I’ve never really been into Warhammer, 40K or otherwise. Yes, I know, smells like heresy. Oh, the memes. Despite that, I sank dozens of hours into the Dawn Of War titles back in the day and after living with a housemate who managed a Games Workshop, I’ve had a little bit of familiarity with the franchise. So here we are with Warhammer 40000: Inquisitor - Prophecy, an action-RPG that promises the wholesale slaughter to propagate the glory of the Emperor.
You take on the role of the Inquisitor, previously of an organisation called the Cult Mechanicus. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re not the only one. While the game will obviously appeal to fans of the 40K universe, it’s also accessible enough that the jargon thrown around that will be old hat for some folks. Thankfully, it’s also relatively well explained for those who aren’t necessarily au fait with the ins and outs of the universe. One that the intriguing aspects of 40K lore is the relationship that humanity has with machine, how the religious beliefs intertwine with the military aspects of the setting.
Your mission starts out looking for information on Uther Tiberius, a legendary Inquisitor that was kicked out for, yes, you guessed it, HERESY. From there, the game takes you through a myriad of encounters that’ll take you from desert worlds to high-tech factories and abandoned space cruisers. You’ll be pitted against the classic 40K roster of enemies; Tyranids, Chaos Marines, rogue AI robotics and you’ll be happy to slaughter them all to further the cause of the Emperor.
While Prophecy brings the 40K flavour into the game, NeocoreGames seem to have done their research, it’s really the gameplay that lets the side down. ARPGs often get measured against the titans of the genre like Diablo III and Path of Exile. You use your mouse (or, in a bold move for 2019, the arrow keys) to move your character, while the left and right buttons are also tied to a pair of basic attacks for your equipped weapon. Your hotbar, numbered 1-4 grants you class-based skills. Being as there is only one class in Prophecy with a bit of deviation, the Tech-Adept plays a summons-based role while the equipped weapon’s actual attacks are somewhat secondary to proceedings. You’ll have to use these in combination against ever increasing hordes of enemies. What makes those games enveloping and gets you coming back for more is the ridiculous number of ways you can play out the campaign and the challenge modes. Prophecy’s gameplay largely consists of me summoning a couple of units and then holding down my left mouse button until the enemy health bar empties.
The horde motif of each encounter does lend itself to the setting but the gameplay feels unbearably slow at points, and it what’s supposed to be an ACTION-RPG, the middle of the road speed of the game takes any intensity that the setting might have built up. Even boss battles, marked by a lovely purple skull on your map, seem to be nothing more than auto-attacking and respawning your little robots when they die. There’s no tactics to the game; it just throws mobs and expects you to deal.
Additionally, the map design offers no unique twists or turns to change the flow of combat. You wander around until you find bad guys and kill them. You always have a direction pinging on the minimap, so there’s no real reason to explore and find extra loot unless you’re somewhere begging for extra supply and medical supplies. Despite the outdoor environments being just that, they feel like they’re routing the player in a direction just as much as the claustrophobic interiors of the Martyr. But at least the former doesn’t have the latter’s incessant and pointless backtracking through empty rooms to further the story; if you’re going to make me wander back, at least throw some more bad guys at me!
The real rub of Prophecy is that it really plays like an expansion to the 2015 title, Martyr, also part of the Warhammer: 40,000 – Inquisitor series of games. Martyr was re-released in June 2019 after having had an overhaul of it’s mechanics and seems to be in a slightly better place than when it was first released. However, Prophecy just seems to be a stripped-down version of the game.
I get that it’s a stand-alone title that is supposed to sit as a sequel/companion to Matryr, which is the ‘main’ game of this series; Prophecy just feels too stripped out to be truly meaningful on it’s own if you haven’t played the previous game. A single class with a bit of variance, an interesting if basic inventory and skill point system, and all in all feels basic enough that it should’ve either been DLC or an expansion pack to the core game. On top of that, the FPS spikes and lag is criminal for a game that looks and plays like the 2015. This didn’t even occur during massive brawls when the screen was filled with enemies. It’d be random, at times when loading audio narrative, when a special effect played, or even just walking along a corridor. The final rub is that you have to download the entire Martyr client just to play the standalone that comes in at a line-crippling 80Gb. That’s beyond crackers!
Prophecy had the potential to build on the mistakes of Martyr. Sadly, It seems that we’ve got a standard rehash of an average game that was split into two parts to capitalise on the 2.0 release of the former game. A great opportunity wasted, even if you’re a fan of the setting.
- Looks Decent
- Over the Top Voice Acting
- Lot in here for 40K Diehards
- Performance issues abound
- Dull, Repetitive Gameplay
- Uninspired Map Design with little variance