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Game Review: Inquisitor – Martyr (PS4)

 

Developed By: NeoCore Games

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Genre: Action RPG

 

Overview

 

Inquisitor: Martyr is an Action RPG game (in the same vein as the Diablo series), where you don the mantle of one of the Imperium’s most feared agents. Slaying your way through hordes of enemies, your ultimate goal (besides gaining more loot and power – believe me there is much of this to be had) is to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the mysterious space hulk “Martyr” which has just recently re-emerged from the tides of the immaterium in the Calligari sector. There are also an infinite number of side quests and missions available to you, such that you might level up and develop your character as much as your heart desires! For reference, I have only played the PS4 version of this game, and also mostly only the campaign.

Gameplay

 

If you’ve played Diablo 3 (or any of the Diablo style clones out there), you will instantly feel at home playing this game. In a nutshell – your character gains experience by completing missions (which raises your inquisitorial rank), and improves their power rating by finding and equipping better wargear. You also acquire fate during missions and for completing challenges (more on this later).

Combat is really fun – you can use any of Melee Weapons, Ranged Weapons, Psychic powers or support skills to attack and crush not only hordes of enemies, but also elite enemy champions and war machines alike. It’s immensely satisfying to watch waves of enemies fall under hails of your heavy bolter fire, or a bunch of them get blown up by a lucky fuel canister explosion, or even to see them crumple under your merciless melee attacks. There is a cover system available to hide your characters (and cover can be destroyed by the way!), but honestly i didn’t use this much at all. Perhaps this is because I played as a crusader – I could see the potential value for the psyker or assassin.

In my playthough I had only reached level 31, but the array of weapons on display is impressive. So many of the old classics (and new weapons) make an appearance, and you can truly shape your hero to be the warrior you need. Weapons and wargear all have their own skills, and you can combine interesting armour abilities with your weapons.

 

For example – my Crusader “Lachdanan” (spot the Diablo reference) was equipped with a Jump Pack and a Thunder Hammer. He could easily jump into a horde, and then smash huge enemy numbers with a powerful Area of Effect attack. Make no mistake, whether its a deadly assassin sniper, or a charging thunder hammer wielding crusader – the selection of death on offer is widely varied and interesting.

 

 

There is also a really interesting (at least I found it that way) combat mechanic which isn’t in the likes of Diablo, called Supression. Basically suppression is an indicator of how much combat pressure your character is. This is represented by a red/amber/green circle which surrounds your health bar.

Essentially, if you’re in combat you will take both physical AND suppression damage. If your suppression is in the green, all is well – but if it falls to Amber or Red, then you could be in trouble. In lower brackets, your character becomes susceptible to being stunned or even knocked over (and at the mercy of further attacks). You can counter suppression loss by using your innoculator (if you have customised it in such a way) or by disengaging in combat.

You can also inflict suppression damage on enemies – and some weapons have attack modes which are really designed to inflict massive suppression damage to your enemies. This is a really subtle inclusion to the game, and it really makes you think twice about how to tackle your latest horde of adversaries.

 

 

Unlike in Diablo 3 where the world is interconnected, every mission in the game offers its own unique map.  Whether you are playing a campaign mission, or doing one of the recursively generated side quests, you can browse the Star Map to search for a mission that suits your tastes.

Speaking of quests, in addition to your general hack n’ slash tasks which you’ll be carrying out in every mission, there are a decent amount of sub-missions, including:

  • Deactivating Gun Batteries
  • Purging an Entire Map of Enemies
  • Defending Key Personnel or Equipment
  • Destroying Key Targets on the Map
  • Limited deaths per map

You also have access to Priority Missions, which are like “mini campaigns”. You are often prompted before these missions to make a choice in some way – such as scout out a planet with hired psykers, or purchase reinforcements for a battle. These options sometimes cost Calligari Credits (which you can also use to craft items or purchase wargear from the merchant), and can affect your chances of success. Some options increase the Collateral Damage, which means that your completion reward is less worthwhile.  Uther’s Tarot is another interesting mission generation system:

 

You’ll gain access to this during the campaign, but essentially these are “build-a-mission” scenarios. You can unlock Tarot cards by fulfilling various criteria (admittedly I did not unlock many cards, so you’ll need to seek elsewhere for guidance on this). You can use major and minor tarot cards, to add or remove obstacles from your mission. You can also use certain cards to steer your wargear reward upon completion of the mission as well. This is a really neat system, which will clearly have more depth to it the more time you invest in it.

As I said at the start, I have not scratched the surface of the Endgame content, so there is undoubtedly far more here than I am touching on in terms of these extra missions. The game is essentially endless – and (for the PS4 version at least) the Drukhari content awaits (for inquisitors of power rating 900 or above!)

 

 

You begin the game by selecting 1 of 3 playable Inquisitor classes:

  • Crusader
  • Assassin
  • Psyker

Each of these classes offers unique skills, class attributes and combat strategies. I dabbled in both the Psyker and the Crusader, before eventually deciding to forge ahead with the Crusader (I will absolutely return to this game though to start a new character). Common to all classes though, is the skill progression system:

 

Some classes have access to different skill tress, but there are a large amount of core skills which are available to all Inquisitors. Also I should add here, that the word “skill” is used loosely here – a better phrase to use for these upgrades is probably “perma-buffs” (and indeed the game uses the buffs term itself).

