Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor Martyr - Taking ARPG to the Imperium of Man
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. War reaches out to all places, all peoples in this 41st Millenium. No genre shall remain untouched, no sector shall remain free of conflict. In this, the fight against the forces of the heretical, the alien and the impure, we may never rest.
Sometimes appointments can be arrived at early! Sometimes this means you get some time totally alone playing with the demo. Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, which you know we'll just call Martyr from here on out, is two things entirely. It is inescapably an action role playing game which... is a genre I don't really care for. It is also, however, inescapably Warhammer. The demo level consisted of clearing a cathedral of some foul heretical scum by bolter and chainsword. Suffer not the heretic to live after all.
Jumping in to make sure that there are even more options for not getting any rest when there are enemies of the Emperor to purge, we have NeocoreGames. Neocoregames is well known for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and are taking that action role playing expertise to the Imperium of Man in the far future.
So let's talk about the feel of the thing. Martyr has tone of the 41st Millenium down. If there are still people out there who don't know about grimdark or Warhammer, take oh... Judge Dredd's Mega City One and make it somewhat darker, grittier and grimmer. That or just take about any dystopian fiction you want and instead of darker and edgier, paint it jet black and hurl it off a cliff. NeocoreGames has really worked to give Martyr the right feel and the right look. Genre is a personal preference, but if your game doesn't feel like it is set in what you claimed it is, you lose everything. They most certainly do not lose, this was a proper, admittedly corrupted, Cathedral to the Emperor.
You know the genre even started to win me over. Not being a fan I can't exactly comment if this is the case in all ARPGs but when facing off against someone touched by the power of Nurgle and some reprogrammed servo skulls there was this glorious moment. Those bloody skulls fired off rockets, that rotting fetid bulk of a creature took a swung at the Inquisitor... and everything slowed down just enough. Just enough to make it a movie moment, to make it an action trope. Eventually time snapped back and it was back to the plasma gun and introducing searing blasts to my foes.
Maybe that's not a feature and instead happened to be a wonderful bug. Maybe it is a feature and I'm a noob. I don't care either way. It sold the moment to me and experience.
Martyr is set in its own secluded sector of space, the Caligari Sector. This lets NeocoreGames run the story how they want. Sectors get cut off from the galaxy at large every so often, Battlefleet Gothic after all is all about the cut off Gothic Sector.
"It contains everything that a Warhammer 40,000 sector should, while it is quarantined from the Imperium, which makes it a special sandbox with a persistent world."
There is a story mode for people who want to slog through the mysteries of the Caligari Sector themselves and find out what is going on and why exactly Nurgle is out rotting things. When a bad guy takes the approach of throwing up on me, I feel comfortable blaming Papa Nurgle. Alterntaively there is the open world persistent Inquisitorial Campaign.
People can choose how they want to progress through the sandbox world on the star map, picking and choosing from the missions on offer and teaming up in four person co-op for loot and the Glory of the Imperium. Here the concept of consequences was stressed. The sector will have events playing out and how people react to them will determine how things change. If the majority of players elect to stave off Dark Eldar raids instead of crushing a nascent WAAGH, well they can look forward to more Ork incursions and problems in the future. The combined actions of the playerbase will help steer these events while the personal actions of the players will determine their own reputation and standings.
As well as the Inquisitorial Campaign, we were teased with the idea of the Inquisitorial Fortress. Fortresses are customizable safe havens for players... to a degree. It wouldn't be Warhammer without some infighting. Puritan Inquisiors versus Radicals anyone? While it is said that the player won't fight other players directly, there are many Ordos and factions with different agendas, so the players can attack each other's Fortresses for valuable loot.
I had fun playing the demo in the end. I can see why people really get into ARPGs even if they remain something that doesn't quite do it for me. Being the ceramite enclosed fist of the Emperor was fun and definitely is something that the Warhammer 40,000 game space hasn't had for a long time. Will the other classes make me change my tune and get deep into Martyr? I don't know. Will the story drag me along? That's for me to play and find out really.
Certainly when I asked about potential Black Library tie ins I got a polite PR response. What it meant is up for debate but the folks from NeocoreGames were most certainly one thing above others, they were fans of Warhammer 40,000. I don't see them setting out to make a mediocre game or a poor game or even one that isn't meant to be satisfying. If you want to plunder the Caligari Sector and bring the Light of the Emperor to His foes on a very one on one (or one on lots basis when the cowardly scum are hiding behind cover and refusing to eat a bolter shell for me) then I'm happy recommending you check out Martyr.
Sadly I have to report one major failure on their part. No one purged this guy.