Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr Review

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:Neocore Games
Release Date:2018-06-05
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
And with that, let's move on to weapons and gear. After all, hack 'n' slash games are known for their showers of multicolored loot. Martyr has that in the form of the tried and true color-coding system of white-blue-green-purple-orange loot, together with a few unique prefixes. You know, the usual. And if you are particularly perceptive, right now you're scratching your head over that last part. Yes, for some inexplicable reason the developers decided to swap the established rarity of uncommon green and rare blue and go with the opposite. Yes, it is confusing. No, I don't know why they did it.

Right, gear. You have two sets of weapons, an armor slot, and over half a dozen slots for various implants and trinkets. To give the game some credit, it's actually pretty cool to be collecting eye implants and holy seals instead of the usual gloves and greaves.

As for the game's arsenal, it's quite varied and includes pretty much everything you may expect from a 40K game - plasma guns, heavy bolters, power swords, melta guns, you name it. This weapon variety is particularly important because in Martyr your weapon determines your active skills. Most weapons give you four, except for one-handed melee weapons that give two since they're intended to be paired with a shield or a pistol of some kind.

So, you can have four weapon skills at most. Eight if, through some feat of mental gymnastics, you count both your weapon sets. And that's that. Once you unlock a weapon and equip it, that's all that it will ever be. There is currently no way to upgrade, alter, or customize weapon skills. And if you consider that these skills usually consist of an auto-attack and three other attacks that aren't that impressive either and usually just apply some status effect or do some limited area damage, you get a recipe for a very boring combat system.

You'll never have attacks that eradicate entire screens of enemies in a single shot, you won't be able to pinball around the battlefield with your axe spinning like a madman, and your sword's combo-attacks will never go past you holding down left click and counting to five.

On top of that, the game's keybindings are downright sadistic. You have four weapon attacks and two main mouse buttons. Usually, in a situation like this, games give you a couple of spammable attacks and augment them with a set of situational skills you have to target manually, along with some buffs and auras.

This is kind of what Martyr's utility, armor, and world skills try to accomplish. Sure, the targeting is somewhat wonky and if there's a pillar or a crate between your missile barrage and your target, you better believe that those crates are getting the full brunt of the Emperor's wrath instead of the enemies hiding behind them, but it more or less works.

But the game's main attack skills can mostly be classified as some variation of strong shot, anti-armor shot, burst shot and AoE shot, and you're supposed to use them on cooldown. Seeing how those cooldowns are rarely longer than 2-6 seconds, the default 1 and 2 number keys for them make no sense at all. Imagine playing a shooter where you aim with the mouse but shoot with the keyboard. That's roughly how playing Martyr feels like. And the kicker here is that the game's keybindings are extremely capricious and don't let you use key combos like shift click or alt click. You're basically stuck with shooting with the keyboard here.

And if that's not annoying enough, the cover system seems to be bugged, because half the time going into cover means you lose any ability to hit anything for some reason. And no, it's not some intended cover penalty because, like I said, it only happens occasionally and seemingly at random. Because of that, most of Martyr's combat devolves into you standing out in the open and holding the left mouse button.

In such a situation weapon variety is the main thing that can stave off boredom, if only for a while, but unfortunately after unlocking everything there is to unlock in Martyr, I found that most of the higher-level weapons aren't very fun to use. Heavy bolter, for example, can't hit the broad side of a barn, grenade launcher shoots roughly once per hour, and the grav gun has limited range and doesn't do that much damage. Of course, this may be a personal preference thing, but by the time I was done with the game I was still using dual bolt pistols and a greatsword, two very early game weapons.

At one point earlier I mentioned vehicles. In theory those could alleviate some of the tedium that creeps up on you after holding down left click for thirty hours, but having completed a fair share of side missions for this review, the only time I've ever encountered these vehicle missions was during the main campaign. And let's just say with how sluggish and unresponsive they were, I count that as a blessing.