I have a long standing relationship with ARPG’s, as in, they are probably my favorite game genre in existence. Since those good old days or Diablo 1 and 2 I have been hooked on the hacking, slashing, looting, repeat system that has seen me through many nights of gaming. When I caught word that NeocoreGames, the developer behind The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, was taking their ARPG talents to the Warhammer 40,000 Universe I have to admit I was intrigued. As a long time fan of Van Helsing 1(check out my review here) and 2 I was interested to see how NeocoreGames would implement their unique design philosophies to both an established IP and genre.
After spending only a few hours with Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr I have to say that I am both impressed and hopeful for what this game could become. Note that Martyr is currently in early access on steam and as is the case, I will be doing a series of previews in progress as the game pushes towards it’s final release. So grab that coffee, sit back and enjoy this Preview in Process of Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr (as an aside who comes up with these titles).
As mentioned, Martyr is still very early in development and at the moment is still in its Alpha build. The usual bugs and lack of optimization are present so if you’re running a bit older rig you might want to wait a bit to dive in. However regardless of its early development stage, Inquisitor - Martyr does an excellent job of capturing the look and feel of the 40,000 universe. Characters, set pieces and NPC’s all look and act the way you would expect from a Warhammer title and NeocoreGames has done a great job of representing this IP well. There are still some visual bugs present in the current build and with the lack of optimisation I did run into a few frame rate issues along the way but despite these the game looks and feels great. It will be nice to see the visuals polished as the title develops but at present this game looks and feels right for the IP.
The gameplay itself is an interesting take on the genre. Typically ARPGs are known for their insanely fast combat, never ending loot piles and fast paced movement through the world. Martyr plays a bit with these typical mechanics, a node to Neocore’s history of adding its own take on the genre, by slowing down the action and movement a bit and adding some interesting cover mechanics and destructible environments. This forces you to play smart making you to rely on the environment, well implemented movement and intelligent use of your abilities to succeed. There are no spam click to win scenarios here, engaging each pack of enemies can quickly turn sour if you’re not paying attention to what’s going on. The cover mechanics specifically can mean the difference between life and death and it is a unique approach to the standard hack and slash formula.
Speaking of the cover system, at the moment it is conceptually something I love. Functionally it feels a bit buggy with my character not always reacting the way I would expect leaving me either exposed or unable to shoot at enemies. For the most part it works and hopefully with some time Neocore will refine it. The cover mechanic does offer a new level of gameplay that, when working, really offer some great new ways to play an ARPG.
At present there are several systems in place that work well. I spent some time crafting and salvaging and it looks like appearance options will be available at some point. There are currently storage and shops to work with as well and all seem to function as you would expect.
What I was really happy to see was how player progression is being handled by the developer. This is a class based ARPG so you can expect to see some of the typical Archetypes in play but once you pick a class your abilities become unlocked based on weapon and mod loadout. Each weapon type carries it own set of abilities and with two weapon slots available it allows the player to really refine the play experience to their style. On top of this the current skill tree allows you to further customize the way you play. Some of these things are pretty standard in ARPG’s but NeocoreGames has added its own flare to handling the systems.
The last note to make at present is that the game currently supports 4 player co-op and PVP. I should clarify that I have tried co-op and it is solid and quite fun. You que up lobby style with a dungeon finder and wait for the que to pop. While that is happening you can run around the bridge of your ship, crafting, shopping and managing storage. PVP on the other hand is something I have only looked at in the menu. I need more time to work up the self confidence to get murder-death’ed over and over before venturing into the arena. Eventually though I will take a stab at it as I am interested to see how ARPG PVP is handled in Martyr.
At present Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr is very much in Alpha/ Early Access. It needs polish and some bug squashing as well as optimisation before it will be ready for the masses. That being said it’s current state is quite playable and enjoyable. With NeocoreGames handling of its previous ARPG titles it is safe to say that Martyr will develop into a unique solid ARPG for Warhammer 40,00 fans and will offer a new take on the genre for ARPG fans. Check back as the game develops as I will be following the title until final release.