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Page 3 of 4Robust passives and interesting builds could also help, however, with Martyr's lackluster passive skills and the importance of power rating that makes you ignore any and all gear stats and just go with the highest rated gear, there aren't really any builds. Sure, you can specialize your character to be better at certain things or add some oomph through perks, but at the end of the day, you'll just have a character that runs slightly faster and hits slightly harder. The differences in playstyle will be minimal.
Now, once you reach the end-game and stop replacing all your gear every two missions, then you can sink some time into stalking the merchant who rolls over her gear selection once an hour, or try your hand at crafting the gear with the stats you need yourself, but that's only if you don't have a very exciting session of watching paint dry scheduled already.
Now, to end this section of the review on a somewhat positive note, I'll mention the inoculator. This piece of gear serves as your multi-use healing potion that you can greatly customize with the help of a certain NPC. It can heal in a variety of different ways and it can grant you all kinds of buffs, and the best part is that you assemble this multi-purpose potion yourself, balancing the positive effects with the number of uses you get before having to recharge the inoculator. I quite enjoyed tinkering with this particular gizmo and think it's a neat way to handle healing.
Story and Presentation
For an action-RPG, Martyr's main campaign is quite engaging and story-rich. It follows an Imperial Inquisitor on a holy mission to discover the secrets of a derelict spaceship - the eponymous Martyr. On this quest you'll meet colorful characters from across the Imperium of Man, fight a fair share of Chaos Daemons, Chaos Space Marines, and even a few regiments of rebel Imperial Guards (with additional enemy types already promised, starting with the Dark Eldar), and in the end discover some well-hidden truths about your Inquisitor and play an important part in deciding the fate of the Imperium.
The story does not pretend to be something it's not and as a result is way more enjoyable than it could have been had it took itself too seriously. It has that cheesy B movie or middle of the road Warhammer novel feel to it, aided by a glorious overabundance of delicious 40K technobabble. Now, I'm no Warhammer lore expert, but I know the basics, so most of the terms were familiar to me already. Yet at the same time, I feel like the game's writers did a good job introducing all these concepts without devolving into lengthy exposition or making things incomprehensibly confusing.
Another great part about all this is that all character interactions are voice-acted, taking place while you go about your daemon-slaying missions and in the process making the tedious combat somewhat more bearable. And, especially when it comes to the Crusader's voice actor, the modulated, static-filled voices sound quite decent.
Admittedly, at certain points the story takes some nonsensical turns and has a few entirely pointless reveals that end up leading nowhere and make the middle section of the game feel like some, pardon my French, young adult TV show where all the problems could be solved by the characters talking to one another for five minutes. Still, this wasn't enough to sour me on the whole thing, and overall I think the game's story is its main strength.
In all honesty, I would have much preferred this game to be even more story-focused, drop the action prefix and be a full-fledged cRPG with intricate maps and hand-placed tactical encounters. But since that isn't the case, let's continue with the review.
On the art side of things, the game's attention to detail is quite impressive. If you know anything about the 40K aesthetic with its giant statues, bulky power armor, gilded two-headed eagles, and a very generous helping of skulls everywhere, rest assured that Martyr has all of that in spades. In fact, the game's art design is good enough to make you want to zoom the camera in as much as possible just to get a closer look at the great visuals. Of course, this inevitably gets you shot from off-screen and forces you to zoom back out.
And while the game's art direction is great, its level design leaves a lot to be desired. You generally get these maps: a linear weave of spaceship corridors, a narrow and linear exterior map that's either an Imperial city or some chaos-infested warzone, or an empty snowy square. And by square I don't mean a city plaza, I mean a literal square that doesn't even pretend to be something else and has a yellow line denoting the invisible wall where it ends.