hope to see a great deal more enemies other than just the Chaos. As lore tells us within the WH40k universe the Inquisition is a kind of secret police force tasked with destroying all who oppose the empire. This could mean in the future we see enemies like Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Rebel Imperials and even Orks, if that becomes a reality consider me sold.
The maps range from juggernaut space craft laden with Imperial Insignia to desert planets with harsh terrain and human made compounds. The variation has potential but for now rather limited in its scope. The character progression system works similarly to what you’d see in Destiny, your power rating is determined by the rarity and strength of your currently equipped gear. Each mission is detailed on what kind of power rating is recommended to enter.
Visually the game looks great, the textures stand out and the scenery stays pretty loyal to the source material, but as it stands the alpha seems to be plagued with a number of optimisation issues as it stands, it’s a complete CPU hog on higher video settings. Some of the animations also irk me out a little, as well as some of the sounds that cause the game to look high budget but sound very poor. I’m impressed with the sound of the Bolter and feel like it’s the first game actually make that gun feel correct, however the Lasers could have been ripped from early Star Trek Phasers, it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the overall badassitude vibe that Space Marines give of.
As of now the Online ARPG genre has been mostly dominated by the two giants in Path of Exile and Diablo 3, however Inquisitor Martyr is showing great promise, maybe not to take on these two but to definitely form its own niche following. The Universe of 40k has vast potential and an extremely wide spectrum to draw from, this could also be the first game that takes up the task of actually giving a player freedom in the universe to explore and live in, to a certain extent. But consider me intrigued Neocore, I’ll be returning after future updates, as a huge ARPG fan myself the thought of something that’s inherently unique and new in the genre excites me.