Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr Review

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:Neocore Games
Release Date:2018-06-05
Genre:
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

And now, let's get to what is perhaps my biggest gripe with the game. While its story has some universe-shattering revelations, its gameplay doesn't keep up. The attacks just don't feel powerful and impactful, and a good Warhammer game should be all about those. Cinematic slowdowns, great sound design and attack animations, it all factors into this, and I really wish the developers took cues from character action games on how to create satisfying weighty combat.

If you remember the opening cinematic for the original Dawn of War, then you probably know what I'm talking about here. That is what I want a 40K game to feel like. It needs to feel epic, over the top, and ooze a mix of style, gore, and raw warp energy. As it stands, had there been Space Orks in Martyr, instead of a thunderous WAAAGH, their warcry would probably be a feeble mehhh.

Online Elements

Despite being primarily a single-player game, Martyr requires you to be online to play it. Because of that you get PvP, co-op missions, regular global events, leaderboards, and player guilds.

When it comes to Martyr's PvP, matchmaking seems to be something that only happens to other games. After waiting for roughly 5 minutes, I joined a 1 on 1 PvP match. The goal was to take control of two strategic points and hold them while they generated a hundred victory points. Just your regular king of the hill-type deal.

The match started, I left the protected area and ran around for a bit when I found my opponent. I hit him for something like 50-60 damage with my strongest attack. He responded by hitting me for 1500. I laughed. Then I respawned and tried again to approximately the same result. After that I alt-tabbed and waited for the match to be over because there didn't seem to be a clear way to surrender.

Then, I tried co-op. It didn't have any respect for matchmaking either and after a few minutes put me on a team with three high level players where I was absolutely useless. And while my own ping was quite decent, my teammates seemed to struggle, freeze and teleport all over the place.

The second time I tried co-op, I had a high-level character already. After a brief wait I got a message telling me that matchmaking was not available at the moment.

Honestly, unless you're into the idea of joining a guild, I don't see a good reason for Martyr to be an online-only game. In fact, you can't even trade with other players at the moment. I don't think anything else needs to be said here.

Technical Information

Nothing happened when I tried launching the game for the first time. Some basic troubleshooting and a few Google searches later I found a multitude of Steam forums topics discussing this very issue and describing a solution that involved manually copying and renaming one of the game's files. This was a couple weeks after the game's official launch and who knows how long since it went into Early Access.

Other than that, Martyr had its fair share of bugs but none of them were critical or overly annoying. Mostly just minor stuff like missing or interchanged bits of voice acting, odd pathfinding that often got you stuck on corners, and visual glitches with textures freaking out. And on the text side of things, there were a few typos here and there.

The game didn't take long to load and ran fairly well for the most part. However, occasionally I did get some frame drops for seemingly no reason. Fighting a horde of daemons? No problem. Walking down a corridor with some allies? No can do, boss. It didn't happen too often but nevertheless deserves mentioning.

There also were some questionable design decisions, like the aforementioned loot color-coding confusion. The game's UI can't be moved or resized, you can't change your gear during missions, hotkeys open menus but don't close them, weapon skills don't follow a clear pattern (sword has a single target attack then an AoE attack, axe has them reversed), that sort of thing. Once again, I don't know how stuff like this got through Early Access.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a good hack 'n' slash action-RPG, I find it hard to recommend Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr. Its systems are too messy, gameplay too simplistic and samey, and its execution leaves a lot to be desired. If you just want a good game, perhaps you should try Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, or something from the Diablo series instead.

Now, if you're interested in a cheesy Warhammer 40K story, get excited when presented with an opportunity to swing a power sword or fire a bolter, or would like to see a different take on the tried and true hack 'n' slash formula, then perhaps you might find some enjoyment in Martyr. You'll have to dig deep through all the mess to find it, but it's there.

In fact, I believe that Martyr has a lot of elements of a good game. They're just undertuned, as if the developers didn't know how to make an action-RPG fun or simply were afraid to take bold, balance-shattering decisions. And if at some point someone high up on the NeocoreGames team in a fit of inspiration decides to turn all those elements up to eleven and tighten up the game's story, improve its area design and item variety, add unique playstyle-altering skill trees, and make its combat feel epic, then Martyr can become something spectacular. But that's a big if.