The options available on these trees are really varied – you can improve your melee, shooting, speed, suppression and much more. You can additionally customise your character to be a melee specialist, ranged specialist, or just make them really tank-like by improving their hit points and defensive skills.

You also unlock new skill trees by performing Heroic Deeds, such as killing 1000 enemies, or by exploding 250 containers. This is a neat idea, as it keeps the way you play the game varied (at least if you want to unlock the plethora of possibilities available to you).

The last non-plot related part of character development relates to Perks. Perks are changeable upgrades to your character (again unlocked using various criteria) – I’m sure I read that the unlock criteria for one was hoard 200000 credits (which is a lot for a n00b like me)!!!

These can vary from improved movement speed, to improved damage – one even modified the way that your character used consumable such as grenades. There is another decent amount of depth here, which can really help you tweak your character in a way that make it feel truly yours.

 

 

Lastly there is a “blacksmith” available to you in the form of Tech-Priest Omicron Arkh. You unlock him fairly early into the campaign, and he offers a wide range of options and selections.

You need to pay Fate points and also Credits to unlock items on his skill tree. These options can include customising existing weapons, refining (and using) advanced material, plus much more. You need to collect (or buy) blueprints to get him to craft you some specific items, and you can build this repertoire up over the course of your inquisitor;s development.

Crafting an item takes a few hours (sometimes longer) – but you can also get consumables which “instabuild” everything in your queue. I only came across a few of these during my playthrough, so spend wisely!

 

 

Overall, I think that this game offers a lot in terms of its game-play and characterisation options. Yes, sometimes the combat can get repetitive, but that’s 100% par for the course in ARPGs such as this. It was the same in Diablo, it’s the same here. Again as I said above, I haven’t really touched on the endgame content, or the multiplayer (there is local co-op for the PS4), but if it’s half as good as the single player campaign I really look forward to it.

 

Story

 

There may be mild spoilers (but I will avoid the major plot points) – you have been warned! Your inquisitor begins the game by crashing on the mysterious space hulk Martyr after it has emerged form the Warp. Besiged by Chaos daemons and cultists, your inquisitor battles through the ship trying to find out basically what the heck is going on. It even transpires that there are other agencies of the Imperium at play, and a game which is subject matter of the inquisition is suitably littered with shades of grey and uncertain conclusions.

The search eventually expands into the wider Caligari sector, as alliances are formed and secrets are uncovered. There are also crucial points in the game (and I counted 3 in my playthrough) where your character is forced to decide between 2 branches of the Inquisition: Radical and Puritan:

This is a super neat addition, and gives more opportunity for you to shape your inquisitor the way that you want to. The story does a good job of explaining the choices at hand, and quite often you find yourself having thought about the “what ifs”? long before the crucial moment in question arrives. Not only this, but committing to one of the two paths unlocks that path’s respective skill tree. I have only played through the campaign once, but I have read that the choices you make do affect what happens specifically in the ending, so this would be interesting to see for sure.

The setting of the game is absolutely gorgeous (or horrific if i’m being more direct). The interior of the Martyr conveys the scale and size of the space hulk, and you definitely feel immersed in the game. Even more horrific is when you turn a corner and casually walk into the biggest pile of corpses you’ve ever seen. Not gonna lie, I expected to see Kharne the Betrayer near this mess:

The crew will also engage with you during missions via a vox channel in the top right of your screen (and speak through your PS4 controller which I thought was a nice touch). This chatter will range from useful plot device discussion, to mission briefing recaps, to pure fluff pieces and filler. I will admit – I laughed a lot at one comment the Tech Priest made about disengaging empathy sub routines – probably much more than I should have.

 

 

My only real gripe with the story/setting isn’t the main narrative itself, but more where your character fits into this universe. Now, we all know inquisitors are supreme bad-asses who dish out Imperial justice. However, Inquisitors generally would not be able to go toe to toe with some of the adversaries seen in this game, such as Chaos Space Marines, Dreadnoughts, Hellbrutes (and more). It’s been established in the fluff that these guys are far beyond human (even inquisitor) capabilities.

That being said though – this is a fairly small complaint. I absolutely prefer that these enemies are in the game, as they provide suitable challenge (and theatrics in terms of the bigger, scarier enemies). I’m happy to suspend my disbelief in the name of smashing something else with a Thunder Hammer.

In summary, the story is actually really engaging. I found myself surprisingly motivated to power through till the end of the game just to see what was going to happen, and I have to say it’s been a long time since a 40k game made me do that.

Roundup

 

I consider Diablo 2 (and possibly 3) to be one of my favourite games of all time. 40k is my other “life vice”. This game has come along and fit the mould of both of those worlds, and I think it is an absolute triumph. If you are a 40k fan, you absolutely need to get this game – it is fun, engaging, and littered with casual mass destruction. If you’re an ARPG fan – is this as good as Diablo? No. But it’s absolutely heading in that direction. I can’t wait to spend more time on this to play the endgame content and get stuck into the Drukhari missions.

At time of writing, you can pick the basic edition of this game up on amazon for around £30 for both the PS4 and Xbox One.  You can also get this on Steam for £34.00

Thanks for reading, and happy purging!

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