Classes, Progression, and Skills
There are three main archetypes to choose from in WH40K: Inquisitor Martyr - Crusader, Assassin, and Psyker. Each has three subtypes each with their own flavor. For example an assassin could chose to start with proficiency in swords, sniper and autogun, or sniper and shotgun.
While your character starts with some skill sets unlocked by virtue of their class and profession, you can unlock and select skills from any set. Unlocking non-native skill sets requires completing certain actions. You might need to do a million of one kind of damage to a certain enemy or use area effect skills a number of times. Once unlocked these skill trees provide powerful buffs to your weapon skills.
There is also a set of three attributes each class has that can boost core damage, health, or suppression for example. Additionally, there are three perk slots that you unlock as you level. These perks which are also unlocked by achieving certain in game feats or milestones add specific unique benefits to your character such as extra inoculator charges, reduced skill cooldowns, or increased damage for certain weapon types.
As your character gains levels they will get attribute and skill points to spend. You may also earn these by completing certain milestone achievements. Leveling isn’t fast in the game and many Steam comments have complained about it being tedious as a result. It depends on how you like to game, but I enjoy the slower pace because it gives me time to use new skills, gear, and weapons I find before hitting the next level.
On my assassin I used sniper rifles, auto rifles, and two-handed swords heavily. When adding to skills I beefed up sniper called shot and headshot damage and critical hit chance along with reduced sniper cooldowns. By adding a perk that also reduced cooldowns on weapon swap I had zero downtime when switching sniper rifles and it auto reloaded them to boot. That added a huge dimension of utility to my tactics and made some challenging missions run much smoother.
Gear comes from a variety of sources in familiar colored tiers. You can buy it from your Rogue Trader ship captain, craft it, and get it from drops and chests. The gear tiers and colors are typical - common (white), mastercrafted (blue), rare (green), artificer (purple), and relic (orange).
Dropped, crafted, or purchased gear is all level appropriate. As your level increases the power level and traits increase for newly dropped gear so while leveling you’ll be switching out gear fairly often, sometimes after each mission to try and squeak out another few power points out of it.
There are dozens of weapons and you can collect recipes for them. You craft them by collecting components and mats from missions or breaking down the weapons that drop for you on those missions. This is a good way to give your character a power bump while leveling and forge high quality gear at high levels.
With so many weapons, each with their own skills, it’s easily possible to come up with several different loadouts that still work well with your skill choices. This lets you try different playstyles and loadouts without needing to respec your skills. Skill respecs are expensive and rare and the only reset one tree per use. I really like this because it encourages thoughtful skill choice without permanently ruining a character.
There are several types of missions in the game. The base campaign takes you all through the Caligari Sector showcasing various mission types from purge and exterminate all enemies to capture select targets to tower defense.
There are a few Grand Investigation missions that are side stories completely separate from the main campaign. The game also offers 3 procedurally generated side missions a week. These are timed in that you have several hours to complete the chain and if you fail you may lose hard earned Glory. Glory is used to measure weekly achievements and provide rare rewards.
The most interesting twist on end game missions, like Diablo Rifts, are the Uther’s Tarot missions. These take a special currency and increase in cost with every mission run, until the weekly reset. Tarot missions are customized to provide certain kinds of rewards and challenges. You can use these to focus on farming specific gear types (like rifles) and certain kinds of crafting materials or money depending on how you configure the mission. You can add one major card (these affect gear drops) and two minor cards which affect mats, money, and other items.
Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor Martyr is a game that is much more than the sum of its parts, yet it’s pulled down by a few nefarious issues.
What does it do well? It does a number of things right. Necore nailed the look and feel of 40K. The many weapons and gear pieces are accurate in name, description, and functionality. The enemies, factions, and lore details is immaculate. If any game deserves a “10” in this area, Inquisitor does.
It also does combat well. It’s not fast paced arcade action, just like its tabletop namesake is deep and thoughtful, but it is challenging and can get frantic and hectic under pressure. There is a wide array of weapons and many builds and play styles that work on challenging difficulties.
What doesn’t it do well? A few things. Did I mention multiplayer? Maybe I should have, but not as a reason to pick the game up. It’s crude and needs a lot of effort put into it. The entirety of coop seems to exist solely for end game mission grinding and it’s very simplistic. I saw no way to share the story campaign which is a real shame.
Did I mention there is PvP? Same thing. It’s a simple 1v1 or 2v2 and it really adds nothing to the game at this point.
The game has some performance issues and bugs. Sometimes the AI gets really stupid for a bit until it realizes you’re decimating it. Sometimes cover is wonky. There are occasionally graphics glitches and slogs, or key mobs bug out. Overall the engine isn’t bad, but there is room for improvement. The final thing pulling it down is that endgame doesn’t have a lot to it. It’s a grind for levels, gear, and leaderboards. I’m not sure how long that will appeal to players.
The good news is Necore has been patching the game. They are watching player metrics for balance issues and complaints. They have seasons and events planned.
Despite some issues, they wouldn’t stop me from purchasing the game again. I recommend this game for ARPG and WH40K fans. It’s not a perfect game, but at nearly 60 hours I’m still having a lot of fun.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.