Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr is a fun sci-fi action RPG. However, is it worth the huge time investment?
Despite having a lot of fun playing ARPGs like Diablo III and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, I haven't played many others so I was excited to try out Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr. Diablo 3's influence on this game is obvious as you can bind battle skills to different buttons, it includes the vendor and crafting, it has relic items in place of legendaries, and so on. Despite their similarities, Martyr has its own identity as I'll explain in a bit.
For now, here's the scoop on the story: you play as an inquisitor who is a powerful agent of the Imperium of Man that fights a secret war against demonic forces. An ancient voidship, the Martyr, has appeared in the Caligari Sector. Upon investigation, you discover that the Martyr was commanded by an inquisitor named Uther Tiberius who created a powerful weapon called the Alpha Pariah, a woman who has the power to destroy daemons completely so they can't reform in the Immaterium. For most of the campaign, you have to try and get into Uther's inner sanctum and later, the prison where the Alpha Pariah is kept. The voice acting is decent but not great. The Psyker has the best voice but the others just don't have as much passion and there are plenty of cool albeit cheesy one-liners to hear.
There are 3 characters to choose from: Psyker, crusader, and assassin. Each one has three specialisations. The Psyker uses ranged attacks with cool psychic powers but if you overuse them, you can spawn dangerous warp anomalies. The crusader is the melee tank although they can also use ranged weapons. The assassin seems to be the most interesting class since the three specialisations are very different as they can be a sniper, a melee infiltrator, or a point blank weapons specialist.
The battle system is as satisfying as you'd expect from an action RPG. You move with the left stick and guide the camera with the right. X uses your weapon's main attack while circle, triangle, and both triggers activate your bound abilities like special attacks and temporary buffs. If you don't like the way your abilities are laid out, play through the first few missions and you'll soon be able to customise them to your liking. One gripe I have is how you can only change your abilities in the hub area.
Anyway, the gameplay makes heavy use of auto-targeting. If you're using a ranged character, you only need to point yourself in the enemies' general direction and you'll automatically shoot them. If you're using a melee character, you'll instead run towards them before smacking them with your sword. The auto-targeting definitely makes it hard to target exactly what you want but as long as you're attacking something, you should eventually clear out everything onscreen. What's far more annoying is how your character seems to love to run towards the nearest health or ammo pack. You can even run towards ammo packs when you have full ammo or have a psychic focus equipped so it's impossible to make use of them. Sometimes, while I was near an objective, it was impossible for me to complete the mission because the X button would just run toward an ammo pack which I couldn't get rid of.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr's difficulty is dynamic. Your character and the missions you take on both have a power level which is between 1 and 1500 but missions can go much higher. You'll always be keeping an eye on your character's power level as well as the power level of the mission and considering you can adjust the difficulty at the start of every mission, it's as easy or as challenging as you want. The higher the power level, the more difficult it is but the more XP is awarded at the end of the mission. The overall XP per hour shouldn't be radically different whether you pick easy missions or hard ones but having the ability to choose is definitely welcome.
Completing the story should get you to around rank 30 which is a long way from the cap of 50. From there, you can do missions on the galaxy map for more items and XP. You can also complete tarot missions which cost fate points but have special restrictions and increased chances of getting rare items. There's also the option to complete side-quests that are procedurally generated series of missions.
Leveling up becomes very slow after completing the story missions. That's when the grind sets in as the only thing left to do is to endlessly complete randomly generated missions as well as tarot missions when you have enough fate points. To make matters worse, once you reach around rank 41 or 42, you'll notice that the gear you find isn't scaling to your level anymore. The armor that you find in missions and gear from crafting and the vendor has a level cap of 40. To find better gear, now you need to make heavy use of the crafting system and even more grinding which can be a taxing endeavour to say the least.
I reached power level 1050 and was hoping to reach 1100 so I can try out Warzones which is a cool new feature. However, because the gear stopped getting better, it will now take a lot longer to unlock it and I really don't care to keep trying which is a shame.
One thing I haven't touched on yet is multiplayer because online co-op and PvP require a PS Plus subscription. Online multiplayer would make Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr so much more fun but if you're like me and don't have PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold then prepare to be disappointed. Another thing to note is the absence of a general chat room. I don't care for chat rooms myself but it would have been a welcome feature for those who enjoy chatting with other players.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr is a fun ARPG with a lot of cool things going for it such as its story and multiplayer features. However, it has a couple of glaring flaws, especially the post-game grind to unlock Warzones.
- + Well-implemented dynamic difficulty
- + Fast and fun action-packed combat system with a few unique playable characters
- + Plenty of multiplayer features
- - Post-game grind is not much fun
- - Playing offline isn't nearly as enjoyable
- - Auto-targeting is occasionally frustrating