Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor Martyr – Early Access Impressions

It’s not every day that a game launches into Steam’s much loathed early access programme in a relatively bug-free and playable state. Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor – Martyr is one such game. In its current form, the game is more than just playable, but it is lacking any meaningful progression or story mode.

Unlike a lot of the games that launch into early access, Inquisitor Martyr was brought onto the platform primarily for large-scale testing at this stage. Despite a level of polish that’s uncommon in test builds of games, Inquisitor Martyr is still in the alpha testing phase. An expansive story mode is set to launch with the full release of the game sometime early next year.

You may know the developers, NeocoreGames (yes, one word), as the people behind the Van Helsing series of action RPG games. So far, I’ve enjoyed Inquisitor Martyr more than I enjoyed that game series.

The game most closely resembles an action RPG such as Diablo or Path of Exile, but it brings a slower and more methodical pace to the table than other games in the genre. At this point in time, each level is procedurally generated from a limited palette of predefined building blocks. Objectives are fairly simple too and mostly revolve around killing everything on the level, which I’m sure is set to change once the story mode is introduced.

Sadly, the simple objectives can cause the game to feel somewhat repetitive after awhile, more so than most other ARPGs that I’ve tried. I believe this could mostly be fixed by fleshing out the universe with more interesting characters and locations and providing more for the player to do than kill hordes of enemies.

The biggest gripe I have with the game in its current state is the lack of any meaningful tutorials, but these are sure to come at some point in the future. The camera can be pretty irritating at times too, and you have to do a bit of work to reposition the camera in such a way that you can properly see the fight. NeocoreGames are first focussing on getting the core gameplay loop just right, and they seem to be on the right track so far.

The lack of tutorials stands out most when you try to understand the unnecessarily complicated leveling system. There are Inquisitorial Ranks, Power Ratings and Account Levels. They all improve your character in some or other way, but it’s not immediately obvious which you should be focussing on or even how to increase some of those rankings.

Combat and the animations tied to it can feel a little bit clunky, but it seems fitting given that you’re wearing heavy armour and tearing apart squishier opponents. I played the Crusader, which is your typical large and tanky class, and had access to a variety of heavy weapons that mostly felt pretty satisfying to use.

The actual moment to moment gameplay is really fun, with mostly destructible environments, dismemberment, and enemies that are enjoyable to fight against. Don’t get too attached to your characters though, since they’re all set to be wiped once the game fully released.

There’s a cover system too, which is a novel idea in an action RPG, but I honestly didn’t find myself using it all that often. Cover didn’t seem to last very long, to the point where it seemed like a better idea just to dodge incoming fire.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend that you buy the game in its current state unless you’re a huge fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe or of the developers. You’re paying to test the game, so wait until the full release if you don’t want to experience bugs. Inquisitor Martyr wasn’t released to early access for people to play the game early, but rather for them to help shape the development of the game.

However, I’m extremely excited for where this game seems to be heading. It perfectly captures the grim-dark setting of the 41st millennium. The combat is brutal, action packed and nice to look at too. The promised story mode, if done right, could be an awesome opportunity to step into the boots of an Inquisitor of the Imperium of Man.

About Charl Potgieter