In my time with Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, I destroyed at least a dozen massive, ancient techno-pillars. A few of those were providing cover for hostile heretics, but mostly I just liked watching all the pieces crumble to the floor. I mean, If you give me a recharging grenade ability I’m pretty much guaranteed to try to blow everything up, and if you give me a called shot power I’m going to try to shoot smaller things off of bigger things.
Don’t get confused: Inquisitor isn’t a shooter, it’s a Diablo-style action RPG. But rather than flashy fantasy spells and martial arts, the way your character fights is built around the chunky, fatal action of the tabletop game. Each character class has at least two distinct ability sets to swap between (the Crusader can fight with a machine gun and a chainsaw sword or a big plasma rifle, for instance) which gives you some room to approach encounters tactically. There’s a dedicated button for reloading your oversized machine gun. Rather than rushing at you in massive groups, enemies arrive in smaller squads of diverse units that attack from various ranges to keep you on the defensive.
I tend to lose interest in the click-em-up killfests at the heart of many ARPGs, but I could see the extra 40K-appropriate wrinkles introduced by Inquisitor keeping me going for a while longer. I definitely preferred fighting with the heavy duty Crusader over the swords-and-sniper assassin – there’s also a third class that developer NeocoreGames is keeping under wraps for now – but it’s not a fair competition when only one of them can blow up pillars with infinite grenades. In either case the ground combat seemed solid, with a few flourishes like boss-specific finishing moves (after softening up a Helbrute with some machine gun salvos from cover I ripped out its skull, which seemed to bother it quite a bit).
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see any of what may be the most important part of Inquisitor: the online events and procedurally generated missions that will shape its ongoing campaign (on top of the pre-written story). Players will be given choices like heading to one planet to fight off an invasion of Orks or another planet to foil Space Pirate marauders, and whichever one the majority of players choose will be written into the ongoing history. Inquisitors will be able to group up for 4-player co-op and even do indirect battle by sieging their rivals’ headquarters and to claim useful technology. But again, I didn’t get to try any of that
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is planned for release in 2017, starting out on PC first and then moving to Xbox One and PS4. Neocore could have easily slapped some grim dark future paint on a Diablo frame and called it good, but instead it’s forming grand plans to make a persistent, endlessly playable ARPG addition to the 40k universe. I hope those ambitions bear out.