[Also available on Xbox One & PC]
So there seems to be a wealth of Warhammer 40K games that are being released in batches at the moment – with more titles in the pipeline. We had Space Hulk Deathwing and Space Hulk Tactics has been released in the last couple of weeks.
But I wanted to look at one that bridges the gap between action and real-time strategy and which was released in between those titles – and Inquisitor Martyr fits the bill perfectly in this regard.
What’s on offer is a top-down, Diablo III perspective and much like Diablo this is a hack ’n’ slash – albeit a more run-and-gun affair using the lore of 40K at the design helm.
Selecting 1 of 3 available player classes – you choose to either play solo, co-op (same screen) or online – taking on the hordes of Warhammer 40K villains.
While I have played Diablo before I’m not a huge fan of the genre. I like to feel a little more connected in the action and when your character in Diablo, or games like Baldur’s Gate is healthily spec’d up – it can feel like all you’re doing is racing through the map with your finger on the fire/spell/slash button speeding to the end. I’m also not a huge fan of grinding for grinding sake. Doing boring missions or tasks just to see your character go through these chores a little quicker as they become more skilled just seems like work and, well, work is boring enough thanks very much.
So the odds were quite nicely stacked against me enjoying Warhammer Inquisitor Martyr (WIM). Except the game has a few key points that dramatically altered the way I experienced what was on offer.
- The pace is much slower paced than many hack ’n’ slash offerings and personally, this gave me a much stronger connection to the game’s content.
- It’s got guns!…OK so I am only playing the warrior/tank class (Crusader) at the moment admittedly, but having some, one and two-handed cannons to mow down the various flesh and inorganic foes with is rewarding!
- I like how the boss & higher challenged adversaries require some back-tracking – your character is far from invincible, the suspense of not knowing if you are going to be able to overpower them as you’ve used the bulk of health and shield abilities makes proceedings more exciting – even when your character is fairly well tooled-up, that sense of vulnerability with only 3 lives/map restarts available per-mission IS A GOOD THING from where I’m purging from 😉
- I haven’t encountered the bugs that other players have spoken of – primarily because I resisted the temptation to buy on release – the initial hefty asking price for the game had a lot to do with this – so in both senses it paid (quite literally) to hold-off picking this up until patches were in place and cost came back down to earth.
- The graphics are not going to set the world ablaze but they are adequate, the sound is solid with voice acting nicely over-the-top, sound effects of explosions and cannon fire feel weighty with some decent sonic heft and potency and the music is quite befitting of the weird religious righteousness that the Warhammer 40K universe is filled with – think dramatic orchestral and choir score well with a name like Inquisitor Martyr – were you expecting electro? Wait that could work actually…
- Once I got the hang of the cover system a bit more – it started to make more sense – albeit it still needs some fine-tuning. I liked how some enemies would take advantage of the cover too – albeit the AI is not the smartest
- The different abilities and fire modes of the weapons all make sense – there doesn’t feel like there is simply the usual useless, purely cosmetic variety on offer in the same way that many of the AAA 1st person shooters seem to throw in without it really making any difference to game mechanics or play. Here, your flamethrower can be used to lay down a blanket of fire to impede the onslaught of hordes of foes, it can also launch a fireball that can be used to arc over the cover our enemies are using to shield themselves from damage, shotguns have the feature to knock-over stunned enemies, have the opportunity to rapidly deploy all cartridges available while auto guns have a reverse walking defensive fire that slows enemies, can be powered up to concentrate a high damage shot, as well as normal fire options and a weaker but high velocity auto-fire mode. Basically all weapon actions I have encountered so far make sense. Then there’s the added RPG elements, different armour, different special attacks linked to this, different properties and properties these have when equipped etc.
For me at least, the action – despite the nature of the game belonging to the top-down perspective dungeon-slasher genre that hasn’t really changed dramatically over the decades – [anyone remember Gauntlet here?] – WIM still never feels that repetitive and that’s after I have invested a sizeable amount of game time already.
It’s surprising the levels have that drab and depressing dank of the Warhammer 40K universe – even when levels are situated on a planet’s surface and essentially whatever your end goal is, kill everything on the map, retrieve the clues (while killing everything on the map), take out some specific installations (while killing everything on the map)…it still all seems refreshingly varied. I think a lot of this comes down to how well designed the enemies are, that they make the locale feel different by being there – even if the environments all start to look the same.
I’m not a fan of paying for DLC. Shock! Horror! For me, it’s just another stake through the heart of what gaming is supposed to be about, both as a hobby/pursuit and as an industry. Some developers and publishers have woken up recently, realising that the true aim is to keep your gamers playing your game, so rewarding them with free DLC is a good model to build on loyalty and customer satisfaction. Sadly, WIM looks set to follow the current status quo and the first of a scheduled 22 pieces of DLC (at least according to the marketing blurb of the season pass) has arrived and costs around £5, that’s DLC 1 of 22 to come, for £5!!. I haven’t purchased this. But I urge anyone that games – who loves a particular title – wherever paid-for DLC is present – to get in touch with both the developer and publisher and register your dissatisfaction for being further charged for content – even if money isn’t an issue for you. If you need examples of AAA games which don’t subscribe to this pay for DLC model then look at TitanFall 2, Rainbow Six Siege etc. (the latter offers both it’s worth pointing out – but everything is attainable with the XP you earn in-game). It’s a practice that needs to stop and it will someday I am certain – but I’d like to see that day before I get so old or lose all my marbles – whichever comes first!! 😛
I’m satisfied with what I have played of WIM so far to recommend to players – especially those who feel put-off by the standard fantasy settings e.g. wizard, elf barbarian protagonists that dominate this genre to give WIM a play. For those of you out there who love the more traditional playable characters – you’ll be pleased to know that you can pretty much customise the 3 playable characters in WIM to reflect the traditional roles. The Crusader (the main tank class that I am playing) can have guns swapped out for sword and shield, the Psyker can be set up like a wizard with his default spell casting and the Assassin is your long-range Elf/thief class…There all your stereotypes as you (may) like them!
For those who love the lore of Warhammer 40K – it’s all the more essential that you give WIM a try. A word to whichever camp you stick your flag in though…This game is not your massively loot-orientated collecting bonanza that others of the genre offer, it has a large degree of this but it isn’t at the behemoth scale of its rivals – for me that’s welcome – I like to tinker with stuff but games which revolve around this mechanic slightly annoy me as the collecting aspect interferes in the action (just my personal feeling)
I like the fact that you can’t change load outs during missions – tinker with all of your stuff before going in if you must, but once in a game session that’s it whatever you brought or adjusted is going to have to do until the end of that level.
So – you’re either going to be relieved as I was or disappointed…thought it wise to throw pearl of wisdom out there.
There’s a lot of value and game-time on offer here – I haven’t even touched on the campaign mode which in contrast to the story mode allows a more sandbox approach to proceedings and allows to join with friends which I think can only be more fun if its with people who wouldn’t benefit from being on the receiving end of a good purge! 🙂
So that leaves the score – let’s give this a very clandestine and holier than thou, 8/10