I began backing Inquisitor: Martyr (IM for short) during early access back in early 2017 and I’ve been excited about the finished product ever since. During early access, as is often the case, it was a rough and ready experience, but I did enjoy the gameplay and the potential behind the use of the lore.
My first impressions of the finished game are that it is an unpolished diamond. If you are a casual gamer and not in to 40k, then I can see this game not having much appeal for you. If you are a 40k fan though, then the use of the lore and the atmosphere the game generates make this a must-play experience. I’ve always wanted to play something like this as an Inquisitor, ever since I read the Eisenhorn series by Dan Abnett…now I can!
Before you leap in to the game, you are given a choice of three classes; in-turn each have three sub-classes. The options are psyker, assasin or crusader. I went with the Crusader who is essentially a tank and then I selected the heavy gunner sub-class, allowing me to take out enemies from afar. I’ve played the other two classes during early access and they offer very different gameplay styles. I think this will be a strength of the game in the future, with good replayability from playing through it with other classes.
The game kicks-off with a tutorial that slowly introduces the controls and main features of the game. It also doubles up as introducing the main story; the mystery behind the ship – the Martyr. This use of the main story in the tutorial was an excellent idea; you can often feel like you are ‘wasting time’ during a tutorial instead of getting in to a game properly. The atmosphere the game creates during the tutorial and the introductions to elements of the lore is also very engaging.
Moving beyond the tutorial, you can either follow the main story or engage in various missions. These missions are available via a star map where you can move from system to system and planet to star base, with everywhere having something you can do. I’ve engaged in a few interesting missions already, including rescuing and escorting a VIP (a sanctioned psyker) to safety and taking out some siege guns attacking an imperial outpost. The formula may essentially be the same, kill everything, but the context provides interest and puts in to the context of the wider world. For example, the mission briefings are very well written and provide you with a small preview of what you might face.
Levelling-up strengthens your character and allows you to pick a new skill from a variety of options. You also gain perks and new stats based on feats you’ve completed; e.g. killed 100 enemies with a certain type of weapon. The customisation options are a bit bewildering at first but you can make your character as a narrowly or as broadly focussed as you like.
Figure 1 – so many skills!
The variety of enemies and their actions is surprisingly wide. I’ve fought against a lot of plague marines and nurgle daemons, but also against the Black Legion and rebel Imperial Guard. By far the most interesting so far has surprisingly been the rebel Imperial Guard; the variety of their units and tactics has been surprisingly challenging. On the other hand though, facing down a Black Legion Legionary is also quite daunting.
Although the sound is probably the biggest component in building the atmosphere, I’m also very impressed with the environments. The variety has been very interesting and I’ve already played through a spaceship, a frozen world and a plague ridden world. The frozen was the best so far and I look forward to encountering further varieties.
Figure 2 – A frozen landscape
The variety and style of weapons is a big strongpoint of IM. With my Crusader I’m currently alternating between a shotgun and heavy flamer; two very different weapons. Each weapon has four skills, two basic and two powerful. Each skill has a timer on it, though you can almost always use your two basic skills. For example with my heavy flamer, I have a normal flame, a flame whilst automatically retreating, an area of effect flame and a long range powerful area of effect flame. It helps deal with a variety of situations, particularly when retreat is required. In addition your armour gives you a special skill that is able to be active after you’ve reached certain focus (i.e. caused a lot of damage); for my Crusader Heavy Gunner it is a missile spread that does a huge amount of damage.
Figure 3 – The all important loot
Priority assignments are one of the most interesting parts of the game. They are special chains of missions that not only form an interesting story, but also provide you with choices that have consequences. The choices form a short narrative that impact your chance of success in the mission(s) and the collateral damage you may incur. Collateral damage equals a loss in glory points, the ‘super’ currency of the game. I found the first one as part of the main storyline very engaging and I hope the game holds a lot more of them.
Figure 4 – What Choice to Make?
Overall I’m really enjoying IM and will probably keep playing it for a while. I believe the developers are going to continue to support it and bring out more content for it in the future; be it paid or free DLC, I will be getting it. In conclusion, if you are a 40k fan then this is for you, but I’d also say if you are a general fan of ARPGs then this is at least worth trying.